baby: It's braided like a challah for maximum babka-y chocolate swirl in every bite.
SERVINGS: 12Dough½ cup whole milk1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast4 large egg yolks1 teaspoon vanilla extract½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more⅓ cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon kosher salt3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
Filling And Assembly6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar1½ teaspoons ground cinnamonAll-purpose flour (for surface)¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature1 large egg yolkGranulated sugar (for sprinkling)
Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast; let sit until foamy, 5–10 minutes.
Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and ½ cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour; mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5–10 minutes.
Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2½ hours.
Filling And Assembly
Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12”-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6” rectangle about ⅛” thick. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.
Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1–2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until top is golden brown and “Babkallah” sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35–45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.