Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid

Blueberry cream cheese braid

Blueberry cream cheese braid

“Wait. Are you serious, you’re planning to bake bread for dessert?”

Why yes, I am.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to making any “traditional” festive bread this month – my bid to try a generations-old julebrød recipe fell apart as I scrambled to finish up some last minute experiments before heading home. I do have to say though, in many ways this blueberry cream cheese braid is festive in its own right, because I’ve been making it for many big events like birthdays and department holiday parties and graduations and now, New Year’s. I baked up a storm for my family’s New Year’s party tonight, and we all agreed that breads like a blueberry cream cheese braid can make pretty darn good desserts after all.

This is my entry for Bread Baking Day #15: Festive Breads, hosted by Annarasa at Essence of Food and founded by Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte.

breadbakingday15

Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid

From the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid recipe at The Fresh Loaf, and adapted from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible

Makes 2 braids

Ingredients

Sponge

- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Dough

- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Blueberry Filling*

- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
*I’ve made this from scratch before, but if you’re really in a pinch, I’ve also, erm, “cheated”… and used blueberry pie filling before.

Egg Glaze

- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk

Cream Cheese Filling

- 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened (I don’t measure and just use an 8 oz. package of cream cheese)
-
2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of the egg glaze

Directions

*Day One*

To make the sponge: mix the sugar, yeast and flour together in a bowl. Pour in the warm milk. Beat until smooth, then cover and let it sit for 30 min.

Add the eggs, salt, sugar and one cup of flour to the sponge, and beat until smooth. Then, add the butter in small chunks and beat well – work those upper arm muscles! Add the remaining flour a handful at a time and mix in until a soft but kneadable dough is achieved and the butter is thoroughly incorporated. This is why it’s important that you start with room temperature butter.

Knead the dough by hand or with a mixer for about 5-8 minutes. It should feel smooth and satiny by this time.  Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. My kitchen was a bit on the cold side so I let it happily incubate in a slightly warm oven (turned on for about 10-20 seconds?) instead of letting it sit out on the counter.

Dough, after bulk fermentation (first rise)

Dough, after bulk fermentation (first rise)

Deflate dough

Deflate the dough

Deflate the dough

recover the bowl with plastic wrap or bag, and refrigerate overnight.

*Day 2*

The next day, make the fillings before shaping the braids.

Blueberry filling: combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly.

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid04

Making the blueberry filling

Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool. It will thicken as it cools.

Blueberry filling, cooled and thickened

Blueberry filling, cooled and thickened

Egg glaze: combine the egg and milk in a bowl and lightly beat until combined.

Egg glaze

Egg glaze

Cream cheese filling: combine all the ingredients in a bowl

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid07

Makings of the cream cheese filling

and mix until combined.

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid08

Cheesecake, anyone?

Once your filling has cooled off, take the dough out of the refrigerator. It will have risen with all its might overnight, like this:

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid09

Gently deflate it and divide into two pieces, one for each braid. Use a rolling pin to shape each piece into a thin (~ 1 cm / slightly less than 1/3-inch thick) rectangle.

This particular photo was taken during my pre-rolling pin era. Hence, my trusty [ex] water bottle.

This particular photo was taken during my pre-rolling pin era. Hence, my trusty (ex) water bottle.

Spread your cream cheese filling, then blueberry filling on top, in the center of the dough. It’s hard (heh heh) but try not to overdo it because too much filling will make it harder to braid, and you’ll end up with a pretty messy and leaky loaf.

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid11

Slice the sides of the dough at an angle so you end up with tabs around 1 inch wide. We’re going to use these tabs to form the braid.

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid12

Alternating from side to side, fold the pieces in over the filling. When possible, gently press on the tabs to seal the folds. Floyd at The Fresh Loaf has a good photo of how to do this step. You’ll end up with two braids that will probably look a lot neater than these ones:

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid13

After it has been fully folded, glaze the braid with egg wash. Cover loosely with plastic – you can place the entire baking pan in a clean kitchen garbage bag. Set aside to rise until puffy looking and doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.

