First, I apologize for the lack of post yesterday. Cliff and I went to Washington DC and New York City for a long weekend and I was having too much fun and eating too much great food that I didn’t get my posts written! Hopefully I can get our DC/NY photos edited and posted soon. I will say though that the 2 days we spent in DC included a trip to the candy store, a bakery, a cupcake store and a gelato store! Luckily for my thighs we walked for hours and hours each day, so if anything I probably lost weight, right? Thanks to our friends Amanda and Kyle for showing us around DC and taking us to so many great places to eat!
As Kelly mentioned it is lemon week here. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors. I love the taste, but I REALLY love the smell! I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen ages ago and I knew right away that I wanted to make it. The only thing holding me back was the difficulty level. I assumed that anything that looked this beautiful must be complicated. The more baking I do the more confident I am. I’m not going to say this was easy though. There are a lot of steps and a lot of waiting, but overall it looks harder to make then it really is. If you like lemon I definitely recommend making this.
Here’s what you’ll need
Add the water
Add the flour
Add the yeast
Lemon Braided Bread
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Sponge (above)
- 6 tbsp sour cream
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Sugar for sprinkling on top
Lemon cream cheese filling
- 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbspSponge unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup prepared lemon curd
- In a bowl, combine the water, sugar yeast and flour. Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes
- Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.
Make the filling (while dough rises)
- Combine all the filling ingredients (except the lemon curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.
- Deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper. Make sure to transfer before you add the filling and braid the bread. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling. Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.
- To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper; if you have a bench scraper, this is a great time to use it. Remove the four corner segments. To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips until you are out. Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy. Sprinkle bread with sugar.
- Bake bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown. Let sit another 15 minutes before serving.