Baking a babka may be no walk in the park but it's worth it since the traditional sweet bread is an all-time favorite for everyone at your table from nieces to grannies.  Babka takes time and patience since it requires you to read through all the steps before you start. Plus it normally takes anywhere from two to four hours just for the dough to rise, but for this recipe, we have simplified the process, shortened the prep time, and made it vegan.

Babka is a sweet braided dessert with Jewish roots and is one of the most popular celebratory desserts to serve and indulge in on Hanukkah. Most argue that babka is a cake, not a bread, but it really comes down to whatever you choose to call it.

The key to perfecting this recipe is to pay attention to the small details in the instructions because any baker knows that measurements and cooking times can make or break the final product.

Traditional babka recipes are normally made with an egg-based dough, some kind of filling that may consist of dairy, and a light egg wash for that shiny, smooth appearance that coats the dessert. However, don't sweat it if you don't eat eggs and dairy because this one-of-a-kind babka consists of a homemade soy and maple syrup egg wash, as well as vegan butter and yogurt, and is as delicious as it is a work of art.

Want more vegan dishes to enjoy this holiday? Check out The Beet's vegan latke recipe, vegan kugel recipe, and vegan sufganiyot recipe, all developed by Britt Berlin. For more great vegan ideas checkout @the_bananadiaries

Vegan Chocolate Babka

Serves 12

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Rest Time: 60+ minutes

Bake Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the Vegan Babka

  • 185 grams dairy-free milk, heated to 110F
  • 55 grams granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 425 grams bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 tsp (.25 oz) activated yeast
  • 113 grams salted vegan butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 65 grams vegan dairy-free yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Cinnamon Filling

  • 100 grams coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces vegan chocolate
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Vegan Egg Wash

  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  2. Prep: Grease a medium glass bowl with olive or coconut oil, and set aside. Generously grease an 11" loaf pan with olive or coconut oil as well. Cut a piece of parchment paper and line the loaf pan so that two ends hand off the sides to easily remove the bread once baked. Then set aside.
  3. Bloom the yeast: In a separate large bowl, combine the dairy-free milk, 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp bread flour, and activated yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon, and cover. Place in a warm area to activate for about 10 minutes. The yeast should begin to foam and smell yeast-like (similar to beer).
  4. Make the dough: Once activated, add the melted vegan butter, dairy-free yogurt, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer with dough attachment, along with the yeast mixture. You can also mix this by hand if needed. Mix on medium speed until combined. Then sift in the remaining bread flour and mix on medium-high speed until you achieve a shaggy dough. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough: Once it starts to form a ball, lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes, until it forms a smooth dough ball.
  6. First proof: Place the dough ball into the medium-sized greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm area (ideally above 85F) to rest for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  7. While the dough is rising: In a small saucepan, heat the vegan butter and sugar until melted. Add in the chocolate and reduce the heat to medium-low, whisk until completely melted. Stir in the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Then set aside to cool until the mixture has thickened to a spreadable consistency.
  8. Shape the dough: Once doubled in size, lightly punch down the dough ball in the bowl to release the air. Lightly flour a clean surface again and roll out the dough to be about 11" by 18." Spread the cinnamon chocolate mixture onto the dough until it reaches the edges. Then roll the dough very tightly lengthwise. Use a large kitchen knife or kitchen scissors to cut the dough lengthwise in half (the same way that you rolled it). Cross the two halves over each other. Then twist the dough tightly, pinching the ends together.
  9. Second proof: Carefully place the dough into your prepared loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan with a clean kitchen towel and place by or on top of the oven while it preheats to 375F. This allows the loaf to rest for 30 minutes.
  10. While the dough is resting: Whisk together the soy milk and maple syrup for your vegan “egg wash.”
  11. Bake the brioche: Once rested, brush the loaf with the vegan “egg wash.” Place a baking sheet under the loaf in case of spillage, and place the loaf pan into the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180F. Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool for 30 minutes in the pan before carefully removing the loaf to serve.
  12. Slice and enjoy: Tear, share and enjoy!

Nutritionals 

Calories 285 | Total Fat 7.2g | Saturated Fat 2.5g | Sodium 70mg | Total Carbohydrate 51.6g | Dietary Fiber 1.9g | Total Sugars 15.9g | Protein 5.2g | Vitamin D 6mcg | Calcium 105mg | Iron 3mg | Potassium 92mg |