I smiled constantly while I ate a slice of this bread.
At 7:00 a.m.
In my apartment.
I couldn't help myself.
It's that tasty.
I can't justify eating that babka every day. I'm not really sure it would be healthy to do that.
Save that chocolate babka for special occasions.
Make this chocolate cherry brioche with chocolate ganache way more often than that. You'll want a slice of this, brushed with unsalted butter and sprinkled with fleur de sel.
Lest you think I'm exaggerating, make a loaf of this for yourself quickly. The bread dough comes together in FIVE minutes (I didn't believe it until I tried it), it bakes up beautifully and the flavors weave through it perfectly.
Chocolate Cherry Brioche with Chocolate Ganache
recipe adapted from Artisan Bread Every Day, King Arthur Flour and Martha Stewart
Note: This brioche dough makes enough for 4 loaves of dough. You can keep it in your fridge for a week, or you can freeze it (unbaked) and unfreeze it when you need it.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
8 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon sugar
Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water. Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.
Cover the bread, making sure the cover is not airtight, and allow it to sit and room temperature for at least two hours until it rises and falls.
Chill the dough for several hours, or at least overnight. The dough will be much easier to work with when it is chilled.
Butter a standard-sized bread pan.
Remove a grapefruit-sized portion of the dough from the container. Using your hands, knead in 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, until the cherries and chocolate are well mixed throughout the dough.
Prepare the ganache: Heat 1/3 cup heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat, and pour over the bittersweet chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes, and then stir everything together until smooth.
Flour a work surface, and roll out the dough to a long rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cover the dough with chocolate ganache, spreading the ganache in a rectangle, stopping about one inch from the edges.
Roll up the dough into a long log, and pinch the edges. Twist the log five or six times. Pinch the two ends of the log together, twist the bread a few more times, and then fit it into a prepared pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Prepare the egg wash by mixing an egg white with one tablespoon water, and brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the brioche for 45 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. Remove from the pan immediately, and allow the loaf to cool on a baking rack.
Serve the bread fresh or toast it and top with butter and fleur de sel.