A few month ago, a bunch of talented chefs came together to cook a dinner for more than 300 people to raise funds for the Room-to-Read charity. The event ended in an unprecedented success and I was really proud to be part of it. One of the auction price to raise funds was a pastry class with me. Not that the idea of being a tradable goods enchants me, but for the occasion, I thought it was all worth it.
The pastry class actually happened last Saturday and one of the delicious item we did was a chocolate brioche, more traditionally called a Babka. We left aside the origins and other etymology of the bread’s name to focus on the actual baking part… what a treat! When I planned my class I was wondering what I could teach that would be easy to make at home and delicious to share with friends and family. So I did a “Everything chocolate” class, including a sour cherry chocolate tart (with baked sabayon!), some chocolate chouquettes and the chocolate brioche which was inspired by my friend DBaker who happened to bake those for my son’s birthday!
The dough itself isn’t much of a wonder, but the secret lies more in the richness of the stuffing and the syrup soaking after baking.
For the brioche dough you will need:
- 280 g wheat flour T45
- 55 g butter
- 50 g sugar
- 1 pc Vanilla bean
- 3 pc egg yolks
- 4 g salt
- 60 ml whipping cream
- 60 ml milk
- 15 g fresh yeast
- Mix all the ingredients in slow speed until the dough forms
- Increase the speed and knead until you obtain a good gluten network
- Roll into a ball and allow resting in a covered bowl for at least 30 minutes
For the filling you will need:
- 125 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp soft butter
- 120 ml sugar syrup (boil together 60 ml of water and 60 g of white sugar)
- 40 g roasted and roughly chopped hazelnuts
The shaping and proofing
- Roll the dough into a flat rectangle of about 4mm thick and the length of your tin loaf mold
- Apply some egg wash on the side the nearest to you (where the roll will close)
- Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of butter all over the dough
- Sprinkle (a lot) of chocolate all over the butter and dust cinnamon powder over it too
- Finally sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts
- Roll the dough tightly as a snail to end up on the egg washed part in front of you
- Cut the roll in half lengthwise and form a braid with the two halves
- Place the shaped dough in a greased rectangle tin mold (adding a baking paper in it will help you un-mold it afterwards)
- Allow proofing for about 30 minutes – remember not to proof it in a too warm temperature as chocolate and butter will melt.
- Once proofed, bake it at 185C for about 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown
- Take the bread out of the oven and brush heavily with sugar syrup; put it back in the oven for 1 minute
- Repeat the above step with the syrup 2 more times and finally unmold the bread
- Let it cool completely before serving – I had it the day after the class for breakfast and LOVED it!