Sourdough babka is a naturally leavened, sweet brioche-like bread with a rich chocolate filling. It is part bread, part cake, and goes perfectly with a cup of coffee.Jump to Recipe
This is such a fun recipe to make. Don’t be intimidated, if you can make cinnamon rolls you can definitely make this. If you want to save yourself some work and you like Nutella, you can use 1.5 cups for the filling instead of making it yourself. The filling options for this could be endless, I’d like to try different flavors of filling eventually.
How to make Sourdough Babka: Ingredients & Equipment Needed
Here is what you will need to make this dessert bread:
- bread flour-all purpose will work as well
- sourdough starter-you want your started to be fed and at least doubled in size
- butter-softened to room temperature
- milk-preferably whole
For the filling:
- chocolate chips-dark or semi-sweet will work
- butter-softened to room temperature
- powdered sugar
- rolling pin
- stand mixer with dough hook attachment (this is not just totally necessary but definitely makes the whole process easier
- loaf pan- I love my USA Pan pullman loaf pan, it’s nice and deep with tall sides. With thin layer of butter my breads never stick.
How to Make Sourdough Babka: The Process
Weigh out your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a measuring cup and scraping off the excess. I have a cheap scale that I love to use. Firstly, because it’s so much easier than trying to measure out the flour, and it is more accurate. After that, add all the ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and combine everything on low speed. This is a wet dough so don’t be tempted to add more flour at first, everything will come together as the dough ferments. You want the let the dough rest for a bit to let the flour start absorbing the wet ingredients. Lastly, knead the dough until it starts to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. You can do this step using the dough hook or by hand,
Ferment the Dough
The next step is to let the dough ferment on the countertop. This can take 6-8 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. I like to let mine almost double in size before moving on to the next step. Alternatively, if you have ran out of time, you can refrigerate the dough at this step and continue on the next day.
Make the Filling
Meanwhile, make the filling. You want to make sure your filling has had enough time to cool before spreading it on the dough. Tip: if you want to save some work and have some on hand, you can substitute 1.5 cups of Nutella for the filling!
Shape the Loaf
After the dough has fermented, you’ll need to shape your loaf. Flour your countertop or cutting board and roll the dough out into a rectangle. You want the short side of your rectangle to be about as wide as your loaf pan you are using.
Spread the filling onto the dough and roll it up starting on the short side. Once you have your dough rolled up you need to cut it in half length wise. So instead of making round slices like with my cinnamon rolls, you’ll have two long halves with the center being exposed.
Tip: At this step go ahead and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into your loaf pan. I cut mine to where it fits into the bottom and goes up both sides. Lay the pieces of dough onto the parchment paper and then twist them together into a braid. Gently pinch the ends together. Now you can easily lift your loaf into the pan without a mess.
Let the dough rest on the counter 1-2 hours until it is puffy and risen about two inches in the pan. You can see the difference between the photo above and the photo below after it has risen. Tip: You can place the loaf into the fridge at this step to bake the next day if you’d like. Just be sure to let the dough come to room temperature then rise before baking. Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden brown. If at any point the top starts to darken too much, you can tent it with foil. Let the sourdough babka cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!
- 4 cups bread flour (or all purpose) 460 grams
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (66 grams)
- 150 grams sourdough starter (fed and ripe)
- 1 stick butter (softened at room temperature)
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
- 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- Add all of the dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed using a dough hook until combined. The dough will appear wet and sticky at this step
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes
- Using the dough hook, knead the dough on low for 3-5 minutes until it starts to pull away from the edge of the bowl and becomes more smooth.
- Cover the bowl and let ferment on the counter until about doubled in size. This can take 6-8 hours or more depending on the temperature of your house.
- When the dough is almost ready make the filling. (See below)
- Once the dough has doubled, flour your countertop or cutting board. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 10" by 14".
- Spread the cooled filling onto the dough, leaving a 1/2" border around all sides.
- Roll the dough up starting on the short side.
- Cut the log of dough in half LENGTHWISE.
- Take the two halves of dough, twist them together into a braid. Gently pinch the ends together.
- Place into your buttered loaf pan and let rest about 2 hours until the dough is puffy.
- After the dough has rested, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Position a rack in the lower third of your oven.
- Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes until golden brown on top.
- Slowly melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat.
- Add the chocolate chips and heat until they are melted, stirring continuously.
- Remove pan from the heat and add the powdered sugar and cocoa.
- Let the filling cool while you continue on with the dough.