Before I jump into the recipe, let me first tell you a story. I know I’m probably among the minority here, but I’m just sick to death of the fundraising companies taking advantage of the schools. The last fundraiser our PTO did was for butter braids, despite my protest they were charging WAY too much. The butter braids were being sold for $12, and the company was giving only $5 of that to the school (IF we sold over a certain amount, which I don’t believe we did, so ended up with LESS). Yes, the company’s profit from those simple breads was at least $7 per, while the school got only $5.
I thought these prices were just beyond insane, and my ranting only increased when I saw very similar butter braids at the local grocery store for $4.50. My jaw dropped, and I was even more disgusted.
So I went on a quest to find an even cheaper way to do these tasty treats. I’m just going to make my own! Now I will warn you though – you need a bread machine to mix the dough. I’m sure you could do it by hand, but it’s SO much easier to have a bread machine. (Again, if you don’t have one, see our post on why you need a bread machine)
First you’ll need my awesome cinnamon roll recipe (and by “my” I mean I’ve claimed this, not invented it. This recipe was given to me awhile back). Here’s the dough for the base of the bread:
Butter Braid Bread Base
3/4 c water
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
6 Tbs sugar
1/4 c butter (softened)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs dry milk
1 1/2 tsp yeast
Add to bread machine and set on “dough” cycle. Cut dough in half to make two breads. Roll each out into a rectangle. Add your fillings (see below for options) in the center of each dough, leaving space on the edges. Cut 1 inch strips on the sides from edge to center. Fold in and tuck under strips to give a braided appearance (see this picture of butter braids, although I tuck mine under a little more than what’s pictured).
Let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 375 for 15- 20 minutes or until light brown. Add frosting or glaze (see options below).
Now for all the options. You can use any combination of the following, but to make them just like the butter braids you see in stores, I’ve tried to organize them a bit.
Filling Options for Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Apple Pie Filling
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Blueberry Pie Filling
- Peach Pie Filling
Basically any type of pie fillings will do, and those listed above are best with the cream cheese frosting on the top.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4oz Cream Cheese
2 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Powdered Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt cream cheese and butter together. Add vanilla and powdered sugar.
Fillings for Glaze:
- Cinnamon (1/4 c melted butter, 1/3 c brown sugar,1 tsp cinnamon)
- Jam or Jelly
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3-4 Tbs milk
Mix together, adding milk as needed.
That’s it! The fun part of this recipe is trying out different fillings and toppings for the bread and coming up with completely different breads each time.