Braided Easter Bread Recipe

This Braided Easter Bread has the softest crumb. It is laced with farmer cheese and studded with apricots and orange zest which gives the entire loaf amazing flavor and aroma. Make this Easter Bread your new Easter tradition. This brings a cheese Paska and Classic Kulich together into 1 impressive Easter bread! | natashaskitchen.com

This Braided Easter Bread has the softest crumb that pulls away like cotton candy. It is laced with farmer cheese (learn how to make farmer cheese with 2 ingredients!) and studded with apricots and orange zest which gives the entire loaf amazing flavor and a tantalizing aroma. Make this Easter Bread your new Easter tradition!

My husband found this recipe on Olya’s Youtube Channel and requested that I re-create! He prefers this over classic Easter Kulich because the cheese gives it exciting flavor and texture. This brings a cheese Paska and Kulich together into 1 impressive Easter bread!

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Ingredients for Braided Easter Bread Recipe:

I love that there is a surprise inside this Easter Bread. The sweet-tart bites of apricot are such a treat and the ribbons of cheese make this almost danish-like. Also we used instant yeast here so you don’t have to wait all day for the dough to rise but the results are super soft and lovely. [See Print-Friendly Recipe Below]

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Ingredients for Braided Easter Bread, How to make braided Easter Bread

*Cooks Tip: In baking, measuring ingredients correctly is crucial. See all of our tips and tricks for measuring correctly and you’ll be baking like a pro!

How to Make Braided Easter Bread with Cheese:

1. In a measuring cup, Combine 1/2 cup warm (not hot) milk,1 tsp sugar and 1 1/2 tsp yeast. Stir to dissolve sugar and let rest 10 minutes to proof.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1 egg with remaining 3 Tbsp sugar and 1/8 tsp salt and whisk together until blended. Whisk in melted warm butter (NOT HOT). Add proofed yeast mixture and whisk to combine.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 1/4 cups flour and add wet ingredients. Stir with a spatula until combined then knead by hand 10 minutes. Dough will be soft and not sticky to the touch. Form dough into a ball then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

How to Make Cheese Filling:

1. Meanwhile, make cheese filling: In a medium bowl crumble the farmer cheese with a fork. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg yolk. Use a spatula to blend until combined and somewhat creamy. Add 1/2 cup diced apricots and 2 tsp orange zest.

 How to Assemble Easter Bread Recipe:

5. Once dough has risen, punch it down and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 12″x9″ rectangle, between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Add cheese filling and spread evenly leaving 1/2″ of space at the edges.

6. Roll the dough into a log starting from the long end. Pinch the edges to seal. Cut the roll in half to split it into 2 strands, leaving them attached at one end. Overlap the 2 strands starting at the connected end and moving towards the ends, pinching to seal at the end. Carefully transfer braid cut-side up to an oiled 9.25×5.25 loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 30-45 minutes or until visibly puffed up. Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water with a fork and brush generously over risen loaf.

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7. Bake in center of oven at 350˚F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes in the form then transfer to wire rack to cool. Dust warm bread with powdered sugar. Once cooled to room temperature, slice the Easter bread and serve.

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How to Make Homemade Cheese (Tvorog/ Farmers Cheese):

All you need is 2 ingredients and a little patience! Here are 2 tutorials for making easy homemade farmers cheese:

Braided Easter Bread Recipe

5 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
This Braided Easter Bread has the softest crumb. It is laced with farmer cheese and studded with apricots and orange zest which gives the entire loaf amazing flavor and aroma. Make this Easter Bread your new Easter tradition. This brings a cheese Paska and Classic Kulich together into 1 impressive Easter bread! | natashaskitchen.com

Braided Easter Bread is soft and has a surprise inside! This Easter bread is laced with farmers cheese, apricots, and orange zest which give the loaf amazing flavor and aroma.

Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $10-$12
Calories: 300 kcal
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

For the Paska Easter Bread Dough:

  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (4 grams)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar (plus 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour *measured correctly

For the Farmer Cheese (Tvorog) Filling:

  • 8 1/2 oz farmers cheese (1 3/4 cups packed)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 2 tsp orange zest from 1 medium orange

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water

Instructions

  1. In a measuring cup, Combine 1/2 cup warm milk (not hot),1 tsp sugar and 1 1/2 tsp yeast. Stir to combine and let sit 10 min to proof.

  2. In a small bowl, add 1 egg, remaining 3 Tbsp sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and whisk together. Whisk in warm melted butter (NOT HOT). Lastly whisk in proofed yeast mixture.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 1/4 cups flour then add wet ingredients. Combine dough with a spatula then knead by hand 10 min. Dough will be soft and not sticking to your hands. Form dough into a ball then cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

  4. Meanwhile, make cheese filling: In a medium bowl crumble farmers cheese with a fork. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg yolk. Use spatula to blend until combined and somewhat creamy. Add diced apricots and 2 tsp orange zest.

  5. Once dough has risen, punch it down and transfer to lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 12"x9" rectangle, between 1/8" and 1/4" thick. Add cheese filling and spread evenly leaving a 1/2" border at the edges.

  6. Roll dough into a log starting from the long end and pinch edges to seal. Cut the roll in half to split into 2 strands, keeping them attached at one end. Overlap the 2 strands starting at the connected end and weaving them together towards the ends. Pinch the ends to seal. Carefully transfer braid cut-side up to a greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise/puff up at room temperature 30-45 min. Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water and generously brush egg wash over risen loaf.

  7. Bake in center of oven at 350˚F for 35 to 40 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest 5 minutes in pan then transfer to wire rack. Dust warm bread with powdered sugar. Once cooled to room temperature, slice and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Braided Easter Bread Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 87mg 29%
Sodium 183mg 8%
Potassium 175mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 15g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 10.7%
Vitamin C 0.8%
Calcium 3.8%
Iron 11.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Looking for more traditional Easter Recipes?

We go big on Easter because it is a major holiday as it marks the resurrection of Jesus and the victory and life that we have in Him. We spend the morning in church and then have a big celebratory potluck dinner at church. The day is wrapped up with an egg hunt for all the kiddos in our family at my parent’s house which they really look forward to. I would love to hear about your Easter traditions in a comment below!

Have a happy and blessed Easter, my friends!

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Julia Crews
    April 17, 2018

    Is there a cheese that I can buy if I don’t want to take the time to wait 56 hours for this cheese? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 17, 2018

      Hi Julia, Farmers cheese is sold in some grocery stores but varies by area. Reply

  • April 2, 2018

    By looking at the recipe it look likes so easy but i know how much effort it took. I made this several times and still it is my favorite. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 3, 2018

      I’m happy to hear that Kirti, thanks for sharing your great review! Reply

  • Alena
    April 2, 2018

    Hi Natasha! Im excited to make this. Couple questions: So the regular red star active dry yeast wouldn’t work for this recipe? Also, may I use KitchenAid mixer or bread machine to knead the dough or it has to be by hand? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2018

      Hi Alena, I think it would work well since I proof it in the beginning. You can use the KitchenAid with dough hook attachment on speed 2. I haven’t tried in a bread machine so if you experiment, let me know how it goes! 🙂 Reply

  • Sveta kuksenko
    April 2, 2018

    Can I just knead this in my KitchenAid, or would u recommend doing it by hand? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2018

      Hi Sveta, you can absolutely knead in the KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment on speed 2. Reply

  • Dina
    April 1, 2018

    Hi Natasha! Made mine yesterday. Might be a substitute for Kulich going forward. Mine felt a little crumbly when I was kneading and I felt like it didn’t puff up the second time around as much, but it still tastes good. I used home made tvorog. Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 1, 2018

      Hi Dina! With the rising, be sure to let the dough rise in an area that is not hotter than 100˚F or it will start cooking the yeast and deactivate it which will affect the rise. Also, if the dough was crumbly, it sounds like there may have been too much flour added. This post on measuring dry ingredients may help. Reply

  • Angela
    March 31, 2018

    Baking it as I write this. Looks and smells divine. Can’t wait to try!!! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 31, 2018

