braided lemon bread

I know this is the kind of stuff that makes people without children roll their eyes, or at least would have made me roll my eyes anytime prior to eight months ago, but seriously, nothing, nothing makes you a more productive person than having a baby. How else will you learn all of the things you can do in the two minutes he is occupied with a toy and may not see his other favorite possession, Mama’s Undivided Attention, sneaking off, stage left? Hit the loo! Get a glass of water! Put hair in ponytail! Balance your checkbook! Solve the Greek financial crisis.

dough, ready for first risedough, rolled outcream cheese fillingwith cream cheese filling

And with a whole day, while the baby “weekends” with his grandparents? One can out-brunch all of their earlier brunch efforts. One can even braid a sweet yeasty bread and discover the directions on the recipe used forget to mention that your [giant, cream cheese and lemon curd-stuffed elegantly woven] soft dough will be impossible to transfer from your work surface to the parchment-lined baking sheet, call in one’s husband to help and together you two can spend the better part of a half hour getting the braid off the counter, mostly intact, without worrying that a little weeble-wobble in the next room is chewing on laptop wires (again). Baby-Free Saturday was wild, people. Please try to contain your envy.

i bought lemon curdhow to set up your braidstart braidingbraiding done

But don’t worry, my directions will spare you that near-disaster but keep what counts: lemon curd, sweet cream cheese, a stunning braid that’s remarkably easy to pull off and a sweet, buttery yeasted dough that bakes to a gorgeous burnished brown, studded with crunchy sugar. You know, this wasn’t my first yeasted coffee cake, or even my first twisty bready centerpiece, but I feel like this recipe has opened up a whole new world of breakfast baked goods. The fillings could be any kind of fruit, or chocolate, or a nut paste like marzipan, or a nut paste plus chocolate plus fruit plus… Anyone want to babysit so I can make this again?

transferred, phew
lemon bread, biscuits, scones

One year ago: Almond Raspberry Layer Cake
Two years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Three years ago: Raspberry-Topped Lemon Muffins

Braided Lemon Bread
Adapted from my favorite bakers

I made a lot of changes to the original recipe, because I’m like that; I halved it because the original recipe would make two huge braids, and even my family couldn’t go through that; I swapped some yogurt for sour cream, which I think bakes up better in doughs and allows you to get by with just one tub of “extras” needed; I’ve added a curd recipe but confess I didn’t not use it this time, buying a jar instead; I rewrote the directions so that you won’t need to spend 30 minutes trying to transfer the quickly-sticking dough off your counter and a bunch of other more boring things. I’ll spare you. All you need to know is that this recipe is a delight and it will steal the spotlight, even from a crepe cake, wherever you put it out. Lemon curd. Sweet cheese. Buttery dough. How could it not?

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour

Sponge (above)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
Pearl sugar* or sparkling white sugar for sprinkling

Lemon cream cheese filling
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (5/8 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) homemade (recipe below) or prepared lemon curd

Make sponge: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make dough in a stand mixer: Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes. ??Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.

Make dough by hand: Whisk together sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in a large, wide bowl. Stir in sponge. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon as best as you can; you may need to get your hands in there to form it into a shaggy ball. Turn ball of dough and any incorporated scraps onto a counter and knead until a smooth, soft dough forms, about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.

Make the filling (while dough rises): Combine all the filling ingredients (except the lemon curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free. Reserve the filling and lemon curd until ready to fill the braids.

Prepare bread: Gently deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper, please; I did not and it led to all sorts of trouble. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling. (Like so.) Spread the lemon curd over the cream cheese filling.

To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Be careful not to cut your parchment paper; if you have a bench scraper, this is a great time to use it. Remove the four corner segments. (Like so.) To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips (like so) until you are out. You can tuck the last couple that hand off decoratively under the end of the braid.

Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy.

Bake bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with pearl or coarse sparkling sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and your apartment smells like a doughnut factory. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Do ahead: When working with bread dough, you can refrigerate it or freeze it at almost any point in the process (before the first rise, after you deflate it, etc.). When you’re ready to work with it again, you bring it back to room temperature and let it resume rising from where it left off. This can take a few hours since it is cold. For this braid, my favorite way to approach it is to assemble the whole thing, braided and filled, put it on its baking sheet, loosely cover it with plastic and either refrigerate it overnight or up to a day, or freeze it for up to a week (wrapped better once frozen, of course). When you’re ready to use it, take it out, bring it back to room temperature and let it complete its second rise before you brush and bake it.

* Pearl Sugar: If you like to bake, pearl sugar is great stuff to have around. It looks gigantic but instead of each “pearl” being reminiscent of a large, tooth-breaking crystal, it has a soft crunch. It’s wonderful on baked goods and even in them, like classic Liege waffles. And it’s pretty. When it comes to baked goods, pretty always wins.

Lemon Curd
Adapted from Gourmet

Makes a little shy of 1/2 cup

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, finely grated
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and egg in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

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379 comments on braided lemon bread

  1. I made this bread a few weeks ago! It’s SO good. I actually made both loaves and me, my boyfriend, and one friend had no problems finishing it. I was nervous about making it because I don’t work with yeast very often, but I’m so glad I tried. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, but it’s not as hard as it looks, and when it comes out of the oven you’ll feel like you’re a professional baker. It just looks so impressive.

  2. Earline

    Can’t WAIT to try this–thanks, Deb!

    The Joy of Cooking has a recipe for a poppy seed-filled bread that’s put together like your braided lemon bread. The description noted that the finished product looked like either the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes or a crocodile.

  3. Bread is one of those items I never make. This looks so good and I love lemon so I think this may be the recipe that gets me into bread baking. I am wondering, do you need to serve this the same day or does it last for a day or two?

    1. deb

      I found it best, and most moist, on day one. If you want to do this ahead of time — and I’ll add this at the end, I forgot — I recommend putting the whole thing together and either keeping in the fridge overnight (what I did, wrapped loosely in plastic) or in the freezer for up to a week. When you need it, bring it back to room temperature and bake it once it gets puffy again.

  4. I remember when I was little we made a braided bread in class, my group’s turned out to be a disaster. All crooked and crazy. This looks divine! Very beautiful, I love the browning it got, and tasty looking, too.

  5. Kate C.

    This looks fabulous!! I do completely understand about all the stuff a parent swiftly learns how to pack in to even 1 free minutes. But at least based on my experience if you decide to have a second kid anytime in the next 3 years your great ‘do-everything-in-20 seconds” skills are likely to get rusty… with two of them tag-teaming it – you’ll never get a break to practice!!!!!
    Oops, does that fall under the ‘parenting advice no comments allowed’ section??
    Hmm… I’m going to go with no, since I’m not telling you how to do anything… just commenting on the amazing ability of children to monopolize every second of time.
    Thanks for the recipe! Next time I get a kid-free saturday I might have to try it!

  6. Can I use the same dough and fill it with savoury stuff like a big breakfast sandwich with maybe scrambled egg, cooked bacon bits, cooked Canadian bacon, onions, peppers etc

  7. Deb, Last time I was in NYC I looked for the lars Belgium Pearl Sugar and could not find it. Do you have a local NYC store to buy it? Locally in Vermont I can only find the Swedish Pearl Sugar. The Liege Sugar waffles are still excellent with the smaller sugar.


    1. deb

      Kate — Ha! No. You’d have to say something more like “I cannot believe that you let your child gnaw on a rubber giraffe. How is that going to help him develop his palette?”

      Donna — Definitely. I think it would be gorgeous studded with flaky salt instead.

      Robin — Um, I bought mine in Paris, which makes my life sound way more glamorous than it is these days. Probably a kilo bag for about 5 Euros at G. Detou. Alex looked at me like I’d gone off the deep end. Honestly, I had not realized it was readily available at Ikea! I am also nearly positive you can also get it at the cake and baking supply shop on 22nd Street.

  8. Sharon

    This looks amazing, and I’m trying to invent a reason to make it soon.

    Pearl sugar can be found (cheap!) at ikea, and are perfect on your chouquettes!

  9. Oh Yum!! The food and the little one. :) This dessert bread looks so awesome and of course your pictures make it look easy! Can’t wait to try this one out some baby-free weekend. We should trade babysitting so we can get cooking in. :)

  10. Kathy in St. Louis

    I wondered if you used the KAF recipe…! Wonderful to see two of my favorite bakers taking on the same wonderful recipe.

    Sharon #16: make it just because you love it! I’m sure leftovers will freeze well, and can you think of a nicer treat than a single slice with a cup of coffee or tea? I can’t. :-)

  11. Lisa P.

    This looks so good, it makes me want to curse. Thanks for the FYI on the transfer issues. I’ll be sure to not start excitedly working on the counter and take a minute to pull out the parchment paper or the like.

  12. Kate C.

    well, actually I can’t believe you STOP the baby from chewing on those laptop wires! Everyone knows there are important trace minerals in there that will make him a genius! What are you thinking??

  13. Oh how could you. I was browsing for something yummy to make and you post this and I love everything about it (run-on sentence I know) AND I AM OUT OF CREAM CHEESE!!! Not fair. Now I have to wait till tomorrow. Ah well at least I got to look at a cute giraffe eating munchkin.

  14. Ohhh, goodness. In my household, we grew up calling this coffee cake, and that’s how I’ll always think of it. I was so disappointed when I grew to adulthood and found that other people’s “coffee cake” was just cheap yellow cake with streusel topping. My mother makes this bread every Christmas with a cinnamon-raisin-brown sugar filling, and I swear it’s manna from heaven. Hot out of the oven with a glass of milk, or toasted the next day and spread thick with butter and jam (or lemon curd!), this bread is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. We brush it with evaporated milk instead of egg wash, but po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

  15. Anne

    I’m pregnant with my first and I’m a bit freaked out- is it really that bad? I mean the no time after you have a baby thing…

    1. deb

      Anne — Actually, what I meant was that you get SO GOOD at time management, you become ridiculously efficient. I get stuff done in a third of the time I used to. It’s a good thing!

  16. That bread looks simply beautiful… and lemon curd… well, that could give me an excuse to actually *make* something with it, and not just furtively eat it straight from the jar!
    Also, as a person without children, I’m nowhere near rolling my eyes (any parent who can keep a sense of humour is unlikely to get any eye-rolling from me), but just love how vivid the imagery is from your description. And a woo hoo for Talking in Capital Letters as well.

