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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fruity Braided Bread

These are literally hot from the oven! Nuh, not anymore, but they were when I started writing this which was right after tasting it :)   So, if you are looking for a bread recipe to try, you could really consider this.

So, what's this? Braided bread, I made 2 different flavours with one recipe.  I secretly (not so secretly anymore) gave myself a pat on the back when I took them out from the oven.  They looked very pretty  to me, at least.    This is the first time I tried braiding, it is a 2 strand braid, and it was very easy.   I did a mix and match to end up with this loaf.  

In my previous bread post, the Japanese Coconut Custard Bun was made from a tangzhong method dough, courtesy of Christine who used it as a base recipe for many other variations too.  One that caught my attention was the Apple Custard Bun as I simply love the idea of fruits in baking.  I started off with the intention to try that particular one.  While waiting for my breadmaker to do the job on the dough, I went through the steps for preparing the filling.  That was when the lazy bug bit and I started having second thoughts, then came the third, the fourth...   The other excuse that I gave myself was I didn't like ending up with 3 egg whites as only yolks were used for the fillings.   I flipped through my Magic Bread book (by Alex Goh) to look for easier alternatives. There's this 'Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling Bun' that is close to Christine's Apple Custard, no eggs but whipping cream called for instead, the thought of leaving a 2/3 carton lying around in the fridge is even more unappealing than 3 egg whites.   Scouted around again and saw this recipe with cream cheese and strawberry filling but the bread was braided instead.   Fine, braid I shall then (it sounded like it was easier than rolling), to save my eggs and whipping cream! But being the stubborn one that I am, I wanted to stick to apples which was my original intention.  So, instead of Apple Custard, it became Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese :).  But the strawberries looked good too, moreover little one loves strawberries and I had some in the fridge.  So, I split the dough into 2 and ended up with both the flavors.

This is really good.  I am happy with the results of this mix and match.  Asian style bread, western style fillings, good mix of the east and the west. The bread was soft and it blended so well with the cream cheese and fruit fillings.  You can try it with whatever fruits that you fancy.  Another lazy way would be to spread some fruit jam over it, I think it would tastes as good :)


Ingredients for tangzhong
  • 25gm  bread flour
  • 125ml water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)

Ingredients for buns
  • 350 gm bread flour
  • 55 gm caster sugar
  • 5 gm salt
  • 56 gm egg
  • 7 gm milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
  • 125 ml milk
  • 120 gm tangzhong (all of everything made)
  • 5 gm instant yeast
  • 30 gm butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Methods for making tangzhong
  1. Mix flour in water and stir until smooth and without lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking.
  2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon, it’s done.  Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let it cool. (Note : Christine recommends chilling the tang zhong for several hours and let it come to room temperature before use.  I did not take this step, I am not sure if it makes any difference)

Method for preparing bread dough
  1. Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic.  If  using a bread maker add all wet ingredients into bread maker first followed by dry ingredients. Add yeast the last.
  2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it's doubled in size.
  3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide into 2 equal portions. Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.

Ingredients for cream cheese fillings
  • 125 gm cream cheese
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (I substituted with 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt to experiment)
  1. Combine and mix well with mixer. Set aside.

Ingredients for fruit fillings

  • 1 apple, cubed 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Combine and mix. Set aside.

  • 8 strawberries, cubed 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour (if strawberries too runny add a little extra)
  1. Combine and mix. Set aside.

  1. Roll bread dough into a rectangle - about 10" by 6".  Place on baking sheet. Spread cream and fruit fillings down the center. Cut strips on both sides of the filling (see diagram below)
  2. Fold alternating strips over filling diagonally. Seal Ends. 
  3. Brush with  egg wash (1 egg + dash of water, whisked together), then let rise about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake in a 180C preheated oven, for about 25 minutes. 
  5. If the braid begins to brown too much cover loosely with foil.

Assuming the diagram below is the bread dough that has been rolled into a nice rectangular shape.  Place the fillings in the centre and cut strips on both sides (make sure equal number of strips are made).

Place Fillings Here


so far i only did tangzhong method once, as far as i remember, i did not chill the dough too, just left it to cool. that's a perfect braid, the strips are so even and nicely braided and oooh, look at the glaze! btw, i cant see the diagram you attached here..

Hi Lena,
Thanks. I think the diagram was there but it didnt look like any diagram, just like a table with empty columns :)) I have tried to make it clearer, hope it is better now.

yup, i got an idea now, thanks :)

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