Daring Bakers Danish Braids

June 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Posted in breakfast, Daring Bakers, Dessert | 34 Comments
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I’m back home after a week long training in Sacramento and I just pulled my Danish Braids out of the oven, whew!

I’ll post prettier photos, the recipes and reviews later. For now, here’s what I’ve got sitting on my counter.

One Danish Braid filled with an apple filling:

One Danish Braid filled with a cream cheese filling and chocolate chips:

Be sure to check back later. And check out all of the other Daring Baker‘s Danish Braids…yum!

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Okay, it’s later…first of all, my family loved these! What a way to start a Sunday morning! My thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for hosting such a fun challenge.

After doing this recipe, I learned that you have to allow time for the dough to rise. For me, it was late and I was tired. I gave my dough just one hour to rise. As you can see by my photos I didn’t get the great rise that others did. That being said, when pressed for time, it can work. I will try these again. And am trying a cream cheese with blackberry topping next.

Also, next time I will make the dough a day ahead. Then do my fillings, braiding, and final proof on my baking day. It will be much easier and I won’t be rushed for time.

My daughter and I agree that the apple filling braid was the best. The filling was the perfect compliment to the dough. Oh and the dough, the orange and vanilla bean were perfect and made this a tasty treat. I saved my $10 and skipped the cardamon spice…didn’t miss it at all.

My hubby and son agreed that the cream cheese with chocolate chip filling was the best braid. For the cream cheese filling I consulted The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard (yes, the book the danish braid recipe hails) and found her recipe for Cream Cheese Filling.

Here’s a look at some of those chocolate chips sprinkled on the cream cheese filling, yes I could have used more…live and learn.

Cream Cheese Filling

The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

  • 3/4 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together until smooth. Spoon onto the danish and bake.

The Daring Bakers recipes…

DANISH DOUGH

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole 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
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

DOUGH
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.

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. (After the final turn I only left it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes) 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.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids (I made this recipe as is and only had enough for one braid)

Ingredients
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID
Makes enough for 2 large braids (at some point you will have to split the dough in half if you want two braids, I did this after the third turn so I had two pieces of dough for the final turn)

Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

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 (Pam…) 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. (I only allowed 1 hour to proof)
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.

34 Comments »

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  1. mmm creamcheese and chocolate what could be better??? YUM!

  2. mmmmmmmm. i want one😉

  3. a lovely welcome-home treat!🙂

  4. Hot Fresh danish? I’m on my way over!

  5. Oh wow those look great! The cream cheese and chocolate chips…What a fabulous idea!

  6. Yum! Cream Cheese and Chocolate!!!

  7. Yummy! I agree the cream cheese and chocolate one sounds yummers! …and Sacramento! What fun for you! (I hope!)

  8. Cream cheese and chocolate chips?! Cream cheese and chocolate chips?? I love you. Please mail me a piece. Seriously though, that looks and sounds SOO good.

  9. Ah, that last comment by “christina” was me. Once again, I forgot to log out of my sisters info. I’m sorry! I don’t know how to delete it!

  10. You have been busy! These look yummy. Are you sharing?🙂 Glad you’re back

  11. cream cheese and chocolate chips. sounds wonderful.

  12. love your filling choices, your braids look delicious!

  13. YUM! Did you save me a piece?! I’ll actually need to try both… just to be fair. = )

  14. Yay for danish pastry! It looks very yummy.

  15. Cream cheese and chocolate!! Niiiiiice

  16. Oooh cream cheese and chocolate chips! Wish I’d thought of that one. Or maybe now, cuz then I would have had to eat it all…Great work!

  17. I would have liked them both! Great job, they turned out awesome.

  18. wow those look great! I love cream cheese…could anything be better? maybe your apple? hmmm…

  19. Yum – cream cheese and chocolate. Great job on this challenge!

  20. Well done on the challenge!!

  21. Your fillings looks absolutely delicious – and I love your braids!

  22. Perfect, perfect braids!🙂

  23. What a trooper you are adding this challenge into a travel schedule. Nice work. Your braids look very yummy!

  24. your family has good taste – each of your braids sounds and looks fabulous!

  25. what? they get prettier than that?

    i dont believe it…

  26. I want the apple one…yum! I’m glad you’re back too…I kept checking in all week just in case you were bored and decided to whip something clever up in your hotel room, LOL!

  27. What a wonderful scene to come home to.🙂 Great job on this month’s challenge.

  28. Ooo cream cheese chocolate filling sounds so good! Your braids look great.

  29. That looks so delicious. I like the cream cheese and choc chips idea. Yum!

  30. Looks great! I love the cream cheese filling.

  31. Great job. I love the idea of the cream cheese and chocolate filling. I have another batch in my fridge right now and I might just fill it with that. Thank you for baking with us🙂

  32. My second braid is in the oven right now – the wait is killing me – and these pictures aren’t helping!

  33. The chocolate chips with cream cheese sound great!

  34. OMG! I found your blog on my lunch brake. I just had my lunch and after going from page to page, recipe to recipe I AM STARVING. All of them look so yummy🙂


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