This braided bread recipe has a filling of raspberry jam and cream cheese. Here’s how to braid bread and make this showstopper, perfect for brunch or book club.
For the challah dough
- 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (200 grams) lukewarm water (100F or below)
- 1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) active dry yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon (8 grams) kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup (170 grams) honey
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 1/2 cups (495 grams) bread flour
- All purpose flour, for dusting
- Egg yolk wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for brushing
For the filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup raspberry jam
For the icing
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (we used whole milk)
Mixing and storing dough: Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle, a Danish dough whisk, or spoon. If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises for 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.
Make the cream cheese filling: Mix the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece. (Another dough will be left over; you can make a second loaf and double the filling quantities, or refrigerate it for up to 5 days.) Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 x 13 inches. As you roll out the dough, add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Lift the dough onto the lined baking sheet. Place the cream cheese filling down the length of the dough in a 1-inch strip in the center, and add the raspberry jam on top.
Using a pizza cutter, cut about 1/2-inch-wide strips down the each side. (See the photo). Twist and then fold the strips, left over right, crisscrossing over the filling. Lightly press the strips together as you move down the pastry, creating a braid. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed at the center of the oven.
Brush the braided bread lightly with egg wash.
Bake the braided bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
Make the glaze: While the braided bread is cooling, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and cream. Add enough cream so you can drizzle the glaze from a spoon.
Once the braided bread is fully cooled, drizzle with the glaze and serve. (We made 2 loaves and froze one: to freeze, freeze on a sheet pan until frozen, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container.)
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Bread, Braided Bread, Braided Bread Recipe, How to Braid Bread, Braided Bread with Filling, Braided Sweet Bread