This is actually King Arthur Flour’s Braided Lemon Bread recipe but since I’m not using lemon curd in the filling, I decided to call it the above (longish) name. :) I guess it doesn’t really matter what it’s called because all you need to know is…it’s d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! In fact, KAF should officially rename it Delicious Braided Bread.
So, here’s what I did. I used the bread dough recipe without changing anything. I mixed the dough in my bread machine. The problem? The dough was more than what my bread machine could typically handle. So I helped it along by using a rubber scraper to stir and mix the ingredients. Not only that, when the dough finally formed a ball, I used the scraper to help turn the dough while I made sure it had the right consistency. And yes, I did all this while the machine was running. Once the kneading cycle ended, I thought the ball of dough was still not smooth enough. So I stopped the dough cycle and restarted it again so it could go through another kneading cycle. Ultimately, everything worked out but maybe it’ll be easier if I just use my stand mixer next time.
As for the cream cheese filling, I increased it by 50 percent as recommended by some of the reviewers on KAF’s website. I mean come on, it’s cream cheese filling. You don’t have to tell me twice about upping it. :) I do like anything cream cheese with a lemony tone in it. So I added the zest of a large lemon in the mixture and it worked out deliciously. And instead of lemon curd, I used jam/fruit spread in its place. We love Crofter’s organic fruit spread and I used wild blueberry and apricot spread in this batch. Both spreads taste fantastic but if I have to choose a favorite, it would be blueberry. I thought the blueberry flavor was more intense and sweeter, which contrasted nicely against the tangy cream cheese. In addition, it also complemented the lemon flavor beautifully. I didn’t measure the amount of fruit spread I used but I approximate it to be about ⅔ cup per bread. If you feel intimidated by the braiding, don’t be. KAF has a wonderful tutorial on its blog. You know how sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, that is especially true in this case. :)
I used turbinado sugar to sprinkle the top of the bread right before baking. Note that the breads are huge – you’ll need half size sheet pans (one for each bread) to accommodate that size comfortably. I baked them at 350ºF for some time (lol, for the life of me, I can’t remember how long). I want to say maybe about 25 minutes but no worries, you’ll know when they are done. This bread is out of this world and we finished off both in record time! Enjoy!
Here’s the measurement for the cream cheese filling so you don’t have to calculate the increased amount yourself. :)
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour