Saturday, June 28, 2008


Seeing all those lovely Danish Braids in the ‘Daring Bakers Kitchen’ made me look forward to doing this challenge. Tomorrow never comes, it never came for me too ;) till I realized that it was already Friday, the 27th June. I had already decided on an Apple and Cinnamon Filling and wanted to do some Danish pockets as well.

All went well… the only problem was that the dough was not rising L. I kept on saying, patience !!! patience!!!!! and finally began running out of it. It may rise after the last proofing, I thought. Nothing happened. It may rise after baking, I thought…nothing happened. I whispered some magic words akin to ‘Open Sesame’ something like ‘Rise Rise Lazy Dough’; then some sweet nothings to the dough, ahem !!!!!! All in vain ;).

After the baking episode was done, I must admit that the aroma of baking was heavenly and the taste also good. But appearance-wise, my Danish Braid flunked miserably. I chose not to do the Danish Pockets, but froze the remaining dough. No twin-disappointments for me on one day.

So here it is …my Danish Braid… Tah Dah. I’m not going to give up so easily… I have one of the Attitudes of a Daring Baker….. i.e. Never Give Up ;) !!!!!!!! Im gonna try it one more time – this time with a savory filling. Wish me luck fellow Daring Bakers

The Recipe :
Makes 2-1/2 pounds 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
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom1
-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
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.

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.
Makes enough for two braids
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.

Makes enough for 2 large braids
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 WashWhisk 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.
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.


Dolores said...

That's the daring baker spirit... keep trying! I think your "stubborn" braid looks great.

Dharm said...

I think your braid looks pretty terrific. And as long as it tasted good, it doesnt matter if how it looks. Great Job!

bonnie said...

i think it looks good to!
great job.

Lorrie said...

that braid looks much better than you make it out to be, you did a great job!

Prudy said...

That's tenacity. Bet it was delicious, even unrisen. Your opera cake looks spectacular.

Shayne said...

I don't think the braid is that bad however I have no idea why it was not raising for you.

Thanks for the comments, the kids do the DBer with me every month I joined because my daughter loves to bake and I am more of a cook (I would never bake) and this is a for sure thing fo rus once a month

Anonymous said...

I like your braid - it looks delicious to me! Looking at all these great danishes is killing me, I'm getting a hankering for something SWEET :) I loved the aroma hands smelled like cardamom and orange for days it seemed! I think the idea for making a savoury braid is great...I'd definitely like to make the dough again and do a savoury one myself!

Leslie said...

Yum Yum! Your braid looks great! Did your house just smell lovley!!!!

Cakelaw said...

I think your braid looks fab! I think most of us found that the dough didn't rise much - I even tried the trick from the French bread challenge of heating my oven up to 30 degrees and using it as a controlled environment, and still, no luck with rising.

Aparna said...

Your braid looks good to me. Mine didn't rise very much either. But my individual danishes rose a bit.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Your braid looks great...& I love the DB spirit! Must have tasted absolutely delicious!! Wonderful challenge this was!!

NatNibbles said...

Looks delicious! It came out great :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Good luch with your next braid, but if you ask me this doesm't look bad at all!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

My dough took forever to rise, too. Way to hang in there!


breadchick said...

Your braid did not "Flunk"! It looks wonderful and professional. Well done.

Jenny said...

That's right, don't give up Daring Baker! It may not be high, but it still looks good.

Claire said...

The aroma was just so tempting wasn't it?! Great job.

Alisha said...


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