I believe every dish and every new recipe has a story behind it. The story could be cooking with your loved ones' favorite ingredients, so that you can cheer him/her up after a long day of work. Or it could be a story of eating healthy for yourself and/or for the family. How about a story to celebrate friendship? This Philly Friendship Braided Bread I created is especially made for Suzanne, someone I know and connected through food, to celebrate our friendship.
I know Suzanne through The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Recipe Contest less than 6 months ago. We’ve never met but I felt like she’s my long lost sister. We shared recipes, ideas, and our life’s stories through the Philly community, and later on, through my blog. Little did I know, a recipe competition site is so welcoming and supportive. The Philly community is filled with love and caring, pretty much to my surprise and totally not what I had expected when I submitted my very first entry.
Besides Suzanne, there are many other “brothers and sisters” I get to know through that site. Hop over and check it out here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Back to this particular recipe. What inspired me to create this bread? It started with a comment left by Suzanne on my Birthday Post.
“Happy Birthday Amy!!! I tried your TangZhong style white bread and my family is now your best friend! It was amazing, easy to make and really fun. Best of all it was so delicious. I made my son's lunch sandwich with it and my daughter and her boyfriend ate a whole loaf (he snuck it home with him). I've made it twice with the same great results. I can't wait to try something like the angel cake soon. Thanks for this amazing blog.”
It was the best birthday gift I’ve received this year! As a blogger and foodie, nothing makes me more happy than knowing my readers and my friends tried my recipes and loved them. (especially with my blog name, hello…?) I know many of you might have tried my recipes, but might not had posted a comment to let me know. (hey, it’s never too late. I still accept belated birthday gifts! LOL) So, thank you Suzanne, from the bottom of my heart.
Then we went on exchanging emails and talked about what we can make with this basic bread recipe. I shared with Suzanne some other fillings I’ve tried and loved. Then, I was thinking to myself, I knew Suzanne through the Philadelphia recipe contest, why not create a recipe for her using Philly Cream Cheese? So, here we go. Philly Friendship Braided Bread. It’s as beautiful as Suzanne herself, both inside and out.
By the way, Suzanne sent a picture of her creation of a loaf bread using my TangZhong recipe. Isn’t it amazing!?
Thank you again Suzanne for your inspiration. I know you love visual tutorial. So, I included the step-by-step pictures instructions here, just for you! ;) I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as my family does! These Philly Friendship Braided Breads are my family’s new favorites now.
This pictures below shows step number 4 and 5 from the recipe below. After you roll out the dough to a 5 by 5-inch square, cut off the 4 corners of the dough as shown. Then cut the two sides of the dough a few times to make even sized strips(about 1/2-inch wide each). Then, spread a tablespoon of cream cheese in the middle and top with a tablespoon of your favorite preserves. I used orange marmalade here. You can use, strawberry preserve, lemon curd, or blueberry preserves.
Then, fold the top and bottom parts of the dough to the center.
Take one strip of dough from one side and fold it over the fillings at an angle, alternating with the other side like crossing arms, until all pieces are done. Make sure to overlap the strip in the middle so they stick together during second proof.
Let the filled dough proof the 2nd time in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush egg wash on top and bake. They turned out really soft, fluffy and delicious. I love the oozing creamy filling inside. They are best served warm or at room temperature. My kids love the Blueberries and Strawberries preserves fillings the most. I personally love the orange marmalade and lemon curd. Of course, you can make different kinds of filling in the same batch too. That’s the fun part.
I'm submitting this recipe to the Holiday Recipe Swap. Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Red Star Yeast.
Philly Friendship Braided Bread: Printable Recipe
Makes 8 individual braided buns
TangZhong 湯種 Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1/4 Cup Bread Flour
Bread Dough Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Warm Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Tablespoon Melted Butter
1 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
1 1/3 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
4 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of your favorite preservers, marmalade or lemon curd
Egg Wash Ingredients:
1 Beaten Egg
1 Teaspoon water
To Make The TangZhong 湯種:
Place bread flour in a small bowl, pour boiling water over the bread flour and stir quickly with a fork to combine until no lumps.
Wrap mixture (it'll be a very wet dough) with plastic wrap, form dough in ball/round shape and leave in refrigerator overnight.
To Make The Bread:
1. Take out the TangZhong 湯種 from the fridge at least an hour before use (I usually leave it on countertop until it's room temperature).
2. In a bread machine, pour in ingredient in this order, warm milk, TangZhong 湯種, salt, sugar, butter, bread flour and yeast. Set bread machine to dough setting according to its user menu.
3. When dough is ready, take it out from bread machine and punch it a few times to deflate it. Divide dough into 8 equal portions and shape them into balls. Leave them in a warm place to rest 15-20 minutes
4. On a slightly floured board, roll each portioned dough with a floured rolling pin to a 5 by 5-inch square. Cut off the 4 corners of the dough, then slit the two sides of the dough a few times to make even size strips(about 1/2-inch wide) as shown on the pictures above. Spread a tablespoon of cream cheese in the middle and top with a tablespoon of your favorite preserves.
5. Fold the top and bottom parts of the dough to the center. Take a strip of dough from one side and fold it over the fillings at an angle, alternating with the other side like crossing arms, until all pieces are done.
6. Let dough proof the 2nd round for 30 to 45 minutes in a warm and moist place.
7. Preheat oven 355°F. Brush egg wash on top and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on rack.
Tips: When proofing the dough, make sure it's in a warm place and covered with wet towel or plastic wrap so it won't dry out. I usually place it in the oven with a bowl of hot water.
Note: The dough setting on my bread machine kneads the dough for 27 minutes and keeps the dough warm to proof for 1 hour. If you don’t have a bread machine and knead your dough by hand, make sure you knead the dough for 15 to 20 minutes (depends on your strength and speed) and proof it for a hour until the dough double in size before you move on to step 3 from above.)