Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling #TwelveLoaves

Plaited_Easter_Bread-2

There was an air of excitement and anticipation in my childhood home as Easter approached. The night before the big day, we’d dress up in our Easter dresses with our patent leather shoes and knee socks, attend Easter Vigil Mass, then return home to eat my mom’s version of hot cross buns before we were shooed off to bed. These buns were basically dinner rolls decorated with pastel icing. My holiday memories tend to revolve around food…we’d always  have Easter dinner with our friends, the Verhoven’s…their 5 children plus the 4 of us made for a rowdy gathering….especially after being hyped up on chocolate eggs.  My mom’s decorating was simple…just a  flowering branch from the yard  in an earthen jug…from which she  would hang pastel colored egg shells…we’d watch my mom blow out the eggs and help dye the shells as Easter approached.  There were a LOT of scrambled eggs for breakfast on the mornings leading up to the holiday.  Such indelible images in my mind. Having an Easter bread to start the day was a tradition I continue with my family.

So when I think of Easter, my thoughts travel back to those freshly baked rolls…that we tore into before heading to bed. With full stomachs we excitedly headed upstairs…knowing there would still be leftovers for breakfast. When  I learned that our Twelve Loaves theme for March was Holiday Breads, I wanted to make a rich egg bread, fill it with cream cheese, and make sure there was frosting. I broke open my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and vacillated between brioche and challah…till the challah won out. After mixing all the ingredients together, I gave the dough its  initial resting period while I ran errands, then was able to park it in the fridge till I had time to shape it.  No kneading required…how about that? I loved the convenience of this dough. I rolled, snipped and braided it over a sweetened cream cheese filling, let the dough rest again, then baked for a half hour. I think this one will be worth repeating for Easter morning.

Cut strips on each side leaving the middle intact. Place filling down center, then criss cross strips over filling.

Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

    Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
    Makes 2 1-pound loaves
  • • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
  • • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • • 1/4 cup honey
  • • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
  • • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • • 1/4 cup sugar
  • • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • • Powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla to make icing

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Mix in the flour and with dough hook attachment, mix till flour is all incorporated.
  3. Cover dough with a cloth and allow to rest at room temperature approximately 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days (after that, freeze).
  5. When ready to bake, line baking sheet with parchment and dust dough with flour. Roll half of the dough into a rectangle 8 inches by approximately 12 inches. Return other half of dough to a covered container in the refrigerator for later use.
  6. Cut slits along both longer sides towards the middle at about 1 1/2 inch increments...leaving a strip of uncut dough about 3 inches wide, down the middle of the rectangle. See photo. I cut out and removed a little extra dough on both ends for easier braiding, but that's totally optional.
  7. Mix cream cheese, sugar, butter and lemon juice till smooth. Spread down the middle of the dough, then plait (braid) the strips by crossing one over the other at a slight angle, to cover the filling. Cover with a dish cloth and let rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add more time if your dough is cold.
  8. Preheat oven to 350º. Brush loaf with egg wash.
  9. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 30 minutes. Cool and ice as desired with a mixture of powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.
  10. Yield: 1 loaf plus 1 pound bread dough for a second loaf.
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#TwelveLoaves March: Holiday Bread. Bake a bread, yeast or quick bread, loaf or individual. This #TwelveLoaves is all about the incredible holiday breads featured in March. Do you have a favorite Easter or St. Patrick’s Day Bread? We would love to see it. Let’s get baking!

Look at what our very talented #TwelveLoaves bakers have created this March!

We would love to have you join our #TwelveLoaves group; it’s easy! 1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme! 2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme. 3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2013 posted on your blog by March 31, 2013.



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Comments

  1. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I couldn’t wait to get a closer look at your plaited bread…so pretty, Lizzy. It is gorgeous for Easter morning. The cream cheese filling just takes it over the top:)Thank you for baking again with the group. xx

  2. carol | a cup of mascarpone says:

    A beautiful Easter bread, Liz!!! Thanks for sharing the how-to photo! Have a great weekend!

