Sunny days, chasing the snow away: Braided lemon bread

Sunny days, sunny flavors. Yellow daffodils, yellow chicks, bright lemon yellow filling.

I am a lover of all things lemon. I love lemon drops, lemonade, and lemon sherbet. Trying Limoncello, preserved lemon, and making homemade lemon peel are on my bucket list, and I used to eat the lemon wedges my parents would get with their dinners at restaurants.  So, what is it about lemons that I don’t like? …

Nothing!! Well, I guess if I’m being really honest, it’s the color yellow. I’ve never been a big fan of yellow. I don’t wear much in the way of yellow clothing, it tends to make me look ill. I’m a pretty pale New Englander with Scottish heritage, and both yellow and green outfits usually have people coming up to me asking if I feel OK; the color just reflects right off of my white, white skin. I did have a tan once, though, and saffron yellow looked pretty good on me that year.

Lemon yellow is pretty good as far as color goes, though. It’s clear, it’s strong, and in the right doses it can chase away even the deepest of blue funks.  It can really brighten up your day, and citrus scents are proven mood lifters.

I’m getting chickens for the first time this year, so soon we’ll have a boxful of little yellow peepers in our spare bedroom. I can’t wait to see those fuzzy little yellow babies tripping over each other and cuddled up under the lamp. I think that may help me learn to love yellow a bit more, too.

I’m super-excited about another yellow – the bright yellow yolks that I’ll get with my own fresh eggs. Jessica Meyers is a  fellow instructor here at the Baking Education Center here KAF; and  some of you may have met her at the free demos in Utah earlier this year.  Jess is an avid chicken lady, and recently sold me some of her fresh eggs; I was stunned at the deep golden yellow of the yolks when I hard-boiled some for a snack last week. And the flavor was out of this world!

I’ve been begging my husband for chickens for nearly 20 years now, and we finally agreed that he could build a big new shed if I could have a small corner for chickens.  I guess we’d better get crackin’ on the coop, since I’ve ordered my chicks already! They’re going to be White Leghorns, who according to my friendly folks at the local feed store are great layers of white eggs (perfect for pysanky, I might add). I’ll probably have more eggs than I can handle each week, so lots of baking is in the forecast. What’s the best way to combine my love of lemon and my newfound wealth of eggs?

It’s Braided Lemon Bread: a sweet, egg-enriched dough surrounding a sweetened cream cheese filling with a luscious layer of lemon curd and a sprinkling of pearl sugar. The truly impressive thing about this loaf, besides the lovely lemon, is the presentation. The loaf is mock braided, a very simple technique that never fails to draw ohhs and aaahs from those to whom you serve it. All you’ll need is a sturdy rolling pin and a bench knife or scissors to cut the dough, and you’ll be wowing the crowds in no time.

So pop a lemon drop, and let’s get started on the Braided Lemon Bread.


The dough for this bread is an enriched dough. This means it has sugar and eggs and butter in it. These ingredients will make for a rich dough with sweetness and flavor, but it also makes it a bit harder for the yeast to work with all those rich and heavy ingredients to deal with.

To give the yeast a head start, we’ll make a sponge. A sponge typically includes some water, some flour, a bit of yeast, and perhaps a bit of sugar.  Think of this as the “good breakfast” for the yeast to get it working to its fullest before diving into the hard work of raising your dough.

Place the sponge ingredients in the bowl of your bread machine or stand mixer,  cover, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now is a good time to make sure your sour cream and cream cheese for the filling are out of the fridge and warming up.


Look at that lovely sponge – lots of bubble action and foaminess. If you check out the paddles in the first picture, then compare the second picture, you’ll see how much the sponge developed in that short amount of time.

Add the rest of your dough ingredients, and set the machine for the dough cycle.


Mamma mia, that’s a beautiful dough! And the scent is wonderful. The Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor makes the whole kitchen smell like your favorite corner bakery.


Remove the dough and smooth it out. Allow the dough to rest for 5 to 8 minutes.


Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.


Set one half of the dough aside under plastic wrap, so that it doesn’t dry out as you roll the first half. You’re shooting for approximately 10” x 15”.


Pat the dough into a rough rectangle. Dough is like an elephant. It has a memory, and if you set it up as a rectangle, it will remember that it wants to be a rectangle. If you just plop it down and start rolling, it won’t have a good idea of what shape it should be.


See, it remembered. This dough is great to work with, supple and smooth. At this point, you would want to gently fold the dough in half and transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper. I say this with all good intentions, as I forgot to do it, and it led to many troubles moving the braid later. Did you catch the photo in the April Fool’s Day blog?

Now that we’ve moved the dough to the parchment, let’s make the cream cheese filling while we let the dough rest for a bit, allowing the gluten to relax.


Combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat until lightly combined.


Add the flour and beat until creamy and smooth.


Just right.


Next, grab your jar of tangy lemon curd. If you’re using homemade lemon curd, you’ll need about 1/2 cup total – 1/4 cup per loaf.


Spread half of the cream filling down the center of the rectangle. Leave about 2” on the sides and 1” on the top and bottom bare.


Spread about 1/4 cup of the lemon curd on top of the cream filling. Even though “more filling” sounds like a good thing, it’s better to be moderate and avoid burst sides and messy spillovers.


Now for the fun part, the mock braid. Begin by using your bench knife to cut the top and bottom of the rectangle, even with the edges of the filling, about 1” deep.


Next cut in from the side edges to just the edge of the filling. Remove the little piece of dough. Do this on all four corners.


From here, use the bench knife to cut 1” wide strips along the side of the rectangle. You’ll be doing this on both sides. Keep count of your strips, as you need an equal number on both sides.


There. It looks rather like a totem pole or maybe a rib cage, but that’s exactly how it should look. You’re doin’ fine.


Fold down the top strip over the filling. For every fold, keep in mind that the bread will still need to rise, so be gentle and don’t pull tightly.


Draw the first strip over the filling towards the center at an angle. It should cover the lower corner of the folded-down top strip.


Draw the first opposite strip inward, again at an angle. It should over the bottom corner of the top piece of dough, and crisscross over the first side strip There should be a small gap in the very center, exposing the filling.


Go back to the first side and draw over the second strip. It shouldn’t touch the first strip, but should cover the bottom tip of the last strip.


Now we’re getting the hang of it, and you can see the braid beginning. Keep going down the whole bread, stopping just short of the bottom.


When you get to the bottom strips and end piece, you need to treat it a bit differently.


Before you fold over the side strips, fold up the bottom edge.


Now finish folding over the side strips, covering the end piece and sealing it in place.


There, you did it! Can you believe the simple act of folding strips of dough can lead to such a stunning outcome?


Let’s backtrack a bit. When you’re filling the loaf, you can add fresh or canned or frozen fruit. Remember, less can be more and too much can really be a hassle. Here, I’ve added some cherries to my second bread.

*Repeat the rolling, filling and braiding steps with your second piece of dough. Cover both and set aside to rise.*


And now for something completely different. Andrea had a bit of a stiff back and Susan was happy to give her a hand with stretching. How can you resist taking a picture of your co-workers when they look like a pushmi-pullyu? (You DO remember your Dr. Dolittle, don’t you?)


Back to our beautifully risen loaves. This loaf is the one I forgot to put on parchment before beginning my braid. It survived the move, but just barely. It took a lot of tucking and nudging to get it back into shape, and some of the strips pulled out towards the bottom of the loaf. Oh well, live and learn. YOUR bread will look more like the top of the loaf.


See how puffy this dough looks?  That’s a great indicator that it’s ready to go.


Brush the risen loaf gently with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar or sparkling white sugar, your choice. I like the pearl sugar for the contrast on the golden baked dough.


Sing with me now… Isn’t she lovely… isn’t she won-der-ful?


