Bread and Yeast Doughs

Hazelnut, Pecan & Chocolate Babka Rolls

Babka Rolls-7

Last summer when I was in New York I was on a quest with my friend, Rhiannon.

It was a noble quest: to eat as MUCH as possible. My lovely friend Katherine helped out on one of the many ‘eat-days’, touring us around the city. We had Dough doughnuts, Babka from Arcade Bakery, creme brûlée chocolates from Kee’s Chocolates and ice cream from Morgenstern’s.

Babka Rolls-4

One of the last stops was at Breads bakery – I’d heard many many good things about their chocolate babka so, after some encouragement (‘You can get a student discount here!'<– a guy in the store guarding a stack of babkas) I bought a WHOLE CHOCOLATE BABKA.

Do you want to guess what happened next? Or should I just come out and say it.

Babka Rolls

I ate the WHoLe BabKA IN 3 DAYS. I’m not kidding. I mean, Rhiannon had like 1 slice of it. I ate the rest. Me. All me.

When I got home I started craving it like a mad woman. I made a cardamom-cinnamon-brown-butter one to quell my hunger. But again, the need for yeasty, chocolate bread struck. I waited until the weekend and, roughly following Ottolenghi’s recipe for ‘Krantz cake’ I baked up some lil babka buns. I ate TWO for breakfast and it. was. great.


Hazelnut, Pecan & Chocolate Babka Rolls

Hazelnut, Pecan & Chocolate Babka Rolls

Yield: 6 big buns!



  • 80 g (5 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) milk (I used oat milk)
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, , separated
  • 250 g (2 cups) plain flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast/fast-action dried yeast (see notes)


  • 50 g (~3 tbsp) chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • 40 g (~3 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 50 g (1.75 oz) dark chocolate
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 50 g pecans, , finely chopped


  1. Make the dough: In a small pot melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the milk and sugar. Add 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (save the white in the fridge for glazing the buns) and stir together.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast - make a well in the centre of it. Pour in the butter mixture and stir together to make a soft dough.
  3. Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead gently for about 6 minutes, dusting with flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and less sticky. Oil the large bowl you used and place the dough into it. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Now make the filling: melt together all the filling ingredients (except the pecans) over a low heat in a small saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside at room temperature to cool as the dough continues to rise.
  5. Once the dough is risen tip it out onto a floured surface. Dust it with more flour and gently roll it out into a roughly 25 x 35 cm rectangle.
  6. Transfer the rectangle of dough to a floured cookie tray. Cover the entire surface with a thick layer of the chocolate mixture (it should be pourable but not super runny - if too thick, gently warm it up a bit. If too thin, put it in the fridge to cool for a bit) and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Place the tray into the fridge for 10 minutes so that the filling can firm up.
  7. Remove the tray from the fridge and fold the dough into thirds like a business letter so you end up with a roughly 25 x 10 cm rectangle. Cut the dough into six (25 cm long) strips. Twist each strip along its length and then coil it up (see .gifs at above recipe)(this doesn't need to be precise!).Line the baking tray with baking paper and place the buns onto it. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Remove the cling film from the buns. Take the egg white which was leftover from making the dough and whisk 1 tbsp of water into it with a fork - use this to glaze the buns with a pastry brush.
  9. Bake the buns for 17-20 minutes, until dark golden-brown.
  10. Eat warm or leave to cool on the tray before storing in an airtight container at room temp.


- Adapted from Ottolenghi

- I use 'fast action dried yeast' which doesn't require dissolving in liquid before use. If your yeast DOES require activation before use: warm the milk in the small pot (before you melt the butter) until it's just lukewarm. Take off the heat, add the yeast and stir to dissolve then set aside for 5 minutes until frothy. Decant the milk/yeast mix into a separate bowl and continue with the recipe.



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  • Nourish Atelier (@FormNoveau) February 23, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Your styling is so beauttiful, Izy! And Babka reminds me so much of our Swedish cinnamon rolls. This looks so incredibly tasty. It seems like its only a wee bit of cardamom and chocolate that separates the two. I’d really like to make this for the weekend.

  • Katrina February 23, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    This is the prettiest dang post I’ve seen all week! Gorgeous rolls!!

  • Sarah // The Sugar Hit February 24, 2016 at 3:36 am

    I’m so obsessed with babka at the moment. Actually, all breads fascinate me, but this version with the swirls and hazelnut, I’m into it.

  • Liberty February 24, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Oh Izy! These photos are just gorgeous! Not to mention that is like all my favourite things rolled into a bun. Will have to try these out! X

  • cheeseandchinese February 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

    This looks so delicious! Love the pictures too. Never had a babka before but will have to try!

