Cream Cheese Danish Braid

  

This definitely goes down on the list of things I have made that turned out very well. Not only does it look great but it tasted pretty good as well. I was impressed with myself for how it turned out. It was also fairly easy to make although there is close to 3 hours of “down time” where you are either letting the yeast get happy or letting the dough rise. It’s not hard work during those times but you have to have a decent amountif time to dedicate to getting it put together. 

I made this in the evening and then put it in the fridge before getting it back out in the morning for breakfast. I waited until the next morning to do the glaze and almonds although that could have been done the night before as well. It does say that you can make it up until the point of baking it and then put it in the fridge overnight. Baking it in the morning would allow for it to be nice and warm. You would just need to let it get to room temperature before baking. 

The only change I made is the whole wheat flour I used was all purpose instead of pastry. I may have made more cuts along the edges to make the “braid” than it called for but it still worked. 

Recipe taken from the November 2013 issue of Cooking Light

Sponge

  • 6 tablespoons very warm milk (120 to 130 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package quick rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Dough

  • 7.9 ounces all purpose flour
  • 2.25 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

To prepare the sponge, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well with a whisk. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. 

To prepare the dough, weigh out the flours into a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dough ingredients plus all of the sponge. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 1 minute or until well combined. Add flour, reserving some for later, and beat on low speed for 3 minutes or until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes) adding in the remaining flour to keep it from sticking. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until doubled in size. 

To prepare the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. 

Punch dough down; roll dough into a 12×15 rectangle (approximately) on lightly floured parchment paper. Spread filling down the center leaving a 5″ border around the sides and a 1″ border on the top and bottom. Cut the dough on each side from the filling out to the edge making each piece about 1″ wide. Fold the pieces in over the filling, alternating each side and overlapping to form a “braid”. Fold the top and bottom edges in as well. Press dough together to seal as needed. Transfer braid, on parchment paper, to a baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 45 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1 teaspoon of water and the egg in a small bowl. Brush egg wash onto the top of the braid. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. 

Combine powdered sugar and milk. Add as much or little of each to reach your preferred consistency. I went with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and added extra milk to make it easier to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over braid and top with almonds. 

As I mentioned at the beginning, I made this the night before so it was cold when served. I’m sure it would be great warm.  You could always warm it up in the microwave if desired (especially with leftovers) something that just occurred to me. But it was great cold too. 

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