Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka for Lekach on the eve of Yom Kippur

On the Eve of Yom Kippur most Jews are stuffing their faces in preparation for the 25 hour fast for the day of Yom Kippur. Lekach is a traditional sweet honey spice cake that symbolises a sweet year that is from a parent or someone that you look up to. So I am making my own and since I already made a honey cake I am making Chocolate Babka!

Now this is not a easy feat to make gluten free people! I think I have been messing around with making Babka, cinnamon rolls and bread in general for years!!! I have a couple of gluten free baking books, but they are more into using bread machines. This is a great method, but I do not eat bread enough to spend the money on a machine.

Also what bugs me about the recipes in these books is they do not have you proof the yeast before you use it. This is critical because your yeast may not react! Even if you just bought it from the store and the expiration date is not even close, it may not work.

A lot of GF recipes have you mix all your dry ingredients together and add the packet of yeast and then let it rise. I cannot tell you how many batches have not risen at all! They sell yeast in packs of three so what I did was go back and test the yeast after my last batch went no where fast. Well, what do you know? The yeast was inactive and then I tested the third pack again inactive! So you could waist a lot of expensive ingredients if you do not proof the yeast first. This is also helpful to know for making non-gluten breads and babka as well.

Everything you need for the recipe, but I forgot to put the cinnamon in the shot!
1 cutting board
some parchment paper
2 basting brushes
a couple of spatulas
a baking loaf pan any type, non stick, regular or Pyrex
2 medium mixing bowls
1 large mixing bowl
a hand mixer or stand mixer
3 small mixing bowls
measuring cups
measuring spoons
paper towels
cooling rack
candy thermometer
*a big glass of red wine to get you through the proofing!!!!:):):);)

1. First turn your oven to Warm(if it is a cool day). If it is hot out do not bother.

1 packet of active dry yeast (they come in trios, so buy two trios because you may go through a few)
1 tbsp of sugar
3/4 cup of milk warmed to 105 to 110 degrees (you can use regular milk to)

2. Place milk in a sauce pan and turn burner to medium heat (gas range turn to low)

3. Heat milk to 105 to 110 degrees check with a thermometer. If it goes over 110 go ahead and mix with sugar but do not add yeast until it is at 110 to 105 degrees!

4. Pour into small mixing bowl and add sugar incorporate then sprinkle yeast packet on top mix so everything is incorporated and now walk away for 5 to 10 minutes.
*This may take a few tries until you get one batch to proof.
This is no joke with the temp it must not be cooler then 105 and not hotter then 110 degrees. Watch it like a hawk.

 After you mix the sugar, yeast and milk together in about two or three minutes the above pictures should start to happen. You will see little bubbles form first though.

After about 7 minutes maybe 10 the mixture will look like this. If it does not throw it out and start over again. The yeast is dead from any number or reasons. I try to buy yeast that expires two years from the current year. It is the freshest.

The Dough:
one whole egg room temp
one egg yoke room temp
3/4 cup of agave nectar (or 3/4 cup of granulated sugar)
3 cups of flour mix (1 cup of fine brown rice flour, 1 cup of oat flour, 1/3 potato starch, 1/4 tapioca starch) you can also omit the one cup of oat flour and use two cups of fine brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum
1 tsp of salt
1 stick of butter a 1/2 cup (or 1/2 cup of coconut oil) cold.

5. Mix together you dry ingredients the rice and oat flour, zanthan gum, potato starch, the tapioca starch and the salt together in a large mixing bowl or you stand mixer bowl.

6. Crack one egg into the yeast mixture and then take another egg and crack over a small bowl separating the egg yoke from the white and set aside.

7. Add your agave or sugar to the egg/yeast mixture and whisk together.

8. Combine and mix slowly with your hand mixer or stand mixer the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add one tablespoon of your butter at a time mixing slowly. Stop when they are completely combined and the dough is thick but not tough.

9. Turn oven off(if it is hot out you do not have to do this step)

10. Put some flour in a small bowl and generously sprinkle on a cutting board.

11. Take a spatula and dump the dough on the floured cutting board.

12. Carefully knead and form the dough into a ball. Add flour as needed.

 13. Place the ball in a glass or metal bowel and place in warmed oven and shut the door. Now if it is hot day just cover bowl with a towel and place in oven. MAKE SURE OVEN IS TURNED OFF!!!


14. Do not open the oven door once you have closed it. Set timer for a hour and a half.

 15. Butter your bread pan. Even it is non-stick you must do this. Then cut your parchment paper and line the bread pan. AGAIN, you must do this even it is a non-stick pan!
Cashmere was at my feet meowing for me to play mouse with him while I was proofing. So I took a break and we played for a bit. It wore him out I think;)

The Swirl:
1 large heaping cup of semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp of either cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or both mixed together;)
1/2 a stick of butter room temp (this is optional)
1/4 stick of butter cut into small cubes (this is not optional) or you can use coconut oil
1 egg white(from before)

16. If you have a food processor add the chocolate chips, sugar, spices and the butter(this is optional) and press chop a few times. If you do not have one combine all ingredients in a bowl and take two knives and cross them several times back and forth to cut the butter into the sugar, chips and spices.

17. Take a good size piece of parchment paper and lay it out on your counter. Tape it the corners down. Sprinkle some flour on the paper.

18. Take your dough ball out of oven and drop it down on the parchment paper and set the oven to 350 degrees.

19. Now put some flour on your hands and press the dough out as far as it will flatten without breaking and being too thin. Do not try to roll with a rolling pin it is just one more thing to wash and your hands will be kinder to the dough then a rolling pin.

20. Take your basting brush and brush your egg mixture along the edges of the dough.

21. Reserve about four tablespoons and sprinkle rest of the sugar,chip, spice and optional butter mixture over the dough leaving a inch boarder all around. Add more egg wash if needed to edges.

22. Take the tape off the corners of the paper. Then pick the edges of the parchment paper off and role the dough over. Keep pulling the paper up and helping it roll. Once it gets to the end and meets the other side put the paper down and press the edges of the dough along the length and the ends of the dough firmly so it will be sealed.

23. Pick up the parchment paper and literally just slide it in the bread pan and just shove it in to fit. Do not worry if it does not fit the length just make it fit and if the dough brakes just pinch it bake together. The more twisted and shoved the prettier the babka will look when cut.

24. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar, spice and ship mixture. If you did not add the butter to the filling, add the cut up pieces of the 1/4 stick of butter to the top of the sprinkled dough.

25. Place the now Babka in the oven on the center rack. Close the oven door and set timmer for 55 mintues. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR once you have closed it (I did and mine did not rise to its fullest potential). Once the timer goes off turn the oven down to 325 degrees and let bake for another 20 to 30 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR until timer goes off. Check the babka at the 20 minute mark through the oven window. If it looks pretty golden brown take out of oven.

26. Now waite about 15 minutes and lift the babka out by the parchment paper and place on wire rack and let cool another 20 minutes.

We could not wait till the next day to cut it so we did and it was so chocolaty!!

The next day it looked more like a true Babka and it was great in the morning with our lattes!!!

Enjoy and good luck! Email me with any questions you may have on the recipe:)


Bonnie Jo said...

Absolutely beautiful!

How about one for Thanksgiving?


Shara said...

Thank you:) Yeah, I could do one! Ben would love that as well!