Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling
Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
- Yield: 1 braided loaf plus dough for another loaf
- Category: Bread, Holiday
- • 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
- Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Mix in the flour and with dough hook attachment, mix till flour is all incorporated.
- Cover dough with a cloth and allow to rest at room temperature approximately 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days (after that, freeze).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Brush loaf with egg wash.
- 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.
Yield: 1 loaf plus 1 pound bread dough for a second loaf.
Total time does not include proofing times.