Chocolate or cinnamon babka — which is better? In this recipe, you don't have to choose because you can make one of each! A subtly sweet cinnamon babka and a deeply rich dark chocolate babka. This dough is not identical to the brioche-like bread in a classic babka recipe. Spelt flour gives it a decidedly wholesome flavor. Brushing the finished loaves with maple syrup instead of simple syrup saves a bit of time, adds extra flavor, and accomplishes the same beautiful shine.
Spelt Chocolate and Cinnamon Babkas [Vegan]
For the Dough:
- 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed, plus 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon cane sugar
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 3-3 1/2 cups spelt flour
For the Cinnamon Filling:
- 1 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup spelt flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
For the Chocolate Filling:
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate, melted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate, not melted
- Maple syrup, for brushing
To Make the Babka:
- This makes one cinnamon babka and one chocolate babka, so you will need two loaf pans.
- In a small bowl or mug, mix ground flax seed, and warm water and let sit until it has thickened.
- Place warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast and let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk almond milk, remaining sugar, and oil. Add to the yeast mixture along with the flax.
- Stir in the first three cups of flour, one cup at a time. You may not need the extra 1/2 cup, but add flour as needed while kneading the dough for about 7 minutes, until smooth and barely sticky.
- Oil a bowl and place the dough ball in it, rolling to coat. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour or until doubled. If you have time, place the dough in the fridge after the first rise for at least an hour; this will make it easier to roll out the dough.
- Grease two loaf pans and set aside.
- Divide the dough in half. On a liberally floured surface, roll out half the dough into a rectangle (about 16x11-inches), with the long side facing you. The dough will be very thin.
- Brush the filling (see instructions for fillings below) onto the dough all the way to the edges then begin tightly rolling up the dough away from you, so you have a 16-inch long tube.
- With a sharp knife, cut along the top edge of the tube to expose the layers. Take the two half-cylinders and twist one side over the other three or four times to form a two-stranded braid. Carefully lift the braid into a loaf pan, tucking the ends underneath the body of the braid to fit it into the pan. Repeat this process with the second half of dough, then cover the pans with a tea towel and set aside to rise for another hour or until doubled again.
- Bake in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
- Brush still warm (but not hot) loaves with maple syrup. Let cool before slicing.
To Make the Chocolate Filling:
- Combine all ingredients except for the unmelted chocolate and stir to combine into a paste. Spread on the rolled out dough, then sprinkle with chopped chocolate.
To Make the Cinnamon Filling:
- Combine dry ingredients, then stir in oil until the mixture takes on the texture of damp sand. Sprinkle onto rolled out dough, then spread to distribute evenly.