Chocolate Babka loaf (Lactose free & Eggless) By Certina Romel

Wanna devour on home-baked slices of chocolatey bread without troubling your gut? This recipe is especially for those unlucky peeps like myself who’s troubled on a regular basis when it comes to staying away from dairy (lactose) due to lactose intolerance which as you may be knowing is literally a pain in the ass most of the time when it comes to avoiding even butter..
 
How I developed this recipe-
 
I have always kept on trying new recipes on my own getting inspirations and dairy substitution ideas from vegan cooking/baking vlogs/blog all over the internet, but never really loved any recipe as it is, as many dairy free recipes were vegan too. It definitely is a good kind of diet but honestly, lactose intolerance does not really have anything to do with giving up animal-based stuff completely.
This is where I would like to talk about a clever incorporation into my recipe- ghee. Also known as ‘clarified butter’, this ’liquid  gold’ is lactose free as it’s just butter clarified off lactose but still renders a dairy-like rich flavour to your food which is a bonus considering its health benefits as well. Secondly I’ve used good quality dark chocolate for the filling in this recipe so that it stays lactose free.
 
What’s special about this recipe-

 

Ghee & dark chocolate- Both these ingredients are praised for their health benefits of good fats, antioxidants and even healing medicinal properties.
 
Eggless & easy- This recipe being eggless & lactose free, not only makes a perfect indulgence for people with diet restrictions, but also makes it simpler as it requires less number of ingredients and fewer steps.
 
What you’ll need-
 
For the dough-
. 2 cups all-purpose flour
. 1/4 teaspoon salt
. 1 teaspoon instant yeast
. 1/4 cup sugar
. 1/2 cup warm water
. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
. 2 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil (eg. refined olive/sunflower/canola oil)
. 1 tablespoon ghee
 
For the filling-
. 1/2 cup dark chocolate 
. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
. 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
. 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or any neutral tasting vegetable oil as used for dough)
. 2 tablespoons ghee
. 1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips/ chunks(chopped)
 
How to make-

For the dough-
 
. Mix in the dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and pour in the wet ingredients into it. 

. Combine it with your rubber spatula and start mixing on speed 4-6 for 8-15 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky, smooth and springy to touch. If you are using hands to knead, it might take around 20 minutes.

. Grease a large bowl with ghee/oil and place the dough in the middle of it. Clinwrap it and let it rise in a warm place (I place it inside my oven with the lights on) for about an hour until it doubles in size.

. When it’s rising, you could make the chocolate filling.
 
For the filling-
 
. Combine and melt all the ingredients for the chocolate filling -except the chocolate chips/chunks-using a double boiler/ Bain-marie until smooth and uniform in texture.
 
. Grease your loaf pan and take out the risen dough. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (fan on)
. Flatten it out into a rectangle/square using a rolling pin, deflating it initially to remove the air formed on rising/resting.

. Spread the cooled down chocolate filling evenly on top of the flat dough surface and sprinkle chocolate chips/chunks on top.

. Roll it up (approx. to the same length of your loaf pan) and cut it in the middle horizontally /lengthwise using a big knife.

. Twist up two of the equal sized dough halves to resemble a rope- with the chocolatey cut on top. 
. Place it carefully into the loaf pan and loosely clinwrap it. Let it rise for an hour or so, until it doubles again.

. Once beautifully risen, bake it for 35-40 minutes (Keep an eye on the the bread halfway through to control the browning on top- if it starts to brown a lot, cover the top with a layer of aluminium foil to prevent burning on top).
 
. Once done, take it out from the oven, brush it with a mixture of half of melted ghee/oil. Cool on a wire rack for atleast 10 minutes before slicing. 
 
Notes, tips & suggestions-
 
  • -You can use filling of your choice to create a Babka of your own . Some interesting choices are zaatar, pesto, tomato-basil, chocolate-chopped nuts of your choice, cheese-garlic (Dairy option),.etc.
  • -I have used almond flakes to top my Babka before baking. This is completely optional. You could use chopped nuts/ chocolate chips/ streusel to top your Babka in the place of almond flakes, if you prefer

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