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Inside of a vegan chocolate babka

Vegan Babka


  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Sweet, delicious, and worth while, this vegan babka is super impressive in looks and flavor.  Filled with chocolate, tahini, and pecans.


Ingredients

Scale

Bread

  • ~4 cups (600g) all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup lukewarm coconut milk + 2-4 tbsp (divided) (this enriches the dough)
  • 4 tbsp organic cane sugar, divided
  • 2 ¼ tsp (or 1 packed) active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 4 tbsp water (see note 1)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Filling (see note 2)

  • 2 cups pecans blitzed in the food processor (or very finely chopped)
  • ½ cup tahini (or other nut/seed butter--peanut butter would be great)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or agave

Instructions

  1. Note: Babka dough requires a LOT of kneading, so I highly recommend a stand mixer with a dough hook for this. It’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who plans to bake bread or anything requiring dough (even pastry) at home. You CAN do it by hand though, but you may want someone to help you.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ¾ cup lukewarm coconut milk, 2 tbsp sugar, and the yeast. Mix well and let sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy. If it does not get foamy, your yeast may be inactive and should be replaced (at this point, go buy more and repeat this step to test the new yeast). 
  3. Prep your replacement eggs while that is activating, and whisk your flour, remaining sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl).
  4. Now add the foamy yeast mixture, replacement eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on low for about 3 minutes. The dough will look a little dry right now but that will change soon. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for about 8-10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth. Now decrease the speed to low again, and add your 2-4 tbsp of coconut milk a half tablespoon at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated before adding more each time. This takes about 4-5 minutes. 
  5. Now increase the speed back to medium and knead for another 5 minutes until the dough is super soft and smooth. Grease a bowl with coconut milk or cream (or oil) and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it do a cool rise in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. At the end of the 3 hours (or after), first make the filling. Blitz the pecans in a food processor until they’re evenly and very finely chopped (but not yet a meal/flour). Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the tahini, cocoa powder, and maple syrup until it is a thick but pourable paste. Set aside.
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and make sure there’s room in your fridge for the sheet to lie flat.
  8. Roll out your dough into roughly a 16” by 25” rectangle about ⅛” thick. You may need to work in batches if you have a small workspace like I do. I rolled each one out to about 12” x 18”ish. They worked out fine for me. Trim the edges of your rectangle with a knife or bench scraper so you have straight lines. This made a difference in how nice my babka looked (I inadvertently skipped this step the first time and the babka looked a little misshapen).
  9. Spread your chocolate filling across the rectangle (leaving a half inch border), then sprinkle the ground nuts over the entire rectangle, not touching the border. If you are working in batches of two, use only half the filling for each rectangle.
  10. Running along the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up in a tight spiral. If you did NOT work in batches of two, cut the log in half with a sharp knife. 
  11. Place the rolled up dough logs on your lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.
  12. Prepare two loaf pans by lining them with parchment paper. I like to clip the edges of the pans with binder clips while I fill them (just remove before baking).
  13. Remove the dough from the refrigerator after an hour and cut each piece in half lengthwise. Working with one split log at a time, cross the split pieces once, then once or twice more on the bottom and then the top. 
  14. Place into one of your lined loaf pans, tucking in the ends if needed or squishing it so it’s shorter and will fit. Repeat with the other log of babka.
  15. Cover the two tins with a kitchen towel and place in the oven with the light on. Rise about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough springs back when pressed lightly.
  16. Bake in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) for about 35 - 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  17. While the loaves bake, prepare a sugar syrup from ½ cup organic cane sugar and ⅓ cup water. Boil the water and dissolve the sugar, then remove from heat. After the loaves come out, brush them immediately with the sugar syrup while hot. 
  18. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove and cool on a cooling rack completely before slicing. This is essential to achieve the optimal crumb. You can heat it back up if you like your babka warm!
  19. Slice the babka with a serrated blade, gently sawing back and forth. Sometimes other knives can squish the bread. Serve babka with coffee, tea, or anything you like. 
  20. Store your vegan babka in an airtight container (I just use my cake carrier) for up to 4 days, or wrap in plastic wrap and then freezer paper and freeze up to 3 months.

Notes

  • Note 1: You could use another egg replacement like flax eggs if you like (just mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water per egg).
  • Note 2: Traditional babka filling is usually cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts or pecans, and a fat like (vegan) butter or you could use coconut cream. While you can use any filling you like, I’m partial to chocolate and tahini, basically my kryptonite. 
  • Note 3: This recipe DOES use nuts (pecans!) but just omit them, or use ground oats or seeds instead if you have a nut allergy. 
  • Note 4: Additionally, this recipe is not written as gluten-free, but I’d venture to guess you could use a good quality gluten-free flour blend and it would work.
  • Category: Dessert, Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Jewish, American

Keywords: Vegan, Oil-Free, Soy-Free, Babka, Vegan Babka