Just before placing the braid in the oven, glaze it again with any remaining egg wash. Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven for approximately 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan once after 20 minutes so that it bakes evenly. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for at least half an hour before slicing.

Good stuff x 2

Good stuff x 2

Another shot:

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid15

Blueberry cream cheese braid crumb:

20090101blueberrycreamcheesebraid16

Here’s a point-and-shoot photo of the spread for tonight’s baked goods. Freshly baked homemade bread = great party!

blueberry cream cheese braid, cinnamon raisin buns, chewy coconut cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, garlic buns, pineapple and raisin cream cheese buns, cinnamon streusel coffeecake.

The spread, starting from blueberry cream cheese braid and going clockwise: blueberry cream cheese braid, cinnamon raisin buns, chewy coconut cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, garlic buns, pineapple and raisin cream cheese buns, cinnamon streusel coffeecake.

* * *

I’m sending a slice over to Susan at Wild Yeast for Yeastspotting, to Floyd at The Fresh Loaf for sharing this recipe, as well as to all of you who’ve been reading and supporting my blog this year.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

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29 Responses to “Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid”

  1. laurelg1 Says:

    This looks awesome!

  2. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    Here’s to bread for dessert and a wonderful 2009!

  3. Madam Chow Says:

    This is just fabulous! Bread + blueberries + cream cheese = what’s not to like?!

  4. Jessica@Foodmayhem Says:

    OMG, that looks so damn good. I would totally accept that as dessert, or breakfast, or a meal, whatever, I just want some.

  5. foolishpoolish Says:

    Mmm that has me hankering for blueberries now. Most I ever did with them in the past was muffins. That bread is simply gorgeous!

  6. snooky doodle Says:

    this looks great :) wow

  7. Bellajac Says:

    Oh wow! this looks yum!

  8. chopchopatoz Says:

    oh YUM! This looks WONDERFUL! Every time I read your blog I just want to go strait to my kitchen and start to make a bread right away :)

    ♪♪♪♪♪HAPPY ’09 to Toxo Bread! ♪♪♪♪♪

  9. Andrea Says:

    Now this looks wonderful. I love a cream cheese danish (do you mind if I call it danish?) and I can’t wait to see your Scandinavian bread next year!

  10. toxobread Says:

    laurelg1, snooky doodle, bellajac: thanks!

    Susan: Here’s to bread as my favourite part of any meal, and to a great (baking-filled) 2009!

    Madam Chow: I swoon for bread + blueberries + cream cheese. Once I saw that recipe, I knew I had to make it, and make it I did. Again, and again, again and again ha ha.

    Jessica: we totally had it for dessert and then for breakfast/brunch the next day, and it was *great*.

    FP: I love me some blueberry muffins too, especially with lemon. But you’re such a yeasty bread baker, you should try this – guarantee no disappointments! You’d have to convert it to mass measurements though.

    Van: Thanks! It’s really gratifying to hear how these recipes have inspired and gotten people excited about bread – ditto with your recipes!
    All the very best in the new year to you too. :)

    Andrea: No worries, I would definitely call this a danish too except this isn’t strictly a laminated dough, but more brioche-like? But wonderful all the same.

  11. Jude Says:

    What a nice spread….. Everything looks perfect! I’ll definitely go for the braid first, though.

    • toxobread Says:

      Jude: So would I! Except… my mom wisely put (hid?) the braid in the oven while we had dinner and then brought it out at the last minute for dessert.

  12. sowmya Says:

    this bread looks so beautiful with the blueberry filling….would love to try thi sone..

    • toxobread Says:

      Sowmya: I highly recommend this bread – it sounds complicated with two different fillings and a dough that needs to be refrigerated overnight, but it really is fairly straightforward to make, and the dough is quite forgiving. Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it out. :)

  13. glenda Says:

    This looks so good and will be trying it! Thanks for sharing. Also will be sending this on to my cousin, who loves blueberries!!!!

  14. toxobread Says:

    Glenda: Your cousin will love it for sure. I like the combination of blueberries and cream cheese, although sour cherries, blackberries or apple will probably pair equally nicely too. Endless combinations = many braids to enjoy in the future, mmmmm.

  15. paolo Says:

    Very good looking recipe….I feel like to try to make it right now! just one thing: did anybody replace the yeast with sourdough? if yes, how much did he/she use?
    Thanks in advance

  16. toxobread Says:

    Paolo: thanks, I hope you do try it! It’s a fantastic recipe.
    I haven’t heard from anyone who used sourdough (as in a starter to substitute for the yeast), but I’m sure it’s possible. The dough resembles brioche or a very rich challah, so if you have any recipes for those that use sourdough, you could estimate the amount of sourdough needed based on those recipes, and adjust the amount of flour and water in this recipe accordingly.
    Or even simpler, you could pick your favourite sweet bread dough and use that as the base, and then assemble it into a braid with the blueberry and cream cheese filling.
    Give me a shout when you give it a try, and good luck! :)

  17. Pineapple and raisin cream cheese buns « Toxo Bread Says:

    [...] colada-ish bun. **I happened to have a bit of the cream cheese filling left over from making the blueberry cream cheese braid and used that, which turned out [...]

  18. Angel Says:

    I am making this bread this evening. We have tried a blueberry cream cheese braid before. Husband got one from a fundraiser at work. All u had to do was let it thaw and raise it was so good. So now I am going to make my own.

  19. toxobread Says:

    Hi Angel: It’s always fun to try and bake your own bread, especially with something delicious like a blueberry cream cheese braid. The recipe is flexible enough that you could use your favourite basic sweet dough (for example, one that does not require an overnight bulk fermentation in the refrigerator) and then shape with the blueberry and cream cheese filling.
    Good luck and happy baking! I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

  20. Lu Ann Says:

    Just wondering how long can you keep a cooked cream cheese baked goods out of the refridgerator?

  21. toxobread Says:

    Lu Ann: I’ve baked this cream cheese braid to be eaten on the same day, or if not, then well wrapped for the next day. Unfortunately I’ve always made it for gatherings where lots of people would finish it off, but I imagine after a day you’d really want to keep it in the refrigerator, and gently warm it up in the oven when you’re ready for some more.

  22. sarita zacarias Says:

    OMG that looks DELISIOSO,

  23. Ginger Pumpkin Braid « Toxo Bread Says:

    [...] fact, I made a variation of this for Netter’s birthday: I added cream cheese filling from the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid and topped that with thinly sliced apples that had been lightly cooked. The spices, pumpkin, cream [...]

  24. Amber Says:

    Thank you for your wonderful pictures!

    I just made this and it came out great.
    I did do things a bit different so I could do all my work on day 1 – so day 2 morning would be easy and I could get the bread done sooner….

    After kneading the dough – I divided it and put the dough into 2 large rectangle plastic containers. Let it rise until doubled (like the recipe says) took them out to deflate by simply pressing out the air with my hands to make a flat rectangle and then folding it into thirds and then back into the containers. Then they went into the fridge.
    Also, I made the blueberry filling on day one. And I also made the cream cheese filling – with out the egg wash.
    Then in the morning – everything was ready to go.

    Since the dough was in a rectangle container it made it much easier to roll out. I just turned over the container onto a parchment sheet deflated by pressing it flat with my fingers and then rolled it out per the recipe. I added the egg wash to the cream cheese filling and assembled.
    Then I followed the rest of the recipe.

    It was super easy!
    Thanks again!

  25. Edie Says:

    How long can you keep yeast dough refrigerated? Have some over 5 days and it has a strong yeast smell. Can I still use it?

    • toxobread Says:

      Hi Edie,
      The longest I’ve kept this recipe’s dough is two days in the fridge. If your dough smells very strongly of alcohol, colour looks more grayish and there is no “strength” to it, the yeast may have already exhausted all of the sugars in the dough and it won’t rise properly. You could also try going ahead with it and seeing if it will rise (if it doesn’t, I don’t know if I would bake it…).
      If in the future you know that you won’t be able to use the dough the next day, you can always freeze it, and then thaw it in the fridge the day before you plan to actually assemble the braid.
      Good luck, and hope the dough is still usable!
      Jackie

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