Danish Braid

IMG_20141005_1527461632 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (part whole wheat pastry flour is good in this)
For the sponge: 1/2 cup warm milk + 1tsp. sugar + 1 pkg. dry yeast + 3 T. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup plain yogurt or kefir
3 T. softened butter
scant teaspoon salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
scant 1/4 cup soft butter
2 T. cream
3/4 cup light seedless raisins
optional: 1 tsp ground cardamom

another filling: 1 small jar of lemon curd

1. First combine the sponge ingredients, mixing together well with a whisk. Let
stand 15 min., covered loosely with plastic wrap.

2. Now for the dough, mix together sugar, yogurt, butter, salt, vanilla, egg and
sponge in a large bowl. Beat well in a large bowl with a mixer.

3. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat at low speed (preferably with dough hook
attachment) to form a soft dough.

4. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Gradually knead in the remaining
1/2 cup flour. (This can be done in the bowl with the dough hooks too)

5. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for
about 1 1/2 hrs. or until doubled.

6. Mix together filling ingredients.

7. Punch dough down and roll into an approximately 12 x 15 inch rectangle on
a lightly floured piece of wax paper. Make 5 inch cuts on both long sides of
the rectangle with sharp kitchen scissors. Spread filling down center leaving
out a portion on each end.

8. Now fold the two end portions over the filling and fold side strips crossing
over diagonally over the filling in a braid-like fashion, pressing each end
to seal on opposite side.

9. Transfer braid on it’s wax paper to a baking sheet. Cover and let rise another
45 minutes.

10. Beat 1 egg with a tsp. of water and brush the braid.

11. Bake at 375 deg.F (180 deg.C) for about 20-30 min. or until golden.

12. When braid is cool, drizzle over a powdered sugar glaze (1/2 cup powdered sugar
+ 3 tsp. milk) and sprinkle with sliced or chopped almonds.