Baking From The Bread Bible: Raspberry-Cream Cheese Braid

Inspiration struck and I decided to try another recipe from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible.  Having not been disappointed as of yet, I decided to get gutsy and go with a dessert bread.  What I hadn't realized prior to starting {because I was so inspired I forgot to read through the recipe first} is that the dough must be refrigerated overnight prior to shaping and baking.  So, although I started it on Sunday, I actually baked it Monday night.  At 10p.m.  The house smelled good, but we didn't test it until the next day.

This recipe is very hearty and good.  I changed it from the original just a bit.  Beth has you add a fresh raspberry blend to the bread with a streusel on top.  I had leftover raspberry jam that I chose to use and cream cheese sounded so much tastier than streusel that I couldn't resist.

The sweet yeast dough that is the base for this bread begins with a sponge.  I haven't tried my typical sweet yeast dough recipe as a raspberry-cream cheese braid, but I suspect it would taste pretty darn good too and not require a sponge or an overnight rest.

All-in-all, it is hearty, great flavor, and although time-consuming, not too difficult to make.

**Quick tip on the zest:  If you find yourself using the juice of an entire lemon, lime, orange, etc.  Don't forget to zest it prior to tossing the peel.  Store the zest in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or longer in the freezer.**

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Braid

Adapted from: The Bread Bible Cookbook

Recipe Makes 2 Braids

{Day 1}
1 1/2 T. active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
1/4 c. water, warmed to 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit
1 1/4 c. milk, warmed to 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit
2 c. bread flour

2 lg eggs, brought to room temp.
finely grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
2 t. salt
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2c - 3c. bread flour
12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, brought to room temp. and cut into 12 pieces

{Day 2}
1 c. raspberry jam
8 oz. cream cheese, brought to room temp.
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

1 medium egg, brought to room temp. to glaze the braids with
coarse sugar for topping, optional

In a large bowl using a whisk, or in the bowl of a heavy stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast, 1 T. sugar, water, milk, and the 2c. flour.  Beat hard until smooth, 1 minute.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest, at room temperature, until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Add the 2 large eggs, zest, salt, 1/3 c. sugar, and 1c. of the flour to the sponge.  Beat until smooth.  While beating, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until well incorporated.  Add the remaining flour, 1/4 c. at a time, until a soft dough forms that no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes, or switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook on the stand mixer, and knead for about 3 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl or container, turning once to coat fully with oil, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Gently deflate the dough, re-cover, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

On baking day:
In a medium bowl mix the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and mix on low until incorporated.  Turn mixer to medium and beat about 20 seconds longer.

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Grease or parchment-line a baking sheet.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Using a rolling pin, roll each portion into an 8"x12" rectangle.  Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and spread half the cream mixture down the center of the rectangle, leaving about an inch at each end without filling.  Spread half the jam on top of the cream cheese mixture.  With a sharp knife or with kitchen shears, cut diagonal strips at 2" intervals down the outside edges of the dough, almost to the filling.  Starting at one end, fold the strips alternately from each side at a slight angle to make a crisscross braid.  Tuck under any excess dough.  Repeat with the second loaf.

Cover baking pan loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature, until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Beat the egg for the egg glaze in a small bowl with a fork or whisk and brush the top of the braids with it.  I sprinkled coarse decorator sugar to the top of my braids, although they would be fine without it.  Bake in the center rack of the oven 35-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and braid is golden brown.

Transfer braids immediately to a cooling rack.  The jam is very hot - make sure to cool this well before serving.

1 comment:

Joleen said...

Oh my! I must make this!