This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
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!
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]
*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.
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.
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.
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:
- Buttermilk Farmers Cheese – the original one we make most often
- Greek Yogurt Farmers Cheese is protein rich and equally delicious
Braided Easter Bread Recipe
For the Paska Easter Bread Dough:
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Per Serving
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Looking for more traditional Easter Recipes?
- Paska Easter Bread – a timeless classic and conversation starter
- Hot Cross Buns – a beautiful and meaningful tradition
- Natural Easter Eggs – these patters are impressive and easy
- Easter Egg Chicks – so cute and the children love these
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!