  17. Wow! That looks incredible! And, I totally hear you on the baby thing! I have a baby and toddler right now and am amazed I’m finding any time to cook. I can attribute almost all my mistakes to being mommy distracted. Happy baking!

  18. It is so wonderful to watch these little ones discover their world. Jacob looks adorable with his toy giraffe.
    The lemon bread looks incredible. I am also ordering one. I will be sending a few more interesting toys to entertain Jacob in exchange.

  19. First time commenting, and I must say, I’m religiously obsessed with your blog :) I will definitely attempt this recipe tomorrow, but I just have one quick question… When you say “To “braid”, begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling…” what is the top flap and what is the bottom flap? Just a bit confused on this part. Thanks!

  20. Oh. My. Goodness. Deb. I love your writing. Absolutely LOVE it. And yes, you identified my reaction to “Braided Lemon Bread” perfectly. As a single (yet exclusively dating) young lady, I immediately balked at the idea of spending free time challenging my culinary skills with a braided curdy bread. Kudos to you and your new-found time effectiveness. I envy your skills and wonder why my not-so-tasking life can’t leave me with such baked goodness.

    P.S. Your photos always make me smile. They are beautiful.

  21. Anna

    I want to make this with cream cheese and strawberry preserves. Or rather, have my sister make it as I’m still afraid of yeast.

  22. I’m not sure what I’m more envious of – this loaf on your countertop or your child-free weekend! the combination is what dreams are made of.. or sleep, anyway.

  23. Jen

    Just looking at the pictures of the dough makes my mouth water. Yum yum yum. Except that I don’t like lemon, so maybe minus on yum.

  24. I’m so incredibly conflicted now. I was set to make homemade pop tarts tomorrow for a party on Sunday but now I’m looking at this and thinking “hmmm… well maybe I could fit this in too or maybe the pop tarts should wait oh but what about the crepe cake?”

    I just don’t know what to do anymore.

  25. Janet

    You are the queen of Balance, I have decided. New kid, blog, cookbook to come, sense of humor, perfectionism when adapting recipes, great photography, loving husband, did I already mention your sense of humor? I’m sure it’s exhausting to be you, but this regular gal appreciates how not exhausting it is to check in with you every day, thanks so much.

  26. Vanessa

    Quick question– is this dough more danish-like or more bread-like? I’m sure it’s quite delicious in either case… just curious!
    Also, the pearl sugar is really intriguing– now I want to start experimenting with it.

  27. A homemade butter braid! I don’t know if anyone knows what I am talking about, but this looks just like it! You are so fabulous and creative! Thanks!

  28. Cream cheese! Lemon curd! I just bought lemon curd at my local market and I was thinking it might be a bit much just to gorge on (though I was totally prepared to try. But everything is better with cream cheese (in my opinion), and the instant I saw this recipe I squeaked with joy. And then promptly IMed my friend who is a better baker than I, and who owns a working mixer, to see when she’d be up for getting together to make this. This recipe was made to be in my mouth, and I cant wait.

    Thank you.

    (also, your chana masala recipe is becoming a staple dish for me – the extra sour really works well, and the heat ends up perfect)

  29. Wow, that’s so glamorous, just smiling up at our camera with that lovely brown sheen, isn’t it?

    Deb: right below the last gorgeous picture, in the paragraph below the recipe name… is there perhaps an extraneous negative? The lemon curd: “but confess I didn’t not use it this time.” Huh?

  30. looks terrific. i just made some brioche dough which is proving at the moment – do you think it would work instead of the dough you have here? i was worried it might be too delicate (and sticky) for the filling and braiding it?

  31. That looks great! I love lemon curd, so I bookmarked it already. And as long as my oven is broken (I am hoping the service will come on monday) I can do babysitting for you. :-)

  32. Eileah

    Oh my goodness! This is beautiful! It’s kind of nice that it makes two braids. It gives you the opportunity to be a great neighbor! Thank you for this recipe. I will be trying this VERY VERY soon!

  33. I need to make this soon… and i understand the 2 mins thing… my daughter is 18 months and still doesn’t let me out of her sight. but she never gets really distracted either…

  34. That bread looks to die for! My grandma is Sweedish and used to make a braided bread like that for holidays. But hers didn’t have the lemon curd. I should try to make your recipe for a family get together sometime. Thanks for all the great inspiring recipes!

  35. Susan

    I’ve looked at your birthday crepe cake 1,365,423 times in the last 2 days and now you bring us this. I even chanced upon a crepe pan and bought it today ( it is so cool, exactly what I’ve been looking for) because I can’t get that crepe cake out of my head..and even my husband is making up crepe cake verses to the tune of Moon River in an attempt to burn it into my mind. But I love this too and want to make it cuz I love to make bread. And my son just requested another batch of those thick and chewy granola bars. You’re worse than having a baby in the next room. But don’t stop ;)

  36. Oh Deb, I can’t resist anything with lemon, especially lemon curd and in a bread too. Just amazing. Sadly my kitchen’s being renovated so I’ll have to wait till next week to try this – sob!

  37. Oooh, I just made one of these the other day with almond paste, cream cheese and apricot preserves. Then I put a sugary glaze on top with toasted slivered almonds. They are delicious and like you said, remarkably easy to pull off! This lemon cream cheese version looks to die for!

  38. Silvia

    Looks absolutely amazing, but maybe a little too much for me, my skills are not up to it. Well, at least something to look forward to!

  39. Irini

    I am Greek and have a 13 month old daughter!! I don’t have the time to solve my country’s economical crisis but I looove your site, recipes and son! I am in a middle of an Atkins here (due to the new economical measures!!) and the only thing I can do is dreaming of this bread as I love lemon curd and sour cream!! thanx

  40. This bread looks sooo good! Thanks for changing the directions. I would sure be sad not knowing how to transfer the bread into the oven! Man, you must have patience.

  41. Sharon

    So to make ahead, do you do the second rise and then pop in the fridge, or braid it and pop it right in, so the second rise is in the fridge?

  42. This recipe looks killer and I was thinking it might be worth making the lemon curd too, if I made a little extra for other uses. About how long will it keep? Can I freeze it?

  43. I thought I’d let you know that twitter is acting strange and I’m getting your tweets about your new posts since May 5. They come from me (@spinachtiger) to me in direct message, but they are written by you. Some kind of malfunction is happening.

    1. deb

      Angela — Ugh, I’ll look into it. I use TwitterFeed and the program is kind of a mess. For a month, it had deleted the feed entirely! Sorry it’s acting up for you.

      Sharon — I just added the do ahead tips in great detail. Hope that helps!

      Marti — Thanks. I was trying to say that I hadn’t made my own curd (I’d hung onto those blasted egg yolks too long! But the recipe I provide doesn’t even need them.) but bought a jar. I was surprised; it was as good as homemade.

  44. Joanne

    Love braided breads – happen to have some lemon curd at home – husband is coming home from China tomorrow and I think this will make a wonderful welcome home breakfast on Sunday!! Thanks for all of your fabulous recipes Deb and your spot on assistance with my cheesecake emergency!! Oh and by the way, we LOVE Sophie the giraffe!! My 5 month old granddaughter gnaws on it like it’s the best treat ever!

  45. Jim-49

    Deb,Very nice!! I love the braids,they are somewhat long in making,but well worth it.I started out with the Blueberry Braid off of,The Fresh Loaf,about a year ago,and have twisted it to many versons,but as of now,never tried the lemon.Yes,you planted the seed,I will have to try it.Love the site,and thanks for your time and love baked into each dish! Jim

  46. You are so right about having babies. I remember thinking I was so busy before kids. Now I look back and see I had all the time in the world and didn’t realize it. You become very efficient QUICK when you have someone clinging to your ankle while your cooking!

    The lemon bread looks divine! I have a similar looking recipe from my husbands Hungarian side of the family, but it’s filled with nuts and honey, This looks like a nice change for the summer! Thanks again!

  47. This is really similar to a danish-like treat that my mom and I have been making for years–albeit sans braiding and lemon curd. The addition of the lemon curd could be divine! I’ll have to make it for her the next time make it home!

  48. Kim

    Cruel! That’s what this is! I LOVE to bake–especially wacky breads–but I started weight watchers this week. Maybe in a year when I’ve reached my goal I could make this, but there will be 100’s of other recipes in between that catch my eye. Ugh! This is what got me to WW!

  49. Janet

    This looks amazing; can’t wait to try it – but before of after the mushroom crepe thing? I’ll baby sit too!

  50. Jennifer B

    We have a very similar recipe we use in our house for Christmas breads – the dough rises overnight in the fridge, we often use just the cream cheese filling (or a bit of apricot jam with the cream cheese filling), and we often bake them in a round 9 inch cake pan so they fit on a standard plate for gift giving.

    They freeze well after baking also!

  51. Killian

    Deb, I would absolutely babysit for you if you’re going to make stuff like this. My kids are 18, 16, and 15, so I like getting some “baby time” in once in a while!

    I love lemon, and am also pondering this with orange, as well. Hmm. Thank you for destroying my productivity at work this morning! =)

  52. Stacey

    This looks delish, but I have to say I am more excited by the new addition to the sidebar- SK Cook Book! I bet it will be beautiful. I was just talking about whether you would ever release one with a couple girls at work who I have converted to SK. So happy! And congratulations!!

  53. Ariella

    I am going to make this tomorrow with Nutella (replacing the cream cheese mixture) and raspberry jam (replacing the lemon curd). I will let you know how it turns out.

  54. Tracy

    Mmm. Now my mouth is watering for pastry that I really should not be eating if I want to fit into my summer clothes….

    Have you tried Beatrice Ojakangas’ Danish Braid from Baking With Julia? I used to make it often, with the apricot filling and confectioner’s cream. But all of Beatrice’s Danish recipes from that book are easy and delicious.

    And, though I’d been making lemon curd for years, Eleanor Klivans’ recipe and odd method for making it (Fine Cooking, April 1998, available online) changed my life.

  55. I forget the issue of moving the braid every time I make my taco braid and every single time my husband and I end up using every spatula and free finger to pry it off the counter and move it to the baking sheet.

  56. deb

    Tracy — Of course I had to look up a new interesting way to make curd but the recipe I found from her had almost the same technique. Did I miss something?

  57. Christi

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked at King Arthur for a while. I think now seeing you make it too means I need to try it!

  58. oooh nutella and raspberry jam – inspired. I do love the granite work bench you use too, i think it would look nice when i renovate my kitchen to have that look. What are the white things on the bread?

