Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge - Danish Braid

This month's challenge was making a danish braid. I was very excited to make it because I have never worked with yeast before. I'm sorry for the short post put I was up until 2am proofing the dough because I waited until the last minute to make the danish braid. Now for the recipe and pictures.

Danish Braid
Makes 2/12 pounds of dough

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 (I omitted)
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I omitted)
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

Dough Directions

1. Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
2. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well.
3. 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.
4. Place dough on floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky.
5. 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.

For the butter block (Beurrage)

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

Butter Block Directions

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.

1. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
2. 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.
3. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter.
4. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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. 9. 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.

Cream Cheese Filling

3 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

1. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add the vanilla, egg and vanilla bean seeds and blend until completely incorporated.

Sweet Potato Filling

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
4 1/4 tbsp sugar

1. Individually wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.
2. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool for 15 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle.
3. Remove the pulp from the potatoes and smash slightly.
4. Add the cinnamon, milk and sugar.
5. Blend until smooth.

Dough kneaded and ready to go into the refrigerator

Butter Block Process

Filled with cream cheese filling

Ready for last proof

Cooked and ready to be devoured.

Sorry for the sucky pics. Here are the sweet potato filled danishes

Topped with a simple cinnamon glaze and chopped walnuts. Freaky Yum!!!

END VERDICT - 4 1/2 stars

The danish dough is soooooo yummy. The cream cheese filling was little more runny than I wanted but it was still extremely delicious. I haven't tried the danishes with the sweet potato filling yet. I will post a pic and tell you how it tastes later tonight.
The sweet potato filled ones are off the chains!!! Do people still say that?

Until next time,

Happy Smacking


maybelles parents said...

sweet potato filling? sounds wonderful. would have never thought of that.

Molly Loves Paris said...

You and I were up together. Of all things I waited till the last day and them the temperature was a record high of 100 degrees. And I haven't done the other half yet, though the family is anxiously waiting. Your braid looks very nice. Maybe mascarpone or ricotta would hold up better.

Em said...

I think your sweet potato filling is theee most creative I've seen today. Great idea!

Have a delicious day :)

HoneyB said...

Sweet potato! How unique and delicious sounding!

giz said...

Your braid looks terrific. I did cheese too and figured that if I combined the cream cheese with some ricotta it wouldn't run - it worked.

Madam Chow said...

What a creative idea -sweet potato! Your braids and pastries look wonderful. I'm so impressed by the combinations that people came up with!

The Irreverent Cook said...

Hi! If by off the chains you mean the sweet potato filling is really great, you are right!! =D

Lorrie said...

wow i love your sweet potato filling idea! looks beautiful :)

breadchick said...

Excellent job on your first yeast bread!

Sandie said...

Sweet potatoes sound like a great filling, very creative!

Rebecca said...

Nice pastries! Mmmm, sweet potato.

Jen Yu said...

Nice job on the pastries. I especially love the little individual ones - so cute!

Claire said...

Yum, cream cheese! Great job.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...


Lunch Buckets said...

I'm terribly upset that I didn't use sweet potatoes.

marye said...

SOunds Fantastic! Great job. Sweet potato is brilliant. :)

Dolores said...

Ah, another last minute baker; welcome to my world. Your sweet potato pastries are *amazing*... great job!