Cream Cheese-Filled Sweet Braid
by Katya Simkhovich
I’m going to let the pictures do the talking this time, because really, there’s not much to say except that my braiding technique could use a little work and that even with imperfect braids, these were yeasty, golden brown, buttery, crunchy with the light sprinkle of coarse, sparkling sugar, and were, quite simply, delicious.
Imagine waking up to a hot cup of tea and an entire cream cheese -filled braid. Oh, I spoil myself.
Cheese-Filled Sweet Braid from King Arthur Flour
- 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 (I used half all purpose and half white whole wheat – I’m sure whole wheat pastry flour would be divine also)
- 8 ounces cream cheese – I used honey walnut cream cheese but the flavor was lost in the buttery goodness of the dough so next time I would just use plain 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.