Check out my latest creation. This showstopper is a braided version of Wonder bread filled with sour cherries and almond cream cheese. The secret here is dried milk powder, don’t judge, just do it. This is AMAZING.
I used King Arthur Flour’s recipe for white breakfast bread, or what Americans like to call Wonder bread, but changed up the technique. Something about a bread machine reminded me too much of the robot that is Kate Gosselin. Also, I adapted the braiding method from Babkallah, and the cream cheese filling from Food Network’s Raspberry Danish Wreath.
Here’s how I did it. Keynote here: you don’t have to use sour cherries. If you are not a huge fan of the tartness, use strawberry, blueberry, or mango preserves. WHATEVER. This is your creation, your world; you can do what you want. Bob Ross was right. Even change the dough base if you want, just double check the baking temperature.
- 1¼ cups water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried milk powder
- 3 ¾ cups A.P. flour, plus more for dusting
- Warm water, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until thermometer registers 100° to 110°F. Remove from heat and sprinkle yeast on top; stir until yeast is dissolved. Let sit undisturbed for 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly. If mixture does not foam, start over.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and dried milk. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Let the dough rest, or autolyse, for 5-8 minutes.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and bouncy; about 5 minutes.
- Butter a large bowl. Add the dough, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. This was my oven with a warm water bath on the bottom.
Filling and Assembly
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon almond extract
- Flour for dusting
- ¾ jar sour cherry preserves, I like this Harvest Song brand; you can find it at Market Basket
1. With a hand mixer, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add one egg and blend until smooth. Mix in almond extract.
2. Turn out dough on a floured surface. Divide into thirds; roll each piece into a long 12×6” rectangle.
3. Spread cream cheese mixture on top, leaving a slight border around the edges.
4. Spread sour cherry preserves on top. YUM
5. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.
6. Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place until 1 ½ times larger, 1- 2 hours. This was fine at room temperature with the dryer running in the next room.
7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix one egg with tablespoon of water to create an egg wash. Brush braided loaf with egg wash. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning sheet pan halfway through, until golden brown and hollow sounding when knocked.
8. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and put on drying rack. Let bread cool and harden slightly until you cut into it.
This bread is so light and fluffy that you will most likely eat it all immediately, but IF you have leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.