  59. I love lemony, sweet-cheese kinds of things. I didn’t realize the technique for braiding can be so simple. I am going to give this a go sometime. (Staring at the jar of lemon in your photo and drooling.)

  60. Jennifer Barclay

    It was fun to see this on your site. I’d been over to King Arthur and it has been tempting me so. But like you with two little ones (3 1/2 and 21 months) I don’t get much done. But I think this will be my project next week as I love lemon so!

  61. Charlotte

    Yum! (the bread and the boy!) And I have a jar of lemon curd in my fridge waiting to be baked into a bread…I didn’t know that until I read this…. As for wrestling the dough off the counter, oh my. I had a similar experience a few weeks ago with a gorgeous carmelized onion and prosciutto pizza – well it was gorgeous until I had to move it from the counter into the oven. My 4 year old didn’t want to help so I had to manage with two spatulas and a baking sheet!

  62. Kate

    My boyfriend and I, being the baking wimps that we are (at least when it comes to yeast doughs), tried a new recipe for cinnamon rolls on Valentine’s Day that didn’t require yeast. We ended up with cinnamon blobs after the dough stuck SO much to the counter that I couldn’t get it up without spilling the cinnamon filling ALL over the counter. *sigh* At least they were delicious! But next time, we’ll be brave and see what happens with a true, yeasty cinnamon roll dough.

    Looking forward to your book…

  63. this bread looks great. i made a cardamom loaf the other day that was awesome, and froze one of the two loaves so i’m tempted to dig it out and gobble it up!

    the KA website is so funny! they even said they forgot to put the parchment underneath before they moved it – sucks that they didn’t put it in the recipe though! at least you got it moved somewhat safely!!

  64. April

    Deb, this looks fantastic, but I’m not a big fan of lemon or cooked fruits (weird, I know—LOVE raw fruit though!). What’s the best way to make this into a chocolate braid? Nutella with the cream cheese? Chocolate chips? Your advice is appreciated!

  65. Jenny

    I really want to make this, it looks AMAZING. But… I like in Thailand which is very humid… does anyone know if humidity would have any negative effects on the dough rising?
    :) thank you

  66. Tracy

    Deb, orginally, I was melting butter on the stove and whisking in the yolks at the end of the recipe, which often ended up with bits of cooked egg yolk and necessitated forcing the final product through a strainer, even if a tempering step was added. I know that your/Gourmet’s recipe simplifies this a little.

    The Klivans recipe calls for using *softened* butter, combining everything into a curdled, gnarly mess with an electric mixer, and then cooking until it all smooths out and thickens. I’ve never had a problem with cooked yolk bits using this method.

    There are a couple of lemon curd recipes on the Fine Cooking site, so here’s the link to the *new* (12 year old) one:

  67. Shauna

    I definitely can’t wait to try this once I get home from my whirlwind vacation to Arizona (is it a vacation when you’re making votive placesettings and fruit platters for your sister-in-law’s wedding while managing the entertainment expectations of three kids??).

    In other news, what are those amazingly awesome looking bits next to the beautiful braid in the second to last picture??

  68. Mac

    That looks amazing! I really wanted to try making something new this weekend and have been trying to decide on what to try. This looks like a winner!

  69. Deb- that looks so pretty! I love working with yeasted dough- the process smells nearly as good as the final product! What a fun brunch idea.

  70. Oh boy oh boy. I am way too excited about Donna’s suggestion about trying a savory version. I think I would go the ham + fontina route, or maybe just a mild cheese with caramelized onions. But it is hard to beat lemon curd and soft sugar on top. I’ll have to talk to my folks about one of these so called grandparents weekends…sounds lovely! Though how you managed to cook rather than not sleep the ENTIRE time is a bit of a mystery to me :)

  71. Hi Deb – Do you think I could use the King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, or would that be too heavy for this recipe? Thanks!

    ps – love the pics of Jacob, what a punim!

  72. Dalnapen

    You’d think I didn’t live a half continent away in Dallas, because I immediately answered, “Yes, I’d love to.” outloud just now. It’s true because I’d love to bite into one of those braided creations, but mainly also because I’d like to gently brush Jacob’s little forelock off of his sweet forehead!

  73. Jenny A

    I would love to make this and freeze it for another time. Can someone tell me…should I complete the second rise and then freeze for baking later? Then…do I thaw before baking in the future??

    1. deb

      Alphie — Scraps of dough were rolled in cinnamon-sugar and baked. As all scraps should be.

      Valerie — I used something called Thursday Cottage; they sold it in the jam aisle at Whole Foods. Ingredients were exactly (and only) the ingredients you’d have in homemade curd and it tasted it. I might have put my curd recipe out of business! (I am kidding. I will always have egg yolks and lemons to use up.)

  74. I just posted a nutella-filled challah recipe. It takes a lot to get us to fill a loaf with something other than nutella, but lemon curd and cream cheese just might be a contender…

  75. What? What?! What’s wrong with chewing on laptop wires? The weebles ’round these parts say that wires (and anything else posing possible electricution hazards -yay!) are quite delectable! So fear not; if you don’t have a reliable sitter (but by the look of the comments, sitters will be flinging themselves at your doorstep…), feel free to let said sir weeble discover his taste for true culinary delight in the next room. LOL :) At least, you know, he has’t discovered how to weeble walk his way to an open toilet bowl and play in it. Ah…yes. Good times. :D And, BTW, the braid looks incredible!!

  76. God. I want this so badly. I have lemon curd already (I have discovered a love affair with lemon curd), but I don’t think I have the cope to make a fancy bread tonight. But maybe tomorrow. A whole free day awaits with nothing but baking to do (and dog walking, and other things).

  77. What are the ODDS?! I just saw this on King Arthur Flour’s Web site the other day and thought, “I have to make that.” Looks like you beat me to it! I’ll have to try your version, though, it sounds amazing.

  78. This looks beautiful! I have never made a braided stuffed bread… will have to give it a shot. I have a ton of leftover cranberry curd (made on a whim this week- had lots of eggs to use up). I wonder if that would work in place of lemon? Or would the whole thing turn a weird pink color?

  79. lily

    Deb I read here every day but never comment – and since I don’t have an account where you post the adorable images of Jacob I have to say this here: You won’t believe how many random images where it appears as though your kid is giving you the finger you will end up with by the time he’s old enough to actually know what he’s doing. Look at the adorable photo again. Besides that – the lemon bread looks awesome! Trying it this weekend.

  80. R.

    Deb, so did you (personally) use yogurt instead of sour cream or sour cream instead of yogurt? Sorry. I’m sure it’s obvious, I’m just a bit confused. I so need to make this…immediately! Thanks a bunch!

    1. deb

      R — I used sour cream. Basically, if you were using the full recipe, the original, you’d make two braids and you’d put 3/4 cup yogurt in the dough and 1/4 cup sour cream in the filling. I generally buy sour cream in 1-cup tubs, so using all sour cream was a neat little way to use the whole thing up. Plus, sour cream is great in doughs. Of course, then I realized I had zero interest in making two braids, so I still didn’t neatly use up the tub, but I didn’t have to buy two things either.

  81. I absolutely LOVE to make lemon curd and you have just given me a whole new way to use it and transform it into something totally beautiful! Gorgeous gorgeous bread! :)

  82. Meagan

    I have been wanting to bake a bread and use lemon curd, two birds with one stone! I’m so excited to make this, it looks AMAZING!!!

  83. Ha….I have EVERY thing I need to make this – sugar included. I must say there are 2 sorts of pearl sugar – there is a finer grained, Scandinavian crystal sugar and there is this, choquette sugar, from France which is absolutely delish as you describe it. I brought back a whole bag from Paris last year and have used it in everything from cakes to Apple bakes. Yummy

  84. Jenn

    Hey Deb, time to update your press bragging spot, you got a great little shout out in the new Everyday Food Magazine. Saw it today and thought that I had better let you know. As usual, the pictures on this are amazing, I love lemon anything!

  85. bg

    This looks excellent. How would it be with a cinnamon and sugar filling? are you a self taught cook/baker excel at all things in the kitchen person?
    Jacob Henry is getting his NYC chops ready. Don’t forget to baby proof ’cause he’ll be moving all over before you know it.

  86. If anyone is interested, there is a recipe for lemon curd that you make in the MICROWAVE. It’s every bit as delicious and smooth as the stuff out of a jar. It might even be more delicious and smooth than the stuff you make on your stove and takes maybe 10% of the effort. Combine everything in a bowl, microwave, and stir.

    Oh, and this bread looks delicious. Love the combo of tart lemon with sweet and creamy cream cheese. (I know, what a vocabulary!)

  87. I love your blog. I think I may be one of the few men who admit they read it, but my family is glad I do! I have it linked on my blog… which is all about teaching. BUT, your recipes, stories, and photographs make me long for the days when I was growing up and helping my mom bake. She owned a little cafe and I grew up either helping cook or washing dishes. She would love this blog (she raised ten kids)… Can’t wait to make the lemon braid.

  88. Emily

    This is such a great recipe! And so versatile! I didn’t have any lemon curd so I improvised and pulsed some pecans, butter, sugar, cinnamon & clove and used that instead. It came out great! Thanks for the recipe (and for linking it to the KAF blog, now I have something to read at work :D)!!

  89. Aliya

    I saw this and couldn’t resist. It’s in the oven right now. IThis is my first bread making adventure and I can’t stop looking through the oven window. Thanks for the inspiration!

  90. I just made this with a few “subs” — whole wheat WORKS but it is a bit heavier. If you want that light, fluffy bread, stick to the white flour. WW might be perfect for a savory version of this. If you like WW taste & density, go bananas.

    I also did a puree “curd” of berries and used strawberry yogurt in the filling spread instead of lemon and sour cream. Turned out really good!

  91. Wow!!! Damn you (in the nicest possible way) I just scoffed porriage out of the pot (in complete disregard for my last post), while already 5min late for work! And then I see this! YUM! I used to bake bread all the time when studying – I’ll have to try and get back into the habit again cause this looks flipping amazing! Thanks. And by the way Jacob is the cutest little munckin! Congrats!

