Friday, 7 August 2015

The Honey & Co. Baking Book - Chocolate and Hazlenut Krantz Loaf

Chocolate and Hazelnut krantz loaf
When did this happen? I have no idea. I woke up and I was 23 and now I need to look up how to pay taxes and buy houses. This is terrifying. I am....ADULTING.

Naturally the only reasonable response to this is to not acknowledge it's happening. So I'm just going to retreat into the kitchen and not give any notice to this strange maturation process. Come get me when I'm 99 and in need of an old folks home where once again I won't have to make my own decisions, and will instead allow people to push me along in a wheelchair while I mumble over recipe books.

Speaking of recipe books, a HUGE shoutout to everyone who got me a cooking related item (which was basically all of you) as a birthday gift. I am now in possession of a teal soup ladle that's been modeled after Nessie, the Great British Bake-Off cook book, a cook book by Mary Berry, a multipurpose grinder to make curry pastes and powders, and a truly fantastic cleaver. You all know me so well, thank you so very much.

Anyways! Today's post is the first recipe review of the Honey&Co. Baking book. The first of many I assure you. Every single dish in that book is screaming to be made and I can barely wait to try them all. I started with this one, because I was looking for an appropriate gift to thank my neighbours for being so nice after a little unpleasant encounter I had.

Last week while I was walking home two guys driving a van pulled up in front of me and asked me to get in with them. And in a fairly skeevy manner too. I gave them a very firm "um no thank you" and walked off, and as they drove ahead the guy in the passenger's seat gave me a sleazy grin and a wave. It was all very creepy, and as I was walking home, Kate (the lady who lives next door) was out in the garden and I told her what happened. She was very disturbed on my behalf and said I was free to come over if I wanted to. I got home, called the police, settled everything...but after they left I was pretty creeped out and not in the mood to be alone. So I went next door and Kate and David (her husband) were lovely. They offered to put me up for the night so I wouldn't be sleeping alone and I accepted.

Prove prove prove!
I was extremely grateful and wanted something nice to thank them. This chocolate and hazlenut krantz loaf really fit the bill.

This loaf is one of the three babka recipes listed in the book. And's beautiful.

You don't even understand. This is Cinnabon on crack. This is grown up nutella on toast. This is moist, buttery, cinnamony, chocolatey, nutty, chewy, soft heaven. It is rich. It is lush.

It might induce a sugar headache. Be sensible. Eat small slices.

Now...a quick side note. The posts that I do on the Honey&Co. baking book will not include corresponding recipes. They'll be more of...recipe reviews. How I found making the thing... any drawbacks or kinks... and tips I found helped me. Reason being, I don't feel very comfortable posting recipes from cook books. If (by some miracle) Sarit and Itamar read this post and say "Yeah, sure, go ahead, share our recipes", then I absolutely will because this is a recipe worth sharing. But till then, it's just going to be my experience baking the thing.

We cool?

This was an amazing recipe to follow from start to finish. However, I will say one of the drawbacks right off the cuff is that it is time consuming. But not a bad sort of time consuming. There isn't hours and hours of intense labour, just a lot of waiting time in between. For starters, after making the dough you have to let it rest for atleast 6 hours in the fridge. Bottom line, plan ahead with this one. You will have to start the day before you want to eat it.

There is a basic babka dough recipe that Sarit and Itamar use, that is then filled and molded to make the various buns. This dough is very easy to work with. Like...EXTREMELY easy. I have made a lot of bread, from a lot of different recipes. There have been times where I have kneaded a 'dough' for 3 hours to have nothing but gloop on my counter. There was one time that the 'dough' I was working on was so tough, that by the time it was properly kneaded my wrist was sprained and stayed swollen for a week after.

This isn't at all the case here. Maybe because it's so intense on the butter, this dough comes together like a dream. All you need is about 5 minutes of kneading before you get a smooth elastic ball of putty in your hands. ALSO your hands come out super soft. I am not even kidding, your skin becomes a kind of soft no moisturizer will achieve. I could wax lyrical all day, but bottom line is that this is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful dough to work with. Don't be scared, just get in there.

Rolled out and filled
I made the dough the night before, then had a nice lie in before waking up to make the filling. More butter goes into this, along with very dark chocolate, some ground cinnamon and a fair bit of sugar. Now, because I used granulated instead of caster sugar the filling came out quite grainy. Personally I liked it, cause it added a sugary crunch along with the nuts. You then roast a handful of hazelnuts and roughly chop them up to be sprinkled on top of the filling.

Sarit and Itamar tell you to leave the dough in the fridge till the last possible minute and I can see why. While it doesn't rise much (which I'm guessing happens because the dough uses all milk and no water), it's also very soft from all the butter. I would not be able to roll this out back home. Not without putting the slab in the freezer every 2 minutes, or working in an air conditioned room. You may think you won't be able to roll out the 50cm x 30cm rectangle specified. Don't worry, you will. Just keep at it. Again it's a very easy dough to work with, but just needs a little patience to be rolled out that thin. The amount of filling specified is perfect. You then sprinkle the hazelnuts over, roll up, then put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes before shaping.

Split in half to twist
It's a little fiddly splitting the log in half and twisting it, but don't worry. YOU are the boss of this dough. Just be firm, and pat any loose filling back into place.

This is the point where you leave it to prove for two hours....and I forgot about it. :p I wandered off to do some cleaning and came back about 3 hours later. Again, don't be surprised if it hasn't proved up alot. It will still feel soft and fluffy to the touch. Bake it and I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.

Guys do it. don't worry about the loaf having too much sugar in it. Again, just have a small slice. The syrup makes this so so SO moist and gives it a lovely shine...just do it, ok? Promise me you'll do it.
Do it.

So yes, I don't have to tell you anything else about this loaf, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Please. Please. I'm begging you. Buy the book. Make this babka.


Well done Honey&Co.

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