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Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

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Holidays deserve a special treat. This buttery, Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling was perfect for my family!

This spectacular Easter Recipe was a perfect treat after Easter Vigil and again for breakfast on Easter morning.

Plaited Easter Bread on a white tray

Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

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, her easy Easter Bread Recipe, 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 Verhovens; 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. 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.

Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling slices on a white serving tray

Plaited Easter Bread

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 until 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 Easter Bread Recipe will be worth repeating for Easter morning.

Plaited Easter Bread dough sliced and folded over the cream cheese filling

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

Yield: 1 braided loaf plus dough for another loaf

Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling

Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Dough:

  • • 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)

Filling:

  • • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • • 1/4 cup sugar
  • • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Icing:

  • • 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.

Notes

Yield: 1 loaf plus 1 pound bread dough for a second loaf.
Total time does not include proofing times.

Twelve Loaves Holiday Breads:

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

 

 
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60 comments on “Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. Lovely chilhood memories are so nice, especially when they revolve around food 🙂 Wow on your bread, the technique is super cool.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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!

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

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

  9. 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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