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Prep 40min (+ 3hr proving, 20min standing and cooling time)Bake 45min12-14 serves
Laced with swirls of rich dark chocolate and drenched in a marmalade glaze, you’ll find this impressive loaf hard to resist – I dare you to stop at just one slice!
525g (3½ cups) strong (baker’s) flour
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
180ml (⅔ cup) lukewarm milk
2 eggs, plus 1 extra
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
150g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
50g unsalted butter, chopped
110g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
300g jar blood orange marmalade (see Baker's Tips)
2 tablespoons boiling water
- To make the dough, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Combine the milk and eggs in a jug. With the motor running, add milk mixture to the flour mixture and knead on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until mixture is evenly combined and a stiff dough forms.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and gradually add the butter, about 20g at a time, beating well after each addition on low speed until dough is smooth and very elastic (this will take about 5 minutes). Scrape down side of bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in volume.
- For the Chocolate Filling, combine all ingredients in a large heatproof jug and microwave on high, in 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst, for 1 minute 30 seconds or until chocolate has melted. Stir vigorously until well combined, glossy and smooth. Set aside at room temperature to cool.
- Grease a 2.5L capacity (24cm top, 22cm base measurement) fluted ring pan with extra butter. Knock back the dough by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth and elastic and dough has returned to its original size.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll dough into a 30cm x 35cm rectangle. Spread dough evenly with the chocolate filling. Starting from the longer end, roll up the dough into a tight roll. (At this point, if the dough is too soft and your kitchen too warm, you can place the log, slightly bent to fit, on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and chill for 20 minutes to firm slightly. This will make cutting and shaping the babka easier). Trim ends of roll. Starting about 2cm from the top end, cut in half, leaving the top end intact. Turn each half so that the cut edges are facing upwards. Twist the two halves together, keeping the cut edges facing upwards. Place in prepared tin, wrapping around the centre tube. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1½ hours or until well risen.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Bake the babka for 45 minutes or until deep golden and babka sounds hollow when tapped on the top. Stand in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- For the marmalade glaze, place marmalade in a large heatproof jug and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well, then microwave for a further 15 seconds or until bubbling. Immediately stir through boiling water until well combined. Stand for 3 minutes, stir again, then drizzle over the cooled babka. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Cut babka into wedges to serve.
- This loaf is best eaten the day it is made but it will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and is perfect to slice, toast and served warm (especially for an indulgent breakfast!)
Photography: Nigel Lough
Styling: David Morgan
This recipe first appeared in delicious. Australia's April 2023 edition.
Prep 35min (+1hr 15min resting time)Bake 30minMakes 12
Many countries have their own version of this egg-rich, cake-like bread. This simple, slightly sweet, citrus-scented Ukrainian Easter one is typically baked in tall and cylindrical moulds just like Russian Kulich and Italian panettone.
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 whole egg, at room temperature
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
2 teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
½ teaspoon salt
185ml (¾ cup) lukewarm milk
10g (3 teaspoons) dried yeast
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
525g (3½ cups) plain flour, plus extra to dust
150g butter, cubed, at room temperature
170g (1 cup) seedless raisins
melted butter, to grease
370g (3 cups) pure icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons water
- Put the egg yolks, egg, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until pale and well combined. Add the milk, yeast and lemon rind and beat on low speed to combine. Gradually beat in 300g (2 cups) of the flour on low speed until combined. With the motor running gradually add the butter, a cube at a time, alternating with the remaining 225g (1½ cups) flour until a smooth, soft dough forms. Replace the beater with a dough hook and continue to knead on low speed for about 6 minutes or until very smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, turn onto a lightly floured bench and knead by hand for 10-15 minutes.) Knead in the raisins. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Grease and lightly flour 12 x 125ml (½ cup) dariole moulds. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist and turn onto a well-floured surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, roll into balls and drop each into a prepared tin. Cover the moulds with a slightly damp tea towel and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen to the top of the tins.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Bake the babkas in preheated oven for 28-30 minutes, covering the tops with foil if they start to brown too quickly, or until cooked when tested with a skewer and they sound hollow when tapped on the base. Stand in the moulds for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
- To make the icing, put the icing sugar in a medium bowl and stir in the water to make a medium coating consistency. Spread over the tops of the babka, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Set aside for the icing to set. Serve warm or at room temperature cut into slices.
- The babka dough can also be baked in two 9 x 19cm (base measurement) loaf tins. Grease and lightly flour as for the moulds. Divide the dough in half, roll each portion into a log about 15cm long and place in the prepared tins. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer and they sound hollow when tapped on the base.
- This babka is best eaten the day it is made. To freeze, wrap well in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
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Photography by Alan Benson.
Prep 25min (+1hr 30min resting time)Bake 25minMakes 12
An updated version of the traditional favourite, these hot cross buns are studded with chunks of dark chocolate and tart, dried cherries. They're simply too hard to resist – especially when served warm with lashings of butter!
- 750g (5 cups) bread or pizza flour (see Baker's Tips)
- 55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 2 sachets (7g each) dried yeast
- 1½ teaspoons mixed spice
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 150g (1 cup) dried cherries (see Baker's Tips)
- 75g (½ cup) currants
- 435ml (1¾ cups) milk
- 60g butter, cubed, plus extra, to grease and serve
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
- 100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 75g (½ cup) plain flour
- 75ml water
- 55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
Put the bread flour, sugar, yeast, mixed spice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Stir through the dried cherries and currants.
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has just melted and the milk is lukewarm. Whisk one of the eggs with the vanilla and add to the milk mixture. Whisk to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a clean large bowl with a little butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Knead in the chocolate. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place on the tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Meanwhile, make the Flour paste. Combine the flour and water in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon into a small plastic bag.
Whisk the remaining egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag containing the Flour paste and pipe crosses on the buns.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the buns are cooked and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
Meanwhile, make the Glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Transfer the hot cross buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the glaze. Serve warm, spread with butter.
- Bread and pizza flour (also known as 'strong' flour) has a higher gluten content than regular plain flour. This type of flour is more suited to use in yeast-based bread recipes like these buns and will give you a better final texture (the resulting bread will be more 'bread-like' with a slightly chewy texture rather than a fine, cake-like texture).
- Dried cherries are available at selected supermarkets, delicatessens, grocery shops and specialty food stores. You can replace them with good-quality dried cranberries.
- These hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are made. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them at room temperature or split while still frozen and toast.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Easter Rituals.CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.