  • Michaela February 24, 2016 at 9:16 am

    They look so tasty!! I am definately trying these soon for a weekend breakfast! 🙂

  • Laura February 24, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Can I just say I love you , great post , just made me smile

  • Hannah Hossack-Lodge (Domestic Gothess) February 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

    These look fantastic, I love any kind of sweet bread, especially when it contains chocolate…the gifs demonstrating the shaping technique are very cool too 🙂

  • Alice Bayfield February 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Amazing, reminds me of my Polish granny’s! I’ve not ever made them myself, so manybe this is something I should try! Alice xx

  • Trina and Tina February 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Don’t feel bad! We often eat ALL of the treats we bake! And how could you resist this lovely goodie? Looks ahhmazing!

  • Sarah | Broma Bakery February 24, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    These gifs are BRILLIANT. Also, I loved on Insta when you said you ate two of these. Sign of a good recipe right there. <3

  • athleticavocado February 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    The babka rolls look incredible! I LOVE chocolate babka and its part of my heritage (Im polish)!

  • suzanne February 25, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    i hope you will show us how you made those gifs. wonderful!!!

  • Caitlin February 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I made this recipe over the weekend and it was delicious! I couldn’t get the dough to rise, though. I made two separate batches, one with instant yeast and one with active dry. I went ahead and baked it anyway, because the dough was tasty, but help! Could it be that we’re missing a step that involves mixing the yeast with warm water?

    • Izy March 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      That’s strange! I use ‘fast action dried yeast’ as it’s called here in the UK. You don’t need to dissolve this type of yeast in liquid before adding it. I’m not sure what the difference between the naming system for UK/US yeast is though. Perhaps your yeast requires activation in liquid before adding to the dough (or it could just be old) – I’ll add a note to the recipe about this!

    • Nancy March 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      Yeah Mine did not rise either! I followed the notes about proofing the yeast in the milk but this did not help.Hmmmm… I’m now looking for a different recipe for the roll part. Ugh hate to waste the filling.

      • Izy March 10, 2016 at 6:32 pm

        Did the yeast foam up when it was in the milk? If it didn’t it could be that the yeast was old. Otherwise I have no idea why the dough wouldn’t rise!

  • Ashlyn ~ Dollop Of Yum March 2, 2016 at 12:49 am

    I have been dying to make babka so I definitely want to try these out! They look absolutely amazing!

  • Jules March 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    These look amazing! and those .gifs are literally GOALS!
    can’t wait to try out this recipe!


  • Sarah March 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Yum! Regular yeast or instant yeast?

    • Izy March 4, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      I used ‘fast action dried yeast’, as it’s called here in the UK. It doesn’t require being dissolved into liquid before you use it

  • caileejoy March 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    YUM!! This looks amazing! So tasty and delicious! Your NYC quest sounds so yummy!! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! Hope that you’re having a great weekend!
    xoxo Cailee @ 🙂

  • Louise | Cygnet Kitchen March 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    These look heavenly, Izy! I think I would probably eat a whole plateful!

  • asparklingjourney March 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

    They look delicious! I need to bake some! Thank you for the recipe!

  • Kate Ramos (@holajalapeno) March 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Wow! This sounds amazing, Izzy! Love the GIFs!!

  • Andrea @ Sunday Brunch March 8, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Gorgeous rolls! I live in NYC and that is a very impressive goal. I will likely be doing the same thing when I play tour guide for my bestie. The top of my list for bakeries is AB Biagi. Can’t wait!

  • Felicia Baskin March 11, 2016 at 1:29 am

    You hit a lot of my favorite NYC spots! And now I’m determined to try a Doughka at Dough…

  • Nancy March 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    So I made this recipe twice yesterday. First I proofed the yeast in the warm milk and the second time I added the yeast in with the flour. The dough did not rise either time. I threw out the first one but decided to just finish making the second one anyway. It turned out perfect! I now think this dough is not supposed to rise and puff up but is more like the consistency of pie crust dough. (When I study your pictures it looks that way there too). The buns are beautiful and look exactly like the photos.

  • Sunday Links - Baking Magique March 13, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    […] Hazelnut, pecan and chocolate babkas. No words needed. Seriously. […]

  • Stephanie March 14, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Hello! I was wondering where you bought that beautiful mug! Thanks!

    • Izy March 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      I got it from as a one-off from a featured artist a few months a go!

  • James May 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Could the babka be left uncooked the fridge overnight?

    • Izy May 21, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Yeah probably but id say let them sit at room temperature for an hour or 2 the next day so they can rise before you bake them

  • Brittany September 13, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Made these tonight and they turned out great! No rise but I don’t think they are supposed to rise that much?

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