Sunday, June 29, 2008

Delicious Danish

I was so excited when I saw this months Daring Baker's challenge! I have always wanted to try my hand at making a danish and this was my chance to tackle it. I had so many different filling combinations running through my head that I just could not decide which to make. However, I did know that I was going to make at least one savory filling so I needed to cut the sweetness out of my dough. I decided to omit the orange zest and juice and just sub milk for the juice. My changes are noted in the recipe ingredients below.

The filling combinations that I decided to used were strawberry and cream cheese, raspberry and cream cheese (not pictured) and mushroom, spinach and swiss. The sweet combinations were wonderful but I wish I would have packed more filling into them. The savory combination was nothing shy of amazing!

A big thank you goes out to this months hosts: Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for picking such a rewarding and tasty challenge. Be sure to check out the Daring Baker Blogroll to see what wonderful sweet and savory danish creations the rest of the members came up with.

Just so you all know just how die hard I am... My internet at home is out and probably will be for the next few days. I went to McDonalds to use their WiFi, it cost me $2.95 for 2 hours of use but I didn't care. I am desperate! There is a lord (and a Comcast guy that knows what he is doing), out internet is finally fixed!! :)

Danish Dough
Source: Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)

1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole 2% milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice 2% milk
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

To make the dough
With a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

To make the butter block
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Danish Braid

Makes enough for 2 large braids


1 recipe Danish Dough
Fillings of your choice
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash

Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature.

The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Cream Cheese Filling, Source: Cooks Illustrated
Strawberry Jam Filling, Source Allrecipes
Raspberry Jam Filling, Source RecipeZaar
Mushroom, Spinach and Swiss Filling, Fresh sliced mushrooms, baby spinach and swiss cheese


Peabody said...

The savory filling you did sounds great. Your braid is beautiful as well.

Ally said...

You have such a perfect braid! I love the savory too, looks good enough to bite the screen!

Anonymous said...

Your braid is so beautiful! I love the fillings you chose, they all sound so delicious!

Anonymous said...

Your braid is gorgeous. I like the sound of the savoury filling, too.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Oh wow that savory braid is out of this world! The braid looks great as well!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are absolutely awesome, and your braid looks perfect! I am still planning on making those danish rounds w/the mushrooms, spinach, and swiss!

Anonymous said...

Your braids are so beautiful and the savory one looks so yummy! I bet it was delicious:)

Anonymous said...

All of your versions sound amazing! Beautifully done!!

kat said...

oh now I wish I'd done a savory one for my third braid!

Anonymous said...

the savory one sounds good! You deserve a star for the $2+ you spent to post this on time, way to go!

Mary said...

Your braids look fabulous...especially the savory one!

Anonymous said...

Wow - your savory pastries look amazing! Fabulous job on the braid too!

That Girl said...

You made 4 different Danishes??? Very impressive!!!

You know, most libraries have free wireless..........

Anonymous said...

Amber, your braid looks lovely and I like the savoury danish too.

Ben said...

Great job. Thank you for baking with us :)

Jessica said...

Awesome job! Congrats on a truly succesful challenge! :)

Anonymous said...

the savory filling sounds fantastic! What a great brunch recipe!
the sweet sounds good too. :)

Lore said...

The savoury ones looks anazing! Please tell me they're not gone by now and I can still have some :)

Jen Yu said...

I just squealed with delight at the sight of the savory little pastries! Those look AWESOME :) I'd gladly have one (or two!?) now! Awesome job on both versions - they are lovely.

Dolores said...

Oooooh... another savory! I love the spinach/mushroom/cheese combination. Great job!

Lesley said...

Totally pro! And I love the savory ones too!

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Deborah said...

I really want to try a savory version - yours looks mouthwatering! Great job on this challenge!

Maryanna said...

Thanks for the welcome! Your braid looks delish, too... and the savory pastry looks awesome!

Elle said...

Oh, they're gorgeous! And I love the savory filling, too.

Joey Biscotti said...

beeautiful danishes!!! I wish we would have done a savory as well...

Shayne said...

I have cheese, spinach and mushrooms in my fridge right now and I want to make your danish it looks SO GOOD!!!! great idea!

Sorry that your internet is out, I have had may days of setting at Panera Bread for their WiFi.

Unknown said...

The mushroom, spinach, and swiss rounds look great! Nice job.

Gigi said...

The savory danishes look absolutely delicious and your braid is gorgeous!

Angel said...

Wow you are right your savory looks to die for. I love the combinations, and the cream cheese just makes everything taste even better. Amazing!

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice job! I want to try a savory one with cream cheese and mushrooms. I love that combo!

BC said...

Yes, you are dedicated! McDonalds with WiFi??? That's sweet.

Jaime said...

both look great but the savory ones look so inviting! :)

Jeanine - The Baking Beauties said...

Oh wow, your braids look awesome! I can nearly smell those savory ones. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Your braid is perfect! I like the savory filling too... yum!

Katy said...

they all sound awesome! this was definitely a winner DB recipe. :-)

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

Amber - You did a fabulous job on your danishes. I love your flavor combinations. Your savory version is simply delectable sounding.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

test it comm said...

Your braid looks good! I like those savoury ones!

Jenny said...

Yum, spinach, swish cheese and mushrooms sound great, better than a sweet filling for me.

Anonymous said...

Nice job on the challenge! I particularly like the braid, but your little savory pastries look lovely too.