This sweet bread recipe is to die for! It is so soft and moist and flavorful, I love making cinnamon rolls and even regular bread loaves out of it. This dough recipe will actually make enough for two braids, or one braid and 9 cinnamon rolls. My husband said it tasted like a donut, so that got me thinking.... I think I'm going to experiment and try to make Danish Pastries out of this dough recipe with an apple cinnamon and custard filling, I'll post pics if it turns out good!
(King Arthur Flour Co. recipe)
3/4 c. warm water
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs active dry yeast
1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt (most small yogurts are exactly 3/4 cup, so that makes it easy!)
*You can also substitute plain or lemon yogurt
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla or almond flavoring, or 2 tsp. citrus zest
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 c. flour (to measure flour, always stir it to "fluff" it up, and then spoon it into the cup container and level)
1 egg + 2 Tbs. milk for egg wash
Filling for braid:
(You can use any type of pie filling, or a chocolate ganache, or almond filling would be good too)
1 can cherry pie filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Sliced almonds to sprinkle on top
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and 2 tsp sugar, stir to dissolve. Stir in yeast and 1/2 c. flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until bubbly and active, about 10-15 minutes.
In a large bowl (of bowl of KitchenAid if you have one) combine the yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing until the dough comes away cleanly fro the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, knead about 5 minutes, until soft and pliable but not sticky. Let the dough rest while you clean and grease the bowl. Finish kneading the dough until it's smooth, supple, and springy.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn to coat all surfaces, cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel, and let sit in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled.
Before dough is done rising, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
Preheat oven to 375
Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half.
Working with one half at a time, roll out into large rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Leaving half the dough uncut down the middle (this is where you'll place your filling) make nine cuts down each side to make your braid pieces. Cut out the four corners so that you have a lip in the center on each end. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture down the middle, place 1/2 the cherry filling on top. Starting at one end, pull the lip up and press down on sides to secure. Take one braid piece and fold over and secure. Now take another piece from the opposite side and secure, repeat with remaining pieces. Before you reach the end, pull up lip and secure and then finish braid.
Lightly beat egg and milk and brush over braid. Sprinkle almonds on top. Repeat with remaining dough piece or make into cinnamon rolls.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until braid is a golden brown.