Rasoisaga is the passion project of Pratibha who aspires to document the diversity that exists in our kitchens.

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Chocolate Babka Wreath Bread – The story of Rekha Joseph

 

Breadbaking at home is no cakewalk, but Rekha Joseph, a Bangalore Homebaker, makes it look effortless and beautiful in her own way. Bread artist could be her middle name and you will understand why when you take a look at her creative breads on RJ’s Healthilicious Bakes. ‘When you start making bread at home, it is addictive and you will not go back to your store bought ones’, she says. Years of experience, experiment, practice and passion has made her an established and well known professional baker. When you enter her house, it is well equipped with beautiful paintings, done by her son, Joshua, some antique wooden furniture which are a delight to look at, and two friendly turtles in the balcony!

Rekha hails from Kerala and she takes every meal served to her family very seriously. On most occasions, they prefer having homemade breads with Chicken or Vegetable Stew, made the authentic way! ‘My family loves Non Vegeterian food, can you suggest some places in Bangalore that serve the best meals’?, Rekha asked us, while the bread was being baked in the oven!

She is also an enthusiastic and keen food photographer with an eye for detail. You will see several backdrops stacked up in a corner with fancy plates or cutlery, just for clicking eye catching food images of her creations. And yes, they are indeed unique and a delight to look at. Similarly, clicking the beautifully baked Babka Bread took us a while before biting into it! And, we must tell you, it is difficult to remain patient when you can smell the divine bread but cannot have it !

This is a healthy Jewish style Pastry Bread that Rekha shows us how to make at home from scratch. It was done as a Christmas special video for our Youtube channel. Let us learn how to bake it.

Ingredients – For bread dough:

Semolina/Chiroti Rava- 130 gm

Whole wheat flour- 150 gm

Cane sugar- 50gm

Instant yeast- 1 tsp

Lukewarm milk(or water)- 85ml

Eggs- 2

Unsalted room temp butter- 75gm

Salt- 1/2 tsp

Oil for greasing bowl

Additional Wheat Flour – 35gms approx

For the chocolate filling:

Dark chocolate chips- 90gm

Unsalted butter- 70gm

Powdered sugar (white or cane sugar)- 50gm

Cocoa powder- 20gm

Grated nutmeg a pinch

Cinnamon powder 1/4 tsp

Other filling- Assorted roasted and chopped nuts: 1/2 cup or as required

Syrup 40ml

40gm sugar

Water

Method :

*In a small bowl mix the Luke warm milk, cane sugar and the instant yeast- and let it bloom for 5 min.

*In a mixing bowl, mix the flours with the salt.

* Add in the eggs, activated yeast mixture, butter and knead in stretch and fold method for 8 to 10 min till stretchy and non sticky. Form it into a smooth ball.

*Oil a bowl lightly and place the dough in it, coating all sides with oil.

*Cover it with a wet towel and let the dough proof for 1.5 hours till double in quantity. Or you could do a cold/ long fermentation, which enhances the flavor. For this, place the bowl of dough into fridge and let it proof for around 6 hours.

* While dough is proofing, prepare the chocolate filling and the syrup.

* Once first proofing is done, remove the dough from bowl, roll out into a long rectangle. Apply the chocolate paste as a thin layer and sprinkle the toasted chopped assorted nuts.

* Roll it along the long side into a tight log. With a sharp knife, slit the log in two along the length, to reveal the layers.

 * Braid the two halves with layers facing up and place it into a well greased and dusted Bundt pan to create your wreath. You can also use a normal loaf tin. Let this rest for 15 Minutes (proofing time) before baking.

* Bake in preheated oven @ 180 degC for 30 min.

* Once done, remove it from oven and pour the sugar syrup over it while warm in the pan itself. Brush top with melted butter.

* After 5 min, remove the bread from the pan onto a cooking rack and let it cool completely.

*In a pan melt the butter.

* Add the chopped chocolate chips, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

* Mix on low heat till a smooth paste is formed.

*Do not over heat the mixture.

 In a pan boil the water and sugar till the sugar melts.

* Slice and enjoy this lovely pastry bread with friends and family and spread the cheer of Christmas!

 

 

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