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As you all know, I bake a lot. Even more now that my husband is gone and I’m all alone in the house. Most of what I bake gets delivered to neighbors or taken to work where my colleagues kindly eat even my less-than-perfect creations. One of the things I have found myself making with growing frequency is this filled bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made it now with several delicious permutations, my favorite of which to date has been the roasted peach-lime filled braid I made a few months ago. Until now…

Last week, one of my colleagues asked me if I would be willing to share the recipe with her. I always like to spread the joy of baking, so when asked to supply recipes I almost always* say yes. I’ve made this braided loaf enough times to have come up with an adaptation that works well for me at this altitude, that takes into account the dryness in the air, and that makes sure that every bite is filled with cheese-cakey, fruity, delicious filling. Rather than try to type it all out here, I’ll just direct you to the link above and tell you that if you live at altitude (I’m at about 3,700 feet) and/or if you live in a dry, dry desert, you may want to try the following adaptations:

  • I find that I have to add about 1/2 tablespoon of extra water to the sponge, and about the same measurement of extra sour cream to the dough.
  • I always, ALWAYS, double the cheese filling part because I like to have a super thicker layer.
  • I never use lemon juice in the filling because it’s next to impossible to find here and I find that the slightly more subtle flavor of lime juice really brings out the creaminess of the cream cheese filling.
  • It takes way longer for it to raise here in Juarez, so I usually leave 2 hours for the first raise and between 60 and 90 minutes for the second.
  • I never have pearl sugar so I usually use raw sugar, the kind you can buy in little packets for coffee or tea, which give it a nice, sparkly top but also mean that you have to watch it very carefully so the sugar doesn’t burn.

This is one of my very favorite recipes to make and to eat so I am totally excited to get to share it with you here and to get to share it with my friend at work. Food diplomacy at it’s finest!


*There are a few recipes that I have been asked for but which I have to refuse to share. My family has a long history in the kitchen and there are a couple of top secret family recipes that Grammo forbade us to give away outside the family. I make them and feed them to my friends, of course, but I just can’t give out the recipes. Gotta keep them guessing somehow!