Sunday, June 29, 2008

A French....no Wait, Danish Braid!

It's that time again...Daring Bakers emerge from the shadows and display their wonderful fares. This time, a Danish bread! I must admit to you that I was not very excited about this challenge when it was revealed. I don't know why, but I just wasn't. The only thing I was glad of was that I would be able to make the bread for my family when I went home after my exam. In the end, this recipe excited me and I really enjoyed making it. I decided to use a peach filling because my parents had just gotten some from the farmer's market. I enlisted the help of my father but he's "never been good at peeling things," so the help left rather quickly! :-) In the end, I decided not to peel the peaches and it turned out well. I even ate some of the leftovers straight from the pot! :-) The first braid I made cooked a lot faster than the 25 minutes instructed. I probably could have taken it out after 5 minutes at 350 but I left if another 5 minutes, 5 short of that instructed and it was already a little too brown. For the second braid, I wanted to make a calzone type braid with sausage and cheese for my brother, but we forgot to get sausage, so I just filled it with chocolate and butterscotch chips. This time, the bread baked properly and was very good. The recipe was chosen by Ben at What's Cooking and Kelly at Sass and Veracity. Thanks for such a great challenge. This was probably one of my favorite challenges and I'll definitely make it again! Check out the other great breads by visiting our blogroll.
Danish Dough
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 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
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.
For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
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. Just look at those layers!
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.
Danish Braid
Makes enough for 2 large braids
Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see above)
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk (I skipped this)

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.
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.

74 comments:

Ben said...

Those braids look amazing! Great job. I am also going to do this over and over again. it was just too much fun :-p

Thank you for baking with us :)

Erin said...

Your bread looks so pretty! I love the peach filling- I love pretty much anything with peaches :) I think next time that's what I'll use.

Ruth said...

Your braid looks great. I am going to make this as well so many times its just to good not to.

Jaime said...

great job! i'm glad you ended up enjoying this challenge despite your initial indifference about it :) peaches sound wonderful

Jane said...

My mouth is watering!
Wow! Great job on that Danish!

Elle said...

Which to choose?? Love peaches and that is a beautiful braid...but love chocolate and it's lovely too. Hmmm, can I have a slice of each, please. :)

Cynthia's Blog said...

I loved them. You did a great job.

Laura Rebecca said...

Oooh, chocolate and butterscotch -- yum! I especially love that first photo with the drizzle!

briannalee said...

They both look delicious claire! I bet the butterscotch with the chocolate was fantastic! Great job :)

Lorrie said...

mmm peach filling! your braid looks sooo good, great job!

Deborah said...

I thought the baking time was off, too. Great job on this challenge - it sounds delicious!

marye said...

beautiful job! it looks so good.

Patti said...

Really awesome braid. Thanks for sharing.

breadchick said...

I love peach fillings in danishes. Well done!

kat said...

wonderful work. a calzone braid would have been interesting but I bet he enjoyed the sweet one too

Dolores said...

While I've no doubt that sausage would have been good, I love the chocolate and butterscotch chips peeking out from beneath your braid. Glad you ended up having as much fun with this one as I did!

Jeff, Abbey, and Reed Land said...

Hey Claire,

Glad you commented. It's good to know you read our blog! We actually both "know" you because your parents were involved in the college ministry at Mo Heights while we were in college. Facebook us!

onespicymama said...

Mmm.... that peach filling looks scrumptious!!!! Great job!

mjm said...

Hey Claire! I just saw your comment over at LandLife. I too was at Mo Heights during my MC days. I am also impressed with your baking skills. Gotta love us southern girls who can cook. Tell your mom and dad that Jane said hello!

Elle said...

The peach filling looks delicious! Well, so does the chocolate and butterscotch one, right? Such a versatile recipe!

Dana McCauley said...

Glad you enjoyed the challenge. It was my favorite so far.

Hannah said...

Nice work, both braids look and sound delicious!

Jenny said...

Yum, peaches sound great with that dough.

bunny said...

i love your braids they look incredible! chocolate and butterscotch, your killing me!!

Angel said...

Next time you'll definitely have to try a savory braid it was sooo tasty! The chocolate and butterscotch together do sound to die for, I'm definitely going to have to try it.

Peabody said...

Job well done!
Peaches would be great in this.

Aamena said...

hey i went with peaches too.. tho i really wonder why i didnt think of chocolate!

BC said...

They look wonderful.

I started baking bread during exams. Study, pound out some dough, study... it was a great stress reliever.

Nic said...

How yummy looking! Peaches were definitely a good call!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Wow! your braid turned out great! I love the peach filling and the chocolate and butterscotch chips. What clever ideas. Well done!

