Posted on 33 Comments

Chocolate Sourdough Babka

You are probably not going to believe what inspired this chocolate sourdough babka recipe 😊

Recently my husband and I started watching an old sitcom show called Seinfeld. In one of the episode Jerry and Elaine came to a bakery, and wanted to buy the most delicious chocolate babka in town. It made drool on the screen. 

And of course, next morning I set the dough 😊

Are you ready?

Here are some notes first.

100% sourdough babka is possible to make, but proofing time will take forever, because of all the enrichments (butter, sugar and eggs), plus the tangy taste will be present, which is not liked many.

To speed up the process and eliminate the sour taste the recipe will require a very tiny amount of instant yeast. Less than 0.5% from total amount of the dough.


Sourdough starter 


  • 59g whole milk
  • 50g sourdough starter
  • 0.7g active dry yeast 
  • 60g  granulated sugar
  • 280 grams bread flour, more if needed
  • 5g fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature,
  • 70g unsalted butter, at room temperature 

Fudge Filling

  • 100-150g hazelnut spread Nutella  


Day 1


  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let it sit at a room temp 74-78F for about 8-10 hours until starter reaches its peak (at least triples in volume).

Day 2


  • 8 am dissolve dry yeast in milk, sugar, sourdough starter (50g on its peak, the rest use for future feedings) vanilla and eggs.
  • Let it autolyse for 30 minutes .
  • During the autolyse process the flour becomes fully hydrated. This activates gluten development.
  • 8.30 am mix dough on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Add salt, increase the speed till medium mix for about 5-7 minutes, until dough will start to come up together, will clear up the bowl, but still will stick to the bottom.

Note. Mixing until the dough is comes together is a very important step, we have to develop gluten carcass, so it can hold the butter. 

  • After the gluten developed add soft butter, mix for 10-15 more minutes on medium to high speed of your mixing machine or KitchenAid on speed 4-5 until the dough comes up together and doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Perform a windowpane test. Wet your hands and stretch the dough. You should be able to stretch it very thin, that’s a sign of a well developed gluten, and that your final product will have a soft and light structure.
  • Cover and let it proof for 3-4 hours at 76-80F/ 24-28C.
  • During that time perform 2 stretches and folds. The dough should become slightly puffy.
  • 1 pm transfer the dough to the fridge for cold fermentation till the evening.
  • 9 pm Remove the dough from the fridge.
  • Roll it into a 9-by-17-inch rectangle. Spread with the filling (there’s no need to leave borders).
  • Starting with a long side, roll into a tight coil. Transfer the coil onto a tray covered with parchment paper. Stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Slice the dough in half lengthwise to expose the filling. Twist the halves together as if you are braiding them. Place it into a prepared baking/loaf pan covered with parchment paper, letting it curl around itself if it’s a little too long for the pan.
  • Cover the pan.
  • Let it proof overnight on the counter till next morning (temp 22-24C/71-76F)

Note: if it’s too hot in you’d kitchen, better transfer the babka to the fridge overnight for cold fermentation. In the morning let it proof at a warm temperature for 3-4 hours until it doubles in volume and bake.

Day 3

  • If babka was proofing on the counter by the next morning (6-7 am) it should be double in volume.
  • Preheat oven 375F
  • Egg wash the babka.
  • Bake 375F for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy your chocolate sourdough babka 🙏

33 thoughts on “Chocolate Sourdough Babka

  1. It is a very long process.. how about the tanginess ?

    1. No sour taste at all. Because of that smallest amount of yeast in the recipe.

    2. Sorry I missed it. You should add it at first step with eggs and milk.

  2. I can’t wait!!

    1. Go for it 🙏

  3. Wow I can’t wait to try but will have to make my own chocolate filling since I do not like Nutella. Thanks for the recipe👍🏽👍🏽

    1. Definitely try it!
      You’ll love it. And chocolate filling sounds divine 🙏

  4. So excited to try this. Working my way up to panettone…… have to get over my fear of building a stiff starter:))). Thanks fir posting this!

    1. You’ll love it 🙏

      And panettone with practice isn’t so scary 😊

  5. Hi! I didn´t understand how to fold the dough in half so that it´s 23cm

    1. Sorry don’t see it in description 🙏

  6. I am really grateful to you for sharing with us your successful and delicious recipes, may God bless🌷🍃

  7. “Twist the halves together as if you are braiding them, then fold the braid in half so it’s about 9 inches long.”

    You lost me at “fold the braid in half” Can you explain or add a photo, please?

    1. Bob, hi!
      Just braid it as a braid and fold the edges, so it will fit your loaf pan 🙏

  8. This was out of this world good. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️

  9. Natasha,
    Thank you for the recipe. The bread is perfect! I loved!

  10. Hi Natasha,
    beautiful job as always! I was wondering, what’s the size of the pan in this case?

    1. PierLuigi, hi! Thanks for the feedback. I was using 11 by 5 inches pan.

  11. Hey Natasha,

    I am baking a lot from your recipes and I am baking nice loafs from your formulas!!!
    One question here, can I skip the yeast from the recipe?

    1. Thank you! Yes you can, but it will take much longer to proof 🙏

  12. Can I do it 100% sourdough with a stiff starter ?

    1. Absolutely 💖

  13. Per realizzare il babka solo con il lievito di birra, quanti grammi bisogna utilizzarne? Come mi consigli di procedere con la lievitazione? Naturalmente il risultato sarà diverso, ma vorrei provare un’alternativa per quando il mio lievito madre non è in salute.
    Ti ringrazio!

  14. So good, soft and puffy. I made it following the recipe exactly except I did not use any yeaet, instead I added 80 grams of sourdough starter instead of the 50 and used my own chocolate spread to make it a little healthier, and it turned out amazing. Will be making again soon.

    1. Thank you so much!
      I’m so happy you liked it 🙏

  15. Made your Pumpkin babka and it was absolutely delicious. I had never used a stiff starter before. Can we make this babka with a stiff starter? Would you need to increase the amount of starter or decrease it?

  16. Hello Natasha! I’ve made this a few times with sucsess, thank you. However, with time restriction this time, I wonder if I can make the completed dough in advance and freeze it. Do you think it works?

    1. Hi!
      Thank you for your feedback. Unfortunately sourdough culture doesn’t like cold. The result won’t be as good.

      1. At what point is the flour added? I don’t see that step anywhere.

  17. Would this dough also be suitable to shape into a star or wreath, rather than place into a tin? Thanks so much for all your beautiful recipes!

    1. Hi!
      Sure you can shape it as a wreath, but it will hold the shape better if you have the mold for wreath 🙏

  18. I think it is an error but there is no mention about at what stage you add flour. Katie S above is also asking the same question.
    From the photo I guess with egg and starter…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *