My favorite way to make breakfast yeast breads is to make the dough the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This bread was easy to put together, my stand mixer did most of the work while I concentrated on making dinner. The hardest part was the braiding. I need practice as my braiding kinda fell apart! Oh, well, it still tasted great even though it could have looked prettier!
This was an easy and delicious breakfast treat. My Hubbers had three pieces, which is unusual for him. My next-door neighbors loved it, too. Any kind of jam would work as a substitute for the lemon curd. This bread will be made again and again!
Meyer Lemon Danish Bread
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package yeast
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup lemon curd (see recipe here)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
For the sponge, heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until very warm (120-130°F). Whisk together warm milk, sugar, yeast, and flour in a medium bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes.
For the dough, combine sugar, cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla, egg, and sponge in a large mixer bowl; beat at medium speed for 1 minute until combined. Add 2 cups flour and mix in at low speed until a soft dough forms, about 2 to 3 minutes. Switch out the flat beater for a dough hook, and knead dough for 4 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1/4 cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time to prevent dough from sticking. The dough is ready when it feels tacky but doesn't stick to your fingers.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with nonstick spray and cover with plastic. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 50 to 60 minutes. To check if dough has doubled, lightly flour two fingers and press them down into center of dough. If indentations remain, dough has risen enough.
While the dough rises, prepare the filling. Combine cream cheese, sugar, salt, Meyer lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust lightly with flour. Gently punch down dough and roll out into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle on prepared baking sheet. Use an offset spatula to spread cream cheese mixture down the center of the dough, leaving a 4-inch border on each side and a 1-inch border at the top and bottom. Spread Meyer lemon curd over the cream cheese filling. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut 15 1-inch strips on both sides of dough (be careful not to cut parchment paper).
Remove the four corner strips and fold top border down over filling. Work from top to bottom and fold strips over filling, alternating strips diagonally (begin by folding over the top left strip, then fold the top right strip, then a left strip, and so on). When all the strips are folded over filling, fold up the bottom border and press to seal. Cover braid loosely with plastic and let rise 25 minutes. (Prepare ahead: After braid rests, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake braid until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before glazing. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, Meyer lemon zest, and juice in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over braid and let set before serving.
Recipe adapted from: www.tutti-dolci.com