  92. Jill

    This looks remarkably pretzelly. Is it (texturally or otherwise) similar at all? because the pearl sugar resembles pretzel salt too…

  93. Katy

    This looks delicious. I shall be making it this week, and knowing myself and my kack-handedness as I do, I think I might just put it together on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

  94. Julie

    Wow! Another great recipe. I have a jar of Nutella on my shelf that is begging to be used in a nut-chocolatey version of this. Do you have any idea of what you’d flavour the cream cheese in that case? Ground toasted hazelnuts? Frangelino?
    Thanks for all the wondeful recipes – your sour cream chocolate chip cake is one of our treasured favourites. And the shakshuka – what an easy treat! Julie

  95. Oh my that is STUNNING.

    And, yes, I am in total agreement with the pre-babe eye-roll and post-babe hyper productivity. You’re rockin’ it out (as I sit on the floor right now in my living room, drinking coffee, singing songs, catching up on blogs in betweeen shaking a giraffe rattle…it’s 5:45am).

    Love your blog.

  96. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time, I have some left over lemon curd from some lemon-strawberry cheesecake cupcakes I made the other day. I will be serving it with coffee in the morning. Thank you!

  97. AmyLynn

    I can’t wait to try this! I recently used one of your pizza recipes and I’m much less scared of yeast and dough and bread-making in general. I bet strawberry jam would be great with that cream cheese…

  98. Nicole

    I made this today with apple cinnamon filling in place of the lemon curd.
    Gently sauteed diced apples, brown sugar, butter & cinnamon in a skillet and let cool before proceeding with the recipe.
    It was DELICIOUS!
    This was my first time working with yeast (apart from pizzza dough). I was a little nervous but everything came together well.
    Unfortunately, not having the luxury of a baby-free weekend anytime soon, I whipped this up whilst my 10mnth old was underfoot and happily occupied with kitchen utensils.

  99. LaJuana

    It’s lovely Deb. I look forward to that lemon cheese filling.

    I’ve made similar pastries using the ABin5 dough. They have a wonderful brioche that makes heavenly pastries and it’s so easy to keep the dough on hand, either in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer. There are other doughs too that can be used for pastry recipes. Check out Jeff and Zoe’s website at I haven’t bought bread in well over a year since buying their first book. Not only make bread every few days, also have made bagels and English muffins and pretzels, many things I never dreamed of baking!

    I just took a peek and Zoe’s most recent post is a raspberry braid. Obviously great minds think alike!

  100. trix

    For those of you who cannot bear to wait for rising dough – make this with prepared puff pastry sheets, same technique, just a bit lighter pastry in very little time! And it translatees beautifully to anything you might have on hand – always wows the audience!

  101. Julie

    I got the email yesterday morning and was in the kitchen last night baking them up. I made the original recipe (except I used your suggestion and used sour cream in the dough as well), and made one with your homemade lemon curd recipe and one with additional raspberry jam. They were both huge hits! Thanks so much for the recipe….next on the list to tackle is your babka…..

  102. shauna and germima, the white bits that look like salt are pearl sugar.even I didn’t know this exiss,,I have to look for them at the store.someone mentioned they’re available at IKEA. I was thinking they’re salt too, then found out after reading the baking instruction that they’re pearl sugar. I love to bake pastries, breads and cakes and definitely, I’ll bake this braided bread ( Challah). The picture sure makes us all hungry for bread, especially, for snack or breakfast.

  103. Rima K.

    The best recipe! I made this today, came out absolutely perfect! An the braiding, so professional and yet so easy to do! I looked like the pro today with my braided bread-cake! Thank you, I will be making this many more times.
    I did not do the lemon curd, because I don’t like it. Instead, I just put some ‘no sugar added’ raspberry jam. The taste was superb!
    Deb, your recipes are the best and the directions the easiest to fallow! Wow!

  104. I am someone who can never seem to whip anything to its appropriate thickness or cook something on low heat over a stove without burning it. Your lemon curd recipe is much less scary than many I’ve seen, since it doesn’t call for a double boiler or a sieve. BUT for curd wimps like me, I think the best thing about Ruhlman’s Ratio is the three-line lemon curd recipe buried in the tart chapter. Oddly, it’s made in a microwave, and it is absolutely and completely foolproof, and yummy. Damn, now I want some.

  105. Ilana

    In Israel we call it “a goat”, as in the joke when a man comes to a rabbi and cries that he has 10 children, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, all in one small house, and it is so crowded, and he cannot live like this anymore. The rabbi tells him to take a goat and come back after two weeks. The man comes back after two week, totally destroyed, going crazy with his living conditions, and then the rabbi tells him to take the goat out. And after two weeks the man comes back, happy and flourished, and thanks the rabbi: “There is so much space now!”

    On the personal note, I look back at when I had only one kid… and then when I had only two kids… If only I had known to appreciate all the free time I had!

    PS: the bread looks worth lack of sleep, because I bake mostly when the kids are asleep, at night…

  106. Aislinn

    Thanks for an incredible recipe – it came out pretty much perfect which quite amazing for me (with a 2 yo and a 7 month old things are normally rushed or things done wrong – I made your snickerdoodle recipe yesterday and put too much cream of tartar in, oops)!! Love it! I will be trying the lemon curd recipe too – looks much more straightforward than the last one i tried.

    Just one quick question – is the recipe for the bread the same as one for brioche??

  107. Julie

    This to say that I’ve just made the bread with Nutella instead of lemon curd (omitting the lemon in the cream cheese mixture) and it is fantastic. Thank you so much. I’m an expat French and it tastes just like something one could buy in a boulangerie in Paris!

  108. Heatherly

    Great recipe–for our German side of the family, this is known as a “cake” or kuchen, even though it is raised. I made it last night and it is lovely and much easier trick of a braid than the full challah braids (and how would you stuff that). I went with the lemon curd filling, but think that a crushed poppy seed or almond filling would also be fabulous. Have you ever made Natalizia (Italian Christmas Bread vaguely related to Panetonne and Pandoro only better IMHO). The dough reminded me a bit of it, although easier and quicker.

  109. I have this ready to pop into the oven as I type although I swapped the lemon curd for raspberry pie filling! I am soooo excited to taste this! Thanks so much for posting it!

  110. Erin

    I made this bread this morning for my husband. I started it the night before up until the last rise and refrigerated. Looked just like your pictures after I baked it this morning. Absolutely delicious. We sat and at this with some coffee out on the patio and talked all morning and he’s been very loving all day thanks to this! :-)

  111. Krista

    The bread looks great, I was thinking of trying a raspberry lemon curd recipe I saw in Everyday Food a few issue back. BTW: congratulations on your nod in the most recent issue, pg 23 under “Blog Watch” :)

  112. kaweenee

    LOL….How many times did you warn us to use parchment paper????? How many of us do you think forgot??? Lucky for me, I had rolled the dough out on a silicone baking mat and could freeze it until I could ‘slip” the paper underneath. What a great recipe!! Loved it on Sunday morning with both Adult Kids returned for a visit!!!

  113. Cindy

    I made this on Saturday night, and it was soo good! But it was even better cold for Sunday breakfast. What a recipe, I think I’ll make a strawberry jam and cinnamon one today.

  114. This looks so great I want to just get up and make it! I can’t wait to try this! I’m adding it to my ‘want to cook, book’ and hopefully I’ll find a reason to make it soon!

  115. Joey

    Made three batches of this today — the first one for me, and the second two batches to deliver to a few other people. The first batch was delicious, but a huge loaf. So the next two batches I divided and made two smaller loaves rather than one big loaf, and baked for a little shorter time. Worked perfectly!

  116. youthbaker

    I am curious to know how to do all of this WITHOUT A MIXER/cuisinart thing. I am a poor young person and cannot afford a stand mixer. Can I do this with a wooden spoon and my hands. There are so many things I want to try but feel nervous to do without all the expensive machinery and the proper guidelines.

    Whatever happened to using your hands?

    I need help.

    1. deb

      Youthbaker — Instructions for mixing this by hand are already in the recipe.

      Ilana — Hilarious. I love it.

      lily — I missed your comment on my first pass (probably got distracted by a typo I need to fix) but caught it this weekend and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard. Thank you.

  117. This recipe is spot on! I prepared the bread up through the first rise, filling, and braiding yesterday, then this morning I popped it in the oven for a decadent breakfast. Your recipe was so clear – I really appreciated how precise your instructions (and pictures) were. This was my first non-pizza-dough yeast bread, and it was a hit. If any of your readers are fearful of making yeast bread, just do it. This recipe is worth it.

  118. Julie

    To youthbaker – I made this with my bare hands and a wooden spoon, and it worked well. Just knead for ten minutes and make sure your butter is really soft.

  119. absinthe

    Thank you Liza@156 for the link to microwave lemon curd. Turned out wonderfully and so unbelievably easy. This will be my go-to curd recipe from now on. No more stirring over the stove for me.

  120. I made this yesterday and it’s almost all gone. I meant to use yogurt but am not so great with following instructions so ended up making it with sour cream instead. I made the lemon curd myself which was a breeze and since I didn’t have pearl sugar I just sprinkled a bit of regular granulated sugar and poppy seeds on top. The whole thing was greatly received over here … thank you for another great recipe!

  121. This is an absolutely wonderful recipe. I tried it over the weekend and it turned out perfectly. Thank you for your clear and careful instructions. I did use your Lemon Curd Recipe as it was much much easier than the one I normally use so thanks again. I will try it with Apples next.

  122. Looks delish. The perfect compliment to tea. I may not have a human bay but working full time and trying to get my jewelry company off the ground has me familiar with the two minute to solve a problem concept.

  123. love it deb. i am not a huge lemon curd fan so i think i might just make a grapefruit curd instead. and im going to get my box of pearl sugar out (finally!)

  124. My husband and I are moving from cross-country next month, so we’re trying to clean out our cupboards. (“Dried lentils? Definitely don’t want to move that!” Hehe.) So, imagine my excitement when I saw this recipe and discovered it would be a perfect way to use an endangered tub of cream cheese and blood orange marmalade. Made it by hand, and it came together beautifully (and tasted even better!). Definitely going to make it again with some lingering chocolate-hazelnut butter and maple cream cheese. Thanks, Deb!

  125. Wow. I wasn’t interested from the title, but was sucked in quickly and by the end I’m thinking about the first time I might try making this (no small children, but my kitchen is half-packed to move to a place I haven’t identified yet).

  126. Carissa

    so I’ve been a long time reader, but since I’m college student, haven’t really had time to make anything I’ve seen on here. But that will hopefully change once I get home in a couple weeks! :)

    quick question – after brushing the top of the bread with the egg yolks, do you think sprinkling coconut strips along with the sugar on top would be ok? or would it get burnt in the process of baking? thanks!!