  3. When your mom is a baker, you always have great childhood memories. I need to try one of this 5 minute recipes. And if they have a challah so much better. Pleating is was a wonderful idea Liz! And I adore cream cheese filling! But hon, where is the recipe for this gorgeous bread?

  4. Yikes…the recipe disappeared when I reloaded my linky code. Thanks, Paula, for letting me know!!! I’ve added it back :)

  5. This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing your memories of Easter growing up also!

  6. Great tutorial, Liz! The only thing I can plait is my hair. Lol! Looks like fun!

  7. Simply beautiful Liz! What a great holiday breakfast bread.

  8. I too have fond memories of Easter and dressing up and having dinner with family. Memories I will treasure for a lifetime. The braided Easter bread is perfect! Having any bread with a cream cheese filling sounds good in my book.

  9. What a great bread and an awesome braiding job. The filling sends this one over the top.

  10. Yummy! Braided bread always looks so complicated – this looks super simple. Well done.

  11. Wow, we always make sweet cheese filling pastries for Easter, and this is looking sooo beautiful. This pleating is new for me, will definitely have to make this, I love bread challenges:)

  12. This bread is soooo beautiful Liz!!! It looks so delicious too, I know Michael would love it! :)

  13. What a professional looking bread! I want a piece or three, right now!

  14. I posted my cinnamon kringle on the TwelveLoaves, and only then I saw you wanted something posted in March. You can take it out. Will read more carefully next time.

  15. Oh Liz! This is AMAZING. I would eat a majority of it myself. I think I have to make this soon!

  16. It’s like an Easter version of my favorite cheese danish! Looks amazing!!! And so beautiful too :) I love having such vivid memories of childhood…so fun to remember.

  17. So gorgeous, your braiding is perfect!

  18. Liz,
    your bread is the most beautiful, perfect bread I have ever seen. Just gorgeous! and a cream cheese filling and glaze?! OMG, you’re killing me. LOVE this!!! Definitely pinning this and def going to give this one a try. . I was wondering how you got the braiding so perfect. . thanks for the photo!!! I seriously love this!

  19. I have never seen anything similar! It looks amazing and so appetising! Reminds me a bit of cheese strudel, but this bread contains much more cheese. Congratulations for the perfect, even result!

  20. WOW! I’m impressed, your bread making prowess is phenomenal! This really does sound and look like a very special treat for Easter, I can see why you would want a repeat performance. Very nice indeed.

  21. I can’t wait to try this!! It looks wonderful!

  22. Perfectly executed. Looks like perfection. I’m working my way up to making a bread like this one! :-)

  23. Looks beautiful! I love that there’s no kneading involved! Definitely a must try for Easter!

  24. Lovely bread! My mom makes one every Easter but never with cream cheese filling, gotta tell her about this!

  25. Hi Lizzy!

    No kneading?! Wow… I’ll try that…

  26. I love this bread dear LizzY!!!! look fantastic and love the pictures so good!

  27. you are such a talented baker! this really sounds wonderful!

  28. What lovely Easter memories. I love how your mother made Easter special for you four girls. Oh how I try to do the same for my children. I make homemade Hot Cross Buns. That’s my effort and an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday – you’re never too old for an Easter Egg hunt. Love how you plated this bread and filled it with that creamy filling – this must smell amazing as it cooks xx

  29. You could open up your own bakery! This is so pretty!

  30. Just gorgeous! I have yet to try a braided bread and yours makes me want to start right now! I love the filling and the icing on top too. Happy Easter!

  31. Oh I am going to have to try this recipe for Easter!
    It looks so effective and delicious :) I am going to start trying to think of so bread recipes so that I can participate in your 12 loaves challenge :) Thanks for sharing.

  32. I’m in awe of your braiding skills, Liz. And I’m in lust with the sweet cream cheese filling! All my childhood holiday memories revolve around food, too, and it was lovely getting a glimpse into your past. Brian is an absolute challah monster. Your bread wouldn’t be safe around him for a minute! :)

  33. This looks amazing, Lizzy! And, perfect for Easter.

    We had so much fun meeting Mary! It would be great if you could come to Seattle in Sept!

