Monday, August 5, 2013


Our Avid Bakers Challenge project for August, Braided Lemon Bread from the King Arthur Flour website, promised two things, a creamy lemony filling - I love lemons - and an interesting new shaping technique: a mock braid. 

One bread is enough for us two, therefore I used only half of the recipe.

Since the best of all husband doesn't care for lemon curd, I mixed it into the filling, instead of spreading it as a discernible layer it on top. 

The more lemony the better

Also, I added some lemon zest to the dough, and substituted half of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat.  

Made with a sponge as preferment, the dough is easy to mix, but somewhat challenging to handle. A little sticky, it requires a very gentle approach, try rolling it out a bit more forceful, and it will cling to your hands and the rolling pin.

Dusting the top of the dough prevents sticking
It is a good idea to roll out the dough on the same piece of parchment paper it will be baked on - to avoid sticky transport problems. And you can fold the paper to mark the desired length and width. 

I enjoyed learning how to make the divisions and cuts for the mock braid, and King Arthur's blog was a great help.

With 4 corners cut off, the left over end pieces are folded over the filling

Folding the strips over the filling to make the mock braid is easy, but they are quite soft, so be gentle, and don't pull, they still might stick.

Mock braiding in progress

When all stripes are folded, and the mock braid is done it looks like a real mummy braid.

Since my new oven tends to need a little more baking time, I stuck with the recipe's temperature of 375ºF, in spite of some reviewers warnings. I didn't mind the darker color, though 360ºF probably would have been enough.

Fresh from the oven

This recipe has a five-star rating, and obviously my fellow ABC bakers loved it, too. Much as I enjoyed the making of it, I was somewhat disappointed with the result. 

I am no great fan of sweet, soft breads, "Kuchenbrot" (cake bread) as they are called in German, but had hoped the lemony filling would make up for that. The lemon cream does taste really good, but, alas, it is only a thin layer.

This is just my taste, many people love these kinds of breads. And other ABC bakers tried other, interesting fillings, so check those out, too.