It's a dessert! It's breakfast! Either way, this rich, buttery loaf is laden with chocolate.


Recipe Summary

Makes 3 loaves


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  • In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter, and beat until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that's slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  • Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.

  • Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon cream; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

  • Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash, if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve.

Cook's Notes

When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.

Reviews (13)

177 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 38
  • 4 star values: 58
  • 3 star values: 49
  • 2 star values: 30
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
I made this for a birthday gift for a friend. It was delicious, and beautiful. A show stopper. Martha’s recipes are always good when I try them.
Rating: 3 stars
In 2000 I tested this recipe for Martha in her test kitchen. (Not an editor--in the test kitchen) And while the flavor of this babka is outrageously wonderful, there are some MAJOR problems with the recipe and how it's written. Firstly, USE A DOUGH HOOK. If you like burning out your KitchenAid mixer, use the paddle as suggested. (I might be the only person to burn-out a KitchenAid) The recipe requires lots more flour than listed and proofing time should be longer. But it's a fabulous taste.
Rating: Unrated
I made this recipe with about 1 pound, or 16 oz of the chocolate, as many of the reviewers suggested,AND instead of using a cup of sugar for the filling, I used 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of Splenda. It was delicious! Couldn't even tell that the sugar was replaced, with all the sweetness from the chocolate! I also broke one of the loaves into two mini loaves and rolled two 8" squares instead of one 16" when making. However, I would reduce the cooking time for the minis to about 40 to 45 min.
Rating: Unrated
I just made this, and I agree the filling is over the top. No one seemed to mind, it was eaten remarkably quickly by my family. But, I personally prefer to taste both bread and chocolate in this type of combination, and this much filling means it completely dominates. I will say the filling is FABULOUS, though. I took mine out of the oven at 45 minutes and it was a little doughy inside, the crust was browning a lot, so I thought they must be done. A full baking time would be in order.
Rating: Unrated
I just got 2 out of the 3 loaves out of the over. I followed the recipe and find the amount of chocolate way over the top ... can't see or taste the bread, it's like making a giant brownie. Maybe it will be better once it cools completely. Luckily I still have a chance with the 3rd loaf, plan on using half the remaining chocolate mixture and keeping the rest for something else -- any ideas?
Rating: Unrated
I have made this babka half a dozen times over the years. It is as close to Greens from New York as you'll get. Very rich and buttery, tender inside, crunchy outside. It does taste best with the recommended amount of filling, but there is room to cut down on the streusel. Here's a tip: If you have a Williams-Sonoma near you, wait till after the holidays and buy up their Hot Chocolate. It is made up of high quality shaved chocolate. Saves time and knuckles.
Rating: Unrated
This babka is the gold standard as far as chocolate babkas go. I wouldn't quite halve the chocolate, but maybe a little less could be used. I only bake it for 55 minutes, though, otherwise it gets a little dry and too crusty as noted above. Again I have a commercial oven. I have given these away as gifts. They are special.
Rating: Unrated
This is absolutely delicious. It does take quite a long time to make and is best for a weekend project, but the end result is worth it. The streusel can easily halved.
Rating: Unrated
I forgot to add in my last comment that I also cut the chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon in half. Two pounds of chocolate sounded like too much to me. My family thought it was perfect with half the amount . Have fun!
Rating: Unrated
Wonderful recipe! I followed the instructions exactly except for one step. I cut the steusel topping in half and it was just perfect. Thank you Martha and her wonderful staff. This recipe is a keeper!
Rating: Unrated
I don't know what I did wrong, but the outside of my babka was hard as a rock when it came out of the oven. I was so disappointed, because the whole process took more than 5 hours to complete. I won't make this again.
Rating: Unrated
This was wonderful. My husband actually said it was the best thing I've ever made! Before this, I had never made any sort of bread at all, and the directions to this were clear and easy to follow. I also agree that it would have been just as good, if not better, with a little less streusel. It was delicious!
Rating: Unrated
Very impressive. This is soooo good and keeps well several days. I bake it and then freeze it; that worked better for me. The first time I made it, there seemed to be too much filling and streusel, so I just use half of each. I also cut the butter in the dough down a bit. Great for a special breakfast or coffee.