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The Danish Braid

The Danish Braid

Braid Away ....

The Daring Bakers monthly challenge has been a gift for me in more ways than one. It makes sure I take out the time to do what I love most and write about it, no matter what ... This month has been exceptionally busy for me. I started work again about 6 weeks ago and then we moved apartments. So my weekdays have been spent at work and weekends getting settled in the new apartment.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 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.
Fillings: Strawberry Jam Filling (1 cup strawberry jam)

✅ Raisin and Pecan filling

1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup pecans, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder.
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and set aside to be used as filling.

DANISH BRAID

Makes enough for 2 large braids

✅ INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe Danish Dough
  • Fillings: Strawberry Jam Filling and Raisin Pecan Filling
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 tablespoon water.

✅ INSTRUCTIONS

  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.
  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.
This morning was full of excitement for me! I was going to start this challenge. Again, the Daring Bakers have come up with a recipe that I have been waiting to try for a long time but just could not get the inertia to try out.
The Danish Braid

The hosts for this month's event are Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? and they chose something amazing! It is the Danish Braid .... beautiful, versatile and a great great challenge. Something to test your baking skills, patience, your understanding of the temperature and humidity in your region .... a recipe worth every bit of effort that went into it.

I was very scared about starting this recipe ... I hadn't done any recipes before that required the layering of fat typical of puff pastry or this recipe for instance. Not to mention the hot and humid Singapore weather and my new tiny kitchen for which this was a maiden venture. The start wasn't very encouraging - my dough was wet and sticky. I was adding flour by the handfuls to get it to the right texture. I was so double minded about doing a sweet or savory filling - then should I add the orange juice, the zest, the vanilla the sugar to my dough or not .... But at last, good judgment prevailed - I decided to stick to the recipe and make a sweet danish dough with sweet fillings.
The Danish Braid

My niece loves jam - so one braid with a fruit jam filling was decided :) One down! The next choice just came to me when I was out with my son for a walk ... I was thinking about it and imagining the taste and texture in my mind. Pecans, raisins, honey, a touch of cinnamon and maple syrup!!! Yes that was it for me! Then all that was left to be done was the turnings of the dough. That aside, I was enjoying the way my dough was rising in the refrigerator. And I just loved the way it smelled with the zest and the vanilla extract. I skipped the vanilla beans just because getting it would mean I started another 3 hours later than I did. So here is the recipe: A great dough and a great recipe!

Recipe: “Danish Braid” from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking
The Danish Braid
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Danish Braid The Danish Braid Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, October 16, 2021 Rating: 5

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