Cream Cheese Braid

The natural tanginess of cream cheese gives this bread a subtle but distinctive flavor, reminiscent of cheesecake.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 35 minutesTotal: 3 hours 55 minutesDifficulty: Medium


Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 3 1⁄2 tsp. active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, diced
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 tsp. plus 1⁄8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine water, honey, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add 1 package cream cheese, butter, eggs, all-purpose flour, and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Add enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Return to bowl, dust the top with flour, and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface, divide into 4 equal portions, and form a 4-strand braid. Place onto prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Whisk egg white with remaining salt and brush the top of the risen loaf. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the loaf completely on a rack.
  • In a small bowl combine remaining package cream cheese with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Drizzle over bread before serving.