  127. Thank you for (a) reminding me to send the children away for a weekend when I do NOT have a wedding to attend, (b) inspiring my next culinary project and (c) capturing *perfectly* the kind of scattered-productive days parents have. Another gorgeous post.

  128. Sherri

    I made this today and it was a huge hit! Fresh out of the oven we couldn’t even wait for it to cool before slicing into it. Delish, and well worth the effort of working with that sticky dough. Thanks for another wonderful recipe :)

  129. Justin

    I made this over the weekend for a group of friends. It was a big hit. Thanks for the idea and all that. I love your site and your photography skills.

  130. Youthbaker

    Julie — thank you for the tip
    Deb– I missed that the first time… that’s the thing about being a teenager, you get impatient and talk to soon. Here on go on this recipe.

  131. Charlotte

    I divided the dough into two and made two loaves and a hugish danish out of the cut out scraps. The first loaf is a beauty and will go to my lovely sister-in-law – the second one I made narrower for some reason so the braids baked sticking straight up which looks not unlike our cat asking to have her tummy scratched! Still delicious though. Maybe apricot puree and toasted almonds next time…..

  132. Nikki

    I just made this… and yes… so yummy and so not as hard as it looks. I make many an item from your site and tell everyone about it. Thanks for providing so many delicious but accessible challenges.

  133. Looks very good….Next month when I return to eating food I shouldn’t I will try and make one. =) I am on a month of “High Protein Low Calorie” diet. I started a blog last year, but got side-tracked. I am attempting to make it a daily thing now.

  134. ANN

    Mine is on its last rise at the moment. :)

    I did find one issue with the reciepe. The dough calls for, “2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread” So I thought ok…but in reading further it states add eggS, plural.

    So I did. The dough seems a little delicate, but I think it’s fine. I’ll know in about an hour. :)

  135. Your delicious bread reminded me of a time when I would make a braided bread every week! I thought they turned out so pretty that I just kept making them that way!

  136. Su

    Beware – this bread is lethal! One slice just is not enough! Sooo delicious, thanks for the recipe. I added chopped fresh mint into the dough because, well, I’m strange like that and love the combination of mint and lemon and it was divine!

  137. Simona

    Hello from Italy :)
    I made this scrumptious bread this weekend and it was – well – Divine. It vanished in one hour, everybody kept going back to it and slicing one more piece, it was that good…. and really easy and fun to make (all by hand in my case). Loved it, will make it again very very soon. Also, being out of lemons I made it an Orange Braided Bread, and cooked my own orange curd. Lovely, thank you so much Deb!

  138. This looks simply amazing! Tonight I am anticipating a moment of “me” time which I plan to turn into “Smitten Kitchen” time with this awesome-looking recipe!

  139. Ann

    I have to say, maybe leave in the eggS not egg. I made it with the two, and while it was delicate to move (thank you parchment paper), the bread is great. not at all dry or tough and it was well received in my house.

    When I make it again (my husband ate about half of it already), I’ll stick to two eggs. It is a wet dough, but manageable.

  140. Thanks so much for the reminder about the parchment paper! In the blog I mentioned the error of my ways, but never caught it missing from the recipe during any of the buddy checks. *sigh*. That’s what other good baking friends are for.
    Glad you are enjoying your Momminess, and still baking too. My daughter didn’t chew on a giraffe, but she did run around with an ice bucket on her head many, many times. :)
    Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

  141. Carly

    I made this last night. Half for my family to eat, the other to bring into work. I used APRICOT PRESERVES instead of lemon curd. VERY DELCIOUS alternative for anyone seeking something else. This was only my second time baking bread and the dough was gorgeous…While the whole thing is very well balanced, I was wondering if there were any suggestions to get a little more flavor/texture into the bread dough and maybe moisten it up a bit more. Thanks for any suggestions anyone has

  142. Mindy

    Relatively recent subscriber… Saw this in my feed a couple of days ago and knew I just had to make it for the brunch I was hosting today. It was a hit! It was gorgeous, tasty and the only dish that was totally consumed. :) And it wasn’t even really that much work. I made it up last night and baked it this morning. Fabulous!
    Your directions were wonderful and the pictures really helped. Thanks!

  143. Emily

    I’ve always been a bit of a baker, but then I moved to Japan without my stand mixer and didn’t have an oven and somehow survived for over a year. Now I’m back I’ve been baking up a storm and I keep coming across these great recipes in your blog!

    I made this for my sister’s surprise housewarming party last weekend ( and it was a huge hit!! Everyone was impressed, even though itwas actually pretty easy to make – thanks for the note about the parchment paper, though, I can’t imagine how you transferred it!

  144. Amanda

    I just made this last night and it was amazing! The result is a very large loaf (about 8″ wide and 15″ long). I would roll out the rectangle of dough on the parchment paper since I had a very hard time transferring it. Otherwise, a very easy recipe with fantastic results.

  145. Dainty

    I’ve just finished making this recipe, here are some pictures for your enjoyment :)

    I have one remark though; I am confused by your measurements.

    For example: 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar

    I used the cooking converter over at Ghostcalc to convert, and it says that 1/4 of US cup of granulated sugar is 50 grams, but 1 3/4 US ounces of granulated sugar is only 43 grams. I just used the cup and spoons measurements for everything, hopefully it’ll turn out half proper :D

    Thank you and have a lovely day ~

    1. deb

      Hi Dainty — Sorry, I had missed your comment. [I believe it was automatically disapproved not for breaking a rule (!) but because it had three links it in and the spam filter automatically pulls those as most 3+ link comments are indeed spam.] Nevertheless! I actually used the weights from King Arthur, who most likely rounded it to the nearest quarter ounce to make it simpler. Had you used weights, I doubt 7 grams would have made any noticeable difference; it works out to 1/28 of a cup or maybe 2 teaspoons.

  146. Mandi

    Did anyone try to make a chocolately version of this? Just wanted to know if anyone had any tips or suggestions. Looks yummy! I am going to try it tonight.

  147. Heather

    I very literally had a dream about this bread last night. It was definitely a step up from the nightmares I’ve been having lately but amused me nonetheless since I hadn’t planned on making it and hadn’t thought much about it since reading the post a couple of days ago.

  148. Bobanda

    Looking forward to trying this – just need an excuse, but pah-leeze – you could put lemon curd on a brick and I’d eat it. Yum!

  149. Mandi

    So I tried a chocolate version last night using mini chocolate chips on top of the filling…it was delish but I must say, a little dry. I mean, this was nothing heating it up and spreading it with butter couldn’t fix, but the lemon curd (or various preserves others mentioned) probably adds just the moisture that was missing from mine.
    Thanks for the recipe…I really enjoyed making it and will be making the real thing (ie not trying to turn everything chocolate) very soon!

  150. Food Snob

    My first post, but I love your blog!…

    I not sure about Ann’s comment about the egg thing…I used one in the dough and one to brush with…and the bread was awesome…though I’ll add both next time and see what happens…

    I didn’t have pearl sugar…good luck finding that in Jackson, TN…LOL…

    The only change I made was that I didn’t have any lemons, but did have a bag of limes…so I made lime curd…it was just great…

    I do need to calibrate my oven as it came out a little to browned on the bottom (but no one complained)…so I’ll be more careful next time…

    I also tried the Cornmeal Pecan Butter Cake this weekend as well…needless to say I was on a sugar rush all weekend…LOL

  151. suburubu

    I made this almost immediately… anything with lemon curd, yum! Got very involved in the episode of LOST that was on, though, and let it bake a tiny bit too long… dark brown bottom… but no worries, it is still spectacular. I cut it in several pieces to share with friends. My dog grabbed one of them and scarfed it down in seconds… so EVERYONE loves it. Want to try it again with cinnamon, brown sugar butter and almonds in the middle.

  152. Kathryn Kolencik

    Miracle of miracles! Two more week still of school (I’m a teacher) and I pulled this out of the oven just now! I can NOT wait to chow down. I’m going to taste it later tonight, but I think it will be even more awesome in the morning with (for?) breakfast! This was wayyyyy easier than I expected. My only concern is that I’ve never used the pearl sugar before – it sort of melted and didn’t stay cute. Is there something to prevent that or is that normal? Incidentally, the prettier pearl sugar I bought at Michael’s, but I also found the mother load on Thanks!!

  153. katherine

    #schlepseleh yes i think the brioche dough would work perfectly, just checked out your blog and i love what im seeing!

    deb this looks amazing, as soon as i can get enough time to work with yeast again this is the bread for me.

  154. Charlie

    Had so much fun making this at the weekend and it turned out perfectly, which is even more amazing considering I had never made bread before.
    I filled it with a very thin sliver of marzipan (2mm) and stewed apples, didn’t have peal sugar so used brown with a pinch of cinnamon, and it was fantastic. Served it with homemade blackberry jam. nom nom nom.

  155. Katie

    I’m wondering how this would turn out if I made them into individual mini versions? Would you alter anything, baking time in particular?

  156. marilyn

    I am anxious to try this! By the way, that is the most health conscious recipe for lemon curd I have ever seen. Usually, they call for 4 to 6 egg yolks.

  157. Lauren

    I want to make this with strawberry rhubarb filling – I was going to use the rhubarb from those tartlets you posted, and substitute about a 1/3 of the rhubarb with strawberry. Would that work? Do you have another recipe for strawberry rhubarb jam?

  158. I’ve been reading your blog for a little bit and this was the first recipe I decided to try. I’m a baking novice but could not resist the charm of the braided lemon bread! It turned out so beautifully and although it took a bit of time, it was well worth it and not nearly as challenging as I had expected it to be. Here’s how it turned out:

    Also, In the “Make Dough by Hand” section the salt was omitted. I wasn’t sure if that was deliberate, but I added it in any way. I also added a little dash of salt over the entire piece just before baking, along side the sugar crystals. I couldn’t find those beautiful pearls.

    How very, very rewarding. Thanks for the amazing blog!

  159. Eileah

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, but I was wondering if the dough can be made in the bread machine on the dough feature, and if that would make for any changes in the recipe?

    Thanks in advance!!!!

