Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Chocolate and Walnut Babka 猶太麵包

" Take the finest flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah for each loaf. Arrange them in two stacks, six in each stack, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. By each stack put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be a food offering presented to the Lord. This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant"         Leviticus 24:5-8

「你要取細麵烤成十二個餅,每一個餅用兩公斤細麵。 你要把餅擺列成兩排,每排六個,放在耶和華面前精金的桌子上; 把純乳香放在每排餅上,象徵這些餅作獻給耶和華的火祭。 每一個安息日,亞倫都要把餅擺在耶和華面前,不可間斷,這是以色列人永遠的約」      利未記 24:5-8

Bread making was a weekly or even daily ritual in ancient times. It was a food offering to the Lord and not to be taken casually. The finest ingredients were to be used and detailed instructions were given.

This Jewish bread is different from all the breads I made before. Instead of using bread flour, it uses all purpose and cake flour. The result is a very soft and tender texture. The lower gluten content in the flours also helps rolling out the dough an easier task.

For the filling, I made my own chocolate mixture. But Nutella or just peanut butter is a good choice as well.

Recipe modified from Breaking Breads: a New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft

Ingredients to make two loaves:

280g all purpose flour (11-12% protein)
220g cake flour (8-10% protein)
120g whole milk, room temp
2 large eggs
5g instant yeast
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g sugar
80g unsalted butter, room temp
large pinch of salt

Filling (optionally, use Nutella or peanut butter instead of this filling):
30g whole milk
58g unsalted butter, room temp
1 egg yolk
seeds from half a pod of vanilla bean or pure vanilla extract
80g sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder

75g walnut, chopped
50g semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Make the dough by putting all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for a minute or two until it forms a dough. Knead at speed 2 for about 5 minutes.
2) Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
3) Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and flatten it to about an inch thick. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
4) Roll out the chilled dough to a long rectangle, 9x24 inches (1). (See notes on tips about rolling) Spread the filling all over the dough (2,3). Sprinkle walnuts and chocolate chips and press them slightly into the dough so they are not so loose for when you roll the dough (4):

5) Roll up the dough on the long side tightly to form a cylinder (1). Use a bread knife to cut it lengthwise. This will give you two long pieces. Then cut them crosswise so there will be four pieces (2). Put two pieces together to form an "X"(3). Twist the ends together to braid (4):

6) Put the braided dough into an oiled 9x4 inch loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot until it rises almost to the rim of the pan. It may take up to 2 hours, depending the temperature of the room.
7) Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes.

1) Roll the dough only from left to right or right to left to form the length of the dough. Do not roll up and down because it will stress out the gluten and it will spring back. By rolling in just one direction will make the job much more easier.

2) Even though the length of one portion of dough is about 12 inches, it will fit snugly onto the 9 inch pan after all the manipulation and braiding.

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