Pumpkin–Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

The impressive appearance of Pumpkin–Chocolate Hazelnut Babka is surpassed only by its taste. In the tantalizing braided loaf, swirls of hazelnut spread meander through fluffy yeast bread, punctuated by a smattering of chopped nuts.

Pumpkin–Chocolate Hazelnut Babka
Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf
  • ¼ cup warm water (105º to 110º)
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 4 to 4¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread*
  • ¼ cup chopped raw hazelnuts
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup warm water and yeast by hand until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place 2 cups flour, pumpkin, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and yeast mixture. Beat at low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 more cups flour, and beat until a shaggy dough forms. Switch to dough hook, and beat at low speed until dough is smooth and starts pulling away from bowl, about 14 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is still sticky. (This is a very soft dough but is not a sticky one.)
  3. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75º) until almost doubled in size, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
  4. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  5. Punch down dough, and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface, and roll into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Spread chocolate hazelnut spread onto dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle hazelnuts over chocolate hazelnut spread. Starting with the opposite long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on work surface. Using a bench scraper, cut each roll in half lengthwise; turn halves cut side up. Carefully twist dough pieces around each other, tuck ends, and place in prepared pan, cut sides up. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75º) until puffed, 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350º.
  7. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190º, 50 to 55 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
*We used Nutella.

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