When my friend Sonia, the notorious foodie sleuth, sent me the link for this recipe, I wasted no time getting to it. With a title like “Sweet Cheese Bread”, it called my name. I like to give credit whenever possible to the source of a recipe when it isn’t my own creation. So before I could write it up, some sleuthing was in order.
In tracing this recipe I learned that it came to me from Sonia via a blog named Our Eventual Homestead who apparently got it from another website named Savory Reviews who copied it from a site named The Merlin Menu and from there I traced it, in part, to King Arthur Flour. So I cannot adequately site the source of this recipe except to assert that I got it from my friend, Sonia. And I’m grateful that she sent it because it’s amazing in taste and ease.
The directions were not entirely clear so read them twice before you begin. Be sure to assemble your mise en place with care to avoid errors. The recipe shows two eggs, for example, but fails to note the third egg yolk necessary for the final glaze on the dough in the ingredient list. You should also note that the ingredient list is not in order of use so read and measure with care. Please become familiar with the recipe before you proceed.
I’ve made variations of this in the past but none were as simple and easy as this one, once I understood what I was expected to do.
The apparently often-copied recipe is this:
Sweet Cheese Bread
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Begin by mixing the yeast, water, milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Wait for the yeast to become bubbly, about five minutes.
- Once the yeast is bubbly mix in the remaining dough ingredients and knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise for about 45 minutes or until it is puffy (but not doubled in size).
- While your dough rises, make the filling by mixing all the ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
- Once your dough has risen it is time to assemble the bread. Place dough on a lightly floured board, punch down and let rest for five minutes. Use a rolling pin and roll the dough out into a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. You could also cut the dough in half and make two smaller loaves if you wanted. Transfer the rolled dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread your filling down the center third of your dough.
- Cut strips about 2-3″ wide from each side of the filling to the edge of your dough. Fold the ends of your dough over to contain your filling and then begin folding your strips over the filling at an angle, alternating from side to side.
- Allow your braids to rise, covered, for about 1-1 1/2 hours. The braids should almost double in size during this time. Beat one egg yolk with a tablespoon of water and brush lightly over your dough as a glaze.
- Bake your bread at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
I discovered that this baked in less than the allotted time. It is also quite easy to reheat, covered in foil, in a low heat oven (about 180°-200°). I served this one with sliced strawberries spread over the top but you can come up with your own variations. The enhancements aren’t necessary but a bit of color goes well with this to improve its presentation.