Cream Cheese Raisin Filled Braid

READY IN: 4hrs 20mins




  • Bread:
  • In a small bowl combine the yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, and warm water (100-110 degrees Fahrenheit). Let it "proof" for about ten minutes to be sure the yeast is active and to give it a head start. If the yeast expand and rise, instead of just sitting at the bottom, the yeast is ready to use.
  • Combine the 1/2 cup sugar, salt, 1 cup flour, and softened butter, in the mixer bowl, then add the yeast when it is ready.
  • Mix on speed 2 with paddle mixer until well blended.
  • Add the egg until well blended on speed 2.
  • Add 1 cup of flour and mix on speed 2 for several minutes until well blended.
  • When the mixture seems too thick for the paddle, switch to the dough hook (may be after the next addition of flour).
  • Add another cup of flour and knead until combined.
  • Add 1/2 cup of flour and mix until the dough is well combined and forms a ball around the dough hook.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, place in a well greased bowl, and let rise in a warm place (80-85 deg.) until doubled, about one hour.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling.
  • Place about 1 cup cottage cheese in a blender and whirl on high speed until mostly pureed. Press the creamed cottage cheese through a fine strainer until you have 1/2 cup.
  • In stand mixer, mix 1/2 cup creamed cottage cheese, softened cream cheese, confectioners sugar, lemon peel, and egg yolk until well blended. Add raisins and mix lightly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Back to the bread, after one hour of rising, punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured surface prepared for rolling. Let rest 15 minutes.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet.
  • Roll dough into a 15" by 12" rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin, and then place the dough on the cookie sheet.
  • Place the cookie sheet and dough in front of you so that it looks long (vertical) instead of wide. Spread the filling in a 4 inch strip down the middle of the length of the dough. Cut the dough on the sides of the filling into 1 inch strips horizontally, leaving about a 1/2 inch of uncut dough before you reach the filling.
  • Pull the strips at an angle across the filling, alternating sides so that it looks braided, making sure each piece of dough is touching the other,and tucked in well, so that the strips stay in place as the dough rises. Pinch the last strip at the bottom to seal and also pinch together any parts that have filling oozing through.
  • Cover the braid and place in a warm place (80-85 degrees Fahrenheit) until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg white in a cup and brush over the loaf. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a rack. Enjoy!