The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid, regifted

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid, regifted

One of the all-time favorite recipes here on TFL is the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid that Floyd posted clear back in 2005.  If you haven't yet, or haven't recently, read that post and the long string of comments that follow, I suggest that you have a look.  There are a lot of good ideas in that thread.

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I've been twiddling with that recipe.  And, since the ingredients for that recipe were measured entirely in volumetric units, I've recast them grams.  If you compare this version to the one that Floyd posted, you'll notice that the dough for this one isn't quite as rich (one egg instead of two) and that it has been converted from a sponge and dough approach to a straight dough.  

Four fillings have also been cadged from the original string and each has received its share of tinkering.  

Note that I have retained the original two braid yield for the recipe.  More often than not, though, I make three braids instead of two since I find the smaller braids easier to handle.  The smaller braids are also a great size for gifting.

Herewith my "regifted" version of the Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid:

 

Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid

Profile: Enriched dough

Recommended equipment: two small mixing bowls, medium mixing bowl, sturdy mixing spoon (or stand mixer), whisk. saucepan, measuring cups and spoons (or scale), bench knife, bowl scraper, rolling pin, half-sheet baking sheet, baking parchment or Silpat, pastry brush, cooling rack

Yield: 2 braids

Dough:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Milk, warm

1 ½ cup

300g

Yeast, active dry

2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet)

7g

Sugar, granulated

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons

75g

Eggs

1 each

50g

Salt

1 ½ teaspoons

9g

Butter, unsalted, softened

½ cup

110g

All purpose flour

3 ½-4 cups

500g

Pour the milk into a medium mixing bowl and scatter the yeast on the milk.  Allow the yeast to soften, about 5 minutes; it will sink. 

Mix in the sugar, eggs, salt, and butter until all are evenly distributed.

Add the flour to the bowl. Mix vigorously until all ingredients are combined in a rough dough.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop until it is smooth and satiny; 6-8 minutes.

Place the dough back in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it is doubled in bulk.  This may take an hour or so if kitchen temperatures are in the mid-70s.  (You could also put the bowl in the refrigerator and let the dough rise overnight, if you wish.)

 

Egg Glaze:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Egg, large

1 each

50g

Milk

1 tablespoon

15g

Beat the egg and milk together.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

 

Cream Cheese Filling:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Cream cheese, softened

¾ cup

174g

Sugar, granulated

2 tablespoons

25g

Vanilla extract

½ teaspoon

2g

Egg glaze (see above)

1 tablespoon

15g

While the dough ferments, mix the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg glaze in a small bowl until uniformly combined.

 

Blueberry Filling:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Blueberries*, fresh or frozen

2 cups

260g

Sugar, granulated

¼ cup

50g

Cornstarch

3 tablespoons

24g

Lemon juice

2 tablespoons

30g

*Raspberries, blackberries, or pitted cherries could be substituted for, or combined with, the blueberries.

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a spreadable consistency.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.

When the dough has doubled in volume, remove it from the bowl and divide in half.  Cover one half with the bowl or plastic wrap.  Lightly flour the counter top and roll the first half into a 9x12 inch rectangle.  Slide the rectangle onto a sheet of baking parchment or a silicone pan liner.  Arrange the dough so that the short edge is facing you.  Starting at the top of the rectangle, cut the right-hand third into a series of ½-inch wide strips that angle toward you, chevron style.  Then repeat the process on the left-hand third of the dough to complete the chevron, making sure to cut the same number of strips that you did on the right-hand side.  Leave the center third untouched.

Cover the center third of the rectangle by evenly spreading one-half of the cream cheese filling.  Then spread one-half of the cooled fruit filling evenly over the cream cheese base.

Fold the top edge of the rectangle over the filling, then criss-cross the first set of strips across the filling; left to right and right to left.  Repeat criss-crossing each left-right pair of strips across the filling until reaching the next-to-last pair.  Fold the bottom edge of the dough over the filling, then finish criss-crossing the last two pairs of strips.  For maximum neatness and leak prevention, tuck the end of each strip into the edge of the filled area.  Use the parchment or pan liner as a sling to pick up the braid and place it on a baking sheet.  Brush the surface of the braid with some of the egg glaze.

