Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Cream Cheese Bread

This is a Cream Cheese Homemade bread I make every year for Christmas which always disappears rapidly. This year I just sprinkled it with decorative sugar but you can glaze it or decorate it in any number of ways.

I find it almost impossible to keep the braid 100% intact during rising and baking so I use toothpicks to at least keep it as "together" as possible. I once made one where I painstakingly made the overlapping slices long enough that I could bind them with warm water and it held together. But I found to do that, you use much less filling and I like a lot of filling in my bread.

I say, "Let the filling be free!"

I recently moved and couldn't locate the recipe, and although I'm sure I could have made it from memory, I found a similar one at King Arthur flour, just to be certain of measurements. It worked like a charm.


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
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
Dough: Combine sugar, milk water and yeast and let rest until it becomes bubbly. (Proofed) add the balance of the ingredients and mix and knead them together until you've made a soft, smooth dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn over, and cover with a moist towel. 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 until smooth. Chill untill ready to use.
Assembly: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, punch down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Divide it in half. Roll each half into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Transfer rolled dough to baking pan spread with parchment paper. 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. Secure with toothpicks.

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.