I’m not a fan of cinnamon rolls, Danishes, or donuts. I’m not an enthusiast for croissants, pain au chocolate, palmiers, or turnovers either. To be honest, puff pastry and sweet yeast breads are not my thing. Though, I do eat them on a “now and then” basis.
I didn’t eat bread during my childhood, I just didn´t like it. Sometimes I think I might have a mutated gene in my body that rejects yeasty things. For this reason or another, these foods are not things I suddenly crave or dream about.
This fact doesn´t stop me from baking these. I find great pleasure kneading bread, watching it grow, proofing and baking. The smell of freshly baked bread is so intoxicating, there´s no reason in this world a human being would dislike it.
For several days I had Pastry Affair blog open under the Blueberry Braided Bread From Emma Of Poires Au Chocolat post. I came across it one night I was blogging; I wanted to braid bead, a first thing for me. And so I merged the recipe with Deb Perelman´s recipe and baked this beauty. My entire kitchen smelled like donuts were being produced in my kitchen by the minute (Deb’s note, but it actually does smell like it).
The outcome was a soft, spongy sweet bread, lightly golden on the top with an oozing cherry jam, cream cheese filling. I ate a small piece once it rested for 10 minutes after I pulled it out of the oven. It was warm and it disintegrated in my mouth, it was…pretty darn good. Though, don’t take my word, this comes from a non-sweet-yeast-bread lover.
Cream cheese & cherry jam braided bread
Adapted from smittenkitchen.com’s Braided Lemon Bread
6 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 package (¼ oz.) active dry yeast
¼ cup all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cherry jam
In a small bowl combine water, sugar, yeast and flour. Give it a quick mix and cover with plastic. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until yeast is bubbly and alive.
In a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, combine sponge, sour cream, butter, 1 egg, sugar, salt, vanilla and flour. Mix at medium-high speed until soft dough forms, about 6 minutes. Remove from bowl and knead in a lightly floured surface for 3 minutes until smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let rise for 2 hours.
For the filling, combine all ingredients, except the jam, until smooth.
Gently deflate the dough. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat. Transfer dough to parchment paper (or silicon mat) and roll into a rectangle. With hands, mark very lightly three even columns. In the middle column spread the cream cheese filling followed by the cherry jam, leaving 2-inches free in the top and bottom of the dough. Cut 1-inch strips on both side columns, removing the four corner segments. Braid the bread by folding the strips down over the filling, alternating strips. Cover braided bread loosely with plastic and let rise from 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375ᵒF. Whisk leftover egg and use egg wash to brush all over the braided bread. Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.