A delicious and slightly flaky braided bread filled with the goodness of tangy cream cheese and sweet jam. Gorgeous and perfect for tea parties!
If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting a lot or making new recipe videos lately, it’s because I haven’t been in the blogging groove for a long while now. I haven’t been feeling like myself these past few months. I’m not normally this uninspired and dispirited. I had expected that at some point, juggling my day-job with a strict blogging schedule would take its toll on me both physically and mentally. I think it’s finally happening.
I mean, I like my job, but the one thing I hate about it is the fact that I only get one-day weekends. It’s simply too exhausting to work all day and spend pretty much the rest of my “rest time” working on the blog. The type of food blogging I do involving all the cooking and baking from scratch is extremely time-consuming, tiring, and even frustrating at times. I think if I didn’t have this deep love for it, I would’ve given up long ago.
I don’t want to complain since it was my choice to start this in the first place, but it’s sad how lately I’ve forgotten what it feels like to TRULY enjoy this little hobby of mine. I’m terrified of the day this blog starts feeling like a chore, because I think it’s clear that the things I’ve shared here so far show my passion for what I’m doing. I don’t want to wake up one morning and just decide to throw away everything that I’ve invested so far in this blog.
At the core of all this is my love for writing and photography. I love the fact that this type of blogging allows me to practice both at the same time. But then I also love doing many other things; and to be able to do them all on a one-day weekend means I have to sacrifice one thing for the other. So you see, I have loads of excuses to put blogging on the back-burner.
And that brings up the question: Where has my passion for this gone?
I think there are many factors that slowly chipped away at my enthusiasm over time. I also really hated how some marketing people approached me as if I owed them for the collaboration opportunities they presented me with. I may not run a famous blog, but I take pride in creating quality content. I can’t deny that I’ve been lucky to have worked with a lot of amazing people as well, but they only highlight the dismay I feel for people who endlessly demand things from me while constantly delaying their end of the bargain. (Then why’d you accept the job, you might ask? Well it’s hard to know someone until you start working with them.)
Even worse are brands and restaurants that don’t have the decency to ask for my permission whenever they use my photos for their own purposes. Imagine my surprise every time I come across an Instagram ad using a food-styled photo I took with my watermark cropped out. Isn’t it common courtesy to communicate with the owner before you take something of theirs? I’m not coming up with all those photos for their benefit, and if I’m making an unsolicited review of their product I don’t owe them anything!
Where’s the respect for another person’s hard work? Is sending a message to ask for permission so damn hard? Many people think that food blogging (or any form of serious blogging for that matter) is simple, but if you have a longterm goal for your blog and aren’t just doing spur of the moment posts, it is NOT easy. Much like everything else, it requires planning, time, and lots of effort. It even requires money! Ingredients and hosting do not buy themselves, you know. And yet many still don’t get it.
I guess piling emotions is one of the things that also make me want to take a break from all of this. But the recent bright spot is this recipe video I’m sharing today about this Sour Cream Braided Bread.
I actually started editing this some time ago and only reopened the file yesterday, and somehow when I started working on it again I felt that familiar spark. I had missed editing videos after all. Now if only I had the energy to shoot more of these to edit haha! I haven’t brainstormed for new concepts and content in a while, so let’s just focus on this Braided Bread for now.
As stated on the title, it’s one of my favorite recipes ever. First of all, the Braided Bread design looks incredible despite how easy it is to assemble. (Hopefully you feel the same way after watching the video.) Secondly, this is just so damn good! The bread itself is soft inside with a slightly crusty exterior, and it has a nice mildly rich flavor thanks to the sour cream that goes into the dough. The filling of cream cheese and jam then makes it all come together.
You can use any jam that you like for this. Since the recipe makes two Braided Breads– and trust me, you should make both because this bread is too good– I actually decided to use a different jam for each bread just for fun. They were both just sitting around in the fridge anyway. You can use whatever jam you have or use your fave. It goes on top of the cream cheese mixture that has an egg in it. Once you bake the breads, the cream cheese and jam turn into this sort of jellied filling.
I highly recommend eating this Braided Bread warm because then the filling is juicier than normal and the bread seems crispier on the outside and softer on the inside too.
Professing my love for this Braided Bread sure brings out some nice feelings, but I think that for now, I’ll only be posting when I feel like it. I do still have some backlogs waiting to fly. Hopefully I’ll get out of this rut soon and be back with some brand spanking new content. Enjoy this Braided Bread nonetheless, because I sure did! (Bless you King Arthur Flour for coming up with the recipe for this!) 🙂
Jam & Cream Cheese-Filled Braided Sour Cream Bread
Makes 2 loaves
For the dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg yolk, white reserved for glazing
- ⅓ cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
For the filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon softened butter or sour cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided use
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup jam of choice*
For the topping
- 1 egg white, reserved from dough
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ¼ cup coarse white sugar or chopped nuts, optional
Make the dough
- 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients and mix briefly with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough is formed. Attach bowl to the mixer and using the dough hook, knead until dough becomes a smooth ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. The dough will seem very dry at first; DO NOT add more liquid. It'll come together and become smooth.
- 2. Form the dough into a round with a smooth top and place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with cling wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes. At the end of rising time it will look just slightly risen.
Five minutes before end of rising time, make the filling
- 3. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter/sour cream, sugar, salt, extract (if using), 2 Tablespoons flour, and egg until well-combined. If there are a few very small lumps that's okay.
- 4. In another small bowl, whisk together jam and the last 2 Tablespoons of flour.*
- 5. Divide the "risen" dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, shape into a round and place the first piece of dough on the parchment paper you will use to bake the bread with. Roll out it into a 10-x15-inch rectangle.**
- 6. Visualize dividing your rolled out dough into three lengthwise, then spread half the cream cheese mixture in a 2.5 inch-wide swath down the center of the rectangle. Leave at least 1.5-inches of dough bare on all sides. Spread half the jam mixture on top of the cream cheese.
- 7. Using a knife, make slightly angled 1/2-inch cuts on the bare portions of the dough all the way to the end. (The dough will resemble a critter with legs!) Be careful not to cut right into the cream cheese-jam filling. Fold the bottom and top portions of bare dough over the filling to seal. (You can also spread the jam first if you want.)
- 8. Starting at one end, pull the cut strips up and over the filling in a slightly diagonal direction, alternating sides so that each strip overlaps the next. Pinch the last strips against the top/bottom portion of the dough to seal. Once the whole bread has been "braided", transfer the whole parchment with the bread on it to a baking sheet.
- 9. Repeat the process with the other piece of dough. Place the breads side by side on one baking tray. (If using two different parchment papers for each loaf, as I did, move the parchment around or cut any excess paper to fit the two.)
- 10. Cover the loaves, and let them rise for another 90 minutes. Again, it won't appear to have risen so much and that's normal for this bread. About 20 minutes towards the end of the second rising time, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 11. Combine the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush over the loaves to glaze. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar or chopped nuts of choice for a bit of decoration, if using.
- 12. Bake the breads for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven, and place on a rack to cool slightly. Slice and serve warm.
**You can also roll it out on your work surface if you want, then just transfer to the parchment paper before adding the filling. The parchment gets crumpled under the dough when you roll on it, but it's manageable. It makes moving the braided bread to the baking tray easier as well. Adapted from King Arthur Flour
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