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December 24, 2020
For the brioche dough
1¾ cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
⅓ cup sugar
2½ tsp kosher salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
18 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
For the babka
1 recipe brioche dough (above)
¼ cup blanched hazelnuts
1½ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
InstructionsFor the brioche
Combine the all purpose flour, bread, flour, yeast, sugar, salt, ½ cup cold water, and the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low for 3-4 minutes or until everything comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix on low for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the butter to the dough 2 tbsp at a time with the mixer running on low. Once all the butter has been added, continue to mix for another 10 minutes. The butter needs to mix completely into the dough so you may need to occasionally stop the mixer to break up the dough with your hands in order to get it to fully combine.
Mix on medium for another 15 minutes. The dough should be soft and shiny. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 1 minute. At this point it should be slapping against the sides of the mixer bowl.
Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap that is pressed directly against the top of the dough. Place in the refrigerator and allow to proof for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the Babka
Prepare the brioche dough up to the proof in the refrigerator, as above.
Line baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove the brioche dough from the fridge and divide in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough into a rectangle that is 20×12 inches. Spread half of the nutella over the surface of the dough with an offset spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle half the chopped nuts and half of the chopped chocolate over the nutella. Roll the dough tightly as you would a jelly roll. Repeat with the second half of the brioche dough. Place both dough rolls onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the freezer. Working with one of the dough rolls at a time, cut it half lengthwise exposing all the middle layers. Place one cut half across the center of the other forming an X with the dough. Twist the top and bottom halves of the dough around each other, trying to keep the cut sides with their beautiful layers visible and exposed. You should have a long twisted braid of dough. Fold the dough braid in half into a wreath shape. Repeat with the second dough roll.
Cover both babkas with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1.5-2 hours or until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 350F. Remove the plastic wrap from the babkas and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When done the babkas should be golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush them with the sugar glaze while still warm. Allow to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
Note- a wonderful item to prepare ahead of time, and bring to your Christmas Day location.
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