Breads & Pastries

Chocolate-Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid

Makes 2 loaves

4 1/2 teaspoons or 2 packets active dry yeast

          or 4 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 cup warm water (95’F)

1 teaspoon Sugar

1/2 cup Bread Flour

1 cup milk, scalded

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups Bread Flour

Egg wash: 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1T Water

1/4 cup butter

In a small bowl or 2 cup measure combine the yeast, warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and set aside until bubbly and very active, about 10 to 15 minutes.

          Meanwhile, scald the milk. Pour immediately into a large bowl and add the butter, salt, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir to melt the butter. When the mixture is lukewarm, add the yeast mixture and mix together.

Add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and scrape out the bowl. Lightly oil the bowl and set aside.

          Knead the dough, using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the board. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky. (The secret a soft, tender bread is a soft dough.)

          Place the dough into the oiled bowl, turn to oil all surfaces and cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel. Let sit in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled.

          Preheat oven to 375. Punch down dough and round into a ball. Divide in half, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.

          Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a rough rectangle about 1/4” thick. Draw two light lines on each rectangle, lengthwise, to divide the dough into three equal sections. Spread 1/2 the jam down the center section, leaving 1” of clear space at either end. Top the jam with half of the filling. Sprinkle 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips down center of filling. Cut 1” wide strips from edge of filing to outer edge of the dough. Fold the ends over, and bring the dough strips across the filling on a diagonal, alternating from side to side, like a two-stranded braid. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and a clean towel, and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

          Preheat your oven to 375. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. Bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they’re rich golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Filling:

1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoon soft butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoom ClearJel or 3 tablespoons flour

1 egg

1/2 cup raspberry jam mixed with 2 tablespoon ClearJel or flour

1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

To make filling: In a medium-sized bow, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix in the ClearJel or flour and the egg, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl thoroughly. Set aside.

Lori Morrissey (Jamie’s Cousin)

Reunion, Colorado

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