Okay guys, we all know about these kind of braided bread that we see on food magazines or in food websites; we want to do it, but we don’t have the confidence. Even when this looks super fancy and complicated, let me tell you, is not that difficult!! I was wondering when I was going to have the courage to make it, but it’s summer and nothing beats a good lemonade made with Mayer’s lemons or a good pastry with lemon curd, so It was the perfect time to try it.
This is the basic sweet dough for bread pastries. It is easy to prepare and very versatile. Actually, once you learn how to make this dough you can do any sweet bread you want, from a cream Danish to a holiday crown filled with nuts and dates. Sound like a deal! But this time, let’s do this Lemon curd braided bread with a cream cheese filling, that is just perfect with the morning coffee.
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour (if you want a more flaky dough substitute one cup of flour for 4 oz of reduced fat cream cheese)
- 1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (or 2¼ teaspoons)
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup water
- 2 egg ( one to brush the dough)
- 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp Meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Mayer Lemon Curd (homemade or store bought)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp Meyer lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Meyer lemon juice
For the dough:
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave (1 minute) until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2¼ cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; whisk together. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer. Add the remaining cup of flour slowly using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition. (dough will be too thick and sticky to use the mixers at this point.)
- When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes, yes, you need to continue by hand, is the only way to know when is smooth. When ready, the dough will spring back when lightly pressed.
- Place dough in a large bowl coated with nonstick spray or coconunt oik and cover with plastic. Let the dough proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour
- While the dough rises, prepare the filling. Combine cream cheese, sugar, Meyer lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Roll out the dough into a 10″ x 15″ rectangle, on top of a piece of parchment paper.
- Remove the four corner strips and fold top border down over filling.
- Use a bench scraper or non sharp knife to cut crosswise strips down the length of the outside sections- making sure you have the same amount of strips on each side.
- Use an offset spatula to spread cream cheese mixture down the center of the dough, leaving a 4-inch border on each side and a 1-inch border at the top and bottom. Spread Meyer lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.
- Work from top to bottom and fold strips over filling, alternating strips diagonally (begin by folding over the top left strip, then fold the top right strip, and so on). When all the strips are folded over filling, fold up the bottom border and press to seal.
- Cover the bread loosely with plastic and let rise until puffy about 25 minutes. Note: do not let the dough proof more than this, if not the bread will be to big.
- Brush with egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar ( optional).
- Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before glazing.
- For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, Meyer lemon zest, and juice in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over braid and let set before serving.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, of cource with a cup of coffee !!
Adapted recipe from King Arthur Flour