My Gluten Free Guide

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka

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This gluten free chocolate babka is one of the best things I have ever baked. Wonderfully soft (both when fresh from the oven and when cooled the next day), sweet gluten free bread, braided with a chocolate hazelnut filling. It is such an incredible treat!

Babka was born out of Eastern European Jewish communities in the early 19th century, but has become popular across the world in the last few years. I’ve always been really jealous of gluteny babka, when I’ve seen it in coffee shops. So, I decided to create my own gluten free babka to enjoy.

It’s a yeasted bread dough, enriched with butter and eggs, and I am honestly still reeling from how wonderfully this recipe has turned out. When I hit upon my final gluten free babka recipe, my mind was blown. Beautifully soft and sweet, and quite frankly like “normal” bread when it’s warm from the oven. Realising I could achieve a result like this, using gluten free ingredients, was quite a “eureka!” moment.

I also have a chocolate orange variation on this recipe, which I’ll detail in the notes section of the recipe and below. It would be a fantastic festive treat. My family all tried it and loved it (only two of us are coeliac, the other six are not), and it’s already been decided that I’ll bake us one on Christmas eve.

gluten free babka

What Makes This Gluten Free Babka So Immense?!

As always, when developing a new recipe, I experimented with a lot of different ingredients to get this babka juuuust right. The final magic combination – Mulino Caputo Fioreglut flour and psyllium husk in the same bake.

I often use these ingredients individually in seperate recipes, but hadn’t ever needed to combine them before. Caputo is so good in bread recipes, it doesn’t generally need any additional binders.

However, while this babka was DELICIOUS without the psyllium addition, the texture wasn’t quite what I wanted. It was super soft, but lacking in chew (which I think is essential in bread), so I gave psyllium a try.

The result – EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Pillowy, soft and sweet bread, with gorgeous texture and a gently chew and substance to it. I am in love with this gluten free chocolate babka!

gluten free chocolate babka

What Is Mulino Caputo Fioreglut Flour?

It’s an Italian gluten free flour, which is, quite frankly, magic when it comes to making gluten free bread. Gluten free pizza chefs across Italy use it, and I’ve developed a number of recipes using it now. Having discovered it’s wonderful properties for various types of gluten free bread:

One of the ingredients in this flour blend is codex wheat starch, also called deglutinated wheat starch. It is completely safe for coeliacs like me, as the gluten has been removed from it, and fully certified as gluten free. It’s actually one of the ingredients in the Juvela range too, which is prescribed by the NHS, so hopefully that serves as extra reassurance.

Wheat allergy sufferers, please note this flour is not suitable for you, as you cannot have codex wheat starch. This is suitable for coeliacs – read this article from Coeliac UK for more information.

slice of gluten free chocolate babka

Where Can I Buy Mulino Caputo Gluten Free Flour?

You can buy Mulino Caputo Fioreglut online from various retailers, I’ve linked Fifo, who I’ve found it cheapest with and who I generally buy from. If you want to stock up on some other gluten free goodies at the same time, try The Gluten Free Grocer.

International readers, many of you have told me you’re able to purchase this online too. Search “mulino caputo fioreglut gluten free” on Google and your local stockists should pop up.

It’s more expensive than the mainstream gluten free flour brands, but is 100% worth it, in my opinion. 

Can I Substitute a Different Flour?

No, you must use the caputo flour in this recipe. Substituting other gluten free flours will not work and the recipe will fail.

gluten free chocolate orange babka

What About Psyllium Husk? What is it and Where Can I Buy It?

Psyllium husk is widely available online and from health food stores. It’s a bit of a niche ingredient, but one that is often used in gluten free bread making.

It is a naturally-dervived fibre and it helps to give flexibility to gluten free bread, acting as a binder and improving the final texture of your bake.

In this gluten free babka, it helps give a lovely bready chew to the bake. Plus it really helps to keep it soft and perfect if you have any leftover slices to enjoy, the day after baking.

You can buy on Amazon – this is the variety I have currently. You need to buy whole psyllium husk, rather than the powdered variety.

gluten free babka slice

Talk to Me About Chocolate Orange Babka, Laura!

For an orangey twist on this yummy gluten free chocolate babka, there are a couple of simple recipe additions:

  1. Add two tsp good quality, oil-based orange extract to the chocolate spread filling. I used this variety from Sainsburys, it’s delish.
  2. Instead of a plain sugar glaze, we use a sticky orange glaze instead. To make it – zest 1 orange and add to a saucepan with 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tbsp caster sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Then glaze the babka after baking with this lovely orange syrup.
  3. Top the babka with chocolate orange chunks and extra orange zest. I used Salcombe Dairy Chocolate Orange chocolate.

It’s really, really good. And once you’ve got to grips with the base recipe, you can have fun playing around with different filling and topping combinations. I fancy a jam doughnut version, filled with raspberry jam and sprinkled with vanilla sugar. Or a chocolate tahini variety mmm mmm!

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka Recipe

Wheat allergy sufferers, please note this flour is not suitable for you, as you cannot have codex wheat starch (contained in Mulino Caputo Fiorglut flour). This is suitable for coeliacs – read this article from Coeliac UK for more information.

