BREADS BAKERY NUTELLA BABKA
Babka is special; Breads Bakery's Nutella Babka is special-er. What could be better than Nutella and mini chocolate chips swirled throughout fluffy brioche? Not much. I can't possibly tell you how to make it better than they can, so here is the link to Breads Bakery's famous babka recipe. That said, having made this recipe more than once, I do have some tips (below) for achieving a knock-out babka.
Total time: 5 hours (minimum, depending on how long you proof)
Active time: 1 hour
Bake time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 babkas
1.) If you scroll to the bottom of the recipe, there's a wonderful video with the head baker at Breads Bakery. It covers the entire babka making process!
2.) It can be difficult to find fresh yeast, so I substituted instant instead. To do this, begin by heating the milk to 110° F and whisk in 10 grams of instant yeast (1/3 the weight you would use of fresh yeast). Let it sit for a few minutes until fragrant and slightly foamy, and then continue with the recipe.
3.) For the first proof in the fridge, you can just wrap the dough rectangle tightly in plastic wrap, rather than putting it on a baking sheet and wrapping that.
4.) Contrary to logic, it IS possible to overdo it on the Nutella. There should be a thin layer spread across the entire surface of the dough before rolling, but you don't want enough that it's going to squeeze out when you roll it or weigh the dough down in the oven - just a thin layer.
5.) Pan size matters! For babka, it's better to use a more narrow pan (as the recipe calls for, 4+1/2" wide is great) because a narrower pan will allow the babka to rise higher! It will be difficult to get the same rise in a wider pan.
6.) When you pull the bread from the oven and brush it with simple syrup, follow the syrup up with a hearty sprinkling of flakey sea salt. This takes it to another level.