June 29, 2008

Taking the Challenge to its limits - timewise!





The Story of A Daring Danish Braid


You see that photo above here? That blessed pastry almost wasn't made by me this month. I thought I probably had enough excuses to not do the Daring Baker Challenge this month. I mean, our reports for ABET Accreditation were due this month and I was the lucky one to get to edit two 400 page reports for formatting etc! I was never so happy as the day we turned those reports in for duplicating and they were out of my hands! (As I'm sure Stefan & Levon were happy to have them out of their writing hands!).

I also had the excuse that my son's wedding was coming up but honestly, that wasn't enough of an excuse since I haven't had to do a whole lot for that except get my outfit together. SO, yesterday morning I decided to start with the challenge and bake it this morning - still in time to post on the posting date!

I checked out the Daring Baker forum on a regular basis, reading what some had done with their braids, looking to see if there was any specific troubles anyone had so that if I ended up making it, I had an idea of what to do! Some people made savory braids like Bel of The Silicone Spatula, Amanda of Acker Kitchen, and Chantal of Eclectic (i-klek-tic) Desserts. They had sneak preview's of their braids and they made me absolutely drool! I'm sure there were other's who had savory fillings that I didn't get a chance to see ahead of time, but you can check out all the other DB'er posts by clicking here.

With all my indecisiveness about if I actually had time to do this challenge - I must say that I am VERY HAPPY I did! This was the most delicious sweet treat I have made. Although I messed up in the spreading of the butter and layering - it still turned out wonderful and now that I 've made the mistake, I know how to do it correctly the next time! I also learned that I will NOT shape the dough out on to just the counter top! That was a mistake! Fortunately, it did not affect how my braids looked in the long run.

I want to send a big thank you to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for hosting this month's challenge. If it were not for this challenge, I may have never tried a danish dough - and I am so glad I did. Grumpy and I are already talking about different fillings I can do for the future!

I did not use the apple filling as was suggested in the recipe. For my fillings I decided on a Raspberry/Cream Cheese and an Almond (Solo can!). Our favorite is the Almond! This one actually turned out the best looking also! Otherwise, I followed the recipe completely! I will leave you with a few more photos and then following will be the recipe. Don't let the length scare you, it really isn't hard at all!

For another take on filling for danish, be sure to check out Vohn's Vittles for Pear and Cinnamon Danish!  Grumpy would love that filing I'm certain!



DANISH DOUGH
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

IngredientsFor 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

DOUGHCombine 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. 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

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 BRAIDMakes enough for 2 large braids

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 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.



58 comments:

madcapcupcake said...

Looks delicious!!

familiabencomo said...

Simply gorgeous! I'm so glad you finally broke down & did it. I just fed the last bits to my kids for breakfast & I'm already thinking about making it again (what diet?!?!). Great job, HoneyB!

xoxox Amy

P.S. Best wishes to your son & his bride!

sleepingbearinthekitchen said...

As I had suspected.....they look fantastic Honey!!! I must agree this was definitely one that once made turns out one of the best sweets I have had!!!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Glad you didn't skip it even with all those excuses! It looks great!

Lorrie said...

You did a great job, they both look wonderful!

Lori said...

great braid- looks so neat and yummy

Carrie said...

This looks amazing Shelby! You've done a wonderful job!

Jenny said...

Looks great! The almond filling sounds wonderful!

Faery said...

Ok i came to see your braid, I did, it is beautiful and looks really delicious, but reding your profile I found that you are a really special and wonderful person I can only say God bless you

Kevin said...

Your braids look great! I really enjoyed this months challenge as well.

dobetter said...

Lovely photos! I love the look of the sliced almonds. They are a wonderful addition.

bethany said...

oh, yours looks spectacular!!!:) The fillings you tried look delish!

Amy said...

Oh my gosh. This looks absolutely delicious. Your bread rose so nicely and the raspberry cream cheese one sounds especially delicious.

kat said...

your braids look so nice & i love the way the almonds look on top

Rachel said...

Gorgeous!!!

Ben said...

I am glad you decided to make this recipe. I am always looking for excuses but once I start making something I can't stop and when it's done I feel so good that I promise myself never to make excuses again, (riiiight) Hehehe

Thank you for baking with us :)

Jaime said...

they look great! i'm glad you found time for this challenge :) i really wanted to try an almond flavor as well....!

shellyfish said...

Looks great! So glad you managed to get the challenge done!

