Ohmygosh this bread. I don’t even know what to say. I was planning on making a bunch of bread last weekend. I was surfing the net, getting some inspiration and had settled on these olive breads I was planning to add pesto to. However I came across a gem on this blog called Modern Comfort Food . The lady that writes this blog (Barbara DeGroot) does an amazing job and has me drooling however when I saw this bread Feta Dill Bread Braid , I squirmed a little. I absolutely did not have the right ingredients at all so I adapted her recipe to make my own for which I had on hand which I thought was amazingly tasty. I’ll definitely be trying her version in the future and please take note this make two hearty breads. Feel free to cut it in half and or cut my filling in half and make two different fillings. I have adapted the recipe quite a bit so be sure to check her original version. Also because this bread looks as lovely as it tastes, make sure to bring it to your next dinner party.
Braided Bread with Garlic and Dill Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from Modern Comfort Food
Dough for two breads:
- 1+1/2 cups warm water
- 2 tsp quick-rise yeast
- 2 tbsp organic sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1+ 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 cups white flour
Filling for two breads :
- 1 block of cream cheese
- 6 cloves of garlic grated
- 1/2 cup of fresh dill stemmed and torn by hand
- salt and pepper to taste
- poppy seeds to garnish bread (optional)
In a large bowl mix water with yeast to dissolve. Add in sugar, oil and salt. Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time starting with the white flour and working into the whole wheat. Using your hands knead the dough into a smooth solid hunk-o-dough, this takes about 5 minutes. Clean and oil the same bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rest for 90 minutes at room temperature.
Make filling. In a medium sized bowl mix room temperature cream cheese with grated garlic and trimmed dill. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn onto parchment paper covered in cooking spray and cut in half with a sharp knife. With one half of the dough flatten into a rectangle shape about 6″x12″ in size. With a rolling pin even out the dough it should be able 1/2″ thick. With a sharp knife cut the rectangle some legs. I cut into the dough width wise about 1/3 on each side and spaced each leg about 1/2″-3/4″ apart. Rotate dough and do the same lengthwise on the other side and try your best to match up the cut marks. Repeat for the second hunk of dough.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Down the center of the uncut bread dough lay out 1/2 of the filling. It doesn’t seem like a lot however it’s super flavorful and to avoid it spilling out the sides try to resist adding more. Once the filling is spread as evenly as possible between the two bread doughs pull the first dough arm directly into the center and then cross one dough arm over the other until you get to the end. The last bit you may need to tuck in. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and let rise for another 30 minutes.
In a smaller pan (say 8×8) fill 2/3 full with water and place on the bottom rack of the oven while preheating. This will create steam in the oven resulting in knots that are brown and crispy on the outside and fluffy and chewy on the inside.
When the oven it heated and the dough has risen place in oven. The bread should cook about 30 minutes, you should know it’s done if its golden brown and sounds hollow to the tap. Try to resist shoving in your mouth right away because the filling is very hot and will burn you… remember I warned you when you are nursing your blistered mouth. This bread does keep well for the next day, it’s a little chewier and not crispy on the outside but still delicious. Kind of like a bagel-ful for grown-ups.