I’ve Made Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Babka Too Many Times to Count

published May 11, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Nicholas Dekker

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby: A Weekly Newsletter for Families at Home

Whether you need smart solutions or fresh ideas, our editors at Kitchn and Apartment Therapy are here with our best meal plans, organizing and design tips, toy recommendations, and more.

Sorry, this list is no longer accepting subscriptions.

Feel free to subscribe to our other emails.

Stuck at home over the course of the pandemic, we – like many families – tried our hand at baking. We never went all-in with a sourdough starter, but we explored some new-to-us recipes. We made pies and cakes. I attempted choux pastry. My wife whipped up delightful pavlovas. Mostly hits, very few misses. But one recipe that’s stuck around with us: Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Babka.

We’ve grown to love baking this bread all year. Paul says it’s “best on the day,” and I don’t think a batch has ever lasted us longer than that. The intricate bread is beautiful, warm, and fudgy, and it’s fun to involve our boys in making it.

And we’ve found that, while it looks complicated, it’s not at all that difficult. Maybe because Paul’s not glaring over the table at us while we roll and cut the dough, or maybe because he’s written a foolproof and forgiving recipe.

Credit: Nicholas Dekker

How to Make Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Babka

Paul’s babka is one of those recipes that’s relatively simple, but with the braided dough it comes out looking more complex and impressive. Our boys have enjoyed pitching in with the steps, from spreading the chocolate mixture to braiding the dough to cutting off that first, warm slice. We can attest that, per Paul’s suggestion, a piece of the babka is the perfect pairing with a cup of coffee.

Roughly speaking, to make this babka you’ll need to:

  • Roast and chop hazelnuts
  • Stir together the chocolatey center with butter, sugar, chocolate, and cocoa powder
  • Make a simple yeast dough in the mixer and roll in into a giant rectangle
  • Spread the cooled chocolate mixture over it evenly, sprinkle in the hazelnuts, then roll that long-ways into a tight tube
  • Cut it in half longwise and braiding the two strands together
  • Proof and bake in a loaf pan
  • Cool and then brush with simple syrup
Credit: Nicholas Dekker

A Few Tips for Making Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Babka

  1. The hazelnuts and simple syrup are totally optional. We love them, but we’ve often skipped them and still loved the warm, chocolatey results.
  2. Paul’s measurements are all in metric, so American friends, be prepared to convert or use a scale with adjustable measurements.
  3. The dough is pretty hearty. No matter how you cut and twist it, its end point is getting dropped in a loaf pan that shapes it for you.

After trying a few batches we’ve gotten pretty good at Paul’s babka recipe. Who knows – maybe it would even earn us a handshake someday?

Credit: Nicholas Dekker