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Meyer Lemon Danish Loaves

This zesty recipe will brighten up even the chilliest winter morning. We packed the pillowy dough with Meyer lemon zest and topped it off with cream cheese and Meyer Lemon Curd for a cozy loaf that’s sure to warm your soul.
Meyer Lemon Danish Loaves
Yield 2 (8½x4½-inch) loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups (406 to 438g) plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (4.5g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (3g) kosher salt, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (3g) ground cinnamon, divided
  • 3/4 cup (180g) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs (100g, room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) packed Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk (19g)
  • 1 large egg white (30g, lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup (123g) Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
  • Simple Vanilla Glaze (recipe follows)

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • Makes 1 cup
  • 2 large eggs (100g)
  • 2 large egg yolks (37g)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (4g) packed Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (120g) fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, cubed

Simple Vanilla Glaze

  • Makes 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5g) whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (125g) flour, 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, yeast, 1 teaspoon (3g) salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon at medium-low speed until well combined.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat milk and softened butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2¼ cups (281 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until a soft, tacky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to 1/4 cup (31g) flour, 1 tablespoon (8g) at a time, if necessary. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see Note] but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.)
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Line 2 (8½x4½-inch) loaf pans with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  • In a small bowl, stir together ginger, remaining 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons (4.5g) flour, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons (3g) cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until well combined.
  • Punch down dough; turn out dough, and divide in half. Pat each half into an 8-inch square. Divide ginger mixture between squares. Using an offset spatula, spread ginger mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll up dough, jelly roll style, pinching seams to seal. Place, seam side down, in prepared pans, and gently press into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Clean bowl of stand mixer and paddle attachment. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, egg yolk, remaining 1/2 teaspoon (2g) vanilla, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt at medium speed until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a large piping bag; cut a ½-inch opening in tip. Set aside.
  • Using a small pastry brush, carefully brush tops of dough with egg white. Using a tight zigzag motion, pipe half of cream cheese mixture on top of one loaf, leaving a ¾- to 1-inch border; repeat with second loaf. (Retrace pattern on both loaves as needed until cream cheese mixture is gone.) Using a small offset spatula, spread half of Meyer Lemon Curd on top of cream cheese mixture on one loaf; repeat with second loaf. (Cream cheese and lemon curd layer will be thick.)
  • Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers at least 190°F (88°C), 30 to 35 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes. (Center will fall slightly as it cools.) Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Place Simple Vanilla Glaze in a small piping bag; cut a ¼-inch opening in tip, and drizzle onto cooled loaves.

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks until well combined; set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to steam. (Do not boil.) Pour lemon mixture into egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly in a figure eight motion with a silicone spatula, until curd is thickened and can coat the back of a spoon and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°F (79°C) to 180°F (82°C), 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Press curd through prepared sieve into bowl, discarding solids. Add butter, 1 to 2 cubes at a time, stirring until melted each addition. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled and set, at least 2 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Simple Vanilla Glaze

  • In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth and well combined. Use immediately.

Notes

Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute
more, and test again.
Recipe by Bake From Scratch.