Cheat's Chocolate Babka
Babka is having its moment in the spotlight right now. A cross between a cake and a bread, babka originates from Jewish or Eastern European countries. Babka in Polish means grandmother because it was grandmothers who used to make the bread with left over pieces of challah.
Babka is a sweet bread that has chocolate or cinnamon swirled in thick smears throughout. The swirls are made through plaiting and folding the dough on itself so when it bakes you get a gorgeous cross-section.
I am a relatively recent discoverer of babka and I first came across it a couple of years ago on a menu at Jewish deli-cafe, The Good Egg. Since then I've been hooked but although there are some great places to get some - Honey & Co, Bala Baya - babka does not have the same ubiquitous presence as in New York where the Jewish community made it incredibly popular. The chocolate babka from Breads Bakery in New York is probably the best I've ever had.
The idea to make a cheat's babka came after reading a recipe from Sainsbury's. Babka purists might balk at this recipe because it is more a chocolate croissant loaf than a babka but you are still able to get the signature swirls of chocolate through the loaf at minimal effort. I consider this a beginner's recipe.
Because babka is somewhere between a cake and bread, it feels appropriate both as an indulgent weekend breakfast, thickly sliced with a strong pot of coffee or as a afternoon pick me up.
I would recommend trying some of the 'proper stuff' if you are able to lay your hands on it. In the meantime, though, this cheat babka will be more than sufficient.