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May 24, 2022

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries

Make this braided lemon bread with blackberries for Sunday breakfast or a sweet lemony afternoon treat. 

braided bread sliced.

This sweet enriched dough, faintly flavored with vanilla, is filled with a delicious cream cheese and lemon curd filling that is topped with fresh blackberries. It's spring and summer all wrapped up in a gorgeous braided bread. 

Plus, if you've struggled with braiding bread dough, you'll love this method for creating a faux braid wrapped around a delicious filling. In fact, you can use this shaping method to make delicious bread with savory fillings too. 

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries fresh from the oven.

The enriched dough for this braided bread is pretty easy to make and it rises fairly quickly. Plus, it's has great oven spring. It can be a little bit sticky, but, because of the enrichment in the dough, it's still easy to shape if you oil or dampen your hands. To make sure you end up with a light and sweet dough, resist the urge to add more flour. 

How to Make This Braided Lemon Bread:

First, you make a "sponge," which is a mixture of water, sugar, yeast, and a little flour and let it sit for about 15 minutes. It will get super bubbly pretty quickly. 

After that, you combine the rest of the dough ingredients, including a little vanilla yogurt, butter, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla, and flour, plus the sponge in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. Begin by holding back some of the flour and adding it until the dough is soft, but still a little bit sticky. 

Next, let the dough rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. Once it has risen, deflate it and press it into a 10 inch by 15 inch rectangle. I do this directly on top of piece of parchment paper so that I don't have to transfer it later. 

Lemon Bread with filling on top before braiding.

Gently press a ruler or a chop stick into the dough, dividing it into three parts, lengthwise. Don't press it all of the way through. 

Spread a sweet cream cheese filling over the center third, and top it with lemon curd. I used lemon curd left over from making lemon curd pound cake. You can also use store-bought lemon curd. I topped the curd with some halved blackberries, but you can skip this step if you prefer, or choose another fruit. 

Use a bench scraper to cut the outer thirds of the dough into strips and wrap the strips across the filling, alternating sides. 

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries shaped before baking.

Finally, let the assembled braid rise until puffy, about 45 minute, and then brush with an egg wash, sprinkle it with sugar, and bake it for about 30 minutes. 

You can serve this braid while it is still warm, but let it sit for about 20 minutes before slicing. 

Store any leftovers well wrapped in the refrigerator, and reheat them wrapped in foil in the oven at 325 degrees F.

Braided Lemon Bread sliced on a platter.

Suggested Equipment for Making this Braided Bread:

Use a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. The parchment will keep the bread from sticking, and the baking sheet will catch any juices. 

To cut the strips in the dough, I used a bench knife/scraper. I recommend getting one if you don't have one. It's a great tool for bread baking. They're great for shaping boules and baguettes, plus they are terrific for cleaning up your work surface. 

As mentioned in my Lemon Shortbread Bars recipe, using a good zester/cheese grater will make fast work of removing the flavorful zest from your lemons. You will need one if you plan to make your own lemon curd. 

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries on a platter.

Recipe Variations:

You can leave out the blackberries or substitute fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or cherries. 

You can also replace the lemon curd with your favorite jam, such as strawberry, apricot, raspberry, or peach. 

For the sugar topping, you can use either Swedish pearl sugar or sparkling sugar. You can also skip the sugar if you prefer. I like the Swedish pearl sugar because it doesn't melt and looks gorgeous. 

Don't skimp on the vanilla. Use the real thing. 

Braided Lemon Bread on a cooling rack.

Welcome to Lemon Week! We are sharing recipes, sweet and savory, starring lemon. 

More Lemon Recipes:

Braided bread on a platter.

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries

Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries
Yield: 12 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 25 MinInactive time: 1 H & 5 MTotal time: 1 H & 50 M
Make this braided lemon bread with blackberries for Sunday breakfast or a sweet lemony afternoon treat.


