The learning in this series of International baking for me is immense. Researching various food cultures has been an eye opening exercise. There are so many similarities across different cultures that sometimes it is unbelievable. But still there are some which are unique to each culture.
As per my observation, the traditional Russian Breads are all in some way or the other braided with or without any filling. I came across this recipe in which the lady describes her grandma's recipe of this bread and about how proud her grandma would be to know that this traditional bread has been made popular.
We love citrus flavors in our bakes and so this shouldn't come as a surprise when I say "This has been one of the best breads I have baked in this series".
R for Russian Cheese And Lemon Bread
Recipe Source here
Milk 1/2 cup + more as needed
Yogurt 1 Tbsp
Powdered Sugar 1/4 cup
Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour 1 1/2 cups
Salt 1/2 tsp
Butter softened 3 Tbsp
Active Dry Yeast 1 tsp
For the Filling -
Cottage Cheese 3/4 cup (I used regular store bought paneer, warmed it and crumbled in a food processor)
Yogurt 1 Tbsp
Lemon Juice 2 tsp
Lemon Zest 1 tsp
Sugar 4 Tbsp (or as needed)
Method Of Preparation -
In warm milk add a teaspoon of sugar and active dry yeast and set aside in a warm place for the yeast to froth up.
In a stand mixer bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, butter, yogurt and the yeast mixture.
Knead for about 10-12 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. If it is sticky, add a teaspoon of flour at a time making sure the dough is not stiff.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for the yeast to work its magic. [around 90 minutes].
Meanwhile make the cheese filling by mixing all the ingredients listed under 'For the filling'. Set aside.
Deflate the dough and on a floured surface, roll it into a 9 inch X 6 inch rectangle.
Place the rectangle on a lined baking tray.
In the center of the rectangle along the length, arrange the filling. Make diagonal cuts on the sides, close the flaps in a braid pattern. Close the ends, cover and set aside for a second rise. [about 20 minutes]
Preheat the oven to 360 °F. Place the braided and filled dough in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the bread is golden brown all over.
Remove and allow it to cool before slicing.
Preparation Time 30 minutes + Resting time 2 hours + Baking time 30 minutes