Braided Lemon Bread
I’m not the most competent baker (yes, I’ve cried many times attempting pizza crust) and anything having to do with dough usually ends in disaster.
I did, however, find an answer to this problem. My mom! Pretty much anything turns out okay with the supervision of Mom, right? Feeling confident, I said “bring it on” to the braided egg bread with lemon curd and cream cheese filling! We found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from a recipe by King Arthur Flour. I had my doubts about the result, but it actually turned out delicious!
This sweet, delicious bread is a great idea for a special occasion, shower, or a brunch breakfast. For me, it was all about the lemon curd…I wouldn’t have even attempted baking bread if it weren’t for the call of that luscious lemon curd filling. The process was long and it had many steps…beginners beware…some steps I’d never even heard of, like making a “sponge” and letting it “proof”– seriously? I’m not saying it isn’t doable, it just takes a level skill that I have not yet acquired (but I’m working on it).
Okay, so once you’ve gone through the sponge step, you can start on the dough (yes…I had little to do with this part…just observing). Your dough should look something like this:
Let the dough rise…for about an hour. I made the filling while the dough was rising…cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, a little flour, and sugar. Once the dough rises, roll it into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (yes, you need a ruler) and then divide the dough into three equal sections (lightly press two lines with a knife).
Start spreading the cream cheese mixture down the middle section of the rectangle and then add the lemon curd on top. Use a knife to cut the top and bottom of the filling about one inch, then cut in the side edges, just to the edge of the filling…it should look like a totem pole (we forgot this step and had to fold and tuck our ends).
From here, cut an equal number of strips on either side of the dough. Once all your cuts are complete, fold down your top strip over the filling (again, we skipped this part) then draw your first strip over the filling toward the center at an angle; cross the other strip over it, like a braid.
Repeat the braid by going back to the first side and drawing it over the second strip. We made two loaves and added canned cherries I made last year with friend and fellow blogger Cathy Barrow (aka Mrs. Wheelbarrow) at the Food 52 Can-o-rama — so if you have some fruit or other filling you want to experiment with, go for it!
Once the braid is complete, cover and let rise until puffy. By the way, make sure to roll your dough out on parchment paper or you will have a terrible time trying to move it onto a baking sheet! Once it’s puffy, brush gently with an egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes and let cool for about 15. Look how pretty it is!
This was such a fun thing to do with my mom and the loaves really turned out beautiful and delicious.
I hope to experiment more in the kitchen and get some baking “food confidence” for myself …one of these days!
Here’s a link to the recipe from Smitten Kitchen with much more beautiful pictures than mine, and detailed instruction.