Makes 2 - 9 X 4 loaves
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
Grated zest of 1 orange
3 large eggs
1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon fine sea
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons water
2 cups chocolate chips
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
To make the dough:
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the dough hook, add eggs, milk and salt; mix until this comes together; With the mixer on low, begin adding the butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until it is well combined. Continue mixing on medium speed for about 10 minutes, scraping down with a rubber spatula occasionally, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and coming away from the sides of the bowl. Coat a large bowl with oil, place dough inside, rotate the dough to cover completely with oil, cover with plastic directly touching the surface of the dough and refrigerate overnight.
To make the filling:
Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in the melted butter and water until mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
To make the syrup:
Make while the babka is baking. Bring sugar and to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
Brush two 9-by-4-inch loaf pans with oil and line the bottom and sides of each with a rectangle of parchment paper. Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper and roll out 10 X 10 inches.
Spread half of the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Roll the dough with the filling into a long cylinder. Return form doughed to the refrigerator while working on the remaining piece. Repeat with second dough. Remove first dough from the refrigerator and place the second in the refrigerator while working with the first.
Preheat the oven to 375F
Using a serrated knife gently cut the log in half lengthwise and place them next to each, cut sides up. Cross the two pieces, cut-side up to form an X. Continue to “twist” the babka on both sides of the X, trying to keep the cut side up as much as possible. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to rise another 1 to 1 ½, until the dough has almost doubled, but not quite. Repeat with second dough. Remove plastic wrap and place the loaves in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes - when done if you insert a skewer, when removed it will not have dough (but it might have chocolate) on the skewer. Remove from the oven. Lightly brush the babka with the syrup. Allow the babka to cool slightly before removing from the pan. Once removed, place on a wire rack and brush with remaining syrup.
Babka should be stored wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature or wrapped and frozen.