Bulk Babka Recipe with a Chocolate Pear Babka Variation

chocolate pear babka

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I have been a little lax in participating in the Great British Bakeoff Bakealong hosted by Laura from Little House Big Alaska. for the last few challenges. This time of year is so crazy with the garden coming in that it tends to keep me pretty occupied. I have frozen romanesco, broccoli and cauliflower for the winter.

Then the tomatoes started coming in – and coming and coming and coming. I have canned pizza sauce, tomato soup, homemade ketchup and tomato paste. And I still have tomatoes to deal with! But I needed to take a break from all of those vegetables and just BAKE so I took on this week’s challenge to make a chocolate babka. I have made babka before for another bakeoff challenge but that was a cheese babka. It is a delightful sweet bread and the recipe I am sharing below will allow you to make babka dough in bulk so you will have it in the freezer to pull out and use when you would like.

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bulk babka recipe

Chocolate Babka? No! Chocolate Pear Babka

Bulk Babka recipe makes enough for 4 babkas. The recipe is adapted from A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets

For the Babka Sponge

  • 4 packets (4 TBS) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (95° – 115°F)
  • 3/4 cup milk at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour

Ingredients For the Babka Dough

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  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBS powdered milk
  • 3 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Chocolate Pear Filling:

  • 2 cups diced pears
  • 3 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • one egg mixed with a little bit of water for an egg wash
  • sugar in the raw for sprinkling if desired
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Make a sponge:

  • Flour a large baking sheet
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water to soften.
  • Add the milk and flour being careful to mix carefully so that the flour doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Mix on low speed for about 10  minutes.
  • Remove the paddle, cover and let sit until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
  • Oil a large bowl
  • Put the bowl back on the stand and add the paddle. Stir the sponge down.
  • Add the eggs and yolks in three additions, mixing on low.
  • The dough will be very wet. Add the sugar, powdered milk, salt, orange juice, apricot jam, vanilla, nutmeg, the rest of the flour, and sour cream.
  • Mix with pulses so the flour doesn’t fly out of the bowl.
  • Add the butter a little at a time until it is all absorbed.
  • Remove the paddle and add the dough hook. Knead for 10 – 12 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
  • If it seems too wet add up to one half cup more flour.
  • Knead for 10 – 12 minutes until the dough is silky with a bit of a shine. It should be slightly sticky.

add dough to bowl to rise

  • Remove the dough to the prepared bowl, cover and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and punch down.
  • Cut into 4 equal pieces

bulk babka recipe

  • Roll each piece into a log place on a floured baking sheet. Cover
  • Let rise in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight (if letting rise overnight cover with plastic wrap)
  • The three pieces you are not using to make the chocolate pear babka can be wrapped and frozen
  • To make the chocolate pear babka keep one portion out.

Make the Babka:

  • Spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray
  • Let one portion of babka dough rise in an oiled bowl until puffy, about 20 minutes.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter and let cool slightly
  • Mix the diced pears with the brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt.
  • Remove the dough to a floured surface and punch down. Roll the dough out to a 10 x 7? rectangle

spread chocolate on dough

  • Spread the chocolate on top of the dough leaving a 1/2? border

add chopped pears

  • Distribute the pears evenly over the chocolate
  • Brush the border with a little water and roll the dough up jelly roll style.
  • As you roll the dough up gently pull on it to elongate it slightly. It will happen naturally but help it along a bit. pinch the edge closed.

add dough to springform pan

  • Arrange in the prepared springform pan.
  • Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar in the raw
  • Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350° and set rack in the middle of the oven
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 45 minutes until lightly browned.

cool babka on wire rack

  • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and remove from pan.

How Was the Chocolate Babka, I mean Chocolate Pear Babka?

It was very yummy. What I like about a babka is that it is not too sweet. It’s a wonderfully soft, rich bread and the chocolate pear filling adds just enough sweet to make this a perfect treat with tea or coffee. As I am wont to do instead of following the brief to make a chocolate babka I embellished and added the pears. Oh well….no Hollywood Handshake for me!

I used a second piece of dough to make a cheese babka the next day so we are enjoying all kinds of babka around here lately. I am very glad I took a break from canning tomatoes to bake.

I will also note that the babka showed up another time for the bakeoff bakealong – it does seem to be a popular choice. And I can understand why, it’s a wonderful bread. That time I was feeling rebellious and I made a cherry couronne with two drizzles. I figured a babka was a sweet bread with a filling and a couronne filled that bill. No matter what, I had a delicious treat to eat.

A Bulk Babka Recipe?

Yes! It’s a wonderful thing. After the dough rises overnight you can take the three remaining dough logs and wrap them well and put them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just pull one out when you want to use it, let it thaw and come to room temperature. Then follow the directions from the point where you would have brought the dough out of the refrigerator. I have done this and it works well. You can go as simple as just brushing the rolled out dough with some melted butter and sprinkling with cinnamon sugar to all fancy like the chocolate pear filling. But it is nice to have the dough in the freezer.

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