The use of cottage cheese or curd cheese in baked goods is quite common all over Europe.
Mascarpone or ricotta can also be used. The creamy texture work well with the bread. You get an all-in-one giant kind of bun. You could also divide the dough and make a few smaller ones.
This loaf is quite large and it looks great with the braid around the edge and the cottage cheese in the centre. It would make a beautiful table decoration for your Easter meal. You could also divide the dough and turn this recipe into perhaps 8 small individual buns.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
260g (9.2oz) strong white bread flour
30g (1oz) soft butter
5g (0.17oz) salt
3g (0.1oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast
20g (0.7oz) sugar
1 lemon worth of zest
4g (0.14oz) vanilla paste
1 whole egg, approximately 50g (1.75oz), cold from the fridge
100g (3.5oz) cold milk, around 6C (42F)
To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
For the filling –
200g (7oz) curd cheese, cottage cheese, mascarpone, or ricotta. Just make sure it is not too wet.
1 whole egg
40g (1.4oz) sugar
50g (1.75oz) raisins
1 lemon worth of zest
Mix all the ingredients and leave on the side.
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of milk for glazing.
- In a bowl combine all ingredients except the flour. Mix well to dissolve any large sugar and salt crystals, and to hydrate the yeast.
- Add the flour and mix to a dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Desired dough temperature around 25C (77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
- Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
- Ferment for 1 more hour.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces. First piece should be around 290g (10.2oz). Divide the other piece in 3 equal parts. Shape the large dough into a ball. Shape the three smaller dough pieces into blunt cylinders.
- Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
- Flatten the large dough ball and place it into a baking paper lined cake tin. I am using a 18cm (7in) tin.
- Roll out the three smaller dough pieces to around 60cm (2ft). Braid. Lay the braid on top of the flat dough piece. Try to get it as close to the sides of the tin as possible. If the dough is not stretching, then let it rest for 5 minutes before continuing.
- Fill up with the ricotta filling.
- Cover & ferment for 1.5 hours. During the final hour of fermentation, you can preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on. If you have a thick tray, cast iron skillet or a Pyrex dish, then use it as a base to for baking on. If you do not have any of these then do not worry as it will work anyway. A thick base helps to bake the bottom of a loaf.
- Brush with the egg yolk & milk glaze.
- Bake for around 50 minutes or until the inner temperature reads above 92C (197F).
- Brush the edge with oil as soon as it comes out the oven.
- Let it set in the tin for 10 minutes before removing.
Watch the video here