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This recipe starts with a (quick) sponge to proof the yeast. Look how nice and bubbly it is.
Of course, this recipe had many rave reviews. Many reviewers commented about how soft and hard to handle the dough was. The trick I've learned over the years is to refrigerate the dough, preferably overnight. You see, cold dough is VERY easy to handle.
On day 2, I took the dough out of the fridge and divided it in half (normally I would weigh it to make sure both parts are the same weight but I was feeling lazy). Put the second half of dough back in the fridge so it stays cold while you're working with the first half.
As an experiment, I used flour to roll out the first dough while using oil to roll out the second dough. I found the dough to be much more manageable with oil.
Since the lemon curd was out of the picture, I decided to fill one bread with a multi-fruit jam and the other with a homemade cinnamon-y date filling that I had in the freezer, while maintaining the cream cheese base for each filling.
|Right after braiding|
|After a proofing period of only 45 min it was nice and puffy.|
The baking temperature and the baking time was also highly contentious with this recipe. The majority of the reviewers recommended: 350F and 20 minutes. I used the convection setting in my oven and heated it up to 400F (to get a nice oven spring). As soon as I put the first loaf in the oven (bottom third of the oven), I reduced the temperature to 340F. After 10 minutes, I moved that loaf up a couple racks and put the second loaf in the oven. The first loaf took 18 minutes to bake, while the second loaf took 20 minutes.
If you take a close look at my finished loaves, you'll see that both loaves look slightly different. Why? For one of the breads, I cut 10 (skinny) strips on each side, while the other bread had 7 (wider) strips on each side. I think the skinny strips worked better because they give you a more braid-y look. The other thing is that because they were so skinny, they twisted slightly when I picked them up to lift them across. At first I thought that that wasn't going to look nice, but after seeing the final product, I really like it.
After the loaves cooled, I could wait to cut into them to see what the inside looked like :o)
|Multi-fruit jam filling|
- The dough smelled heavenly and so did the loaves after they came out of the oven. Actually, my whole house smelled heavenly for a few hours :o)
- My husband and I enjoyed a slice of each bread. We both smelled the bread, and then my husband noted how soft and fluffy it was. Although he liked both fillings, he liked the date filling best. His rating is an 8.5 out of 10.
- I loved it too. The aroma was amazing. I loved the fruity jam filling against the sweet-and-tart cream cheese layer. The bread part has nice tiny holes in it which made it extra soft and fluffy. Definitely a keeper!!! I might use this bread recipe for things like cinnamon rolls and babka to see if that works.
- Making the dough is super easy if you have a bread machine. I used the Dough cycle in mine. After its first rise, I moved it to an oiled container (covered) and refrigerated it overnight.
- I made several changes to the recipe (such as reducing the amount of butter) which is why I posted the ingredients list at the bottom of this post.
- Don't forget to check out what the other ABC bakers thought of this recipe by clicking HERE.
Braided [Fruit] Bread
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
170g warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
57g bread flour
all of the sponge
170g vanilla-honey yogurt
56g unsalted butter, softened
28g vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
602g bread flour
egg wash for brushing braid (1 egg, 2 tsp half-and-half, pinch of salt)
pearl sugar for sprinkling on braid
Cream cheese filling
142g cream cheese, softened
57g sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
28g all purpose flour
pinch of salt
Put the sponge and dough ingredients in the bowl of a bread machine and run the dough cycle. Please follow the remaining instructions on the KAF site.