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MainRecipesBread | Chocolate Babka

   Chocolate Babka submitted by Mom Johnson
This is a delicious version of a Russian or Polish Easter bread. It takes lots of time but well worth your effort!

1. Make the dough: Combine the yeast and 2 T. warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the milk, sour cream, egg yolk and 1/2 cup flour; beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour, scraping the bowl as needed, to form a wet dough, about 4 minutes. Increase speed to medium high; add the whole egg, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until creamy, 3-4 minutes. Add the butter 1 T. at a time; beat until incorporated. The dough will be very wet.

2. Brush a large bowl with butter; transfer the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir the dough to punch it down; cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. Generously dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Pat the dough into a square on the parchment, then roll into an 11 by 15 inch rectangle. Transfer the dough and the parchment to a baking sheet and brush off the excess flour. Cover and chill until firm enough to shape, 1-2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Pulse the almonds and the sugar in a food processor until fine. Add the butter, egg, rum, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and almond extract; pulse until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

5. Make the streusel: Mash the powdered sugar , flour and butter in a bowl with a fork to make clumps. Cover and chill until ready to use.

6. Butter an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Spread the almond filling over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border; sprinkle with the chocolate. Starting from a short side, use the parchment paper to tightly roll up the dough, brushing off excess flour. Pinch the ends of the roll, then twist several times. Fold the twist in half so the ends meet. Twist the dough again and place in pan. Cover with buttered payment paper and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 2 hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with the streusel. Bake until the bread is golden and springs back when pressed, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Loosen with a knife, then let cool in the pan about 1 hour. Unmold onto a rack to finish cooling.

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v Dough:
v 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (about 1/2 of a packet)
v 1/3 cup whole milk
v 1/4 cup sour cream
v 1 large egg yolk plus 1 whole egg
v 1 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
v 3 T. granulated sugar
v 1/2 tsp. salt
v 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
v 4 T. unsalted butter, plus more for brushing

v Filling:
v 1/2 cup blanched almonds
v 1/3 cup granulated sugar
v 4 T. butter, at room temperature
v 1 large egg
v 2 T. dark rum
v 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
v 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
v 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest(optional)
v 1/4 tsp. almond extract
v 6 oz. finely chopped semisweet chocolate

v Streusel:
v 6 T. powdered sugar
v 1/3 cup flour
v 3 T. butter, softened
v 1 large egg, beaten

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