Monday, November 28, 2011

Apple Nuttie Cream Cheese Braided Bread

I hadn't made braided bread in awhile, so I'm a bit out of practice on the braiding part. The loaf on the left was my first attempt and I think I got it pretty good on the second loaf on the right side. It really doesn't matter how pretty the braid, really!! They are delicious!!

I adapted the recipe from a website called The Fresh Loaf whom I believe adapted the recipe from a book called The Bread Bible   by Beth Hensperger. I really only made a few minor adjustments. The other recipes were calling for berries and I chose apples. I also chose to change all the sugars to dark brown sugar and the butter to unsalted. And for the salt I chose sea salt. That is really pretty much all the adjustments, other than I really didn't see the need to refrigerate the dough over night when I had the time to put it all together during the morning hours. The dough was so nice and satiny, that it was very easy to roll and work with..

I had all the fixins for making these this morning and all the conditions were right too! It was cold in the kitchen and I needed to warm it up. So as usual my favorite way to do that is baking. I had most of a cream cheese block left over in the refrigerator from Thanksgiving pie crusts. I had lovely apples looking cheerful in a bowl. And I had that quart jar of pumpkin cream cheese frosting in the fridge left over from making those delightful pumpkin carrot cupcakes. All I had to do was thin out the frosting a bit to make glaze.

So what are we waiting for? Let's Bake!! First things first...the ingredients. This recipe makes two loaves. You may go ahead and prepare the glaze at any point if using the pumpkin cream cheese frosting that I used, or you can wait and prepare it in the end if you are just making a normal glaze of your choice.

1 tbsp. dry active yeast
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup warm organic whole milk
2 cups unbleached organic bread flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 1/2-3 cups unbleached organic bread flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Apple Nuttie Filling
4 large chopped Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup walnuts, crushed
1/3 cup corn starch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Cream Cheese Filling 
3/4 cup organic cream cheese
2 tbsp sugar
 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

See Recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting by clicking this link.


1. First we make the sponge. Simply warm the milk in a small sauce pan and add it to your bowl. Add the sugar, yeast and flour to the warm milk and whisk until well combines. Cover it with plastic wrap and a towel and place it in a warm place for about 30 minutes. It will become nice and bubbly.
2. While the sponge is fermenting, we make the filling. Add the crushed nuts, butter and sugar to a medium sauce pan on medium to medium low heat. Stir frequently until the nuts become a bit toasty and everything is well combined. Add the apples, lemon juice, cornstarch and spices and stir well until everything is well coated. Place the lid on the sauce pan and stir every now and then. I turned the burner off and set the pot aside to cool. The apples do not need to be completely cooked at this stage. They will finish while baking.
3. When the time is up for the sponge we can make the dough. I transfer the sponge to my mixing bowl and use the dough hook. Add the eggs, salt, sugar, and one cup of the flour to the sponge.Turn on mixer to speed 2 and mix until smooth. Begin to add the butter in small pieces and continue to knead with dough hook. The butter will not be completely incorporated at this time. Go ahead and begin to add the rest of the flour a little at a time. The dough will be slightly sticky, but will be smooth and will pull away from the sides of the bowl. The butter will be well combined as well.
4. Place dough in a warm and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Place in a warm spot until dough becomes double in size. Mine took about one hour.

5. Beat the cream cheese filling until light and fluffy.
6. When the dough has risen, dump it out on a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Roll the first half into a nice rectangle shape. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center and then spread the apple filling on top of it. 
7. Cut strips along the sides about one inch apart, leaving the ends wide to tuck in first.

8. Next, tuck your ends over. Then just alternate the strips by pulling them over one at a time. The first one I did, I didn't hide the ends with the next strip, but really did it pretty nicely on the second one. I think I need to make these more often for more practice. I don't think the family will mind one bit. 
9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slide your loaves carefully onto a large jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Cover them with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.
10. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. After taking them out of the oven, I slid the loaves onto a wire rack and then placed the wire rack back onto my jelly roll pan. That way when you glaze them the drippings will go onto the pan.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.
Happy Gardening and Happy Baking as well!



  1. I'm sure the loaves didn't last long enough to preclude any braid inspecting :D

  2. This one is going in my book of recipes. It looks delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  3. LOL Kaybe ;) they did go rather fast indeed!! Why sweat the small stuff haha!!

  4. Oh you are very welcome Tracey!!! Please Enjoy ;)!!