    1. deb

      Eileah — I have never worked with a bread machine, so you will have to take these instructions with a grain of salt. However! The original recipe did indeed include bread machine directions, albeit limited, as follows: “If you’re using a bread machine, combine all the dough ingredients in the pan and set the machine on the dough cycle. Be sure to check the dough as it kneads and adjust the flour or water as needed to achieve a soft, supple consistency. Let the cycle complete itself.” Hope that helps.

  160. Stephanie

    Well, I tried this recipe (with fresh strawberries instead of lemon curd). My dough was super, super soft. I even added an extra 1/4 c of flour and it was still really soft. In any case, I recommend rolling the dough on the parchment paper. I rolled it out on the counter first and I didn’t rip it, but it was extremely misshapen when it landed on the parchment paper and I had to re-roll anyways.

  161. Catherine

    I just wanted to share a tip! I used a 12×15 inch silpat for kneading and shaping the dough. Its shape was also a perfect guide for rolling out the dough before braiding. Then I just put the whole thing on a cookie sheet. It made the whole process super easy. I love your site!

  162. Brianna

    I made this for a barbeque yesterday, and it turned out wonderfully. Lemon curd is hard to get in the Bahamas for less than $10 for a little jar, but I used apricot preserves instead and added some lemon zest into the cream cheese mixture for a little more kick.

  163. jennie

    Hi! My mom and I made the braided lemon bread today and it turned out divine! We made the dough by hand – both inexperienced breadmakers – and it turned out beautifully. Thank you for the well-written instructions – the detail you provided helped so much! I made double the filling so we’ve got a little extra. Any ideas with what to do with a little extra filling and curd? I wasn’t thinking and trashed the excess dough. Thanks, again, for this great recipe. I’m still on a homemade-lemon-curd-high!

  164. Dainty

    Thank you for responding! I agree that 7 grams isn’t that much, I guess I’m just a bit worried when it comes to baking bread because you have to get the measurements right or it goes wonky :)

    My bread turned out really heavy, but I later discovered I accidentally used the wrong flour so I’ll try again and see what happens.

  165. Christie

    DEB! You are a goddess, thank you for making me look like a professional baker. This recipe came out perfect. Keep up the great work!

  166. Bonnie

    My husband and I made this bread together, and it was wonderful!! Our first attempt at any type of yeast bread. We substituted the lemon curd for a 4 berry jam. Yum!

  167. Meagan

    Ever since this was posted I was dying to make it-but since I have never made a homemade bread I was intimidated. I finally got the courage and made it this morning-SUCCESS!!!!! Although mine was not as pretty as yours it still taste great!

  168. Tammy Fanara

    Hi Smitten Kitchen – I am new to your blog and found this recipe and had to try it. I did today and although it tasted delicious, the braids did not hold together in the oven and I ended up with more of a lemon bread boat instead of braid. I will be trying it again, because even though mine wasn’t as pretty as yours, it was very yummy! Thanks for all the great recipes, I will be returning often.


    p.s. here’s my pic:

  169. Deb- What is the deal with lemon curd? My first time making it I tried David Lebovitz’s recipe and it came out fine for my tart, but I thought it could be a little firmer and I wanted more of it to fill the tart. I tried a double batch next and it seriously curdled. Second double batch try – seriously curdled. Okay, fine. Last night I tried this one: and sure, it tastes delicious, but it runs everywhere when the tart is sliced…
    How do I get a firmer curd? This recipe looks FABULOUS and I can’t wait to make it… but is the curd going to slide everywhere when we cut into it?

    You’re my guru,

    1. deb

      I can only vouch for recipes that I’ve tried but while curd is generally soft, the cream cheese here absorbs a lot of it; you shouldn’t have any squishing out. …Technical term there, “squishing out”. :)

  170. Christina

    Hi! So I decided to make this as we have had some passionfruit and lemon curd just stting in the fridge for AGES and it desperately requires using. However I kind of forgot about adding an egg to the dough. Do you think it will still work out okay? It’s currently doing its first rise :D

  171. This was fantastic tasting and impressive looking. It also kept well for several days. I was worried it would be really hard to make, and was surprised at how easy it turned out to be. So for those who might pass on this because of complexity, don’t! It was not too hard and definitely worth the effort. Thanks for another great recipe. P.S. I topped mine with poppy seeds instead of pearl sugar and it worked quite well.

  172. miss kitty

    oh man this recipe is on the money! i love your recipes because i never have to tweak them. i do wish, however, i could unlearn how easy lemon curd is to make. thanks!

  173. Madfelice

    I made this recipe and we got to all have a bit and then had to go out but unfortunately whist we were gone the dog managed to pilfer it! Both the family and the dog thought it was delicious however and the next time i tried it instead of making the one large plait I divided the mixture and made knot rolls made from the dough rolled around the filling into a tube and then knotted instead. They were oh so delicious this way and it was easy to store what could not be eaten in one sitting.

  174. Colleen

    This is sooooo good, and it is far easier than it looks to make. I think that the dough and technique will be used with any of a number of jams that I made this summer.

    I let the dough set at each step as I needed it for a Wednesday morning, i.e., made dough Sunday night, filled and braided on Monday, baked Tuesday night, and it was lovely this morning.

    I think that leaving the dough overnight in the fridge made it really easy to work with. I pressed it out by hand onto a silpat mat which provided a good guideline for the correct size rectangle, and then flipped it over onto another silpat to brush off the extra flour before filling and braiding.

    Yeah for the microwave lemon curd recipe in comment 156. It works quite well.

  175. noa

    Oops, I forgot the parchment underneath…and like you, relied on my husband, several spatulas and some creativity. I made a raspberry-lime-cream cheese version…used lime juice instead of lemon since that what I had, and raspberry preserves instead of lemon curd. Yum!

  176. Miri

    Dear deb, every recipe of yours that I try produces an awesome treat, and this one is no exception. I’ve made it today and my husband and I are indulging on the fourth slice already (each!). As always, thanks a lot for sharing and for the super clear instructions and great photos!

  177. Hillary

    Once again, this looks delicious! I’m a-gonna put forth my best effort tomorrow, but before I do…I don’t have instant yeast on hand. I usually double the amount of yeast when using dry yeast, but really have no idea how right this is. Could you shed any light? Thanks as always!

  178. Hillary

    I used 2 1/4 t of yeast. The bread is (what’s left of it) brilliant. I’m totally ashamed to admit that I actually forgot – in a most Freudian way – the 2nd rise but it baked up beautifully and tastes amazing. Now I know what a couple folks are getting for the upcoming holidays, thanks!

  179. Ann

    How surreal that pearl sugar is something exotic over there. Here (Belgium) it’s nothing special. Food habits are so cultural. Corn syrup on the other hand, used in so many recipes in the States, is unfindable. At least I haven’t found it yet…
    I’m curious about the bread. It’s having its second rise.
    Deb, I like the fact that you use Callebaut chocolate. It’s the best!

  180. This was delish. I followed it exactly as written except I did half and half on the yogurt and sour cream (and used lowfat because that’s what I had). I omitted the lemon juice from the filling and used raspberry preserves instead of lemon curd. Oh, and sanding sugar, not pearled sugar because it looks like pretzel salt in my mind! Wowie! Here is a picture of the cut end of my raspberry braid:

  181. Sharon

    I’m going to make this for a brunch party. Do you think 3 hours is enough time to bring it back to room temperature?

  182. Sharon

    My trial run is resting in the fridge, will bake it off tomorrow morning. I forgot to mix the flour in to the filling, hope that is not disasterous! The dough was gorgeous to work with. My top looks a little more open than yours – you can see the lemon curd under the “braid” Hoping the second rise will fill it in a bit. Here goes nothing…

  183. Sharon

    Verdict – amazing! 2 hours out of the fridge was fine, it puffed up a bit in the oven, and even w/out the flour the filling did not ooze out. I’m already imagining it with raspberry preserves instead of the lemon, and coming up with other flavor ideas. This was easily among the prettier things that have come out of my oven, without being difficult at all. LOVE, love, love. Thanks a million!

  184. Sharon

    Sorry for the third post in a row – contemplating a Father’s Day rendition omitting the lemon in the filling and adding a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips. How bad could that be?

  185. Shelly

    This was amazing. The dough was beautiful (though mine took more like 2 hours to rise as much as I wanted it to), and the filling was so yummy. It really was an impressive pastry to bring to the table (even without the sugar on top, which I couldn’t find at the store). I made and assembled it the night before as suggested, then brought it out in the morning before brunch, brought back to room temp and popped it into the oven. It’s time-consuming but totally worth it.

  186. Shelley

    I wanted to make this for Easter brunch so I gave it a test run this weekend (I know it’s not for another month, I’m type A). I can’t believe how easy this is! It was so beautiful and tasted amazing. I can’t wait to make it again and add a raspberry version as well!

    On a side note, I’ve been coming to your blog for a year now and have made so many of your posts. You do an amazing job of explaining every step and each dish cooks up just as it should. Thanks!

  187. Jackie from Boston

    I made this for Christmas, Deb, and I meant to comment then and that my boyfriend and my family ABSOLUTELY loved it, as did I. I enjoyed all the steps to making this and it came out just beautifully. I cannot wait to make it again! Perhaps for Easter? My brother is in love with Kugel though so maybe your recipe for that instead? maybe both!

  188. Priscilla

    I made this today! Well, I am currently making this right now – second rise in the works as we speak. Looks gorgeous! I’m excited! Thanks, Deb!

  189. Jolene

    I made this today. It is the most beautiful (looking and tasting) bread I’ve ever had. Thanks Deb for the wonderful recipe and detailed steps!
    I made a couple of substitutions cos I didn’t have the ingredients. I used hung curd instead of cream cheese and lime juice instead of lemon; I also didn’t add any sour cream. It turned out yumm!!

  190. Jillian

    I made this for Easter brunch, absolutely delicious and gorgeous! Instead of lemon curd I used leftover mango curd (from the wedding cake recipe) which worked really well. I also had made the lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce recipe for dessert and the blackberry sauce from that recipe was incredible over the pastry as well. I didn’t have the pearl sugar but the bread looked amazing none the less. I made the recipe in full (minus the baking) a day ahead, refrigerated over night, and then let the dough warm up over about an hour and a half before baking.

  191. Has anyone had trouble with the first rise? Mine’s been “rising” for nearly two hours now, except it hasn’t changed at all from when I took it out of the mixer. I know the yeast was okay because the sponge was frothy and it rose/bubbled, and it seemed okay while I was mixing it. Any help?

