This is the first I made braided bread. As you can tell I need more practice! Don’t be intimidated by its look, it is actually quite easy to braid, and fun too. I initially wanted cream cheese filling, but added chopped tart dried cherries, hoping to break up the richness of cream cheese. After I braided the bread, I let it slow rest in the fridge overnight– and comes the problem: while those dried cherries didn’t taste too tart to me while I chopped them, but letting it sit in the fridge overnight brings out the tartness. After baking the filling tasted too tart to go well with cream cheese filling. Oh well, next time I should just skip the cherries, or go for a savory version of braided bread.
I forgot to take pictures of the braiding part, but I found this braiding pastry video that shows the braiding method.
Cherry Cream Cheese Braided Bread (makes 1 large loaf)
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
125- 150 ml warm water
2 1/2 tbsp butter
cherry cream cheese filling– recipe follows
- In the mixing bowl mix well the first 5 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test. (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it passes the test).
- Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size. (To speed up the resting time a little you can sit the bowl on a moist hot towel, or sit the bowl on top of a pot of hot water).
- Lightly knead the dough on a board a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Roll out to a 9×13 inch rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread cream cheese filling on the middle 1/3 of the dough. Make diagonal 1-inch strips on the other 2/3 of the dough. First fold both ends over the filling. Then pull strips, alternating, to the other side crossing over the filling. For the last strips, just tuck in at the bottom (as seen on braiding pastry video). Place on a large baking pan (greased or lined with parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
- Let the chilled dough sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply egg wash on the top of the bread. Bake in preheated 375°f oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
Cherry Cream Cheese Filling:
1 block cream cheese, softened
4-5 tbsp powder sugar
3 tbsp dried tart cherries– roughly chopped
Method: Whisk cream cheese and powder sugar until smooth. Stir in dried cherries.