The dough is a deep golden brown, the filling has puffed up, and the lemon curd peeks seductively out from the seams.


Give the loaf about 15 to 20 minutes to cool, then slice and enjoy the sweet and tangy fillings swirling through the bread.


Here’s the cherry version. I’m thinking blueberry-lemon for summer – what do you think?

Now that you know the mock-braid technique, you’ll find many different uses for it. Braid over Cinnamon Filling, or Chocolate Schmear, or Almond. The possibilities are just beginning.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Braided Lemon Bread.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour’s baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


    1. Marla

      What a wonderful recipe! So delicious and beautiful. I put off making this because it looked so complicated, but actually wasn’t, especially with the more detailed instructions and photos in the blog because instructions in the recipe itself were not as clear. One thing I wanted to mention was in the step where you spread half the cream filling down the center of the rectangle, it says to leave 2″ on the sides, but unless I did something wrong following the recipe directions to divided the dough into “3 equal sections” in the wide, then you have approx. 3-1/4″ on each side of the filling, which is what I had. Since I have to keep entirely lactose-free, I substituted lactose-free sour cream for the yogurt in the dough and the texture of the lemon bread was perfect. Of course, I also used lactose-free cream cheese and lactose-free sour cream in the fill and made my own lemon curd with lactose-free margarine. You photos helped me understand how to braid the bread, and mine came out looking as beautiful as the pictures in your blog. What a great addition this is for my restricted diet…and lemon is one of my favorite flavors.

  1. Terri A.

    This looks lovely (and yummy!). I’m always so impressed how you get your doughs to roll out so well, I’ve never had a straight edge on any dough I’ve rolled out. Guess I just need more practice!
    This dough is just beautiful to work with, you’ll be impressed at your mad skills when using it. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This dough really isn’t high enough in fat to be considered a brioche. However, you could certainly make buns from the dough. Enjoy and happy baking! Jon@KAF

  2. Chris

    I’d love to make this, but don’t have a bread machine. How would you make the dough using a mixer? The finished loaf is beautiful!!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can link directly to the recipe from the blog. I found these directions there:

      “In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the sponge, yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and flavoring. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead on speed 2 until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes, adding more flour if needed to achieve the correct consistency.”

      Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  3. SMJ

    Looks great! You make it look so easy that I will go ahead and try it. Can I use raspberry preserves in place of the lemon curd? How about chocolate ganache?

    Hello – Yes, you can use raspberry preserves in place of the lemon curd. And how about chocolate chips? No, to the ganache. I would not think that would hold well. Elisabeth @ KAF

  4. Stephanie

    I was planning to make some cinnamon rolls this week when I stumbled on this. Am I right in thinking this would be pretty simply adapted for cinnamon instead?

    My biggest concern: I’d be pretty comfortable swapping nearly any filling with a similar consistency, including the ganache mentioned above, but getting that mixture w/cinnamon (sans a ton of butter) isn’t quite as obvious and nothing is coming to mind.

    Stephanie – I do not recommend using a ganache as a filling. It would probably be a messy outcome. I do not know what to recommend you do to get the same consistency as the cream cheese and lemon curd filling. I would suggest you make a cinnamon sugar filling similar to what you might find in a coffee cake recipe or a sticky bun recipe. The filling will have brown sugar, cinnamon, maybe some cocoa and nuts if you’d like. Be sure to do a water wash with a pastry brush before applying the cinnamon sugar filling. It will need something to adhere to! Elisabeth @ KAF

  5. Tinky

    I think one could adapt this to make an awesome King Cake next January or February. In fact, THIS one plans to! Thank you.

    By the way, the braided cooks look terrific. It’s important to have fun in the kitchen, isn’t it?…..
    Absolutely! Elisabeth @ KAF<b.

  6. Mei

    I’d really want to try it at home. Would you give me the recipe for the cream cheese filling, please ?
    Here is the link to the cream cheese filling- a JMD @KAF

  7. Kat

    I don’t have a bread machine! Could this be easily done with a stand mixer?
    Yes this may be done in your mixer. Just follow your mixer directions to make this bread. JMD @KAF

  8. maralee

    How about a Nutella filling? It’s thicker consistency might work,but what do you think? If you think is might work, would you add anything else to the filling?
    Wow this sound wonderful. With Nutella you would not need anything else. JMD @KAF

  9. Mary Robison

    What a GREAT braid recipe this is! I have used the recipe two times since attending the recent KAF Traveling Demo in Anaheim, CA. We were able to go only to the evening Basic Piecrust session, but the recipe (without lemon filling) was in the booklet we received. My first try I made a blueberry filling with frozen blueberries; the second time I cooked an apricot filling. Of course, I had to add my usual 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom seeds to give that comfort food taste from my Swedish grandmother. Also, the dough was so easy to prepare for “braiding” and looked great. Now I have a lemon filling to try.
    (Apricot filling: Simmer 1/2# chopped dried apricots, 1/3 c. sugar, and 1 c. orange juice for 45 min. I also added a little Pie Enhancer at the end.)
    You GO girl! I love the idea of cardamom in the dough. P.S. My maiden name was MaryJane Robinson, so we are almost twins! Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

  10. Jared

    I made a similar recipe over the weekend using the Brioche dough from Artisan in Five. I used homemade strawberry jam + a little flour for one loaf. But I got adventuresome for the second and owing to my peculiar love for pecans decided to try them in the braid. I toasted them in a little butter first and then sprinkled a cinnamon/sugar mixture on the loaf, added the nuts, and then the cream cheese filling. I thought both loaves were incredible, but as I said, I am rather partial to pecans—and especially toasted ones.
    WOW! The pecan version sounds spectacular. Thanks ever so much for sharing! ~ MaryJane

  11. Penny

    Oh my gosh! I look at this blog every day and it’s a wonder I don’t look like a blimp! We are currently munching our way through the rest of our Hot Cross Buns. I just CAN’T do this lemon thingy now. Oh, maybe I can. I have lots of friends to share it with. Oh Yum! I’m off to the kitchen. I love lemon! I love KAF!
    Penny, your enthusiasm is making me smile here at my desk, like a fresh Spring breeze. Thanks for checking in.

  12. Jessie @ simplysifted

    This recipe appeared on in my RSS feed last week, but when I went to the site it disappeared. I’m so glad it’s back! It looks amazing. I’m a little worried it’s beyond my skill level, but I want to try it anyway. I keep saying I have to try working with yeast more often and a recipe that includes cream cheese and lemon is the way to entice me.
    This is much simpler then it looks. You will be so pleased when you make this. Have fun with it. JMD @KAF

  13. Leslie Limon

    Ooooh! I love all things lemon! (Even my last name means lemon in Spanish!)

    I will be making this yummy looking bread this week!
    Tee hee, we won’t discuss what my FIRST name means in Spanish, tee hee hee! Happy Baking! ~ MaryJane

  14. Kristen

    I make braided savory stuffed breads for my family all of the time, but the ends have been awkward. Now that I have seen your technique, I am excited to see how they turn out next time. Thanks.
    Ooooh, sounds delish. Care to share some of your favorite combos? ~ MaryJane

  15. Larry Handy

    Every Christmas my mother-in-law Caroline made a variant of this which we all called “Apricot Rib”. I have since taken over on it and with the help of my nutritionist sister-in-law recreated the filling which none of us was smart enough to watch being made. It contains dried apricots, water, sugar, maraschino cherries with liquid, all simmered until the apricots are tender and boiled down enough to mash or blend into a spreadable filling. Caroline always drizzled frosting and made a nice flower of cut-up red and green maraschino cherries, so hers always looked as nice as they tasted. It is pretty easy to make once one gets over the idea that it looks hard, but I hope it is OK to let the eaters go on thinking it must have been hard!
    Of course it is OK to let everyone think it is hard. You can just smile and collect the admiration. JMD @KAF

  16. Morgan

    Oooh lemon-blueberry!! Yum! I must try that combination. I love all things lemon and all things blueberry!
    I just got a great big bag of frozen blueberries, so this is on the list for this week. I checked out my blueberry bushes at home and have plenty of buds, so I’ll be berrying all through the year! ~ MaryJane

  17. Lisa M

    Love the step-by step photos of this process! I’ve made several similar braids using Artisan Bread in Five Brioche dough and Healthy Bread in Five Whole Wheat Brioche dough and they always turn out great. Lots of filling combinations work – Raspberry Almond, Blueberry Lemon, Raspberry Lemon, different types of jam, etc. I’m looking forward to using the bench knife technique (I’ve previously used kitchen shears to cut) and will definitely use the technique you showed of trimming the corners to have a neater end result.