  192. Maureen Johnson

    I have been scouring your website for the recipe for those beautiful beautiful scones you show in the picture with the braided lemon bread. You did a lovely job swirling the berries or jam into the dough to get the perfect look! Is the recipe available? Thank you.

    1. deb

      Those might have been a test for a cookbook recipe! I’m so sorry. If it doesn’t make it in the book, I will definitely share it here.

  193. Maureen

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question regarding the scones. I am going to a Ladies Tea on Friday and have been asked to bake some scones for the event. I am planning on using a scone recipe of yours to share with my friends. I can’t wait!! Clotted creme, butter, mounds of jam and a scone! Yum!

  194. Kristin T.

    I happened to have all the ingredients for this, so I just made it this afternoon –this is delicious!! The bread is so light, with a slightly crispy exterior. I used homemade pear jam, but agree that so many combinations would be delicious, especially marzipan or french hazelnut paste or cream cheese + cherry preserves or whole preserved apricots…. Mmmmm….it will be fun trying them all out.

  195. Mandy

    Made this last week…amazing! Decided to try the bread last night stuffed with ham and cheese…even better! Such an easy breakfast to make.

  196. Made this during Hurricane Irene, it is in the oven right now, took about 3 hours start to finish, but DAMN is it going to be a GREAT hurricane lunch! Good bye Irene!

    I made my sponge with honey rather than sugar, that was the only substitution (oh, and no lemon curd, just the sweet cream cheese) still probably going to come out perfect.

    I also put it on a hot pizza stone to cook, rather than a ‘normal’ backing pan, hoping the bottom doesn’t burn. We’ll see soon enough!
    Thanks again!

  197. I made this bread for a brunch today and found out I needed a full 1/2 cup flour more to make the dough at all kneadable. As I had the same issue with a challah recipe from “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” I was making the same day, it made me wonder whether it could be due to some difference between European and American flours? (I live in the Netherlands) However, adding about 1/5 amount flour solved the problem and the breads turned out beautifully, so thanks for the idea!

  198. stephenie w

    Just made this today for the second time. It’s a wonderful recipe and I feel like a baker when I make it, even though I’m not!
    I made a filling out of blueberries, almond paste, sugar, butter and an egg. It’s delish!

  199. Maggie

    I made this for Christmas day brunch. It took over two hours for the first rise. I’m not very experienced with yeast breads — maybe my apartment was too cold? Worth the wait though–it baked up beautifully. I also made extra filling, heh. And I had a cold slice from the fridge this morning and thought it still excellent. Thanks and happy holidays!

  200. A lovely brunch bread. I opted to make the dough by hand and, though I weighed the flour for accuracy, the resulting dough was far too wet and sticky to knead, even using the “slapping” method. I lightly floured my hands and kneading surface and that did the trick. My best tip: salvage the little dough scraps you cut from the corners and form a cheese-and-lemon-filled pinwheel danish for the cook:

  201. AH! I just finished baking this, and while it’s tasty and awesome, the whole thing SPLIT right down the middle. It looks a little like a rack of ribs! I think perhaps my dough was off to start with – you wrote that your dough was very sticky, but mine was quite smooth and not sticky at all, so it didn’t stick together when I pulled the “legs” together.

  202. Lynn

    Just made this and it turned out great!! Way easier than I thought it would be. Also, DEFINITELY fold it on the surface you are baking it on, ie parchment paper. Once you have the filling in, it is very hard to move.

  203. Daniela

    Yayyy thank you so much for this beautiful recipe! I made it today for Mother’s Day and it turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, I used the written proportion of yeast but active dry, which I guess from reading the comments I should have used more of. Maybe that would have made the dough “fluffier.” Also, next time, I would add a bit more sugar to the dough to make it sweeter and/or more filling… but hey, you live and learn! This is my first time ever baking something like a bread, or anything with yeast really, so I was happy with how it turned out. :)

  204. Taking the advice of a few commenters, I doubled the filling and while it was absolutely delicious, the braid separated while baking. Oops! The filling simply could not be contained.

    Next time (there will definitely be a next time!), I’ll leave the recipe as is to keep the presentation top-notch. Also, my braid needed only 21 minutes to bake and turned out a beautiful light golden color. Another great recipe Deb!

  205. Oh – by the way – my lemon curd was a bit egg whitey (as in I can actually see egg whites in them!)… I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t use low enough heat. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

  206. I absolutely love your blog and have made countless things from it over the years. In fact, you single-handedly inspired me to start my own food blog (but it certainly pales in comparison to your masterpiece). I am making this to take for the first day of school tomorrow. Nothing like starting back on the right foot! THANKS!

  207. Adrianna

    Mother of god, this was delicious. So easy and fun to make (my first time to knead bread, and it was delightful), and it made my house smell like a boulangerie. Incredible. Thanks Deb!

  208. Kate

    For those of you that might be wondering how to use this recipe with active dry yeast instead of instant, I’m here to tell you it works. I used a little less than 2 tsp (and a little more than 1 3/4 tsp), made sure it mixed in with the water before adding the dry ingredients, and I had no problems. The first rise didn’t quite double the dough in size, but it didn’t seem to matter. Thanks, Deb, for a great recipe! It was perfect for Easter.

  209. Helen

    I made this today and while it tastes amazing, it’s not nearly as pretty as yours! The braids lost their shape in the second rise, and the dough sticking to the plastic wrap didn’t help. Any tips on keeping it’s pretty shape? Thanks!!

  210. Maria H

    I have this dough rising for brunch tomorrow as we speak (thanks as always for the make-ahead instructions!). My 3 year old doesn’t love lemon so we asked him what we should fill it with and he said ‘honey’. Um, genius! We’re throwing in some sliced toasted almonds for good measure – if it turns out as good as it sounds he may need to sous chef for me more often!

  211. mali

    I have been planning to bake this bread for a year now. Finally I had all the ingredients so Saturday night I got started and finished about 3 am Sunday. At 1 pm when I woke up it was halved. Got in from work today and it is all gone. This was beautiful. Loved the recipe and had fun making it. My family loved it so much that I did not get a picture of it fresh baked. I took it out of the oven and went to get the camera and when I came back it was already sliced.

  212. Jay

    Ok so uhm. I saw this recipe and just had to try it. On the first try I doubled the recipe bc someone from church was sick and I decided to make her a loaf as well. I made absolutely no adjustments. As soon as it came out of the oven my husband walked through the door and I asked him to take the loaf to my church mate without even tasting it first. I let my loaf cool and before I could cut it, my mom did and all I heard was groaning. After a series of mmmmm’s she finally said “goodness me.” I tasted it and was also floored. This is Defintely a keeper.

    The bread is soft. The lemon isn’t too tart. This is amazing. My toddler took it right out of my hands and ate an entire slice.

  213. Heather

    I was very nervous to attempt this but I’m SO glad I did. It was much easier than expected. I followed the bread and cream cheese recipes exactly but I used raspberry preserves instead of lemon curd. I didn’t have the right sugar to sprinkle on top so I used turbinado. This is definitely the fanciest bread I’ve ever made and best tasting also! Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

  214. Kelsey Connolly

    I’ve never had a recipe from your website let me down and I’m so excited to try this one! However my boyfriend lives in Washington DC and he is absolutely obsessed with lemon/bread combos and I wanted to make one of these and send it to him for his birthday. So my question is how long do you think this bread will keep? Should I overnight ship it or just try and find something else to make and send that would keep better? Thanks so much!

  215. dunvi

    I’m currently working through this recipe and I just wanted to comment – the by-hand instructions don’t use the salt! Seems like it was probably just an oversight, I bet most people use a stand mixer and so it’s never been pointed out.

  216. Jaime Loh

    I made your braided lemon bread earlier. It was a success. In your posting you said that it was difficult to transfer the dough to the parchment paper. I have a solution to this. Once the dough is proof, transfer it immediately to a slightly floured parchment paper and put a plastic film on top and then roll it out to shape. Once you’re done with the braiding, then just take the parchment paper with the dough on onto the tray. Voila.. Hope this will make your life easier. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Will definitely make it again.

  217. A Chemist Cooks

    Hi Deb! I made this over the weekend with a few minor substitutions — I thought I’d share. I didn’t have cream cheese, but did have mascarpone around and used that. I also substituted turbinado sugar for regular sugar. The turbinado changed the filling to a beautiful off-white color, and the mascarpone made the filling quite light! I was delighted without easy the curd recipe was; last summer, I had a failed attempt at making a huge batch for an angel food cake I had made. I didn’t get curdling, but my emulsion certainly failed. Anyway, thanks for inspiring me to continue playing with yeast breads! I can’t wait to try this with other fruity fillings.

  218. wordnerd28

    I’m sure you get this question often, but when are you going to publish another cookbook so don’t have to print almost every recipe you post (or re-post)?! Yes, I know this is the age of saving paper, using tablets instead and whatnot, but I like a format I don’t mind getting splatters on. Love your writing style and all your wonderful recipes. Great stuff. Happy Spring!

    1. deb

      wordnerd28 — Thank you. Yes, I am, it’s just taking me forever because I’m a very slow worker. Fall 2017 or bust. I promise to do everything I can to make it worth the wait. :)

  219. Jenni

    This looks lovely; I often bake for my students on days when they workshop drafts of their projects. I think this might be the next workshop’s snack! I may add some lemon zest to the dough, and perhaps a tiny swirl or two of raspberry through the lemon curd. Maybe some sliced almonds on top as well, since I have an abundance of those…

  220. AudZar

    I wanted to make this 6 years ago, but was too timid. Well worth the endeavor today! Thanks again for always being so specific- & the photos for achieving the braid were so helpful!

  221. Tara

    This was SO good – I made it for a kindergarten parents coffee and again for Easter. The only trouble I had was on the first rise. I waited 90 minutes, but it didn’t really change… Sponge was bubbly and the second rise definitely worked so I know it wasn’t the yeast! Maybe I should wait longer next time? Or maybe it didn’t matter so much – it was still delicious!

    1. Dasha

      When I make yeast dough I always add half of flour first, let it rise, than add the rest and let it rise again. Adding all of it at once makes it too heavy to rise, I think. Made it second time today, even better than last time! Shared one braid with neighbours, they loved it too!

  222. Shelly

    @Tara, I had the same exact problem-and my sponge looked great before I added it too. I solve this by turning the oven on until it’s just warm, then turn it off. I make sure it’s cool enough and proof my dough in there without peeking. We keep a pretty cool house (64 degrees F, 62 at night) and often have windows open, so I attribute it to that.