For the Sponge
  • 3 ounces warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 30 grams (1 ounce/1/4 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
For the Final Dough
  • All of the sponge
  • 85 grams (3 ounces/heaping 1/3 cup) vanilla yogurt, room temperature
  • 56 grams (2 ounces/1/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces/1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 300 grams (10.6 ounces/2 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • one beaten egg for the egg wash
  • pearl or sparkling sugar for topping
For the Filling
  • 85 grams (3 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 25 gram (2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 29 grams (1 ounce/2 tablespoons) sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 15 grams (1/2 ounce/2 tablespoons) all purpose flour
  • 100 grams (1/4 cup) lemon curd, store bought or homemade (see note)
  • Handful of blackberries (optional) cut in half


  1. Combine the sponge ingredients in a small bowl, stir, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  2. In your stand mixer bowl, combine the sponge, yogurt, butter, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla, and flour. Mix with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. If the weather is really dry, don't add all of the flour immediately. Start with 2 1/4 cups, and add more if needed.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled dough rising bucket or bowl, cover, and allow to rise for one to two hours, until doubled.
  4. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, and flour until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Dump the dough out onto the parchment, and press or roll it into a 10 inch by 15 inch rectangle. Mark the dough lengthwise into thirds by pressing a ruler into the dough.
  7. Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the middle third, leaving about an inch uncovered at the top and the bottom. Spread the lemon curd on top of the cream cheese mixture. Top with the optional berry halves.
  8. Cut the outer sides into strips, as illustrated in the photo above. Cut off the strips from the four "corners" of the dough, leaving a flap at the top and bottom.
  9. Fold up the bottom flap and fold the strips over the filling alternating in a braid pattern. Fold the flap over the top before finishing the braid. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
  10. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.
  11. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. When the dough is ready, brush it with the egg wash and sprinkle it with the sugar.
  12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a deep golden brown.
  13. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes.
  14. Slice and serve.


For the lemon curd, I used some of the curd leftover from my Lemon Curd Pound Cake.

Nutrition Facts



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lemon, curd,
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it # karenskitchenstories

Originally published August, 2013, updated May, 2022. Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your loaf has gorgeous colour and the filling sounds delicious; the addition of fresh fruit is a great idea.

  2. This looks fabulous! This recipe looks fun to make, and full of lovely flavor! Hugs, Terra

  3. Ah, my mouth is watering! Great photos! I like it when there are little openings in the braid that hint at the delicious filling.

    1. And a little bit of berry juice oozing out. =)

  4. What a great looking braided bread!

    1. Thanks! I so appreciate your feedback. You are the best.

  5. Wonderful bread. The use of berries is inspired indeed!

    1. Thanks sunita. I was a little worried that they might ooze too much but it worked out.

  6. Yes those berries sounds perfect with this filling. very pretty braid!

  7. Nice idea with the blackberries. Looks very pretty.

    1. Thank you! It was a last minute decision and worked out well even if it was an impulse.

  8. Lovely loaf, Karen. I can almost taste the berry-lemon filling. Those two pair up so nicely together. Yum!

  9. Hi Karen,
    The addition of blackberries looks really good. Your braid looks wonderful!

  10. Love love love the addition of blackberries!! You all are so clever! Beautiful loaf too!

    1. Thanks Chelly! I was a little nervous about the liquid oozing out, but it worked well!

  11. am making a note of this recipe to try out - it looks lovely!

    1. You definitely need to try it. It's really good for breakfast or brunch.

  12. Hello Karen, your Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries is really beautiful and looks delicious too...p.s. I think that I fixed the problem with my site and I all so love almost all fruits too...P.s. check out my post..

  13. I need to get over my fear of enriched doughs and try this amazing recipe. Thanks for the step-by-step pictures -they're great!

  14. Absolutely gorgeous! Love the color inside this bread :)

  15. What a gorgeous loaf of bread, inside and out!

  16. Love this braided breakfast bread! We don't use Swedish pear sugar enough, love it on this, so beautiful!

  17. This bread looks amazing. I am going to have to try my hand at making this.

  18. This bread is both gorgeous and delicious! Love how it's stuffed with blackberries and it makes the best dessert or breakfast bread! I could definitely eat this every day :)

  19. This looks amazing, I need to make this for the weekend.

  20. What a gorgeous bread, and the flavors all sound amazing!

  21. Oh my goodness! This bread sounds amazing and I love the filling in it.

  22. What a beautiful bread! I've always wanted to try that technique!

  23. Wow! This bread is stunning and perfectly browned. I've gotta try your recipe.

  24. Gorgeous bread as usual! Love the color of the bread as well as the filling inside. This is heaven!

  25. Lovely, just beautiful and I bet it will knock my socks off too with how delicious it is.

  26. I love making braided breads. The filling combination is a great choice too.

  27. The color of this bread is so beautiful! I am loving blackberries these days and this looks so good.


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