Sweet, dark, rich, and full of fruity flavor chocolate cherry babka is an ideal brunch treat.
The rich dough studded with bits of fresh fruit all intertwined with a dark chocolate swirl makes this chocolate cherry bread one you’ll want to make over and over – or as long as fresh cherry season lasts.
Fresh Cherries = Extra Moisture
Adding fresh fruit to bread dough can be a tricky thing. It adds extra moisture which can through off the flour to water ratio and more. The recipe works but the dough will be wetter and sticker than most loaves.
Traditionally, babkas are given a simple syrup bath after baking. That is skipped here because of the extra moisture in the cherries.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Because adding fresh fruit can be so tricky, this is a loaf for an experienced bread baker. The twisting of the final dough is easy enough as long as one has a feel for dough and kneading with the extra moisture.
The Exposed Swirl
There’s no fancy tricks here. Simply roll the dough and slice it in half the long way. This will expose the chocolate swirl on the inside of the dough. Gently twist those halves together and place in the bread pan. It will rise and expose the chocolate beautifully.
Cool in the Pan
Most breads are removed from the pan immediately after baking. Don’t do that here. The bread will collapse on itself. Let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes (longer is okay) in the pan before removing.
- 1 Cup Sweet Cherries, pitted & chopped
- 1/4 Cup Salted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Dry, Active Yeast
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 1/2 Cups Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Salted Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 4 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Water
Make the Bread Dough
- In a small saucepan, heat together the butter and milk until just simmering. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and yeast. Add the warm milk mixture and let proof until foamy. About 10 minutes.
- Add the egg and salt. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until the dough begins to form. Add the cherries and more flour if necessary to form a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Adding only the smallest amount of flour to prevent sticking.
- Oil a bowl and place the dough inside turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled about 60 to 90 minutes.
Make the Filling
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa power and semi-sweet chocolate. Stir constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat, whisk in the powdered sugar. Make sure to mix until all lumps are removed. Set aside.
Assemble the Bread
- Grease a loaf pan.
- Punch down the dough and turn out to a floured board. Knead slightly.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to an 11X17 sheet.
- Spread the dough with the chocolate filling, leaving about 1/4" around the edges.
- Roll up the dough into a loaf and pinch the edges closed.
- Using a bench scraper or knife, Slice the dough in half the long way, exposing the ribbons of chocolate filling inside.
- Twist the halves of dough around each other, exposing some of the chocolate swirls to the top of the loaf. Pinch the ends together.
- Place the twisted loaf into the bread pan. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled. About 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water until completely mixed.
- Gently brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until gold brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the bread.
- Once cool, remove from the pan and cool completely on wire racks.
Because there is so much moisture in this rich dough - eat up within 3 days for best flavor and texture.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 192mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g
I try but cannot guarantee this nutritional information is 100% accurate.