Time to make a babka! This gluten free chocolate babka will *technically* feed 6 people, but in reality sharing it is hard ;). Dave and I could have happily polished off the entire babka between the two of us, when it was warm from the oven.

Enjoy it freshly baked, or slice and store in an airtight tub (or wrapped in cling film) once it has fully cooled. We’ve been enjoying it on picnics the day after baking, and it’s been fantastic. Still nice and soft.

As usual, you will find lots of step by step photos underneath the recipe, in case you need a visual guide. For any other help along the way or if you have questions, please do message me on social media (@myglutenfreeguide) or email me at laura@mygfguide.com.

If you enjoy this gluten free chocolate babka recipe, please leave a review on the recipe card below and spread the word! It makes a world of difference to me :).

Thank you so much! Laura xxx

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka
Yield: Serves 6

Gluten Free Chocolate Babka

A beautifully soft gluten free babka. Sweet, soft bread swirled with chocolate spread and topped with chocolate. A really delicious treat!

Ingredients

  • 6g dried active yeast (I use Allinson's)
  • 110ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp + 30g caster sugar
  • 10g psyllium husk (whole husk, not powder)
  • 120ml warm water
  • 290g Mulino Caputo Fioreglut gluten free flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 70g unsalted butter, softened
  • 90ml egg, beaten (approx 2 large eggs, but please be precise and use the ml measurement)
  • 150g chocolate hazelnut spread (I use M&S or Bonne Maman)

To finish (optional)

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar + 2 tbsp water, combined to make a glaze
  • 20g milk chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk for 30 seconds in the microwave, until warm (it should be gently warm, not hot). Add 1 tsp sugar and the yeast to the milk, stir to combine and set aside for 15 minutes to activate. After this time you should now have a layer of foam on the surface (if not, your yeast is inactive and you'll need to start again with fresh yeast).
  2. While the yeast is doing its thing, prepare the dry ingredients. I really recommend using a stand mixer with dough hook if you have one. If not, prepare those arm muscles for some serious stirring! Tip the flour, 30g sugar and salt into the bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. When the yeast is almost ready, add the psyllium husk and warm water to a bowl. Mix to combine and let it sit for a couple of minutes until it has formed a thick gel (it will start off watery, then as the husk absorbs the water it thickens).
  4. Now add the beaten eggs, contents of the yeast jug and the psyllium husk gel to the stand mixer bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix for 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth, sticky dough.
  5. Cut the softened butter into small chunks and add to the mixer bowl. Mix for about 5 minutes, until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough. You should end up with a very soft dough, that feels slightly sticky but does not stick to your finger much when prodded.
  6. Take a large piece of non-stick baking paper (about 40cm long) and place on your worktop. Using a dough scraper or spatula to scoop the soft dough onto the paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rectangle (dust slightly with flour if very sticky), about 2cm thick. Then wrap completely in the baking paper and place in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes.
  7. Now take your chilled dough out of the fridge and flour your worktop well. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle approx 30cm x 35cm in size.
  8. Spread the chocolate hazelnut spread over the dough in a thin layer (see image below). Leaving a slight gap on one of the shorter edges.
  9. Now time to roll! Roll from the shorter edge (the one without the gap), ensuring it is quite tight as you roll but not pressing it or compacting the dough. Until you have a nice cylindrical tube of dough (if you get any sticking to the worktop, just use a dough scraper to loosen as you go).
  10. Line a 2lb loaf tin with the greaseproof paper the dough was wrapped in. I simply shove the paper rather unceremoniously into the tin, ensuring the base and sides are covered, then tuck around the sides!
  11. Time to slice and shape the babka. I use cotton thread to slice it, as the dough is very soft and a knife tends to squash it (but if you don't have any thread a knife is fine). Cut a length of thread about 10cm longer than your rolled dough. Slide the thread under the dough, so it sits under the length of it, in the centre (see image below). Then lift the ends of the thread and pull each gently towards the centre of the roll, keeping it fairly taut as you go. Allowing them to cut through the dough until you have two half cylinders.
  12. Lay both halves with the chocolate-striped sides facing up. Then place them in an X shape (see images below). Braid the two pieces by criss-crossing them until both pieces are twisted together.
  13. Carefully transfer to your loaf tin. Then cover with cling film and leave to prove for approximately 1 hour, until the dough is puffed up, risen and completely filling the tin.
  14. Heat your oven to 175C and bake for 30 minutes, on the lower shelf.
  15. Remove from the oven and brush with sugar syrup if you want to give it a nice glaze finish. Then scatter with the chunks of chocolate. Enjoy warm (no need to leave this one to cool), torn into pieces, or allow to cool on a wire rack and slice it.

Notes

For my chocolate orange variation on this recipe:

  1. Add two tsp good quality, oil-based orange extract to the chocolate spread filling.
  2. Instead of a plain sugar glaze, we use a sticky orange glaze instead. To make it - zest 1 orange and add to a saucepan with 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tbsp caster sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Then glaze the babka after baking with this lovely orange syrup.
  3. Top the babka with chocolate orange chunks and extra orange zest.

Before chilling
After chilling
Cutting the dough with thread

For more tasty gluten free recipes, why not try some of my other bakes:

Happy Baking! Laura xxx

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