1/4 cup (60ml) warm water, 105F-115F degrees
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard package)
1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature*
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/2 cups (315g) unbleached all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
14 Tablespoons (210g) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
8oz (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
optional: 1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup (60g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream (or milk)
- Make the pastry dough:
- Whisk the yeast and warm water together in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 3 minutes until foamy. Add milk, egg, granulated sugar, and salt. Once these wet ingredients are mixed together, set the bowl aside and make your butter/flour mixture.
- Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to a food processor or blender. Top with flour. Pulse the mixture 10-12 times, until butter is fairly crumbled.
- Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Very gently fold the two mixtures together. Do not be angry with the dough! You want to be very, very, very gentle when you are folding the two together. Fold *just until* the dry ingredients are moistened. The butter must remain in pieces, which creates a flaky pastry. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- After 4-12 hours, take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin the "rolling and folding" process. Flour a work surface. The dough will be sticky, so make sure you have flour nearby as you roll and fold. Using the palm of your hands, gently flatten the dough into a small square. From there, roll out into a 15 inch long rectangle using your rolling pin. You may have to continue to lightly flour the counter as you are rolling. Fold the dough together as if it were a business letter. And roll it out into a 15 inch long rectangle again. Then, fold again into a business letter. You'll repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times.
- Fold the dough up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
- After at least 30 minutes, take the dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. Wrap 1 half up and keep chilled as you work with the first half. Roll out your dough to make a 12x6 inch rectangle. I rolled this dough out onto a floured work surface, but I suggest you roll it out onto a lined baking sheet. (Lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.) It is tough to transfer the braided dough from the counter to the baking sheet, unless you are very careful!
- Cut off two corners of the dough and then two small triangles at the other end.
3) As the braids are baking, prepare the vanilla glaze by whisking all of the ingredients together. After 10 minutes of cooling, drizzle the braids lightly with glaze and serve immediately.
4) Braids taste best served on the same day. Dough may be prepared in advance. See "make ahead" instructions in the pastry dough recipe.
Additional Notes:Recipe credits to http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/. Thank you!