baking bread mini recipes small batch sourdough

Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf

Glossy swirls of chocolate, buttery sweet sourdough brioche, all tucked into the tiniest babka loaf you’ll ever see!
Posted April 30, 2020 by Stephanie
Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com

After my mini cinnamon babka success, I decided to make another mini loaf, this time chocolate since chocolate babka is the babka everyone thinks of when they think of babka.

Chocolate babka being known as the popular babka is thanks to Seinfeld by the way. And the chocolate babka that we all know and love on Instagram is thanks to Breads Bakery. After some deep internet googling (because I’m into food history), I discovered that babka as we know it isn’t what babka used to be. Before the loaves of buttery, shiny, twisted strands of syrup soaked brioche with chocolate, babka used to be dry and crumbly. It was made with oil instead of butter and instead of being plush and bread-y, it was dense and according to the internet, not very good.

Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com

So what changed then? Well, originally babkas were made with leftover bits of dough twisted with seeds and nuts, kind of as a treat, but not quite a sweet one. Chocolate used to be an expensive luxury item and grandmas (babka means little grandmother) were definitely not using chocolate. It was only when Eastern European Jewish immigrants got to America that they started using chocolate in babkas resulting in the rich and tasty loaves we have today. Still, there’s a bit of a jump from the chocolate babkas of yesterday and the babkas that fill our instagram feeds today.

Babka really took off in popularity in the 2010s after Breads Bakery, helmed by Uri Scheft, a Danish-Israeli pastry chef from Tel Aviv, opened in NYC. Breads became the place to get babka, both traditional chocolate and cinnamon versions as well as specialty ones filled with nutella or za’atar and feta. After that, NYC was crazy for babka and babka started showing up everywhere. Soon after that babka was the thing to bake at home. And now that sourdough is a thing thanks to covid, I’ve been seen sourdough babka everywhere, almost as much as dalgona coffee. Hmm, I wonder if I could marry the two and make dalgona coffee babka…

Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com

Anyway, here’s my very mini small batch chocolate babka loaf. It’s based off of The Perfect Loaf’s babka with a slight variation in technique and filling. It made just the tiniest CUTEST babka loaf ever. Tender and plush, buttery and sweet, full of dark chocolate with just the hint of sweetness from the simple syrup glaze. Make one today! Well, start one today and bake it off tomorrow because that’s just the way sourdough goes, isn’t it? ;)

PS – This recipe makes an even SMALLER batch of babka than the small batch mini cinnamon babka. That loaf’s total dough weight equals 377 grams while this loaf comes in at a diminutive 254 grams. I’ve included the baker’s percentages for you so you can scale as needed to fit your loaf pan. I used a mini pullman loaf that holds 2 cups of liquid. The recipe below will work well in a 6×3 inch pan as well.

Sourdough Babka Loaf Baker’s Percentages
100% all purpose flour
30% whole milk
30% eggs
2% salt
8% sugar
13% sourdough starter
28% butter

Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com

Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf

A very mini chocolate sourdough babka loaf perfect for 1 or 2
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
rest 1 d
Total Time 1 d 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

Babka Dough

  • 120 grams all purpose flour
  • 36 grams whole milk
  • 36 grams lightly beaten egg save the extra for egg wash
  • 16 grams young sourdough starter see instructions
  • 10 grams sugar
  • 2 grams salt
  • 34 grams unsalted butter room temp

Chocolate Filling

  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp cocoa powder

Simple Syrup

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp boiling water

Instructions

  • In the morning, build a levain: When your starter is mature, mix together 10 grams warm water (80°-85°F), 10 grams all purpose flour, and 10 grams starter. Let rest, covered for 3-4 hours, or until mature, in a warm spot.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, milk, 36 grams lightly beaten egg, salt, sugar, and 16 grams of your young mature levain that you built earlier. Use a dough hook and mix on low until incorporated. Let rest, uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • With the mixer still at medium, add the room temperature butter, a bit at a time, kneading until the butter is completely absorbed before adding the next bit. After all the butter is incorporated, continue to mix until the dough clings to the dough hook and passes the windowpane test. The dough should be smooth and shiny. Shape into a rough ball and transfer to lightly oiled clean bowl, cover, and bulk rise at room temp for 2 hours. The dough will expand but not double. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day: Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler until smooth then stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder until it becomes a spreadable paste. Set aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and tip out onto a floured work surface. Lightly flour the top and roll out into a long rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick, with the short side closest to your body. Spread the filling evenly on the dough, leaving a 1 inch gap on the edge farthest from you. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll up into a very tight roll, sealing the edge. Place on a lined baking sheet and pop into the freezer for a couple of minutes. Don’t let it sit in there too long because the chocolate will seize up making it difficult to shape.
    Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Line your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang so you can pull your loaf out after it’s baked.
  • Take the babka out of the freezer, place on a cutting board and slice in half. Pinch two of the ends together, braid, then pinch the ends together. Place in your prepared pan, cover and let proof in a warm spot for about 4-6 hours, or as long as needed – enriched doughs take a particularly long time to proof. The dough should double, rising up to just below the rim of the pan.
    Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. When the babka is fully proofed, place the pan on a baking sheet (in case of overflow). Brush with an egg wash (use the remaining eggs from the dough mixed with a bit of water) then bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until golden and the center of the babka reaches 200°F. If the top starts browning too quickly, lower the temperature to 325°F or cover with a piece of foil.
  • While the babka is baking, make a quick simple syrup by mixing together 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and let cool.
  • When the babka is baked through, place the pan on a wire rack. Use an offset spatula to loosen the sides then brush on a thin layer of simple syrup. Let the babka rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove immediately by using the parchment overhang. Let rest on a wire rack until cool to the touch, then slice and enjoy!
    Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com

4 Comments

  1. shaunda says:

    Love that this is another way to use up sourdough, which is plentiful lately!! Love the food history behind the Babka too!!

  2. Mich says:

    Hi! I was wondering if this would work with sourdough discard left in the refrigerator?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      i’m not sure, it might but it would probably be a bit more sour and not has as much rise. enriched doughs take a lot to rise, so you might end up with a really dense loaf. what would be better is waking up the discard and using it in a levain :)

      1. Mich says:

        Thanks so much for the tip! 😊

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Small Batch Mini Chocolate Sourdough Babka Loaf | www.iamafoodblog.com