      I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells! Happy Easter Angela 🙂 Reply

  • Jill R
    March 31, 2018

    Hi Natasha– I made this today. It’s on the cooling rack as we speak, but we’re not ready to dig into it just yet. What do you recommend for storing it? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 31, 2018

      Hi Jill, I would keep it wrapped at room temperature overnight. If storing longer than that, cover and refrigerate. You can warm it up slightly in the oven to freshen it up a bit before serving or just serve at room temperature. Reply

      • Jill
        March 31, 2018

        Thank you! I can’t wait to try it! Mine doesn’t look as nice as yours but I think it’s going to taste good. 🙂 Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          March 31, 2018

          You’re welcome Jill! I’m sure you did a fantastic job! Happy Easter 🙂 Reply

  • Merry Straub
    March 31, 2018

    Not a comment but a question. Can you buy Farmers Cheese instead of making it? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 31, 2018

      Yes, you can buy it in some grocery stores. If you have a European store/market nearby, they will usually stock it. Also, some health food stores and I have even purchased it at Fred Meyer. Reply

      • Merry Straub
        March 31, 2018

        Thanks, I’ll look around. Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          March 31, 2018

          You’re welcome Merry, I hope you find some! Reply

    • Jill
      March 31, 2018

      I found it at a regular grocery store. It was by the cream cheese. I had thought it might be by the sour cream/cottage cheese but it wasn’t. Reply

      • Merry Straub
        April 1, 2018

        Thanks Jill for responding. I’m on my way to the store! 🙂 Reply

  • Ira
    March 31, 2018

    I’m baking it right now! Greetings from Ukraine 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 31, 2018

      I hope you love it Ira, please let me know what you think! Reply

      • Ira
        April 2, 2018

        this Easter bread tastes like mom’s vatrushki! But making it is much easier. Thanks for the recipe, Natasha, I’ll bake more of it very soon 🙂 Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          April 2, 2018

          You’re welcome Ira! I’m happy to hear you’ll be making this again, thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Vita
    March 31, 2018

    Hi Natasha! This looks amazing! I’m planning on making this bread today. I bought instant yeast, but it also says that it’s fast acting, is that the same thing or would it not work? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 31, 2018

      Hi Vita, yes that is the same thing. Mine says quick rise, others say fact acting. I hope you love the recipe! Happy Easter!! 🙂 Reply

      • Vita
        April 2, 2018

        Thank you for replying! I made it and it’s almost all gone now;) although it did turn out a little too dense, could it be that I kneaded it too much? Or too much flour? It turned out delicious anyway and hubby approved! Thank you for sharing such great recipes with us! Happy Easter to you as well! Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          April 3, 2018

          Hi Vita, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Regarding the consistency – you might test to see if your yeast is fresh – also if the yeast gets too hot while the bread is rising, it can deactivate the yeast and it won’t rise properly. Did you bread rise well through all the stages? You might check out this post on measuring flour – I have tested and learned that if you scoop the measuring cup directly into the flour bin, you can get 25%+ excess flour in the cup. Reply

  • Sarah
    March 30, 2018

    Can I bake it in a glass loaf bank for the same time? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2018

      Hi Sarah, I haven’t tested this recipe in a glass pan but most sources online say to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F if using a glass pan. Reply

  • Lisa Turrini
    March 30, 2018

    Can’t find farmer’s cheese anywhere- any substitute? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2018

      Hi Lisa, I haven’t tested this but I think the next closest thing if you can’t find it and don’t have time to make it would be to use rinsed, drained and mashed cottage cheese. If you try that, let me know how you liked it 🙂 Reply

      • Debbie
        March 31, 2018

        I tried it with cottage cheese, rinsed and well drained, but the filling was still too wet. Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          April 1, 2018

          OH good to know, thanks for sharing your helpful tip with other readers Debbie! Reply

      • Irina
        April 1, 2018

        In my experience, quark (a British/European creamy, tangy cheese) is a great substitute for farmer’s cheese. If quark is not available, you can use ricotta mixed with lemon juice or citric acid to up the tartness. With both quark and ricotta, you’ll want to drain them if they are on the runny side. Simply place the cheese in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl, and let it drip for a few hours. If nothing is happening, place a weight on top of the cheesecloth. Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          April 1, 2018