Repeat the shaping process for the second braid.  Cover both braids with plastic and let them rise until they double.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Uncover the braids and give them one final coating with the remaining egg glaze.  Bake the braids in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes.  If needed, turn the pan midway through the bake so that the braids bake evenly.

Remove the braids from the oven and place them on a cooling rack.  Cover them with a towel and let them cool for at least one hour.

 

Berries aren’t the only choice for filling the braids.  Some additional options are shown below:

 

Peach Filling:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Peaches, fresh or frozen, chopped

3 cups

500g

Cinnamon, ground

1 ½ teaspoons

4g

Butter

1 tablespoons

14g

Sugar, granulated

¼ cup

50g

Cornstarch

3 tablespoons

24g

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture achieves a spreadable consistency, then cool to room temperature before spreading the filling on top of the cream cheese layer.

 

Apple Filling:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Apples, peeled and chopped

2 cups

360g

Lemon juice

2 tablespoons

30g

Sugar, light brown, packed

¼ cup

55g

Cornstarch

2 tablespoons

16g

Cinnamon

1 teaspoon

3g

Nutmeg

1 teaspoon

3g

Butter

1 tablespoon

14g

Nuts, chopped (optional)

1 cup

115g

Put the butter, brown sugar, and nuts (if using) in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to combine.  When the butter/sugar mixture has melted, add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch to the saucepan.  Continue to cook and stir the filling until it thickens to a spreadable consistency.  It is not necessary to fully cook the apples, since they will continue to cook as the braid is baked.  Cool the filling to room temperature before using.  Just before placing the braids in the oven to bake, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the last coat of egg glaze.

 

Cranberry Filling:

 

Ingredient

Volume (U.S.)

Weight (metric)

Cranberries, chopped

2 cups

199g

Orange zest and juice

1 orange

--

Sugar, granulated

½ cup

100g

Cinnamon

1 teaspoon

3g

Grand Marnier or Cointreau or Triple Sec

¼ cup

59g

Cornstarch

3 tablespoons

24g

Combine the cranberries, orange juice and zest, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer the cranberries until they are tender.  Make a slurry of the liqueur and cornstarch.  Whisk the slurry into the berry mixture and cook while stirring until the filling reaches a spreadable consistency.  Cool to room temperature before using.

One last hint:

If you are really pressed for time, canned pie fillings work well in place of the home-made fruit fillings.

Comments

bonnibakes's picture
bonnibakes

This is a great recipe to fool around with. I agree about making 3 braids because they puff up quite a bit. One of my favorites is using a filling of firm pears, prepared following your directions for apples, and replacing the cream cheese filling with blue cheese mashed with a little heavy cream or cream cheese to thin it a bit. Caramelized onions scattered around add a nice flavor too. When I lived in Florida a filling of Mango and Cream Cheese was heavenly too.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

but the blue cheese with pears is a non-starter for my taste buds.  My wife loves blue cheese but I've never cared for it.  Pears with, let's see, toasted walnuts and freshly grated nutmeg?  That would light me up.

Paul

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

we make this famous recipe and most of the Fresh Lofians will make it quite often!  Thanks Paul and 

Merry Chrtistmas to you and yours

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I don't know that I'll ever leave it completely alone but this seems like a version worth sharing.

Paul

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

...And the fruit fillings sound fabulous with the cream cheese!

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Even if I made these in mini versions, I'm not quite sure how to make them work without an oven.  Feel free to put your own twist on these with local ingredients and your kitchen setup.

Paul

isand66's picture
isand66

Great job Paul!

Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays!

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Once I'd gotten the kinks worked out after making the weight conversions and some testing, it seemed entirely appropriate to share it with the rest of the TFL community. 

Happy New Year!

Paul

joann1536's picture
joann1536

Thank you for the update of a great recipe!  Although my original recipe is pretty splattered, I still love and use it.  I like your addition of the other possibilities for fillings, too.

Happy New Year!

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I have it in a Word file now, so a new one can be printed if the present copy absorbs too many drips or spills.  The fillings aren't my invention; I just picked them up from the original thread and tinkered with them a bit.  There were a couple that I didn't grab, so go back there for another look if you get tired of these.

Paul

joann1536's picture
joann1536

 My first time uploading a photo, and not sure how to make it a lot smaller...  regardless, the recipe remains a keeper!  

 

Blueberry cream cheese braids

pmccool's picture
pmccool

You've obviously had lots of practice.

Paul