  18. Susan from Oregon

    This looks beautiful! And I love the idea of cream cheese and lemon. As a quick side note, I just want to say that I really love the new layout of the printable versions of the recipes. Thank you all for all that you do!

  19. Judy

    I am planning on making this vision of lovely lemoness, but would like to do as much as possible in advance so that I can serve it somewhat early in the AM (without getting up at 5 AM to begin the process). What part of this could be done in advance (perhaps the day or evening before) and then baked fresh before serving?

    You can make and shape the bread, then put it in the refrigerator (covered, on the baking pan) to rise overnight. The next morning, take the bread out of the refrigerator – then preheat the oven. By the time the oven is ready, the bread will be ready to bake – and you’ll be the hero of the morning! Irene @ KAF

  20. Memoria

    I made two lemon-lime danish braids just a few days ago. Your bread is much more easier than making laminated dough, and it still looks delicious!

    The braided lemon braid tastes delicious as well! Irene @ KAF

  21. forex robot

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!
    Thanks for spreading the news! Welcome to this community of bread bakers! Irene @ KAF

  22. Mary Petruzzi

    !st time ever on the site- the lemon braid looks great- Hopefully I’ll try it this weekend.
    Lots of fun here.
    Welcome Mary, glad you found a fun recipe to try out. Come back anytime, we’re here and ready to bake with you!
    ~ MaryJane

  23. FRAN S

    Thanks Fran. I’m nervous about the chickies, but have lots of others here at KAF to turn to for help and advice. I’ve gotten local eggs from another teacher here, and they are soooo good! I’m really looking forward to it, a whole new experience. Thanks for the boost! ~ MaryJane

  24. Leslie

    i saw this on the web yesterday and on my way home from work stop by the store to pick up a few things to make it. wow it turned out really good. i’ve never done anything like this before but i know i will be from now on. my kids loved it ! i’m giving the other loaf to a friend who just had surgery…i hope her kids let her have some ; )
    happy baking
    I’m so glad this worked out for you, and thanks for sharing your baking. I’m sure your friend and her family will appreciate the personal touch. ~ MaryJane

  25. Rebecca

    Perhaps this is a silly question, but is it possible to freeze the dough for the second loaf? I dont want to make two loaves of deliciousness at once. Can you freeze yeast? If yes, at what point is it best to freeze?
    Hi Rebecca,
    Yes, it’s possible to freeze the dough for the second bread. If you know you will be freezing the dough, add about 1/4 teaspoon extra yeast to the dough. This will make up for any yeast that dies off in the freezer. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight and then make the bread as usual. You can also use the dough for cinnamon buns or cinnamon swirl bread. ~ MaryJane

  26. cindy leigh

    I made the cheesy braids (from your recipe index) this past week for Easter morning. The dough recipe is slightly different than this lemon version, but I did use Buttery Sweet dough emulsion in the dough recipe. I added a bit of Princess cake and cookie emulsion to the cream cheese mixture. It was fantastic. I added a layer of homemade apple pie filling down the center.
    The braiding was not difficult but I found two things to be very important: First, keep the filling off the dough strips. If they get moistened with filling, they don’t overlap and adhere to each other very well. Second, stretch them over each other (each previous) strip quite far, so they lock each previous strip in- so it stays tucked in.
    I used Baker’s Shine and sparkling course sugar. It was beautiful.
    I will try this lemon version next time. I love lemon, too, and might add some lemon emulsion or oil to the cream cheese.
    Good luck with those chickens! We have 10 from last year, and just brought home 5 new ones. Our daughter’s girl scout gold award project will revolve around using donated eggs from “backyard” chicken owners to supply community-based soup kitchens and food distribution sites with fresh eggs for clients to take home. It will include teaching people how easy it is to have your own chickens- even just a few, for your own needs, with a bit left over for charity. E-mail me if you think KAF chicken owners would like more info.
    Thanks for the tips Cindy Leigh, they are very helpful especially if you are just starting out with braiding. Thank you very much for the great tip on donating eggs. I have never thought of that, and with 12 chickens, we are definitely going to be up to our ears in eggs by fall. What a great way to spread the wealth. I’ll keep your email on hand for when I get stuck with the chooks. ~ MaryJane

  27. Angela

    Wow! I can’t wait to whip some of this up but I do have a question. 2 loaves just seems like an awful lot for a smallish family (we could definitely eat them but would it be a good idea?) I’m thinking I could freeze it before the 2nd rise but do you think that would affect the cream cheese? If you think it would I might make a cream cheese filled for right away and a cinnamon for future use!

    The water in the cheese will “freeze out”. This may or may not effect the final rise and bake. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  28. Irene

    It’s best to freeze a second loaf AFTER baking. Don’t overbake, let it cool to room temp, use a freezer-weight zipperlock bag.

    Thaw in the fridge overnight (or on counter for an hour) and glaze after thawing. You can wrap the thawed loaf in foil to reheat gently in a low oven to serve warm.

    I have done this many times with jam fillings, poppyseed/almond paste fillings, and prune/fruit butter fillings. I have never frozen chesse fillings.

    The best way to freeze unbaked sweet dough is in balls of one loaf’s worth. When I plan to do this, I double the yeast up front, and then freeze that whole batch of dough. It kind of gives you insurance if the yeast croaks in the freezer.
    Thanks for sharing the freezing tips. Somehow, I manage to eat all my bread first! 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  29. Leslie Limon

    I couldn’t wait any longer! I made these yesterday for a family outing. Oh my! They were absolutely delicious. Everybody loved them! I was surprised at how big the braids were. Definitely feeds a crowd!

    The only substitution I made was using Mexican crema instead of yogurt and I used homemade lemon curd. I will be making these again and again and again!

    Would you mind terribly if I shared the recipe on my blog? It is too good a recipe not to share! 🙂
    Hi Leslie,
    I’m glad to hear the breads were a hit. You are very welcome to share the recipe on your blog as long as KAF is credited. A link to our blog is always nice too. Thanks for spreading the word and sharing! ~ MaryJane

  30. Carolyn

    I agree with Irene–freezing after baking works way better. And I have frozen cream cheese fillings in a similar sort of coffee bread, and it was just as good as fresh-baked after a quick stint in the oven wrapped in foil.

    I’m looking forward to making this soon–I think it will go very well with a Mother’s Day brunch!

  31. Claire

    This looks yummy! I’ve had such great success with all the recipes I’ve tried from your site so I’m really inspired to give this one a go.
    I love your flour so much we drive across the border from Vancouver, BC to WA State to buy it.

