Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka
Filled with pumpkin puree and chocolate chips and covered with a chocolate chip streusel, this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka is a fall twist on everyone’s favorite chocolate babka.
We’re coming right down to the wire with this month’s Babka of the Month.
It’s October – you just had to know that we were going pumpkin with this babka, right? Right.
Now look, I get it. Yes, this is another pumpkin chocolate chip recipe. Three weeks ago we did pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars. Last week we did chocolate chip pumpkin pie bars. This week it’s pumpkin chocolate chip babka.
If you’re shaking your head and thinking “Julie, this is just too much pumpkin and chocolate chip for one month” well — move along, please. I don’t need that kind of negativity around here.
But if, like me, you’re willing to push through and embrace just one more pumpkin and chocolate chip recipe for the season, this one is a true treat!
How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka
Babka is a yeast bread, which means we have to let the dough rise. We’ll do this in two steps: a room temperature rise, and then a refrigerator rise.
First, we’ll make the dough — either with a stand mixer or kneading by hand. The dough will rise for an hour in a warm, dark place; I use the ‘proof’ setting on my oven for this.
You can also fill a roasting pan with boiling water and set it in the bottom of your oven along with your dough to trap a little extra warm, moist heat for the same effect.
Now that it’s getting chillier outside, you might find you need an hour and a half to two hours on the counter. We’re looking for the dough to almost double — roughly grow to 1.75-ish times in size.
After this first step, we’ll move the dough to the refrigerator. The yeast will continue to work in the cold and the dough will still rise, but the whole process is slowed down.
Once the dough finishes the refrigerated rise, roll it out into a large rectangle and spread on the filling. For the filling, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and spices. Spread it on using a spoon or a pastry brush. Then sprinkle with chocolate chips, roll it up into a log, and twist.
Place the shaped babka into a loaf pan, cover it with a clean dish towel, and set it aside for another hour for a second rise.
I’m often asked why yeast breads require two rising steps and what happens if we skip it. Let’s discuss this a little further with my favorite subject — kitchen chemistry!
The second dough rise, known as proofing, allows the shaped dough to rise again before baking. Insufficient rise time during proofing can result in drier babka. Yeast needs time to ferment the dough properly, and if the dough doesn’t rise adequately during the proofing stage, the baked bread lacks both moisture and flavor.
Once the proofing stage is complete, sprinkle some chocolate chip streusel on top (quite possibly the best part), then bake!
After baking the babka, we’ll also brush the finished loaf with simple syrup. This both makes the final loaf a little shiny and extra sweet. Delicious!
Storing Pumpkin Babka
Like all my babka recipes, this recipe makes two loaves. The recipe is easy to halve if you just want one, but if you make yeast dough, I always figure why not make two loaves at once?
You can use a different filling for one (see all babka recipes HERE), or you can make two of the same and freeze one for later.
Slices of babka can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.
An entire loaf of babka can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight at room temperature before enjoying.
Make Ahead Babka Recipe
I get it: making babka is a time commitment. But one of the best things about this recipe? There are lots of places where you can pause, take a break, and pick it up again later!
The step where you refrigerate the dough during the first rise? Refrigerate for one hour… or up to 36 hours.
You can also freeze the proofed, unbaked dough and bake it fresh if you want fresh baked babka at a later date! Prepare the babka up through rolling and filling it, twisting it, and placing it into the loaf pan.
Cover tightly with several layers of aluminum foil, then place the entire loaf pan in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to bake, defrost overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature the next day for 2 hours, and then bake!
Recommended Tools to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka
- Instant Yeast: Saf Gold is specifically designed for higher-sugar doughs, like this babka dough.
- Stand Mixer: Babka dough is pretty dense – use a stand mixer with a dough hook for easy mixing.
- Rolling Pin: Rolling out the dough is easier with this rolling pin, which helps you roll to an even thickness.
- Loaf Pan: Metal loaf pans are the best conductors of heat.
- Instant Read Thermometer: The best way to ensure the babka is properly baked is to check the internal temperature.
Tips and Tricks for The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Babka
- If you’re new to baking babka, visit this “The Best Chocolate Babka” post for step-by-step photos of how to shape babka dough.
- Refrigerate the babka dough for the second part of the first rise. This makes the dough much easier to roll with no need for extra flour.
- If you don’t want to make the babka all in one day, refrigerate the dough for up to 36 hours during the first rise.
- Make sure to use pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling for the babka filling.
- Use a thermometer to determine when the babka is done. When an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf hits 190 °F, your babka is fully cooked.
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes:
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
- Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie
- Cream Cheese Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
2019 Babka of the Month Series
For the Dough:
- 1 cup (227 grams) whole milk, room temperature or slightly warmed
- 1 tablespoon (9 grams) instant yeast, preferably SAF Gold
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups (540 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces
For the Pumpkin Filling
- 15 ounces (425 grams) pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup (106 grams) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (177 grams) miniature chocolate chips
For the Streusel Topping:
- 1/4 cup (53 grams) brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/3 cup (59 grams) miniature chocolate chips
For the Syrup:
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) sugar
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) water
- Prepare the dough. Whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large glass mixing bowl. On low speed, beat in the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract, mixing just until the dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter one piece at a time, beating after each addition until all pieces have been added. Continue mixing with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, whisk together ingredients by hand until combined; knead by hand for 10 minutes until dough is soft and smooth.)
- Transfer the dough to a large lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Set aside to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. After 1 hour, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator, still covered, and set aside for 1 hour, until the dough has almost doubled in size and is firm to the touch.
- Prepare the filling. While the babka is rising in the refrigerator, make the pumpkin filling. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and spices. Set aside.
- Shape the babka. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently punch it down. Cut the dough in half; remove half from the bowl and re-cover the other half and set aside.
- Roll the dough into a roughly 9-inch by 18-inch rectangle. Spread half the filling over the dough, leaving a slight border along the edges. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips over the top of the dough. Working from the long side of the dough, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Fold this cylinder in half, twisting several times, and place dough in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover both loaf pans with plastic wrap or a dish towel and set aside to rise again at room temperature, for another hour.
- Make the streusel topping. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture has a sandy texture. Stir in the chocolate chips. After the dough finishes rising, sprinkle the streusel topping over both loaves.
- Make the syrup glaze. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Bake the babka. Bake the loaves at 350 °F for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden brown and the inside registers 190 °F using an instant read thermometer. As soon as the babkas are done baking and come out of the oven, use a long skewer or knife to poke holes all over the bread, pushing all the way down to the bottom. Brush the simple syrup on top, equally dividing between the two loaves. Allow the breads to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
- Refrigerating the babka dough for part of the first rise makes the dough much easier to roll with no need for extra flour.
- If you don't want to make the babka all in one day, refrigerate the doug hfor up to 36 hours during the first rise.
- For perfectly baked babka, use an instant-read thermometer and bake until the center of the loaf reaches 190 °F.
- Babka can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 11.8gCarbohydrates: 42.4gProtein: 4.4g