Kelly said...

I love the idea of putting nuts on top!

Kelly @ anotherbakingblog.blogspot

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

That's a beautiful braid! Great job.

said...

i'm glad you liked my savory braid. you should try it sometime. its really good.

oh btw, that raspberry cream cheese filling that you have sounds and looks absolutely delicious! And the almond one too!

noble pig said...

Yeah you got in in! Looks wonderful!

Jacque said...

Mmmm, yummy! I'm so glad I used the Solo almond too. It was just tooo delish, wasn't it?

Good job plugging through this challenge in spite of what sounds like editing hell. Your braid looks fantastic.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful braids! I love your choice of fillings!

Cheers,

Rosa

Alyson's Wonderland said...

Oh my goodness Shelby, that looks absolutely amazing!

Aparna said...

Great that you managed this challenge with your schedule. Nice fillings and great looking braid. I used almond too.

Chantal said...

Great!

The time frame in which you completed your challenge reminded me of my Cheesecake Pops drama, you're truly DARING!

If I don't stop looking a these danishes I think I may gain 10lbs from licking the screen :D

Rock on!

Sass E-mum said...

Those braids look lovely. Almonds are ideal as a topping.

Leslie said...

yum yum yum..love the raspberry filling!!!!

Madam Chow said...

Seems like a lot of us had a really, really busy month, and like you, I'm glad I made it! Your braids look great and the fillings sound luscious!

HoneyB said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments! I'm still so excited about this danish! I am going shopping today and plan to find some really GOOD chocolate and almond paste - I'll be making these while I'm on vacation over the next two weeks! YUMMY!

Julie said...

Great job on the challenge. The raspberry filling sounds delectable! Thanks for leaving a comment on my site.

Best,

Julie

Bunny said...

it was a great challenge wasn't it!! i too waited longer than i should have but it all worked out! your braids love wonderful,i love the chocolate idea and would like to make one also!

Angel said...

What a plump and delicious looking braid! I love it!

Katie said...

This looks great!

Deborah said...

I'm glad you found the time to make this challenge - it turned out wonderful!!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I'm glad you didn't pass on this challenge -- your braids look great and the fillings sound terrific.

Pam said...

Nice looking braid - great job!

BA Gourmet said...

Your braids look delicious! The almond one sounds good, I may have to try it.

Irina said...

yours is so nice and fluffy!!!

Holly said...

Great job! Looks fab!

Ally said...

They both look delicious! I'll have to try the almond from a can it looks yummy!

Joey Biscotti said...

lovely braids! the raspberry looks really really delicious!

Amanda Barkey said...

Thanks for leaving that great comment on my blog! Since it was my first month in the DB I really didnt think anyone would look at my blog let alone post comments so it was so cool to wake up this morning to comments!! I was a little daunted at first and thought of about a million excuses not to do this challange this month but I, like you, am glad I did. Your braids turned out awesome! Congrats too on your sons wedding! :)

Cupcake Aficionado said...

Your braids are so beautiful!! I'll perfect mine one day. :) Happy challenge!!

Medena said...

Almond sounds yummy!!! You did a great job! I am glad you did make it after all!!! :)

GrannyLooHoo said...

Your braids are beautiful, HoneyB--I'll have to get up the courage to try the butter dough sometime--that has always intimidated me!

Amber said...

Your braids are beautiful, I need some practice and must settle for taste at the moment. Rasberry/cream cheese...yum!

pea & pear said...

What a delicious looking braid, perfectly puffed and flaky... I wish I could eat them all, over an over again.
Ali

linda said...

They look delicious! Love the idea of using almond as a filling.

Isabelle said...

Your danish braids look so delicious!!! Great job!
Thanks for commenting on my blog and have fun with the next challenge! :)

Laurie said...

Great job and accomplishment! It does feel good when we are done doesn't it?

Barbara Bakes said...

Your braids look delicious. I would love the raspberry cream cheese one! Thanks again for the tip on scheduled posts. I needed to do it again this month!

Lucy said...

OMG!!! Delish!! Loving that filling as well ;-)

Elle said...

I'm so glad you decided to make them! they wern't all that bad, right? More time consuming that difficult. Yours look amazing!

Barbara said...

Glad you went ahead and did the challenge, it turned out great!

dobetter said...

Beautiful braids! I love the sliced almonds across the top.

Hannah said...

The almond filling sounds particularly good, but both braids are lovely all the same. :)

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