  32. Heather

    I made this for Easter — with some modifications — and it turned out great. The dough is beautiful to work with. I decided to make homemade blood-orange curd for the filling. But I’d never cooked with blood oranges before. I didn’t realize they lose their beautiful color under heat. Ah, well. It still tasted great, despite its grayish hue. And instead of the cream-cheese filling, I mixed some ricotta with a little sugar. Turned out great. I’ll definitely use this technique again and will continue to experiment with the fillings.
    You GO girl! The orange version sounds great. I’ve been thinking of a strawberry rhubarb filling too. Happy Spring!
    ~ MaryJane

  33. indrani

    Just munching on the warm braided bread. I had only cheese cubes at hand – so just grated cheese and used it as a filling. And in the bread flour i mixed some dried herbs and spices. It has come out very very well. The step by step instruction was really helpful and gave me the courage to try out the braiding. I would love to do this again with a different filling. Thank you so much for sharing the recipie and for the step by step instructions.

    I’m so glad you found the photos helpful. It really is different seeing it versus reading the directions. ~ MaryJane

  34. Knead2quilt

    Having a sleepless night (good thing it’s Saturday!) so I’m up mixing this dough in the Zo. Went to the store today especially for lemon curd to make this. I just know it’s going to be wonderful. Thanks for what I’m sure will be yet another winner recipe.
    Sorry to hear you aren’t catching any ZZZ’s, but baking helps relax me and I hope you can grab a cat nap under a quilt in the sun later. ~ MaryJane

  35. Sheila

    Made this today…FANTASTIC! Thanks for the great recipe. Definitely something I will make over and over.
    Wonderful! I hope it brightened up the day. ~ MaryJane

  36. benita

    I made these for a ladies luncheon and they turned out wonderful! They looked good enough to put in a bakery case. I did not have ready made lemon curd so made my own. It was a little loose compared to the ready made, but the braids still looked great. The recipe is easier to make than it looks, and the step-by-step instructions really helped.
    Super! I’m so glad the photos were helpful. ~ MaryJane

  37. Bonnie

    Made this recipe last night and brought them to work today. I used some fresh blueberries and made my own lemon curd. Yum! It got rave reviews here at the office. I love anything lemon, and these were not only delish, but gorgeous to boot. I cannot tell you how helpful it is to have those pictures – it’s a tutorial on every recipe, and I’m one of those people who really NEEDS a visual. Then I go…..OH, I GET it! Sorry – I know I’m gushing, but I just love this site and all the work and love that you all put into it. You guys rock!
    Glad that the breads were a hit Bonnie. I’m a visual gal too, and need driving directions as “go to the big tree and turn left, then go to the white house”. My husband is always trying to give me route numbers, and that just doesn’t do it for me!
    Happy Baking. ~ MaryJane

  38. Hal

    I made this today. It came out well, but I have some questions & comments:

    > The sponge was very watery. Two ounces of flour isn’t enough to make what I think of as a sponge.

    > As another person said, I had to add a lot of extra flour to the dough itself.

    > How *do* you roll out the dough so perfectly? I’d love to see a video on that!

    > There was a little more of the cream cheese filling than I needed, but there was way too little of the lemon curd. I used a whole 10 oz jar, when the recipe called for 4 oz.

    > Putting the cream cheese filling on was easy, because it was pourable. But in your photo, it looks much thicker!

    > Putting the lemon curd on top of the cream cheese was very hard because it was too thick to spread. That may be partly why I needed so much. Would heating it up a little help? Or putting it down before the cream cheese? (But it was so thick that spreading it on the dough might tear it.)

    > Would mixing the flour and sugar together before the rest of the cream cheese filling ingredients make there be fewer lumps, reducing the mixing time? I got the lumps, but it required a lot of whisking.

    > The recipe referred to “the right consistency” for the dough. I’ve baked enough to know what that means, but more detail might help novices (and it wasn’t so hard, even though the braiding could look scary).

    > How do you roll out the dough so perfectly?

    But all that notwithstanding, it came out great. I used the scraps to make a single bread with just the leftover cream cheese filling. I think in the future, I might make a bunch of small ones, serving one or two each. The photos and the step-by-step descriptions are a great help. As noted above, I’d love to see video, especially of rolling out the dough.

    — hs
    Thanks for the nice comments about the dough, but believe me, it doesn’t always come out that perfect! I do take a bit of time to pat the dough into a nice rectangle before I start rolling and stop occasionally to straighten out the sides but if they are a little askew, the braid will still come out beautifully.

    For the other questions, the sponge is very liquidy, it isn’t a dry or stiff starter. You don’t want to add more flour at this stage, it can inhibit the yeast growth if the dough is too thick. Think how much easier it is to breathe in loose fitting clothing than tighter.

    For the filling lumps, be sure that the cream cheese is room temperature. You can even give it a zap in the microwave to be sure it is quite soft. The lemon curd I used was quite smooth and soft and spread very easily. If yours is thicker you may need to warm it to make it more spreadable. I’ve found that 4 ounces is a nice amount to give the lemon flavor. Keep in mind that too much filling can bubble out and burn on the outside of the bread, or can make serving very soggy.

    Thanks again for your comments. Happy Baking. ~ MaryJane

  39. Jessie @ simplysifted

    So I made the bread. I’ve never been so proud of anything I’ve baked. It looked so beautiful!

    The dough was VERY sticky though. Did I do something wrong? I started by adding 4.5 cups of flour. After kneading for 5 minutes the dough was still super sticky. I added another 1/2 cup of flour and kneaded another minute. It didn’t seem to make a big difference, but I was worried if I added more the bread wouldn’t taste good. When it came time to divide the dough in half I had to scoop it into two bowls and measure it on my scale to make sure they were even. It definitely wasn’t in a neat ball like in your picture. Should I have added more flour? Kneaded it more?
    HI Jessie,
    It does sound like your dough needed a bit of extra TLC. One thing that can be helpful if your dough seems sticky is to let it rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes before kneading. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid and can help correct the consistency before you add more flour. Kneading on a low speed for a longer period of time can also be helpful, as it doesn’t tear up the dough and make it seem too sticky as you work with it.
    Generally speaking, you are better to err on the side of a slightly wetter than a drier dough, so add that extra flour sparingly.

    Hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

  40. Sara

    I will start by saying that I made this recipe Saturday and took one loaf to a social event. I put it out, turned around to talk to someone, turned back and it was gone. Very light and tasty! But it is fascinating to read all the combinations of things that don’t seem quite like the pictures – the commercial lemon curd that I used was quite runny, and maybe I measured incorrectly because it did run out and burn the bottom of one loaf. No trouble with the cream cheese filing. The dough was difficult because it was exceedingly soft – I used the entire weight of flour called for in the recipe but was reluctant to add more. I tried rolling the first half out on my board before transferring it to the parchment paper on my baking sheet and all I had was a mush that I had to roll out again once on the parchment paper. The second half I rolled out directly on the parchment paper. I do plan to make this recipe again because it is definitely a delicious coffee cake. Thank you.

  41. J.S.

    I must say, this is probably the BEST thing I have ever baked, and I bake A LOT. Absolutely delicious, and so professional looking, too (these totally impressed everybody). I made this twice; the first time, I did one with lemon and one with raspberry preserves. Two days later I halved the recipe and made two mini lemon loaves to use up the rest of the lemon curd. Once baked, I cooled them, wrapped them well, and they are now in the freezer for another day. THANK YOU! Keep all the great recipes coming!

  42. nichole

    Made this for mothers day and was a BIG hit !! Can’t wait to try it again with different fillings. Thanks so much!

  43. Julie

    I made this recipe last night and thought it was FANTASTIC. I made my own lemon curd and then made one of them as is and the second one with the addition of raspberry jam. They’re both great! Thanks for the recipe!!

  44. Emily

    So I somehow left out the eggs, but didn’t realize it until the dough had already risen for 90 minutes. I decided to go ahead and complete the recipe, and it turned out great. Very soft dough, and the filling was fantastic. Can’t wait to try it with eggs next time!

