Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lemon Cheese Braid

This is a fairly easy recipe. Even easier if you use a bread machine. This recipe wasn't written for a bread machine, so I'll post the original instructions. If you want to use your bread machine, just add ingredients in the order specified by the bread machine manufacturer (make sure ingredients are at room temperature), and set the dough cycle. Take it out after the first rise, then follow the rest of the recipe instructions.
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
Directions: In a large mixing 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 mixing 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.
Mine looked like this when I was done. Kind of ugly, actually. I had some "help" from Ben. But I'm sure you could make it look pretty if you want to take the time. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency; drizzle over bread. Yield: 12-14 servings.

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