    I was in line at the grocery store Saturday morning before Easter, not nearly as early as I’d hoped to be. I saw this recipe in my Facebook feed, and gave up said coveted position in line to go get lemons. I have to say, this was totally worth it! With no fancy sugar in the house, I used sparkling sanding sugar in white, and mini non-pareils which gave it a very elegant, sparkly finish! The kids are loving it with breakfasts this week.

  223. EL

    I was really hoping that this would not be a sweet lemon bread when I saw the title. A bakery in Casper used to make a savory (lemon-sage) bread that I loved. I’m hoping that as I read through all the recipes month by month, you’ll eventually have a savory one. I’ve been trying,but I can’t seem to get it lemony enough.

    Also, I don’t know if you even read the new, six year old comments, but looking at “My kitchen in Spain” (another food blog I like), it has the best salad that you my like posted today.

  224. Julie

    I love sweet, yeasted doughs. This was so good, especially with the addition of a lemon curd. Highly praised and very delicious. Will make again.

  225. I absolutely LOVED this bread. The recipe was perfect and easy to follow – especially as this was only my second time ever using yeast! The lemon curd with the cream cheese was so yummy. Plus it looks so impressive when its done :) I felt like I was on The Great British Baking Show when I was making this (have you watched that? I’m obsessed, obviously).

    Question: When you make baked goods with cream cheese like this, do you have to refrigerate them after baking or can they sit out on the counter for a few days? My google searching on that topic returned very mixed results!

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

    1. deb

      I leave them out if it’s just a day; bakeries don’t refrigerate cheese danishes. Longer, well, it might just last longer in the fridge.

  226. Clare O’Reilly

    This recipe works womderfully, end result is always delicious. I had to substitute icing sugar for sugar when I was making the cream cheese filling, I only had brown sugar and icing sugar at hand. The filling turned out better than previous attempts and I now use icing sugar every time.

  227. Mommaof3

    A coworker told me of your blog and I LOVE it! It’s amazing having recipes I can bring to parties or dinners untested and never worry about how they’ll turn out!

    How do you think this would do in the fridge for a day and a half (a day plus overnight)? I have 3 littles and a babysitter and I’ve had bad luck freezing baked goods well in the past!

    1. deb

      Fridge — baked or unbaked? Unbaked, maybe just a day, frozen if longer. If baked, it should keep for a couple days, don’t think it needs to be in fridge.

  228. Abbie

    I made this last weekend for my coworkers, and it was wonderful! It was so much easier than I expected it to be and it turned out lovely. I liked it so much I’ve come back to it today- I split two recipes’ worth into six mini loaves, to try out different fillings (two regular, two swapping the lemon curd for raspberries, and two swapping the lemon curd for pecans and chocolate chips). I have a feeling this recipe will go into my regular rotation!

  229. gen

    Hi Deb, after refusing to close the tab to this recipe for weeks I finally made it. And I liked it so much I didn’t want to bring it to the office to share – so thank YOU for sharing!

    Two (perhaps related) issues I had:
    1) My (homemade, using allrecipes) lemon curd filling seemed to have disappeared – when I cut the braid open, I saw a clear layer of cream cheese but what only looked like a thin layer of zest!
    2) There was a noticeable gap in the cross section, between the top layer of bread and the lemon curd/cream cheese.

    Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts! I made the lemon curd using a 1 egg + 1 yolk recipe and whisked and whisked. It never reached 170F (which is what Ina Garten seemed to recommend) because it was already quite thick at 140 and I was scared it would curdle. I also did an overnight rise in the refrigerator, but while waiting for it to come to room temp noticed that it had gone from doubled to tripled in size. Do you think this could have been the problem? It was till DELICIOUS but it could have more closely resembled yours and KA’s pictures.

    Thank you!

    1. deb

      Not sure at all! It’s been a few years since I made this and of course I used storebought that day. It could have overproofed but if it tasted good, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

  230. smeron

    This is definitely a project, especially if you make your own lemon curd. (If you do, I strongly recommend straining it before using as filling.) I had a very difficult time moving the dough from where I rolled it and onto the parchment, but the final product was beautiful and tasty. Deb, any tips for moving it with over-stretching or tearing the dough?

  231. Jessa

    It was delicious even after sitting in the fridge for a day or two. I did have one concern: the lemon curd. It was probably an issue on my end, but when I’ve made lemon curd before it’s turned out well. The lemon curd was slightly bitter and lumpy. Thank you so much!

  232. Beth Thorson

    Made this today with seedless raspberry jam instead of lemon curd. It’s delicious and beautiful! Thank you for the great assembly advice.

  233. Elizabeth Kelley

    I made this using KA’s recipe. It was fun to make but the result was underwhelming taste wise. The only way I salvaged it was by serving it with extra curd dolloped on each slice. It SHOULD have tasted better than it did. Not sure why it didn’t, but, and I am sure this is heretical so don’t yell at me, I have found this with each of the 3 or 4 KA recipes that I have used. I won’t make this again, despite its lovely appearance….just not worth the effort…now David Lebovitz’s Chocolate babka? That’s a whole different story!!

  234. Jackie

    I am trying to print some of your recipes but there is a shadow or something blocking out the bottom left of each sheet. I don’t know if it is me or your page. I’ve never had trouble before so would you check? Thanks! I really want to make the lemon bread!

  235. Sarah

    I made this for Easter brunch today and while it was technically good — the recipe WORKED — it was kind-of blah. My husband, who eats everything and declares it delicious (how lucky am I, right?) said, “well, it’s … bready.” Precisely. I had read one comment along the same lines here and many similar ones on the original KA Flour website, so I thought that I’d averted this problem by adding both lemon zest and cardamom to the dough. Nope. It still somehow basically tasted like white bread. I think we wanted it to be a different dough: flakier, like a croissant dough or puff pastry; or richer, perhaps, like a challah bread. Not sure, but as is, this recipe is a bit disappointing. FYI, I used 150% of Deb’s recommended cream cheese mixture and lemon curd, and am glad I did. Any less and it wouldn’t have even been noticeable. (Don’t get me wrong — our group of 9 did eat nearly the whole thing this morning. But the recipe is not a keeper).

  236. Natalie Mahan

    I have made this once as written and it was delicious. But I just made it for a second time and used your Peach Butter recipe as the filling, instead of the lemon curd. Now, there is a difference in consistency. The fruit butter is not as smooth as the curd. But I think this is a great vehicle for fruit butter or even jam if you have some lying around.In fact, the peach came through so strongly that I’m not even sure it needed the cream cheese filling which seemed to only provide additional moisture. The point is, it was a hit! So there is definitely room for creativity in the flavors and fillings.

  237. Molly

    I’ve made this and I love it! Do you think this bread could work with some kind of cinnamon, butter and sugar filling (in place fo the lemon curd)? A pretty, braided version of a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting? I’d love your advice.

  238. Willie Bova

    I made it with a little switch to the filling. Lemon curd, blue berry and lavender goat cheese. I made a little pastry with scrap of the corners and yes indeed my house smelled like a donut factory..


    Hello up there in Covid-heavy NYC from what seems to be a now Covid-free New Zealand. Loved trying some of your recipes during our lockdown even though you are in spring while we move into Autumn (OK fall!) I most appreciate the fact that you use both Imperial and Metric measures as well as those American cups (what size can a cup be?) Thank you! It’s a puzzlement wondering how big is a ‘stick’ of butter when ours comes in 500gm blocks! I have had some great successes and a few anxious moments usually due to your mentioning what to we Downunder-ers are foreign ingredients. But we have a go and sometimes our guesses work despite not knowing what the blazes are things like scallions (spring onions?), or ramps! (Huh?) There are a number of ingredients clearly familiar to those from a central or eastern European background rather than our mainly UK or Dutch stock but slowly enlightenment can dawn and I now realise that schmaltz must be chicken fat! I always thought it was sweet talking! There are more and I may write again for further illumination! Regardless, enjoy your joy in cooking and stay well!

    1. deb

      A stick of butter here is 4 ounces or 115 grams or, if melted, 1/2 cup and I do try not to use it as a measurement because it means so little elsewhere, as you know. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  240. Pilar

    Just made this as my first bake of 2021. Used homemade lemon curd and ended up using double the written cream cheese/curd amounts after reading some of the other comments. Tastes great and will likely make again with some other fillings :)

    1. Justicia

      ooh, smart!

      I baked this yesterday and it was incredible but a tad too bready, so I think I’d love it even more with double the filling!

  241. Thiska

    This was SO good. I made the lemon curd, and doubled the quantity for two loaves. Made one as described here and made the other Nutella and raspberry. My family couldn’t stop oohing and ahhhing over it! Oh and the leftover squares from the braid? Turned those into raspberry and lemon curd monkey bread! Nothing wasted. Everything delicious as usual Deb. Thank you always!

  242. GA

    I made this twice in a week, it was that good! (I did give some away, to be fair) Made my own lemon curd and also macerated some meyer lemon slices a la shaker lemon pie just for some added texture/less sweetness and it turned out great. Honestly it’s good enough I understand why the king arthur recipe makes two loaves, you get one to give and one to keep. Or two to keep. It’s probably something I’ll pull out as an impressive thing to bring along to brunch!

  243. Maureen

    This looks like the King Arthur Braided Lemon Bread that I make every year for Easter. It’s sooooo delicious. My recipe makes two loaves and I’m a little ashamed to say that our family tradition is to eat one loaf all by ourselves on Easter eve. I make it the night before Easter because I’m too busy to make it that day. It tastes really good the next day but it’s beyond belief delicious right out of the oven.

  244. Heather Hurst

    I literally had a dream about this bread when the recipe was first published and finally made it today. Although it’s tasty, we actually enjoyed even more what I improvised with the squares cut off before braiding. I put a pat of cream cheese and a scoop (tablespoon-ish) of lemon curd on each, folded over three corners, brushed with egg wash, and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. Baked on the same tray for about two-thirds as long as the bread, but we loved the bread-to-filling ratio. Honestly, next time I make the dough, I’ll skip the bread and just make these.

  245. Maureen

    I make this lemon braid bread every Easter. Everyone loves it, especially my daughter. I have never let my bread get as dark brown as the one shown in the photo here. I think it was over baked. I bake my lemon braid bread until it is a light golden brown.