Baker's Delight {Lemon-Cream Cheese Braid}

When I grow up, I want to be a baker!  But not just any baker, I want to bake beautiful yeast breads, both sweet and savory.

While "professional baker" might not be in my immediate future, I still like to pretend that I'm one whenever we visit El Rancho Have I mentioned the wonderful clay oven? 

I'm always searching for the next yummy yeast bread recipe to wow friends and family with at the ranch.  One recipe that immediately caught my eye was the Braided Lemon Bread filled with Cream Cheese and Lemon Curd, that I found on the King Arthur Flour blog, Baker's Banter.

I really love all things lemon, so this was the bread for me.  The recipe called for store-bought lemon curd, but I was going to have to make my own.  Not a problem.  There's an easy recipe for Lemon Curd in my Southern Cakes cookbook!  

I have yet to find a yellow lemon in Mexico, but Mexican limones (limes) work just as well with this recipe.  And don't worry if you have any leftover lemon curd.  You can use it to fill layer cakes or cupcakes.  Or what about Lemon Curd Empanadas?  One of my favorite ways to use lemon curd is swirling it into a cheesecake just before baking!

And just a note, if you're making the Lemon Curd for the Braided Lemon Bread, do it a day or two ahead.  Trust me on this one!   

Lemon-Curd Recipe (from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter

Bring about 3 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or a medium saucepan.  Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in the top of the double boiler or in a glass jar or another saucepan that will fit snugly over the other saucepan.

Cook the egg/lemon mixture over the simmering water, whisking and stirring constantly.

Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.  Cool to room temperature.  Store any leftover Lemon Curd in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 



Now on to the fun part...the bread!

The directions on the King Arthur flour blog, included mixing the dough in a bread maker.  I don't have one of those, so I did it the old-fashioned way.

The only substitution I made, besides using homemade Lemon Curd, was using Mexican Crema instead of yogurt. 

This recipe yields 2 large braids, so it will definitely feed a crowd. 

Braided Lemon Bread 
(from King Arthur Flour)


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


  • All of the sponge
  • 3/4 cup Mexican crema or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • egg wash for brushing braid
  • sparkling white sugar for sprinkling on braid

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2/3 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd

In a small bowl, combine all of the sponge ingredients, except the warm water.

Add the warm water, stirring to combine.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let set 10 to 15 minutes.

Your sponge should look like this.  I love all of those little air bubbles!

Add the dough ingredients to the sponge.  Mix by hand, just until the dough forms a ball.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 8 minutes.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rest until double in size. 

While the dough is proofing, prepare the cream cheese filling.

In a medium bowl, beat together all of the ingredients for the cream cheese filling until creamy.  Set aside until ready to use.

Look at how my dough doubled in size!

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Roll each half into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle. 

Transfer the rectangle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  (I didn't use the parchment paper, but I wish I had!)

Spread half of the cream cheese filling down the middle third of the dough. 

Spread 1 cup of lemon curd over the cream cheese.  (The recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, but I wanted more lemon filling!)

Using kitchen scissors, cut the sides of the dough into 1-inch strips.  Fold the strips over the filling.  Cover the braids with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let set for 45 minutes.

Brush the loaves with egg wash and top with sparkling sugar.  (I used regular granulated sugar!) 

Bake the braids in a preheated oven at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Cover with aluminum foil and let set for about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!!

With Love,

Printable Version


  1. what a lovely Braided Lemon Bread with step by step pictures... thanks...

    am currently undergoing a lemon fixation... this bread is added to my list :)

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  2. Hi Leslie, seems like we have some things in common! I also love baking bread and also a lemon lover. I'll certainly add this recipe to my "to do list". It must be fantastic. I also love the detailed process! I have some bread recipes on my blog as well, that you might like and you are very welcome to visit. My blog is in Portuguese (Brazil) but I assume you already speak Spanish quite well, so you will probably have no trouble understanding. Cheers!

  3. It looks like a lot of steps. Is it worth is? Couldn't you just use lemon pie filling? I don't have a double boiler.

  4. NACHIKETA: I always have a lemon fixation! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

    RENATA: I will definitely be checking out your blog. And yes, I can understand a little Portuguese. Just wish I could speak it, too! :)

    OVENDELIGHTS: Anabel, you have to try this bread! But wait until after your sister's wedding. And do what I did...I waited until I knew we were going to the ranch to make it.

    ANONYMOUS: It is a lot of steps. But I love making bread! And yes, you can use lemon pie filling for this recipe! I made the Lemon Curd because the ready-made kind isn't available in Mexico. :)

  5. I love to bake and try new recipes. My biggest challenge here is to find flour that makes good bread and doughs.

  6. You go girl! This looks awesome. I've always wanted to make a braid and I don't know why I haven't. Your lemon one sounds delish!

  7. I love to bake but what I make rarely looks so pretty!

  8. I love baking and haven't been able to because of how hot our apartment was. Well I just baked some pasta and its not bad at all in the house. I have a lot of catching up to do on your blog. As far as foods Iv been wanting to cook and couldn't. Are you still doing the no meat Fridays, now that I'm prego again we are trying to do a slight gall bladder diet just in case.