Monday, May 27, 2013

Butter Braid: Savory or Sweet

Sweet - Strawberry Mango Braid
A few years back, my sister introduced me to butter braids. The school my nieces attend was selling them as a fundraiser and they were delicious! But...they made for an expensive breakfast. My sister decided there had to be an alternative and came up with her own recipe. I wanted to try her recipe but she was out of town so I just winged it. This recipe make 3 loaves (each loaf cuts nicely into 8-10 pieces) and my sister usually freezes 1 or 2 of them but I still need to get her freezer instructions...

Savory - Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Braid

Most butter braids have a fruit and/or sweet cream cheese filling, but the hubby doesn't have the sweet tooth that I do, which made it necessary for us to create a savory version. There are so many different combinations that it would be impossible for me to list them all, but I have included both of my filling recipes for your eating pleasure.

Dough - this is the same for both the savory and sweet
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a bread machine or stand mixer with a bread hook, combine yeast, water, and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, then add 6 tablespoons butter.
  2. Add oats, flour, and last salt. Set bread machine to dough setting and press start. If you are using a stand mixer and bread hook: 
    • add ingredients (in the order mentioned) to your mixing bowl
    • mix on a low setting until dough has come together in a ball
    • take dough out and spray the bowl with cooking spray
    • place dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel
    • let dough rest for 1 hour (until doubled in size)
  3. While the dough rises, prepare your fillings (see filling recipes below). If you are doing different combinations of sweet and savory just adjust fillings by 3's (if you're doing 1 sweet and 2 savory (or vice versa), just divide fillings by 1/3's)
  4. When bread machine cycles have finished (or your dough is double in size), remove your dough and divide into 3 sections.
    Place one section of dough on a lightly floured surface
roll dough into a large oval making the edges thinner than the center
5.  Top your dough with the filling of your choice and "braid":
For savory: spread 1/3 of cream cheese mixture over the center then top
with 1/3 of sausage, 1/3 of egg, and 1/2 cup of  cheese.
For sweet: spread 1/3 of cream cheese mixture over the center then spoon
1/2 cup of fruit mixture on top of the cream cheese. (this was the apricot
butter braid that I made for our Sunday school class yesterday)
Make 8 strips along each side with a sharp knife and leave a large
trapezoid-shaped section at each end. Fold the trapezoid in and carefully
crisscross each strip to form a "braid".
Fold the corner of the final slice under the previous slice.
Place braids on a greased baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, melted.
If doing a savory loaf, sprinkle with basil, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
6.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. If making a sweet loaf, prepare glaze while the loaf is      baking. Whisk together, the remaining cream cheese, fruit, milk, and powdered sugar (recipe below), and  drizzle over the braid(s).
This was my aforementioned apricot butter braid. Yum!
A deliciously baked savory butter braid. Mmmmmmmmm...
Sweet Filling (this is for 3 loaves)
  • 1 block cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat neufchatel cheese)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (you could also replace this with vanilla, almond, orange, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (save 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese, lemon, and sugar mixture for the glaze)
  • 10-12 oz Fruit Preserves (save 1 teaspoon for the glaze) - you can also make your own fruit filling using finely chopped and/or pureed fruit (I combined minced fresh strawberries and mango puree for my strawberry mango filling), cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar to your taste and consistency
  1. While the dough rises, prepare your sweet filling. Using a hand mixer or electric whisk, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and cream cheese. 
  2. If making your own fruit filling, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups fruit in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then whisk together 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and stir into fruit mixture. Reduce to a simmer and stir frequently until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Savory Filling (this is for 3 loaves)
this is 1/3 of the savory cream cheese mixture
(minus the cheese since I forgot to put it in before the pic)
as I made 2 sweet loaves and 1 savory loaf today
  • 1 block cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat neufchatel cheese)
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • any combination of herbs and spice - garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and fresh chives are my favorite combination
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese, divided
  • 12 eggs
  • 9 tablespoons milk
  • 1 lb. sausage
  • savory cream cheese filling all combined
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Using a hand mixer or electric whisk, combine cream cheese, milk, herbs and spices, and 3/4  cup of shredded cheese. Set aside. 
  2. In two separate skillets, brown sausage and scramble eggs (eggs + milk), season both to taste with salt and pepper. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Remember, it still has to bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Glaze (only for sweet filling)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling mixture
  • 1 teaspoon fruit preserves

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