  45. Elizabeth

    This was our second time making this recipe. My six year old daughter loves braiding the bread for me. She does a better job than I do! We used a homemade raspberry jam for the first loaf and chocolate ganache for the second. The were both fantastic! Keep these great recipes coming!:)

  46. Tammy

    I’ve made this recipe twice and everyone lOVES it! I wanted to try it using the cream cheese mixture, but then substituting my homemade blueberry cinnamon jam for the lemon curd. Do you think I would need to add anything to the jam to keep it from being too wet, or should it be okay?

    HI Tammy,
    It really depends on how thick the jam is to start with. If it’s on the thinner side, you might want to thicken it to keep it from running during the bake. ~ MaryJane

  47. susanwilley90

    I dont have a machine, Im going to do this by hand. But I need to know how to make the sponge. How much of Ingredients to make it with and how much sponge to use in my recipe. Like one cup or 1 half or whatever..Thank You, Im anxious to make this. Susan

    Hi Susan. You will just need to combine the sponge ingredients in a small bowl, stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe. Happy baking! kelsey

  48. sarahjakeroe

    I have NEVER made bread before, and am scared out of my wits to try it. Is it really this easy? I have a KitchenAid mixture, but no hook..will that be OK? REALLY want to try it, but don’t want to be bummed when it flops. I have tried lots of your cookie recipes, and they have all been fabulous! Thinking of trying something a little more

    Sarah, here are two pretty foolproof yeast recipes to start with: John’s Easy Yeast Bread, and Blitz Bread. For your first time baking bread I’d REALLY prefer to see you start with one of those, rather than the lemon bread; neither requires a dough hook, and both are good, basic tutorials in baking yeast bread. Good luck! PJH

  49. emmainab

    I made this today, used 1/2 recipe, and it turned out darn close to perfect, thanks to your instructions and photos. It got rave reviews from my co-workers. Now I’d like to try something similar but with a savory filling. Any suggestions?
    You could use any white bread recipe for the braid. How about feta and sun dried tomatoes? Or boursin and ham? Mushrooms, peppers, onions for veggie lovers. I’m sure the possibilities are endless. Have fun! ~ MaryJane

  50. debwoolsey

    I love this mock braid. I first learned it at a KA traveling baking class 10 years ago. I use it ALOT. Every Christmas I make this with cinnamon, honey and walnuts as the filling. I’ve also divided it up in to six batches and used them as gifts for friends and children’s teachers. I had not thought of a fruit filling. It sounds like I will be adding a new filling to my repertoire! YUM!

  51. susieQ22

    I can’t wait to make this recipe….looks wonderful!! Even more, I love the frame-by-frame explanation of how to prepare this. My husband looks at me like I’m crazy as I sit here laughing at my computer over the humorous comments made during the instructions. Thank you so much for bringing us such wonderful products and recipes, but also for bringing a smile along with them!!!

  52. k40seconds

    sounds so yummy !!! Can you use GF flour instead for this bread? I would love to make this for my son who is GF

    Hi Karen,
    GF baking is unique. From my time in the test kitchen working with our new g-f mixes and g-f recipes, I’d say that this recipe is not going to be replicable as a g-f version.

    Since there is no gluten, g-f doughs are actually batters, you can’t braid or manipulate them the same way as a traditional wheat based dough. Replicating this may be easier to do after reviewing this basic g-f yeast dough recipe:

    I do think you can mimic the flavor profile and the general shape, if you used a biscotti pan. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  53. kopietz

    You guys have given me so many wonderful recipes, hints and answers to my questions BUT this time you out did yourselves!!! This was a soft and delicious braided bread that was suprisingly easy to make. Yes, it is time consuming but SO WORTH IT! I used my home made lemon curd with the cream cheese filling and we all loved it. I am taking the 2nd loaf to a friend so she can be as impressed as I was. Thank you so much!!!

  54. zekebadboy

    This braid was WOW when I took it to work. I can’t believe how easy it was to make, how beautiful it was to look at, and how delicious it was to eat. The dough is so good and so easy I will use it as the basis for all of my sweet dough recipes. I made a few little changes to the second one which I will pass on. I made the first one just like the KA recipe and it was very good. I want to thank the Bakers Hot Line for the advise about saving the other half of the dough in the fridge since I have a single oven and could only bake one before leaving for work. The second one I didn’t make till the next day. I put the dough in my KA dough bucket with the lid on and left it in the fridge till the next morning. (It was at least 24 hours later) This one I didn’t brush with egg wash or use the sugar, but brushed it with butter before and after baking then drizzled lemon glaze. The dough was actually more tender and rose a little more, go figure! From the left over corners I made six small cinnamon rolls which were also quite delicious. Thanks again KA, this one is a real keeper!

    An overnight rise in the fridge allows the yeast to continue to grow, slowly; that’s probably where the slightly higher rise came from. And overnight chilling yields enhanced flavor, too. Glad you discovered this secret so serendipitously! PJH

  55. patrandall

    I made this today and was quite pleased with the results. I followed the recipe quite closely but used cooked thickened raspberries in place of lemon curd. I might add, I used the K A instant clear gel thickener and really like it.

    I don’t know if it is my oven going on the fritz or what, but at 375F mine browned way too quickly and I had to turn the oven down and keep an eye on it. I used the egg wash and pearl sugar and realize it gets brown easily with egg wash, but this was getting close to too dark. Any one else with this issue? Otherwise it rose beautifully and looks and tastes great.

    Hi, Sorry to hear of the unexpected quick browning. You may want to double check your oven setting against an in oven thermometer. This might also be related to rack position. Generally when I have a sweet dough, that is egg washed, I bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  56. findusnow

    Have made this recipe twice now with great results! I found the loaves made by dividing the dough in half were a little too big for us but that was easily remedied by simply dividing the dough into thirds instead. (Gave me a loaf for the freezer but it didn’t last long there either!) I tried two loaves with a poppy seed filling this time- my husband said they tasted just like his Grandmother used to make!
    I do have a question on the cream cheese filling……I thought it tasted a bit “floury” with 1/4 cup flour the first time I made it, so I reduced the amount of flour to 1 scant tablespoon the next time around. There didn’t seem to be any difference in the consistency of the filling but reducing the amount eliminated the raw flour taste that I objected to. Is the flour in there just to stabilize the filling? This is a great recipe- I know what I’ll be giving for the holidays this year! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    The flour in the cream cheese portion of the filling does act as a thickener. If your filling worked and didn’t melt out – and you liked the flavor using just 1 tablespoon then continue with that amount. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  57. Sabine

    Can you freeze this loaf before the last rise to bake at a later time?
    Sabine – I am not 100% sure assembling and freezing before the last rise will work as well as making it fresh. However, making the dough the night before and allowing it to rise slowly in the frig overnight can cut your time in half. Also, portion out your ingredients for the cheese filling the night before so they may be thrown together quickly in the AM. Pull your dough out in the AM, divide into 2 and begin rolling, filling, braiding, rising and finally, baking. If you only want one of the pieces of dough for the next AM, divide the dough the night before and allow one to rise at room temperature (while the other goes into the frig). Once the dough at room temperature has risen, freeze for another time. Good luck! Elisabeth

  58. Leigh

    My husband is allergic to egg…can this recipe be made without it?
    Hi Leigh, you can use any sweet dough recipe for this bread, even one without egg. It won’t be as rich, but will still be quite tasty. ~ MaryJane

  59. dlewis17508

    I think I’ll need to call what I did “Braided Instead Bread”. Using Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes’ Pumpkin Pie Brioche, made with baked sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin, I filled the bread with Apple Strudel filling (using dried fruit blend “Fruitcake Fruit” instead of raisins and 1/3 cup cinnamon chips instead of chopped walnuts). Instead of topping it with pearl sugar, I topped it with turbinado. Finally, instead of saving it to take it to my class tomorrow morning, I’m thinking it would certainly be yummy to just go ahead and EAT IT! They’d never know…

  60. cjpowers18

    Today I will bake the lemon, because it is a knockout and will try one with lekvar, because I am Slovak and think the prune butter will be something right out of my childhood!

