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Sourdough Babka

This chocolate sourdough babka recipe is the perfect treat for any day. The rich and tender sourdough mixes with a whipped butter chocolate sauce and grated milk chocolate for an out of this world treat!

This is a bit of a messy project, but on a snowy winter's day, there's nothing better than fresh, chocolatey sourdough babka and a hot cup of coffee to lift your spirits.

You'll love this rich, decadent bread that looks, and tastes, like it came from an artisan bakery.

And don't worry, while the weaved knot looks difficult, it is quite easy to do!

This sourdough babka recipe is dedicated to messy projects.

Baked babka on a plate.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Need a sourdough starter and quick? I got you covered with my 24 HOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER!

No. 2 --> The bonus to using a small amount of yeast in this recipe is that you can really roll out the dough with a rolling pin and know it will still come back. It's got plenty of sourdough flavor plus yeast convenience.

No. 3 --> This recipe calls for an overnight cold ferment after the dough has been shaped. This is optional, should you choose to bake the babka on the same day, skip that step.

Sliced babka on a plate.

Key Ingredients

Sourdough starter: For this recipe, you want to use a fed and ACTIVE SOURDOUGH STARTER. Your starter should have been fed within the last 6-8 hours and has at least doubled in size. If you're using your sourdough starter while it's still expanding, the dough will be sweeter, and if you use it past its peak, the dough will be sourer. This recipe is based on a sourdough starter with 100% hydration (equal amounts of flour and water by weight, not volume.)

Dutch process cocoa: Dutch-process cocoa is less acidic and has a more mellow flavor profile. This cocoa is also more easily dissolved, and is less acidic which is less likely to interfere with the actions of the yeast in your starter!

Milk chocolate: Most babka recipes call for semi-sweet chocolate, but I love to add milk chocolate because it's more creamy and delicious!

Sliced babka on the counter top.

How To Make Sourdough Babka

Prepare The Dough:

  1. Heat 170g of whole milk until around 80f. Stir in 3 g active dry yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Set aside for 5- 10 minutes, until frothy and beer smelling.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, add 420 g of bread flour, 50 g granulated sugar, and 10 g coarse salt. Using the paddle attachment, toss the dry ingredients together until combined.
  3. Add in the milk and proofed yeast mixture, 130 g of active sourdough starter, 50 g of neutral cooking oil, and 1 large egg. Mix with the paddle attachment until completely combined, but avoid over mixing. You may have to stop and scrape the sides or the paddle, at this point, the dough will look slightly dry. That's ok!
  4. Cover dough and set aside for 30 minutes. I have a sourdough shower cap that I use to cover my dough, it's quick, easy and minimizes waste.
  5. After a 30 minute rest, install the dough hook and knead the dough for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the dough has softened and looks smooth. It will still be tacky at this stage. Recover and set aside for 45 minutes.

Stretch + Fold

  1. For the next 2 1/2 hours, every 45 minutes or so, perform a stretch and fold on the dough. To stretch and fold, gently pull the dough and fold it across itself. Then turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 3 more times. Recover the bowl after each stretch and fold.
  2. During the final rest, prepare the filling. Whisk 113 g softened butter or margarine with 100 g granulated sugar and 30 g dutch process cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Grate 70 g of milk chocolate, I used a full sized milk chocolate bar, but baking chocolate would work just as well!

Assemble

  1. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and flour your hands. Press the dough into a rectangle as much as possible with your hands, then let the dough rest for a few minutes before rolling into a large rectangle. Resting the dough allows it to be rolled more easily with less spring back. Aim for a rectangle about 17 x 15".
  2. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough into two equal sized pieces. I like to cut it perpendicular to the long edge, but that's up to you.
  3. Generously spread the chocolate butter mixture over both sides of the dough. It can help to leave a 1/2" or so of bare dough to help seal the rolls, but I like to live dangerously, and messily, so I smeared the entire thing!
  4. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the butter mixture, reserving some for the top.
  5. Once the dough pieces are sufficiently stuffed with chocolate filling, roll them, lengthwise. Ensure to pinch the dough shut at the end of the roll.
  6. Carefully slice the rolls open, down the centre, using a serrated knife.

Knot

  1. Lay down a piece of parchment paper and begin by weaving the 4 strands of dough. It should look like a hashtag!
  2. Then moving to the right, fold each strip over the strip on its right.
  3. With the remaining dough, moving to the left, fold each strip over the strip to the left.
  4. Tuck any rogue ends underneath the dough knot.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the babka with more grated chocolate.
  6. Use a bench knife to pick up the knotted babka and place it your desired baking dish. Trim the parchment paper to fit the dish. I used a 12" cast iron skillet.

Cold Ferment:

  1. If you want to bake your babka today, skip this step!
    Cover your baking dish and pop your sourdough chocolate babka in the fridge overnight. I prefer to let my babka ferment those extra 12 - 16 hours in the fridge because I find the sour flavor is more pronounced. This is optional. If you're cold fermenting, remove the babka from the fridge at least 3 hours before you want to bake, as it will need a longer time to complete the final rise.

Final Rise:

  1. Cover your dough, one final time, and place it somewhere warm to complete the final rise. This will take between 1 and 2 hours. The dough should nearly double in volume.

Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375f.
  2. Bake babka at 375f for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350f and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Using the parchment paper as a sling, remove it from the cast iron skillet or baking dish immediately after baking and place on a wire mesh rack to cool before enjoying.
Baked sourdough babka in a cast iron pan.

Baker's Schedule

DAY 1:
1 pm: Feed sourdough starter
5 pm: Build the dough
7:30 pm: Perform 3 stretch and folds over 2.5 hours
9 pm: Assemble babka and set in fridge to cold ferment

DAY 2:
10 am: Remove dough from fridge and complete final rise
12 - 1 pm: Preheat oven and bake

Baked sourdough chocolate babka in a cast iron skillet.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

This recipe makes one large babka. It can be doubled and turned into 2 if desired.

Storage:

Sourdough babka is best eaten the day it was baked, but it can be stored, unsliced, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

If you've got leftovers, slice your babka into serving sized portions. Wrap each individual portion in plastic wrap, then place the pieces in a large freezer friendly container or bag. Sourdough babka can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

More Sourdough Recipes You'll Love:

Stand mixer: I use my KITCHENAID MIXER for so many things. It makes everything much easier - I couldn't live without it for my baking!

12" cast iron skillet: As a long time cast iron convert, you'd be hard pressed to take my cast away! I love the way cast iron bakes. While a round cake pan would work, I highly recommend a cast skillet.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Sourdough babka on a plate.
Yield: 1 loaf

Sourdough Babka With Chocolate Filling

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ferment Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 45 minutes

This recipe for sourdough babka has a buttery chocolate sauce that's spread onto the dough then sprinkled with grated milk chocolate before baking. The result? Pure bliss!

Ingredients

Babka dough:

  • 170 g whole milk
  • 3 g instant yeast
  • 420 g bread flour
  • 50 g sugar
  • 10 g coarse kosher salt
  • 130 g active starter
  • 50 g neutral cooking oil, like vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

Chocolate filling:

  • 113 g softened butter or margarine
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 30 g dutch process cocoa
  • 70 g milk chocolate, shredded

Instructions

    Prepare The Dough:

  1. Heat 170g of whole milk to 80f. Stir in 3 g active dry yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Set aside for 5- 10 minutes, until frothy and beer smelling.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, add 420 g of bread flour, 50 g granulated sugar, and 10 g coarse salt. Using the paddle attachment, toss the dry ingredients together until combined.
  3. Add in the milk and proofed yeast mixture, 130 g of active sourdough starter, 50 g of neutral cooking oil, and 1 large egg. Mix with the paddle attachment until completely combined, but avoid over mixing.
  4. Cover dough and set aside for 30 minutes.
  5. Install the dough hook and knead the dough for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the dough has softened and looks smooth. It will still be tacky at this stage. Recover and set aside for 45 minutes.

Stretch + Fold

  1. For the next 2 1/2 hours, every 45 minutes or so, perform a stretch and fold on the dough. To stretch and fold, gently pull the dough and fold it across itself. Then turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat 3 more times. Recover the bowl after each stretch and fold.
  2. During the final rest, prepare the filling. Whisk 113 g softened butter or margarine with 100 g granulated sugar and 30 g dutch process cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Grate 70 g of milk chocolate, set aside.

Assemble

  1. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and flour your hands. Press the dough into a rectangle as much as possible with your hands, then let the dough rest for a few minutes before rolling into a large rectangle about 17 x 15".
  2. Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough into two equal sized pieces.
  3. Generously spread the chocolate butter mixture over both sides of the dough. Leave a 1/2" or so of bare dough to help seal the rolls.
  4. Sprinkle most of the grated chocolate over the butter mixture, reserving some for the top.
  5. Once the dough pieces are generously coated with chocolate filling, roll them, lengthwise. Ensure to pinch the dough shut down the length and at each end of the rolls.
  6. Carefully slice the rolls open, down the centre, using a serrated knife.

    Knot

  1. Lay down a piece of parchment paper and begin by weaving the 4 strands of dough.
  2. Then moving to the right, fold each strip over the strip on its right.
  3. With the remaining dough, moving to the left, fold each strip over the strip to the left.
  4. Tuck any loose ends underneath the dough knot.
  5. Use a bench knife to pick up the knotted babka and place it your desired baking dish. Trim the parchment paper to fit the dish. I used a 12" cast iron skillet.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the sourdough babka with more grated chocolate.

Cold Ferment:

  1. If you want to bake your babka today, skip this step! Cover your baking dish and pop your sourdough chocolate babka in the fridge overnight. If you're cold fermenting, remove the babka from the fridge at least 3 hours before you want to bake, as it will need a longer time to complete the final rise.

Final Rise:

  1. Cover your dough, one final time, and place it somewhere warm to complete the final rise. This will take between 1 and 2 hours. The dough should nearly double in volume.

Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375f.
  2. Bake sourdough babka at 375f for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350f and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Using the parchment paper as a sling, remove it from the cast iron skillet or baking dish immediately after baking and place on a wire mesh rack to cool before enjoying.

Notes

Batch:

This recipe makes one large babka. It can be doubled and turned into 2 if desired.

Storage:

Sourdough babka is best eaten the day it was baked, but it can be stored, unsliced, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

If you've got leftovers, slice your babka into serving sized portions. Wrap each individual portion in plastic wrap, then place the pieces in a large freezer friendly container or bag. Sourdough babka can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 415Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 481mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 8g

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