          Great tips Irina, thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Viktoriya
    March 30, 2018

    Hi, can I use cottage cheese instead of farmer cheese? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2018

      Hi Viktoriya, I haven’t tested that in this recipe but it may work if it is rinsed, well drained and mashed before using. If you experiment, let me know how it goes 🙂 Reply

      • Viktoriya
        March 30, 2018

        Thank you, I’ll try it with cottage cheese, because don’t have time to make farmer cheese, thank you for the quick response 😃 Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          March 30, 2018

          You’re welcome Viktoriya! Reply

  • Tatyana
    March 30, 2018

    I baked 2 loafs. Sooo delicious! My kids asked for second slice. This is a winner-keeper😉 Thank you Natasha! Blessings to you and you family! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 30, 2018

      My pleasure Tatyana! I’m glad to hear the whole family enjoys the recipe. Thanks for sharing your excellent review! 🙂 Reply

  • Matilde
    March 30, 2018

    Hi,
    If we do not have the time to make farmers cheese since I would like to prepare the bread for Saturday. Which farmers cheese can we get from the store?
    Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2018

      Hi Matilde, I have seen it in Fred Meyer but it would be best if you had a local European grocery store – they almost always carry farmers cheese. Lifeway makes farmers cheese and they do have a zipcode store search. Some other brands of farmer cheese do the same thing if you wanted to search that way. Reply

  • Trina Flynn
    March 29, 2018

    Hi Natasha, Do you think Gluten Free flour would work? I would love to make this Easter Bread this coming weekend it looks so delicious! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2018

      Hi Trina, I honestly haven’t tried this with GF flour. When I experiment, I’m generally using a cup for cup type of flour (I like Namaste brand), but I just haven’t tested it in this recipe. If you experiment, let me know how it goes and Happy Easter! Reply

  • Stacey Nadig
    March 29, 2018

    We celebrate Resurrection Sunday as well with a brunch after service! Jesus lives! May you have a blessed day.

    Thanks for your many yummy recipes! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 29, 2018

      My pleasure Stacey! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter! God Bless 🙂 Reply

  • Susan Nadtochayev
    March 29, 2018

    This looks delicious! Wanting to try it for our church potluck tonight. Do u think raisins will work instead of apricots? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2018

      Hi Susan, yes that would work well, but you will need to plump them up. Place 1/2 cup raisins (white or brown) into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit 10 minutes then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Reply

  • Ksusha. A
    March 29, 2018

    My husband refuses to eat farmers cheese, and any other good substitutes. Would cream cheese work? :-\ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2018

      Hi Ksusha, I think it could work but you will have to experiment since I haven’t tested it. I would try to make it like a cheesecake mixture but with less eggs since it can get too loose and difficult to roll up the dough. Reply

  • Lilia warren
    March 29, 2018

    This recipe looks so good but I’m in a hurry can I use ricotta cheese instead? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2018

      Hi Lilia, I haven’t tried this with ricotta cheese so I’m not 100% sure how it would work in this recipe – it is much more loose than farmer cheese. It might possibly work better with a rinsed, very well drained and mashed cottage cheese. If you experiment with that, let me know how you like it! 🙂 Reply

  • Karen
    March 29, 2018

    Just wondering if this recipe would work in a round pan similar to the one used for the Paska Easter Bread Recipe (Kulich). Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2018

      Hi Karen, I think that would work but the smaller ones I used for the kulich might be just a little too small and would require a longer baking time. Something like an 8 or 9″ cake pan would probably work well, or even laying it out onto a baking sheet would probably work – it would just take on a slightly different shape with the bake. . Reply

  • Oksana
    March 28, 2018

    Can’t wait to try it. A duet of apricots and farmer’s cheese sounds delicious! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2018

      Thank you Oksana! It really is such a treat! Plus the orange zest gives it amazing flavor as well. I hope you LOVE it! 🙂 Reply

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