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CHEESE FILLED SWEET BRAIDED BREAD

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Cheese-Filled Sweet Braid
Here’s a twist on a popular recipe we teach in our classes.
Dough
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla OR 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Filling
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla OR 1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia
Dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).

Filling: While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by mixing all of the ingredients together till smooth. Chill till ready to use.

Assembly: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it in half. Roll each half into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread half of the filling lengthwise down the center third of each rectangle. Cut 1-inch-wide strips from each side of the filling out to the edges of the dough. Fold about an inch of dough at each end over the filling to contain it, then fold the strips, at an angle, across the filling, alternating from side to side.

Baking: Allow the braids to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till almost doubled in size. Brush with a glaze made from 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water, and sprinkle with sparkling white sugar, if desired; then bake the braids in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack. Yield: 2 braids.

Copyright 2002, The King Arthur Flour Company. All rights reserved.
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