The secret to total enjoyment of this bread: Don’t invite too many friends over for the eating-it part. You’re not going to want to share. Our friend Jenna of Whisked! (the incredible bakery behind our seasonal pumpkin seed molasses cookies) made this recipe for us — and we’re oh so glad that she did. This insanely yummy bread isn’t all that hard to make; it’s just a little time-consuming. But if you have a lazy December weekend and you have some good tunes, you’re set. —CAVA
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Add the softened butter, egg, and the milk, and mix together until a rough dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is shiny and comes away from the bowl (if it seems too wet, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional flour). Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1 ½ to 2 hours).
While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a food processor, combine the the cream cheese, crazy feta, harissa and mix until smooth. Add the parsley leaves and pulse until the leaves are roughly chopped. Season with salt to taste.
Once the dough is doubled in size, turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently fold it over a couple times to deflate it. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll out one piece of dough into a 12 by 10 inch square. Spread half of the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a ½ inch edge.
Starting from the long side of the square, tightly roll the dough into a log. With a chef’s knife, cut the dough lengthwise down the middle into two equal pieces. Place both logs, filling side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (the pan should be big enough to bake both loaves of bread). Starting in the middle, braid or twist these two pieces together. Pinch the ends together, to form a neat loaf.
Repeat the rolling, twisting, and braiding process with the second piece of dough and the rest of the filling.
Cover loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size 1 -2 hours.
Bake loaves in a 350 degree oven. After 20 minutes check the loaves, rotating the pan and covering the loaves with foil if they are getting too brown. Continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!