  61. Arti

    Hi!! Thanks for this wondeful recipe. I cant wait anymore to try. Just one question, I want to bake this bread as breakfast. So, what will be the good idea? 1) Prepare the filled and braided bread and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight? 2) Bake in oven the night before and serve cold 3) Freze after rising and then thawing overnight and then baking in the morning?
    My suggestion is you fill and braid; allow to rise slowly overnight in the frig. Allow to come to room temperature as your oven is pre-heating. Good luck! Elisabeth

  62. txlissa

    I’m planning to make this and bring some to work the next day. Does the finished product need to be stored in the refrigerator, or can it be left out?

    It should really be refrigerated long-term, if you’re concerned about food safety, but like a Cheese Danish or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I’d think it’s OK to leave it out for the time it probably takes you to get to work and serve it… PJH

  63. txlissa

    Thank you! I have one more question – I could only find nonfat yogurt in the store. Will that work, or do I need to add something else to the recipe?
    You’ll get a more tender result with the higher fat version, but the nonfat will not break the recipe. ~ MaryJane

  64. Hazel

    Is there a way to make this gluten free?
    Unfortunately we don’t have a tested gluten free version of this recipe at this time. We are hoping to develop more gluten free yeast bread recipes in the future. ~Amy

  65. jennltanis

    I made this for a church gathering last week and it was a BIG hit!! I did make a few changes though. I have a daughter who can’t have egg so I use ‘No Egg’ brand replacer for the dough and did a milk wash over the final product instead of an egg wash. I also used a whole 8oz package of cream cheese. Instead of the lemon, I used our home made blueberry and strawberry preserves (one on each). Also, I didn’t have any of the butter flavoring so I just used vanilla.

    I will definately be making this agian!!

    PS: You may want to share the egg replacement idea with Leigh from above. It works great!

  66. anniegreen42

    This looks like it is based upon the KAF recipe for the cream cheese braid I make quite often. Not being a huge fan of lemon but an enormous fan of cream cheese, I usually make this with just the cream cheese and sometimes a fruit jam. I usually make two braids and they last, oh about half an hour! My family loves, loves, LOVES this dessert. And it is sooooo easy. Instead of the pearl sugar, I whip up a simple icing with powdered sugar, vanilla and just enough heavy whipping cream to thin it out. Ohhhhh it is soooo delicious. Guess what I’m making this weekend?!

    KAF is my absolute favorite baking resource. I use ONLY KAF flours and I have several KAF cookbooks, including Jeffrey Hammelman’s bread book. One of these days I’m going to make the trip to Vermont to visit KAF and meet my heroes there.

  67. bbackstrom645

    I made this lemon braid and will definitely make it again! It was sooo good! I was a little hesitant to make the dough in my bread machine because I didn’t think it would fit, so made it in a bowl. My family is a big fan of this braid!

  68. werthjennifer

    I have a made a version of this and it is lovely. There are some deviations here from my recipe and I have a question:

    This portion of the instructions: Add the rest of your dough ingredients, and set the machine for the dough cycle.

    …My question is – what if I’m not using a bread machine? Just mix and knead in the Kitchen Aid? I don’t know if the bread machine does anything special.

    At that point, you would add the remaining ingredients and work the dough together through to kneading. The bread machine does do a better job of kneading than a stand mixer. We really like that feature. But no reason not to use a stand mixer or whip this up by hand. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  69. suesgoodies

    It’s been many years since I have made bread. My children were all very small, now they are grown and have their own children. I taught myself how to make bread then, but I am very nervous about yeast now(I stopped to go to work and it wasn’t a job baking). I am a cake and cookie baker now (to make ends meet)and have been for so long that it’s a totally different adventure. However I think I will give it a try this Easter and maybe add it to Goodies repitoire. I will let you know how it turns out. I love the way it looks,so I ordered the lemon curd. It came yesterday, along with KAF flour, so I’m ready to give it the good old college try. You know when your several yrs. past 70 new things are really scarey.

  70. lkhandy

    This lemon braid is spectacularly good! Our bell choir devoured it in record time at break. For those who like stirring, a half-recipe of the lemon curd in the “King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion” makes a perfect amount for the two braids.

  71. hkanegsberg

    I made this recipe from the catalog last week. It was incredibly easy and most delicious. My only problem was not transferring the dough to the parchment before filling. The loves were not perfectly straight but they looked good nonetheless. The dough was a pleasure to work with.

  72. ChrisfromCT

    The braided lemon bread looks super appealing. altho I haven’t made it .. .. .. yet.

    The tutorial was nice and clear – thanks for that! I like the way even a mistake or two was highlighted – we’ll learn from that.

    I’ll post again when I’ve made the recipe.

  73. Chefsteph55564

    This is a wonderful recipe and very easy to make. I made it with lemon/cheese and one with King Arthur Bakers Cinnamom filling.
    Wow soooo delicious… Big hit at work..

  74. darla10

    Gonna make this in the morning, thanks so much for the great directions. I just made a bunch of key lime curd, so I will use that. I have a question, when I shop at, I always see “the baking sheet” for sale. Do these have the recipes from your blog? Could you tell me about them if not. Also, I live in New Mexico, we are coming to Vermont this summer. Do you all give tours? My daughter 11, niece 15 and I are avid bakers, so it would be a thrill to get to see you all in action. Thanks again, your blog is fantastic and I truly enjoy it.

    The recipes in the Baking Sheet are exclusively for the subscribers, they are original and appear no where else.

    Presently, and through the Summer, we are under construction: We do not have tours, but the new bakery, when complete, will be fitted with observation windows. Hope that you all will enjoy your trip. Frank @ KAF.

  75. bluestocking

    I just want to thank you for these (and others!) perfectly clear and well staged photos. They’re just what I need to instill confidence when I’m trying a new recipe or technique. I really appreciate your time and effort!
    Thanks so much. We know how much seeing something up close and “real” can make a difference, so we really try hard to show step by step. Thanks for the encouragement! ~ MaryJane

  76. Foxey

    I’m sure glad I didn’t know of this site before I retired. I really enjoy your recipes and now have time to use them. I getting back into baking and other things and tried this recipe recently. It turned out delightful. I read in the comments about not putting in too much filling and didn’t. I wish I had. Next time….And it was so easy. It actually turned out like your pictures. Thanks for all the recipes and tips on baking. I love this site.
    Good for you Foxey, and thanks for the kind words. How great to have plenty of time to try new recipes and share them with others. Hope to see you here in the comments section often. ~ MaryJane

  77. susankodiak

    I made this bread today and it was beautiful and so tasty!! I used whipped cream cheese because it was on sale and I forgot to put the flour in the filling. It didn’t seem to change anything as the filling did not run and was wonderful. Because there are just two of us I used my time-tested method for dough in that I divided it in two and put each half in a zip-lock bag in the frig. I did that yesterday. Today I took out one bag and made the bread. Being cold it was easier to work with than when it is freshly risen. I will make the second batch for company tomorrow.
    What an excellent plan. I tend to do that with pizza dough, but don’t really think to do it with sweet dough. Thanks for the reminder. ~ MaryJane

  78. hepokoski

    My daughter and I had a fun time making this yesterday. We put a few frozen raspberries on top of the lemon curd in one loaf and it turned out beautifully! This recipe is a keeper.
    That sounds delightful and so very Spring-like. Glad you got to have time to bake together too. ~ MaryJane

  79. Novi

    How long would this bread stay fresh? Thank you.
    The bread has a good amount of sugar, so it will keep well for 3 to 4 days. ~ MaryJane

  80. rncherylking

    Oh my—–this was so good. The dough was easy to work with. Plan to freeze one for later and enjoy again thank you KAF.
    So glad you liked it. Happy Spring! ~ MaryJane

  81. Kimberlee

    We made this today to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day and it was FABULOUS! So, so good. We used homemade lemon curd (Ina’s recipe) and used a generous amount (didn’t measure) so it was very lemony. The loaves come out looking beautiful and they taste as good as they look. What a treat. Thank you!

