The chocolate babka at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen is an unholy swirl of toothsome dough and cinnamon-y chocolate, topped with a streusel that is caramelized to perfection. The restaurant's owners, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, have been peddling the classic Jewish bread since their pop-up days. "It was an important piece in building our menu," says Bloom. In a classic San Francisco move, the guys substituted high-quality bittersweet Guittard chocolate and a lot of real butter for the more traditional palm oil and inferior chocolate. Eat it smeared with cream cheese for a decadent breakfast—it's kind of their shtick.
Makes two loaves
1 cup whole milk
1 package active dry yeast
4¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 sticks butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate filling (see recipe here)
Streusel (see recipe here)
1. Warm milk for 30 seconds in microwave-safe bowl. Milk should be warm, not hot.
2. Place warm milk in a medium-size, room temperature bowl, and then whisk in yeast.
3. Whisk in 1 cup of the flour.
Let sit 20 minutes, uncovered.
4. In mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar. Beat 4 minutes on medium speed until combined and light (color should be pale yellow).
5. Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla, scraping down sides while mixing on medium speed.
6. Add remaining flour, and then add milk, yeast, and flour mixture. Mix on low for 1 minute.
7. Add salt and continue to mix until dough starts to look ropy (wide strands that pull away cleanly from the bowl) and the color is consistent throughout.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
9. Divide dough into two equal pieces.
10. On a floured work surface, roll each piece out to a 12-by-20-inch rectangle. Cover with a layer of chocolate filling, and top with remaining chopped chocolate.
11. Roll dough from the longest edge like a jelly roll, fold in half (it should be about 9 to 10 inches long), and then twist a few times. Repeat for second sheet.
12. Place each sheet in a greased 9-by-5-inch baking pan. Cover with streusel.
13. Let rest for 1 hour until dough rises just over the pan.
14. Bake at 325 degrees for 1½ hours. Cool completely before slicing.
This recipe was originally published in May 2015.