4 cups bread flour
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons yeast
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup water
6 Tablespoons butter
1 egg white
In large bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a glass measuring cup, heat water and butter to 120 degrees. Combine with dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and ½ cup flour. Beat for 2 minutes more. Add 2 cups flour and knead for 8 minutes. You may need to add up to ½ cup more flour. Dough should be soft, smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rise in draft free place until double in size. Punch down and divide dough in three equal pieces.
12 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup snipped dates, craisins OR Turkish apricots
¾ cup chopped pecans
Blend all ingredients together well.
Roll one section of dough into a 12 by 7 inch rectangle. Spread one third of filling down center (lengthwise) of dough rectangle. Using a sharp paring knife, on 12 inch side of rectangle cut 1 inch wide strips from edge of filling to outer edge of rectangle. Alternating sides, fold strips at an angle across filling, forming a braid. Transfer to greased sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of dough. Let rise until doubled in size.
Whisk together 1 teaspoon water with one egg white. Brush over tops of loaves. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.