Last Saturday I fell asleep in the nest and woke up dreaming of chocolate babka. I assumed I must have fallen asleep during that episode of Seinfeld, but the tivO denied that it had switched to that station. I can only guess NPR or CNN brought up babkas.
"I could make a babka," I thought, "I can cook anything." I looked up babka recipes. Way too hard.
"I could buy a babka," I thought, "I can buy one on-line." Then, whoa. Thirty bucks for a babka! And twenty for shipping. More research found a ten buck babka. With forty dollars shipping.
"I could make a babka," I thought, "It would save fifty bucks."
"What is it with you and this babka obsession?" Marcia asked. "I've never even had a babka. I think it's a New York thing."
I should have shown her a photo.
Chocolate in bread. I read up on a few more recipes and noticed many of them talked about the "paddle" and how one should beat the dough until there are strings from the bowl to the "paddle." I assumed this strange "paddle" came with one of those fancy stand mixers like a KitchenAid.
The cheapest one cost six babkas with shipping.
"Marcia," I asked, "Do you have a stand mixer?"
"I used to have my grandmother's stand mixer until it finally burned up. It was a KitchenAid."
I specifically didn't want to buy a KitchenAid, because even though I have been on a good food run this past month (egg tartlets, beef stroganoff, chinese pork ribs), I'm not usually a good cook. I rely on luck. The food gods smile sometimes. And I don't want to be the yuppie middle-aged suburban professional who heats up fishsticks in her Gaggenau oven.
But I am. So I found a recipe and a KitchenAid for only three babkas with shipping at the Best Buy. And today I used it. Look at me all fancy with the dough hook.
That thing made amazing fluffy egg whites, too.
I would show you the step-by-step but I got caught up in the continuing failure-by-failure. First off, I did roll out a giant square and spread chocolate filling and egg whites on it. Then I rolled it up like a jellyroll, only imagine rolling nacho cheese dip up in tissue paper. Then I was supposed to twist the big soggy mess in my hands five times? I twisted it once and dumped it in the pan. But I still had hope. And I had another chance; I was making two loaves. I confidently baked them.
Here are The Babka and its twin brother, lesser babka.
I was so excited! I let them rest and then carved one in half.
Sooooooo disappointing. I did everything right. I even bought a KitchenAid. It looks nothing like the photo at the top.
I think Babkas are one of those things you have to have a heritage to be able to cook, like Chinese fried rice. Perhaps other people can't cook fishsticks.