Braided Grapefruit Ginger Bread

I had leftover Ginger Grapefruit Curd...perish the thought!  What to do with it?  Too divine to let it go to waste, and an irritating reminder of my lack of motivation every time I opened the refrigerator (if only there were 36 hours in a day, right?).  I had a wonderful idea to use it in a braided bread that I have made a few times before, and it turned out beautifully...

This would be a great Easter brunch bread.  It is light and the citrus and ginger are very refreshing and bright.  I borrowed the idea of this bread from Smitten Kitchen, a fabulous site based in New York.  Mrs. Smitten Kitchen has a much more exciting life than I do... but then, she doesn't have a mini horse, so I guess we are even!  Really, she is a very sophisticated cook and her site is beautiful, check it out, you will probably fall head over heels for it, just like I did a few years ago.

This is a simple recipe, don't let yourself get intimidated by the braiding and filling and curd and everything else.  Phew... breathe... it's really not that bad.  You can even use lemon curd from the store if it makes it a little easier to breathe.  However, this is well worth the effort to make it from scratch, and if you are bringing it to a brunch luncheon, you will look like a superstar.  And really, what is the point of living if you can't look like a superstar?  Especially one with fabulous bread?  Just kidding...

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 tbsp warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup flour

Sponge (above)
6 tbsp sour cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 tsp water for brushing bread
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Pearl sugar or sparkling white sugar for sprinkling

Ginger Cream Cheese Filling:
2/3 cup cream cheese
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp fresh ginger juice (grate a 3-inch piece of ginger on a microplane, press through a fine sieve and reserve the juice, discard the pulp)
4 tbsp flour

Ginger Grapefruit Curd: 1/2 cup - click here for recipe


Make sponge: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients.  Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make dough:  Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, 1 egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the flour and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough is a rough, shaggy mess.  Switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 4 minutes.  Place the kneaded dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60-90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.  

Make the filling (while the dough rises):  Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump free.  Reserve the filling and the curd until ready to fill the braid.  

Prepare the bread:  Gently deflate the dough and roll it on a very well floured counter to a 10 X 15-inch rectangle.  Transfer the rectangle to a large piece of parchment (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP).  With the side of your hand, gently press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns.  Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the bottom and top two inches free of filling.  Spread the ginger grapefruit curd over the cream cheese filling.  

To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of the  dough (the parts without the filling).  Make sure you have and equal number of strips down both sides.  Remove the four corner segments.  To "braid", begin by folding the top and bottom flaps up over the filling.  Lift the top left strip and bring it diagonally across the filling, stretching it just slightly and lay it across the filling.  Repeat with the right side and then repeat again with the left until you have braided down the length of the bread.  The last few strips on the bottom, tuck the ends under the end of the braid so you don't see them.  

Carefully transfer the parchment and the dough to a baking sheet (this is much easier with four hands...).  Cover loosely with plastic and set aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until quite puffy.  

Bake bread:  Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Brush the loaf with egg wash, and sprinkle with pearl or sparkling sugar.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes before diving in...


  1. Hello; I think you left out the flour for the bread dough? I kept mixing the shaggy mess until I realized I needed to add flour; I added about 2-1/2 cups or maybe more before I got anything resembling a dough; it was still kind of batter-y. And I didn't realize I hadn't printed the Grapefruit Curd recipe so used Joy of Cooking's Lemon Curd recipe as a basis; I had invested too much energy & time by that point to turn back. I also somehow forgot to do the second rising. But this is the most delicious pastry I can imagine. Thank you for the recipe which I so grandly botched but still managed to make a beautiful and eminently edible bread.

    1. Oh, Flo! I am so sorry. Sometimes I think that I am like the Scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz Singing, "If I only had a brain"... I am glad that you were able to salvage it. It can be crazy writing and cooking with kids running all around. I have updated the recipe, hopefully you will try again with an easier to achieve outcome. Thanks for reading. Many apologies!

    2. I'm sure it is not easy! I appreciate your reply and will definitely try it again because I ate it all before I could share it with my family. Thank you again.


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