  34. Sounds surprisingly good. I’ve been having cinnamon buns with cream cheese and I also wouldn’t have expected those to taste that great but they do!

  35. Beautifully delicious bread , Lizzy ! I’ve borrowed the book last time but haven’t baked anything from it yet :P

  36. It’s so gorgeous! It must be delicious.

  37. You make it look so easy Liz. Sounds and looks like a delicious Easter morning wake me up!

  38. Your bread is perfect! I don’t think I can make it as neatly packaged as you have. I think all memories revolve around food, I know all mine do. We don’t celebrate Easter, being Muslims, but I went to a convent when I was young and Easter was just the best holiday. I think it was the chocolate and chocolate eggs in particular and of course, spending all Easter Sunday with my best friend enjoying holiday food. In England we have so many different kinds of chocolate eggs and I miss seeing them all here in the US.

    Nazneen

  39. Liz, an amazing looking Easter bread – I love the filling of cream cheese and the beautiful braiding! It sounds and looks delicious and elegant and just perfect not only for Easter but any Sunday morning!

  40. This came out so beautiful! I cannot wait to make Easter bread again!

  41. Wow! That bread looks delicious Liz! I have never tried a braided loaf. Beautiful!

  42. GORGEOUS!

    My grandma used to make braided bread w/ coloured eggs in between the braiding!

    this reminds me of that.
    Xx

  43. My dear friend Liz.
    Wonder!!! This bread delighted me so much that I have to do, maybe with another filling (my husband is not a fan of cream cheese). It was beautiful with a presentation like everything you do.
    Have a nice weekend
    Kisses

  44. Time flies! This Easter bread looks beautiful!

  45. This is almost sinful, it is so beautiful and I can just picture how rich and lovely this would taste. I should not let my teenage boys peek over my shoulder as now they are begging me to to make this. Wishing you a super weekend. Take Care, BAM

  46. Lizzy,
    This bread looks sooo good. There are so many of your recipes I want to try and this is one of them. I have lots of childhood memories dressing in our Easter dresses and going to church too.
    Annamaria

  47. Whoa mama … gorgeous loaf … yummm!

  48. Wow… If I had a hat on… I would tip it to you. You are amazing and your food is always so beautiful. This bread looks simply stunning. I have never seen anything like it and I love that it has a filling.

  49. Wow, Liz, that is beautiful! And that filling is just amazing!

  50. This looks great. I need to make some Easter bread this year and I just might try this. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday and I hope you join us this coming week. I am going to pin this to my Recipes that caught my attention board.

  51. I don’t know why baking intimidates me so, but you make it look effortless Liz! I loved reading about your Easter traditions. Lovely recipe and gorgeous photos as usual.

  52. Liz – You just blow me away! Looking at this bread and how perfectly braided it is tells me you are a true perfectionist in a very good way. :) This bread is absolutely lovely and the filling inside – YUM! I would love to come home to this being pulled from the oven.

  53. This is picture perfect Liz and thanks for sharing the sweet memories.

  54. Lovely chilhood memories are so nice, especially when they revolve around food :-) Wow on your bread, the technique is super cool.

  55. I saw this bread a few days ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. My mom would adore this recipe, I think it is a must make for the next time she is over for dinner!!

  56. My challah is from the Artisan Bread in 5 book! I halve the recipe as written, use canola oil not butter (makes a softer bread I find), use a combo of bread and AP-flour for the flour. I love seeing what you did and the pics and comparing results!

  57. Cream filling is so tempting. I can’t resist it.

  58. Patent leather shoes–I had all but forgotten about them. Thanks for the memory. The bread is beautiful. You are truly gifted.

  59. Hi Liz,
    I want to make this bread for our Teacher Appreciation Brunch on Friday morning. Could I make the loaves with the filling and put in the fridge overnight, then bake in the morning? If not, how should the bread be stored overnight once baked….fridge (since there is a cream cheese filling) or countertop.

    Thanks!

    Kim

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