Earlier last week I made lemon curd cupcakes that made extra lemon curd so I took the opportunity to make braided lemon bread. This braid looks complicated to make but is actually very simple to put together.braided lemon breadbraided lemon bread

Braided lemon bread

2 hr, 30 Total Time

Yields 1 loaf

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    Lemon curd
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • Braided lemon bread
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • Cream cheese filling
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour


  1. Prepare the lemon curd. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a stainless steel bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover immediately and let cool completely.
  2. Combine warm water with sugar, active dry yeast and the flour in a small bowl. Stir to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
  3. Combine the yeast mixture with sour cream, butter, the egg, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour and salt and mix until a dough forms. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Spray a bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese filling. Beat together the cream cheese with the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, and flour until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Punch down the dough. Dust a clean work counter with flour and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll it into a 10x15 inch rectangle. Use a bench scraper and divide the dough into three sections, making sure to not actually cut the dough. Spread the cream cheese filling in the center of the dough, followed by 1/4 cup lemon curd. Leave a 1-inch border around the filling.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-inch wide strips diagonally on each of the outside sections. Make sure you have the same number of strips on each side. Start with the left side and lay the top strip across the filling diagonally. Cross over the strip with a strip on the right side. Repeat until all of the strips are crisscrossed one another in the center. Lightly cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. Brush the bread with the egg-water mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

**Helpful tips and common mistakes

When you are making the dough sponge, you will know that it is ready when you see the yeast bubbling up; this means that it has been activated.
braided lemon breadYou may have to adjust the amount of flour needed for the dough. Start by adding half the amount, adding more as needed. The dough will appear sticky but will come together as it rises.
braided lemon breadDescribing how to make the bread in words can be confusing. In actuality, it is quite simple. You want to first divide the bread into three sections, only marking the bread into thirds (do not cut it into three pieces!). At each of the long sides, you want to make diagonal lines about 1 inch apart. Make sure you have the same number of lines on each side. Then, you crisscross those lines across the center of the bread, first the left side than the right, back to the left and so on. It even looks impressive before you bake it!
braided lemon breadMake sure to brush your bread with egg wash to help it develop a nice golden color. braided lemon breadThis bread was so soft and delicious! It smelled buttery out of the oven even though there is only 2 oz of butter per loaf. It’s great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. I actually selfishly ate the entire first loaf myself it was so good…
braided lemon bread



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