Lemon Cheese Braided Bread
Hello! This is a lemon cheese braid I made over two weeks ago! My baking is outpacing my posting. It was inevitable, I suppose.
This was really very good. I've had mixed results with pastry-type breads in the past, and there's always a moment of agonized suspense upon opening the oven to see if something has collapsed/burned/not risen at all. But this! Soft of crumb, gentle of crust. I am fairly certain that I ate most of it myself. It was sort of like a whole loaf of Danish-like, bready, cream cheesey goodness. Really, really good. Did I say that already?
Also, good news, my friends! Amidst the wreckage of our plans to go to Munich and Paris this summer, we have salvaged a new trip. We will be going to Mexico, to teach English for about 8 weeks starting in June. Tacos tacos tacos! This blog may not be such a baking blog then as a travel blog. But don't worry. Based on my culinary experiences during my last trip to Mexico (meat/pear/nut-filled batter-fried chili poblano smothered in brandy cream sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds, anyone?) it will be worth your while to check back.
Meanwhile, enjoy the gringo foods!
Lemon Cheese Braided Bread (from The Taste of Home Classic Cookbook, submitted by Grace Dickey)
1 package active dry yeast
3 T warm water
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
2 eggs (this was made pre-egg abstention, for the record)
1/2 t salt
3 - 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 packages (11 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 t grated lemon peel
1/2 c confectioner's sugar
2 - 3 t milk
1/4 t vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and 2 c flour; beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough of the reamining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 - 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, beat filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until fluffy; set aside. Punch dough down. On a floured surface, roll into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheet. Spread filling down center third of rectangle.
On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips, 3 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling (If you don't know what that means, rest assured, I didn't either. Just braid it nice, make sure the filling is mostly sealed in). Seal end. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. Combine icing ingredients; drizzle over cooled bread. Yield: 12 - 14 servings.