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baked sesame tahini babka on baking dish with parchment paper

Chocolate Tahini Babka

This chocolate sesame babka is soft, rich, and full of delicious chocolate tahini 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. This makes one 9" by 5" babka loaf.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Rise Time 1 hr
Total Time 40 mins
Course Baking, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian
Servings 8 people


  • 9" by 5" loaf pan



  • cup tahini sesame butter
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • cup good quality dark chocolate, chopped (50g)
  • 2 tbsp natural cocoa powder sifted
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 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
  • cup milk warm
  • 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.


Best way to let dough rise:
I 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 because of how much butter and sugar it has. You do not want the oven to be hot (over 55°C) or it will bake the yeast.
Alternative fillings:
To save yourself some time, use ⅓ cup of your chocolate spread of choice. I have tried a few different kinds, and they have worked really well!
Keyword Chocolate Babka, Chocolate Sesame, Chocolate Tahini, No Knead Babka, Tahini