This September has been all about cooler temperature and crisp morning air. So delightful and comfortable! Summer is fading. And fall is here! For parents, this also means “back to routine”.
As much as we all adore staying up late, making messes, ruining schedules, playing and relaxing in summer, I also love routines. Afterall it’s meaningless if all these fun memories are not well balanced with a normal rhythm in our home. I’m a big “eating in” fan! Cooking and baking happens in my kitchen almost 24/7. I enjoy being busy in my kitchen making wholesome food because this gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m nurturing my family in a good way. Nurturing is my game.
My kids love sweet breads. A new batch of cinnamon rolls doesn’t normally last more than two days. After-school snack, breakfast, sometimes even dessert after dinner! I know I know, making bread?!?!?! Are you crazy? But once you get on that train, you will enjoy the process and crave the satisfaction when your kitchen starts to smell like an artisan bakery.
Home-cooking is the way to go. But quality ingredients are what really help you create nourishing food. This lovely strawberry and cream cheese braided bread is filled with love, thanks to the hero ingredient, Arla Lactose Free Cream Cheese, the first dairy-based lactose free cream cheese. It has no additives and is made with five simple and natural ingredients. The cream cheese is so smooth that all I needed to do was to spread it directly on the dough without even bothering to add milk to thin it! I didn’t add sugar as I topped the cream cheese with strawberry jam. Just the perfect amount of sweetness!
That morning when my kids woke up to the wonderful smell from this bread and jumped right to the kitchen table wanting breakfast so badly… I mean who cares about the hassles of bread making. Look at this, nothing is better than this!
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Ingredients (one big loaf):
6 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Arla Lactose Free Cream Cheese
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
In a bowl of standing mixer, mix water and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Add sugar, sour cream, butter, egg and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
Add flour and salt, and mix/knead with the dough hook until the dough become soft and smooth, about 8 minutes.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit in a warm place for an hour to rise.
When the dough is risen, move it to a lightly floured surface. Press to flatten the dough into a big rectangle.
Spread the cream cheese lengthwise down the center of the dough. Spread the strawberry jam over the cream cheese.
Cut 1″ strips all the way down each long side of dough (the areas not covered with the filling) from the edge of the filling to the outer edge of the dough. Braid the bread by starting with the strips in each top corner, laying them over the filling and criss-crossing over each other. Continue down the entire braid. Tuck the last braid under the bread.
Carefully transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Mix the egg wash ingredients, and brush the dough with the mixture. Sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake at 350F for 25 to 35 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown.