This is a first – no, not the first sweet bread I baked (I wish it was, would have saved me lots of calories), but my first post in English. I admit: Most of the time I’m simply too lazy for translating and calculating back and forth. So I stick with grams and German – but this time it’ll be cups and English, since hostess Stefanie asked so nicely for it 🙂 The recipe I submit für Bread Baking Day #22 is a family favorite – the bread tastes delicious, stays fresh for quite a while and looks impressive, even though the “braiding” is a very simple process. The cream cheese in the filling is a concession to American/English readers: I usually put 500 g of Quark in a draining device over a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and use the “quark cheese” the next day. That makes for a much denser “Austrian” strudel type filling.
Lemon Cheese Braid
(12 – 16 slices)
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (1 Packung Trockenhefe)
3 tablespoons lukewarm water (3 EL lauwarme Milch)
1/3 cup milk (75 ml Milch)
1/4 cup sugar (60 g Zucker)
1/4 cup butter, melted (60 g Butter, geschmolzen)
2 eggs (2 Eier)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1/2 TL Salz)
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (ca. 500 g Mehl)
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened (500 g Quark, über Nacht abgetropft)
1/2 cup sugar (100 g Zucker)
1 egg (1 Ei)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (1 TL ger. Zitronenschale)
1 handfull of raisins, soaked in rum (optional) (Rum-Rosinen nach Geschmack)
coarse sugar for sprinkling (Hagelzucker zum Bestreuen)
1 egg yolk for brushing
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour; beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough of remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn 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, in a small bowl, beat all the filling ingredients until fluffy; set aside.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Place on a 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. Seal end. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Brush with egg yolk, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 375° (180 Grad) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.