Great British Baking - Week Four

Welcome to another week of baking! It's Chocolate Week in the tent (and my kitchen), which I was really looking forward to! To be honest, I'm not much of a baked goods person- I love to make and bake them, but I don't usually go crazy over bakeries or pastries. I don't even like to get cake for my birthday and opt out during work events! Chocolate is a different thing though- so I was really looking forward to seeing what I would get to make!

Before we get to the technical, the bakers first had to make brownies..which seems like a simple enough task, but ended up being a disaster. Everyone tried to make super complicated and over-the-top bakes, and most ended up with bad marks from Paul and Prue. Note to anyone who might go on in the future- simple is sometimes the best bet! The next bake was the Technical (I'll talk about it below), and the Showstopper was a White Chocolate Celebration Cake.

For the technical, the challenge was to bake a Chocolate Babka. I've had this many times from Trader Joes- it's one of my favorite treats to pick up for brunch- but have never attempted to make one myself! This was definitely the toughest challenge yet, and I have a feeling the bakes will keep picking up from here on to the finale.

There were two main parts that I had to make for this bake- the dough, and the filling. I've never made an enriched dough before, which gets an addition of fat, sugar, and dairy to a traditional dough base (water, flour, yeast, salt). This gives us a tender, almost cakey dough. Even though I don't have a stand mixer, I was able to make this dough fairly easy and was off to make the filling!

The first step of the filling was toasting hazelnuts, then melting together chocolate, butter, and sugar. Once those all melted into a delicious chocolately velvety river, I added in cocoa powder and let everything cool and thicken.

The next part was the most fun- I rolled out the dough to a large rectangle, then added my melted chocolate and topped with chopped hazelnuts. I rolled this into a tight swirl, similar to cinnamon rolls (side note- these would make amazing cinnamon rolls if you don't feel like making a loaf!). I cut this in half lengthwise, then twisted the two together. After this sat for two hours and doubled in size, it was time to bake! I have to tell you- this made my entire house smell AMAZING, like a French bakery. Incredible! 

Once the Babka was done baking, I brushed it with some simple syrup and got to try it. No lie- this was one of the best things that I have ever made or tried. The dough was so soft and luscious, and the chocolate hazelnut spread was rich and decadent. It was just a bit too sweet, but was so delicious that I couldn't stop eating it! It was also WAY better than a store bought one, especially when it was still fresh and warm from the oven.

The Good

  • Honestly I think I really nailed this! The taste was great, and I think the cooking time was perfect. Plus, the rise I got on it was just right.

The "Needs Improvement"

  • Again, I can work on the presentation. My twists weren't super neat, and my Babka ended up a little lumpy instead of perfectly even.

Next week is Pastry Week, which should be a tough challenge. I'm ready!


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