This chocolate tahini babka is soft, rich, and full of delicious gooey chocolate sesame swirls. The enriched dough is so easy to make, and you don’t even need to knead it! Just mix and let rise, then fill and bake. Tahini brings out the chocolate flavour so beautifully, giving it an underlying richness and toasty flavour. The sesame brings out the rich, gooey, chocolate goodness.
If you’ve never had a babka before, it is essentially like a giant cinnamon roll, and you can fill it with all different kinds of fillings. The enriched dough is rolled out (i.e., brioche or challah dough), topped with the filling (usually chocolate or cinnamon), rolled into a log, cut in half longwise to reveal all the layers, and twisted together. I added tahini into the chocolate babka to amplify the richness and nuttiness of the chocolate.
This is the perfect, easy, no knead babka recipe that doesn’t require any fancy equipment (i.e. send your stand mixer on vacation) and comes together beautifully! After checking that the yeast is active, you just combine all the dough ingredients until it resembles a very wet dough, and let it rise. After rising: punch it down, roll out, top, roll it up, cut, twist, and bake!
This is my go to enriched no knead bread recipe because it always turns out super light, fluffy, and very buttery but requires zero effort. I also use it here in this poppy seed roll.
This chocolate tahini babka uses a homemade filling. All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients together in a pot on low heat until they meld into a cohesive filling. I also add in mini chocolate chips for extra gooeyness before rolling up the babka.
To save yourself some time, you can also use a store bought chocolate sesame butter. I have tried a few different brands and they have worked out perfectly each time!
Tips for success
- Measure out the flour with a kitchen scale or properly using a measuring cup. Mix up your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level off the top with the flat edge of a knife without packing in the flour. It isn’t as accurate as using a scale but is the next best option!
- Do not skip the first step of blooming the yeast: this check ensures that the yeast you are using is still active and will work.
- Use really soft butter, I like to pop it in the oven (or microwave) just until it starts to melt on the outside a bit.
- The dough is going to be very sticky. Don’t add any more flour unless it doesn’t resemble a dough at all! Once it rises it will become less sticky. Roll it out on a floured surface to prevent sticking.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place. I like to let my dough rise in an oven preheating to 180°C (350°F) for 3 minutes, then turned off. If it isn’t warm enough, the dough will not rise. Do not let the oven get too hot (over 55°C) because the yeast cells will start to die off. This dough never rises on my counter because it is never warm enough for such an enriched dough to rise.
- Do not overbake: The chocolate sesame babka should be golden brown and feels hollow when tapped.
Your questions answered
The most important step to getting a light and fluffy chocolate tahini babka is making sure the flour is properly measured. I use a scale to weigh the flour for the most accurate results. A cheap kitchen scale works wonders.
If you don’t have a scale on hand, you can measure the flour properly using dry measuring cups. Mix up your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level off the top with the flat edge of a knife without packing in the flour. It isn’t as accurate as using a scale but is the next best option!
The dough is going to be very sticky and a little bit wet as soon as you mix all of the ingredients together. It will look more like a dough after it rests and rises as the flour absorbs more liquid.
If it looks too sticky and runny (like a pancake batter and not like a dough), then add a little more flour to make it resemble a dough.
The first step of blooming the yeast is mostly to just check if the yeast is active. If it does not foam up after being dissolved in warm water and sugar within 10 minutes, then the yeast might not be active anymore. You might need to try a different packet or batch in yeast.
I like to let my dough rise in an oven preheating to 180°C (350°F) for 3 minutes, then turned off. If it isn’t warm enough, the dough will not rise. Do not let the oven get too hot (over 55°C) because the yeast cells will start to die off. This dough never rises on my counter because it is never warm enough for such an enriched dough to rise.
Full ingredients and steps in recipe card below
- Tahini (sesame butter): Find a natural tahini without any additives for best chocolate tahini babka filling! Or make your own.
- Unsalted butter: This will give the filling more richness and will help the tahini combine with the chocolate
- Good quality dark chocolate: Use a good quality dark chocolate for best filling results.
- Natural cocoa powder: sift the cocoa powder to remove lumps. Make sure that it is a natural cocoa powder for best results (not dutch processed)
- Powdered sugar: I use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar to help the filling come together faster. That way you don’t need to wait for the sugar crystals to dissolve. Make your own powdered sugar.
- Pure vanilla extract and salt: Flavour flavour flavour!
- Mini chocolate chips: I use mini chocolate chips to give the babka extra gooey swirls. You can use finely chopped semisweet or dark chocolate instead.
- Warm water: I use water instead of milk because yeast dissolves better in water. The optimal temperature for blooming yeast to check if it is active is around 45°C or 115°F.
- Granulated sugar: this is what will make the babka bread slightly sweet and give it some more moisture.
- Active dry yeast: I use half a packet of active dry yeast to make this recipe, which measures out to be about 4g.
- All purpose flour: Weigh out the all purpose flour with a kitchen scale or use measuring cups properly (see above in faq).
- Unsalted butter: let the butter get super soft, almost melted. That way it will incorporate easier.
- Large egg: break the egg into a bowl and beat it lightly with a fork to break it up.
- Warm milk: Optimally, the milk should be about 45°C or 115°F. It should be warm, not hot, to the touch.
- Pure vanilla extract and salt: Again, that’s for all the flavour.
Happy baking! xx
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Chocolate Tahini Babka
- 9" by 5" loaf pan
- ⅓ cup tahini sesame butter
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped (50g)
- 2 tbsp natural cocoa powder sifted
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- ¼ cup water warm
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 4 g active dry yeast ½ package
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour (300g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened, almost melted
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup milk warm
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Flaky salt optional
- Combine all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a saucepan and stir over low heat until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.⅓ cup tahini, ¼ cup unsalted butter, ⅓ cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped, 2 tbsp natural cocoa powder, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, ⅛ tsp sea salt
- Dissolve yeast and ½ tsp granulated sugar in ¼ cup of warm water. Stir until dissolved and let sit for a few minutes until a foam starts to form on top. See notes if a foam doesn’t form.¼ cup water, ½ tsp granulated sugar, 4 g active dry yeast
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the ingredients into the well. Mix until a sticky dough forms and the flour is incorporated. The dough will be very wet and sticky. If it is too wet and doesn’t resemble a dough, add a bit more flour. It will be less sticky after rising.2 ½ cups all purpose flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 large egg, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, ⅓ cup milk, ⅛ tsp sea salt
- Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm area to rise for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size (see notes).
- Prepare loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper and leaving two “handles” to lift out after baking.
- Punch down the dough and fold a few times to mix. On a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a 18” by 23” rectangle. Spread the chocolate sesame filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll starting from the short side.¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- Cut the sausage in half to make two shorter sausages and in half longwise to reveal the filling. Filling face up, braid the four strands together by twisting and weaving the strands together. Alternatively, you can twist two strands together, twist the other two strands together, and twist both of the larger twists together to make a mega twist.
- Carefully lift the babka into the loaf pan and let rise in a warm place (see notes) until it increases by about a third of its size – 30 minutes.
- Whisk together the egg and milk to create an egg wash. Brush it over the risen loaf and sprinkle with sesame seeds and flaky salt (optional).1 large egg, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp sesame seeds, Flaky salt
- Place the babka into the oven and heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the babka is golden brown and feels hollow when tapped. Let cool inside the pan until warm, then lift out and cool on a wire rack until room temperature.