1) To make the starter: Combine the starter ingredients, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight.
2) To make the dough: Mix the starter with the dough ingredients, kneading until elastic and satiny. Let the dough rise in a greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours, until puffy.
3) Divide the dough into three pieces. Flatten each piece into a 6" x 12" rectangle.
4) Mix the filling ingredients together, and spread each rectangle with some of the filling.
5) Starting with a long edge, roll each rectangle into a log. Braid the logs together.
6) Cover the braid, and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until puffy.
7) Preheat the oven to 350°F.
8) Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush onto the braid. Sprinkle with pearl or sparkling sugar.
9) Bake the braid for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown; a digital thermometer inserted into the center should register 190°F.
10) Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.
Yield: one 12" to 14" loaf.