Sweet Yeast Dough 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (You might not use all of this)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Lemon Sugar Filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest of three lemons
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Make the dough:
1. In the microwave heat the butter and the milk together until the butter melts. Set aside to cool slightly. While it is cooling Mix two cups of the flour with the yeast and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Then add the water to the milk mixture and stir in the vanilla extract
2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixer and stir until combined. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the eggs one at a time, mixing each egg until it is combined. Add another 1/2 of the flour and the salt and mix till combined.
3. Sprinkle the dough with 2 tbsp of flour and knead it with the dough hook for 3 minutes. The dough will be sticky but should become soft and smooth from the kneading. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
Make Ahead Tip: If you want to make the dough the night before you bake it just gently deflate the dough after its first rise, place back in the bowl and cover it with plastic. Stick it in the fridge overnight (it will continue to rise, but at a much slower rate. Plus you get added flavor in the bread from the benefit of a slow, cold rise) The next day take the dough out and bring it to room temperature before proceeding with the next steps. I like to cover my dough with a damp piece of paper towel and stick it in my oven at the lowest temperature until it is room temp.
4. Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. It will draw out the citrus oils and make the sugar sandy and fragrant.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or spray it will baking spray
6. Forming the loaf: Deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. This part is a lot easier with a ruler on hand! Use a pastry brush to thickly coat the dough with the melted butter
7. Use a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or a sharp knife to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″ (it might not be this exact size, but…