January 18, 2019

Braided Cream Cheese Danish

Perhaps Danish is the wrong word, but I disagree with Sprinkle Bake's original description of coffee cake. This is a sweet, yet not overly sweet, dough that comes together quickly despite the use of yeast. I made the original cream cheese filling, with an unwelcome addition, this time. I accidentally omitted the cup of sugar in the filling, so I have a rather bland cream cheese filling. I did add some jam on top of the cream cheese, so that helps somewhat, but I'm disappointed because it's just not as amazing as I anticipated due to my own error.

However, for how quickly the dough came together, and as forgiving as it was for me subbing 3 types of flour, I want to repeat this. (On a side note, how on earth did I run out of all-purpose flour?) I think a chocolate filling would be stunning. Heck, I bet the original filling would be pretty amazing if I remembered all the ingredients.

Update: I made it with the filling from this Chocolate Babka from Brown Eyed Baker. I doubled the filling to ensure I had enough for both loaves. It was heavenly.

Braided Cream Cheese Danish
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 eggs, room temperature
6 cups flour
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Cream Cheese Filling
2 cups cream cheese
1 cup sugar (Note: This is important.)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
2 eggs
2 tsp. lemon extract
Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup pearl or coarse sugar

To make the dough, heat the milk, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar melts, and a few small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, and let stand at room temperature.

Dissolve the yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a bowl with warm water (about 90°F). Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs into the yeast, and then stir in the cooled milk (about 98°F). Add in the flour a little at a time, until the dough begins to become elastic. Add in the melted butter, and then stir in more flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Butter a large bowl with the remaining butter, and place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise about 45 minutes until doubled.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese filling by beating together all the ingredients. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet or two medium ones with parchment paper. Punch down the dough, and cut into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 x 15 rectangle. Spread half the filling lengthwise down the center third of each rectangle. Cut 1-inch strips from each side of the filling to the edges of the dough, angling all the cuts in the same direction. Fold the dough over the filling at each end, and then fold the strips over each other across the filling. (See the original blog post for a great description and visual.)

Carefully transfer each braid to the prepared sheet. Brush with beaten egg yolk, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let them stand at room temperature until slightly puffy but not doubled, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Bake 15 to 25 minutes or until bread is golden brown and fragrant. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 large loaves.

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