Cherry Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

You can braid nearly any bread—including your favorite recipe.   We often grab a mix—that makes it even easier.  And you can stuff your bread with either a sweet or a savory filling.

For this project, we made a cherry bread with a cream cheese frosting.  We used a Buttermilk White Bread Mix but you can use any mix or recipe you like.  We used a cherry pastry filling but a pie filling or Chubby Cherry would have worked well.

Here’s how to do it:

Follow the package directions or a recipe if you are using one.  You can set your bread machine to the dough cycle and mix the bread in the machine or you can use your stand-type mixer.

Place the bread dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled—about 1 1/2 hours.   Prepare a large baking sheet by greasing and sprinkling with cornmeal.

Once raised, use a knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces if you are using a one-loaf mix or recipe.

With a rolling pin, roll the pieces into rectangles about 12 inches by 7 inches.  Spread the filing to within 1/2 inch of the edges.  Roll each rectangle long ways, pinwheel fashion, as if you were making miniature cinnamon rolls.  Pinch the edges and ends to seal in the filling.

Braid the three ropes as shown in a common three strand braid just as if you were braiding pigtails.  (Some people find it easier to create a symmetrical shape if they start braiding from the center.)   When you get to the ends, wet them, pinch them together, and tuck them under.  You should have a neat, symmetrical loaf when you are through.  You can shape the loaf somewhat with your hands.  If you don’t like how the loaf looks, simply pull the braids apart and start again.

Place the finished loaf on the prepared sheet.  The formed loaf will be about 12-inches long but after rising and baking, it will be much longer so be sure to allow room on your sheet for expansion.  Cover the loaf and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes then cover the bread with a large sheet of aluminum foil to protect the top.  Continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread crust is a deep golden brown.  The interior of the loaf should register 190 degrees with an insta-read thermometer.

Variations

You can get very creative with your stuffed bread.  For savory breads, try cooked sausage, pesto, cheese, and sautéed vegetables.  For a glaze on your bread, use an egg wash before baking.

There are a thousand different sweet breads that you can make.  Use spices, pastry fillings, dried fruit, purées, and cream cheese fillings.  The next recipe is a good example.

Chocolate Stuffed and Braided Bread

This is one of my all time favorite stuffed bread recipes.  It’s loaded with chocolate, a dessert bread.