  82. missjones

    My grandson (4 years old) often has helped me in the kitchen; he was especially intrigued by this recipe & gobbled a couple of pieces when they cooled off enough to slice!
    My observations: I use silicone liners instead of parchment and this came in particularly handy as it was easy to roll the exact size–almost to the edge of the liner–and there was no need to move anything. Just use the edge of the scraper and be careful not to cut into the liner. (Also, the liners work great on top of the dough when rolling.) Finished one & popped it in the oven; worked on the second one while baking the 1st.
    My oven is very efficient & these were toasty dark brown @ ~19-20 minutes.
    Conclusion: dead easy & delicious!!

  83. rwilliams05

    Is there any reason not to let the dough rise, shape it, refrigerate, and then bake in the morning?

    I’ve done this with cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads in the past, but I don’t know how this one will rise or how the chill would affect it.
    Yes, that method would work just fine for this recipe. ~Amy

  84. Leanne

    This recipe looks SO delicious! I am wondering about converting it to a GF recipe, however. I’m new to GF baking and don’t have the confidence (or the time really) to experiment with different mixtures. I have a GF flour blend from a GF cookbook, should I just try that? The mix has brown rice flour, sweet sorghum flour, cornstarch, potato starch, potato flour. It also includes xanthan gum. Thanks so much for any advice!
    Yeast breads are not a very straightforward conversion when it comes to gluten free experimentation. Also, most gluten free breads are made from more of a batter than a dough and are impossible to braid. If you would like to use the lemon filling with a gluten free bread recipe, that could work. ~Amy

  85. hepokoski

    I took the four “cut out” corners from each loaf and kneaded them into one delicious bun which I let rise and bake with the loaves. It was perfect!

    Great idea – waste not, want not, right? Thanks for sharing – PJH

  86. "Flour Petals by Daisy"

    Made this two weekends in a row – last week using lemon curd, this week using apricot preserves. Deliciousness filled the house! This recipe is slightly different from the one featured on the KAF Baker’s Companion (raspberry cream cheese braid)…so I somewhat “combined” the two just to experiment. Today’s dough is much better – very soft, very pliable, not sticky at all. Thank you so much!!

  87. cejp

    Being a chocoholic… I decided to try this with the new dark chocolate philadelphia cream cheese… wow…. I put a sparse amount of raspberry jam down the middle of the cream cheese. Now I love lemon, but variety is the spice of life!

  88. GAGramma

    Lovely recipe, easy to work with, and easily adapted to many fillings.
    We like the lemon but we, and everyone who has tried it, love the bread recipe (unchanged) with a lox and cream cheese filling. Subtle but excellent contrast between rich dough and the lox.

  89. mancode1954

    I baked two of these delicious braids for a baby shower my wife was attending this morning. I actually prepped and made the braids last night, and let them slow rise overnight. I used strawberry’s in the first and apple in the second, then drizzled cream cheese icing on them. I truly believe this is one of the best sweet doughs I’ve ever used! It all came together beautifully. My wife said everyone loved the braids and they were almost as sweet as the new baby at the baby shower. Thanks again, ya’ll are the best!!

    Aw, how very nice of you to make the refreshments for the shower – I hope you snitched a tiny bite before your wife too them away! 🙂 PJH

  90. enjhagen

    I can’t wait to make this for my quilting group next weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out! Just a question….may I use low fat, or no fat for the yougurt, sour cream and cream cheese? Thanks.
    I would say you could go low fat, but not no-fat. They just don’t bake the same way. ~ MaryJane

  91. enjhagen

    Made these tonight and they are wonderful. I did use full fat versions of sour cream and yogurt and the lighter cream cheese. One thing…I did spread the filling a little too wide on the dough and when they baked, the braids separated a little. Thanks for the help!
    I’m sure you’ll get better and better the more times you make the breads. Enjoy! ~ MaryJane

  92. nmr82

    Can this be made with white whole wheat flour?

    I would only substitute in half whole wheat for the flour in this recipe and increasing the liquids slightly. To be specific, I’d use whole wheat in the sponge (WW flour is ideal for yeast activity with all the nutrients it contains!) and then use 2.5 cups WW flour and 2.5 cups AP flour in the dough, adding 2 tablespoons of extra liquid to keep the dough tacky and supple. Kim@KAF

  93. jkay43

    I am going to make a few of these for my hubbys crew at work, I always make them cookies on holidays, question, how does it stand up to making it a day ahead of time or should I make it in the morning fresh, I would like to make it today and send it in the morning??
    One day should not compromise the quality too much. Any more than that, make fresh! They will love it and what a nice thing to do. Elisabeth

  94. jkay43

    Oh darn, I just made 2 batches, did not let them rise for the 90 mins I let them rest for 5 and rolled them out then , formed them into a rectangle, and put themin the Fridge for morning baking , did I mess this up already?? do u need to let them rise for the 90 mins first??

    You really should allow your doughs to rise twice. The first rise really helps to improve the flavor of the dough as well as the structure and texture. Your braids should be fine, just not quite like how it is described in the recipe.-Jon

  95. karen51pa

    Hi: Do yo think this recipe would work as rolls instead of a loaf (no braiding, of course).?
    Also, can they be frozen (or refrigerated) and then baked? Actually, I’d like to know that
    answer for any bread loaves (i.e., if you have a bread recipe, can it be transformed into
    rolls.) thanks for any help.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I am sorry, but this is probably not the best choice for turning into rolls. A bread recipe that is more standard than this is recommended. The trouble is, this recipe has a filling so that complicates things! After the first rise, divide the dough into 2-3 oz. pieces. Shape each piece into a tight ball. For free standing rolls, place to rise on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Or for pull-apart dinner rolls, place into a prepared pan (round or square). Bake at the same temperature as recipe recommends but for a shorter duration. I would check for doneness after just 15 – 20 minutes depending upon the size. Have fun! Elisabeth

  96. Fara

    Thanks for this lovely recipe! Can I just make small individual breads, rather than two big ones? I do not know how I should divide the dough so I get them all the same size? Also, I like to try this with canned pumpkin, however, I do not know if I need to add egg or corn starch,…?
    What would be your recommendation?

    1. Amy Trage

      You can divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces if you’d like to try smaller versions, but it might make the braiding part of the job a little tricky. You can use 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree with the rest of the lemon filling ingredients to make a pumpkin filling instead. ~Amy

  97. Fara

    I forgot to ask you something else. How is plain yogurt comparable to using milk? Can I even use milk? If so how much would I need please? Thanks

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I would not actually suggest to use milk as a replacement in this case as milk will have much more water in it by volume. I would stick to the yogurt or perhaps use sour cream as a replacement. Jon@KAF

  98. Fara

    Would I need to egg wash the surface of the dough before braiding to make sure that cut strips stick together? Also, how can I use ricotta cheese for the filling? Thanks!

    1. Amy Trage

      The ricotta cheese in place of cream cheese should work fine. You will egg wash the surface of the braid after it is shaped,; doing so before, will cause the strands to separate during the bake. ~Amy

  99. Roxanne Morris

    There is a similar recipe in The Bakers Almanac. I’ve thought about changing the filling to almond paste topped with chocolate chips. Haven’t tried it yet though.

  100. Kelley H.

    If this is really as easy to make as you make it look, it will definitely be near the top of my baking list. Thank you SO MUCH for the excellent tip on how to make it look braided!

    1. PJ Hamel

      Kelley, I love this “mock braid” type of shaping – you can do it with all kinds of fillings, too. Hope you get a chance to make this bread soon – PJH

  101. Sealily

    I’ve made an Italian Artichoke Braid from the Betty Crocker bead machine book a few times, but had a lot of trouble rolling and forming an attractive loaf. I wonder if you have a non-sweet dough recipe that would be as easy to work with as this, or if this recipe could be adapted? I love the filling: marinated artichoke hearts, black olives, roasted red peppers and provolone. The simple dough is flavored with Italian seasoning. Or do you think the Easy Roll Dough Improver I purchased would solve the problem?

  102. Lorna

    Every Christmas for many years my family has made a similar braided bread, filled with a prune, apple, and cinnamon filling. My mother,who made the braid for years, got the recipe from a friend, She passed it on to me and I have made it for my family for years. One Christmas, I was too busy to make it, so my son made it. It was his first yeast project, and he did such a good job that he is now the family braid maker. My dough has more butter (1-1/2 c.) and doesn’t raise too much but the braid is the same.
    I was wondering what you could substitute for the cream cheese in the filling, as my son doesn’t like cheese (strange boy!!!!)?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You could try a very thick Greek yogurt or simply remove the cream cheese filling and just use lemon curd. Jon@KAF

  103. Joan Meiman

    I have not tried this recipe yet. Can you use partial whole wheat flour instead of sole All Purpose Flour? Does WW flour respond to yeast rising? Finished product looks so enticing. I am a native of England, UK therefore, with your Scottish heritage, you will understand my love of Lemon Curd. I would like to try other suggested flavours also.
    Thank you, Mary Jane. I hope you are still at KAF.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Joan,
      MJ is still with us at King Arthur! You may certainly use whole wheat in this recipe. You may find yourself wanting to add just a little liquid – water, perhaps, or more yogurt – to the dough. Whole wheat absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour.~Jaydl@KAF

  104. carolyn

    I’ve made this twice, it was fabulous. Can I substitute your bottled blueberry and tart apple filling that I purchased from you on my last order?

    I used to order the lemon pudding from you for the above recipe but could not find it the last time I placed an order, did you discontinue that item?

    Thank you

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The pie fillings should work fine! Unfortunately, we no longer carry the lemon pudding mix. Jon@KAF

  105. Cheryl Bohn

    The simplified braid looks yummy and easy–and I DO love lemon. However, I REALLY love almond paste. Is there a cheese and almond paste filling that would work for this style bread? Thanks for your clear instructions and helpful advice.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yeast breads are quite hard to make gluten free, Maxine. As such, we haven’t tried this recipe with our gluten free flour. However, I will certainly pass on the suggestion to our Test Kitchen! Jon@KAF

  106. member-bww6491

    Hi :

    new to baking ,…. in the directions it says to make a 10 x 15 rectangle , then roll it out… approx how thick should it be , and the size of the finished rectangle ?

    then it says fold in 1/2 ( “At this point, you would want to gently fold the dough in half and transfer it to a sheet of parchment paper ” ) .. do i fold the long side ?

    Thanks –

    1. PJ Hamel

      Welcome to the wonderful world of baking! Roll the piece of dough into a 10″ x 15″ rectangle – period. No need to roll it further. As for folding it in half, that’s simply to make it easier to move from rolling surface to parchment paper (or baking sheet). It’s easiest to fold it crosswise, move it, then unfold and stretch/pat it back into its 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Good luck, and remember, we’re here to help – call our hotline anytime, 855-371-2253. PJH

  107. Dulce

    Hi there. Couple of weeks ago I took a bread workshop. I learned to make this bread.You gave me couple of ideas and some ideas not only a different filling but the ending of the braid. The size was also smaller. Two 250 grs braided bread. Our filling was cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. Was kind of snack. Yours looks more for dessert or sharing a cup of tea! Anyway, thanks for sharing, K/A you taught me something today. Greetings from Caracas, Venezuela.

  108. Susy

    Made this recipe yesterday. This was the first time I’ve worked with yeast and kneading and while it tastes great didn’t look as pretty. I used all the flour called for but it was very sticky and instead of rising as high as pictured it spread out. Will try again. Can’t wait until the fall when I hope to come to Vermont to take a class in bread making.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Sounds like it was just a touch on the wet side, Susy. Maybe a touch more flour when kneading and shaping will do the trick. ~ MJ

  109. member-bww6491

    super good .. made it for fun – and it was a real hit .. the bread alone is awesome , and the filling adds to it. gonna make it again tomorrow , for 2 neighbors.

  110. Elisabeth

    I’m really looking forward to making this as I love lemony things. However, I detest lemon curd (to me it always tastes unpleasantly metallic). Do you have a recommendation for how I could “lemon-up” the cream cheese filling and skip the curd?


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Elisabeth, lemon oil or lemon powder would be a good way to “lemon-up” the filling, but you could also replace the lemon curd with raspberry jam or strawberry preserves. This braid will be equally delightful with other flavors. Barb@KaF

  111. Wade

    My first attempt at something like this and came out flawed but still very tasty.
    I forgot the egg wash, and didn’t have any sugar to sprinkle on the top.
    I made the mistake of baking this on a cookie sheet, and the bottom was scorched black.
    I sliced it, and cut off the bottom 1/8th burnt layer, and no one knew the difference.

    My family and co-workers want me to try again very soon.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Well, I hope you do not leave them in the lurch too long before trying again! Double up on the cookie sheet next time for less color on the bottom. Bake on the middle rack, too! Elisabeth@KAF

  112. Kaulana

    I’m really looking forward to making this, but I’m wondering, if I wanted to use a savory filling (smoked salmon & cream cheese), should I adjust the sweetness of the dough?

  113. JJ

    I want to do one load with my fresh frozen blueberries that I food vac from my bushes. Do I just add the blueberries and what amount or do I cook them first etc. Details on making for this recipe would be appreciated.

    1. Susan Reid

      No need to cook the blueberries. You may want to dredge them in a little bit of Pie Enhancer, which would keep them from oozing their juice all over the place when the braid bakes. Susan

  114. Trina

    I’m going to try this recipe to impress my future Mother In Law…wish me luck! My co-worker made this bread and shared it with us and I fell in love with it. I’ll be in touch if needed 🙂

  115. member-appletreewine

    I never realized I could come here and read the blog and see the pictures…thanks to Reba..I now know…and wow did this ever help coming here..I realize a few things I did wrong now…and it still came out pretty good…but will come out better next time…this will be my signature bread..was so nice once I made it and got a lot of WOW’S….


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you want to use your sourdough starter in this recipe, use 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) of your recently fed starter and add 2 ounces of warm water (1/4 cup) plus the 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of yeast. Let it all rest for the 10-15 minutes called for in the recipe. Using these adjustments, you will have the right ratio of flour and sugar in the sponge and still get a good rise in the final loaf. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  116. Cindy

    thanks so much for explaining why some recipes need this extra step- the sponge. no one ever explained this to me- I thought it was just someone being fussy and that it just added time to the recipe. those are the recipes I would pass up- too much trouble for that extra step! now I won’t pass those recipes up- they are probably worth the effort!

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Terrific, Cindy! Glad to know you’ll be diving deeper into new recipes. 🙂 ~ MJ

  117. Robin

    I followed the recipe exactly. The directions were easy to follow and my Braided Lemon Bread turned out beautifully! No problems, no questions. Total success! Bake for a crowd or bake for friends. This recipe feeds a lot. This recipe is delicious and has an impressive presentation.

  118. kristen

    so i was following the pictures instead of diligently rereading the post and made the same parchment mistake you did. good times. lol
    (i was like this would be a good spot to transfer onto parchment but hers is still on the board, so i should be ok…) 🙂


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