Erika W. said...

Wow! That's completely stunning- I bet everyone enjoyed it!

Sara said...

I really liked the apple filing, but the peach looks so great!

Aran said...

beautiful braid too... i love the peach filling.

Kevin said...

Your braids look good! I like the sound of that sausage and cheese braid but the chocolate chips sound good as well. :)

MaryMary said...

Chocolate and Butterscotch? Now that is truly inspired! Looks fabulous!

Lisa said...

love the way your braids look - you have it nailed!!

Cakespy said...

Hey, there are plenty of french words in the recipe, I say it can be a French Braid if you yell for all of the ingredients in a really over the top French accent. :-) I commend your creativity on your second one! Yum!

Barbara Bakes said...

Your braids look delicious! I had to take mine out of the oven early too.

Jen Yu said...

Oh, I'd better not show the chocolate and butterscotch braid to my husband ;) Those really look terrific. I enjoyed this challenge very much and I'm so glad I did it! I'm glad you did it too - you're a pro!

eatme_delicious said...

Your braid is perfectly browned! And a peach filling sounds delicious.

Katy said...

love it -- your dough looks great! phenomenal job.

glamah16 said...

Now I havent seen peaches in all my travels through blog land. That combo sounds so good.Notyhing like fresh peaches.

JMom said...

my daughter also suggested the chocolate chip filling... I should have followed her suggestion. Yours sounds delicious! and very pretty too :)

cookemila said...

gracias, thanks claire.You did a great job.Xoxo

Natalie... said...

Mm wow looks delish!!
I bet that the sausage and cheese would have been yummy but never mind the chocolate and butterscotch sounds so nice, as does the peaches!
Good job.

Liz said...

Gorgeous job! Your braids turned out so beautiful.

Simona said...

Peach filling sounds great: I will keep it in mind when peaches become available around here.

CookiePie said...

Your braids look great! The peach filling looks sooo luscious!

Jacque said...

Mmmm, peach sounds positively delish! Your braid is lovely, nice work!

Beth said...

Chocolate and butterscotch in lieu of sausage...You are too funny!

dobetter said...

Looks perfect! I love all of those flaky layers. The peach filling sounds wonderful! Nice job.

Faery said...

Wow those braids are beautiful and the chocolate and butterscotch is making me crazy yum yum :9

creampuff said...

Mmmmmmmm ... that peach filling is making my mouth water!

Dianne said...

Your braid looks fabulous! And I love the idea of a peach filling. Lovely!

familiabencomo said...

Great job! I love the peaches. I should have tried that - my granny had a peach tree out back & peaches always remind me of summer. I also love the butterscotch & chocolate chips - yumm!

xoxox Amy

Angie said...

Claire,
Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog!
Your danishes are beautiful - the chocolate/butterscotch look absolutely devine!
Like you and many others ... I will be doing this recipe again!
Take care and I'll be checking your blog again! :)

enza said...

from a phisician to another...great job!!!!

genkitummy said...

your braids look wonderful! the chocolate chip butterscotch one looks delicious!

farida said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. So sorry I am late in doing the same.

Your braid looks marvelous! I like that is is so well risen and golden on top. Great job!

Selfhuggingjack said...

Thankyou very much, the butterscotch and chocolate chip braid looks delicious! I now wish I drizzled some icing over my braid because it really makes it look authentic.

Pam said...

Looks really tasty. Peach filling sounds delicious.

Tiffany said...

I love it....out of meat? Eh...just use chocolate!!! Looks yummy!!

madcapcupcake said...

I just love peach - the danish looks awesome!!

Molly Loves Paris said...

Your braids look really lovely, and wonderfully delicious. How did you make the peach filling, and what did the skins taste like in the filling?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ah Claire . . . chocolate and butterscotch chips . . . just chocolate and butterscotch chips . . . now that daring baker is brilliant. Lovely braid. . . both of them!

Meryl said...

Your picture of the layers is awesome--nice job!

morgana said...

Great job! I wish I could taste that peach filling, it sounds delicious.

linda said...

Your braid looks pretty and delicious, also love the filling you used!

Liliana said...

Your Danish breads look wonderful. What a great idea of using the butterscotch and chocolate chips!

Madeleine said...

mmmm peaches and another one with chocolate!!

Excelent job!!! :)

Thanks for your comments in my blog!! ;)

Claire said...

Normally I would respond to everyone, but I waited too long and now there are so many! Thanks for your comments...they are greatly appreciated. This was such a great challenge!

As to the peach filling, I really just threw the peaches into a pot, put some brown sugar with them (maybe 1/4-1/2 cup), a tad of butter (not much of this at all), and some corn starch (probably around a teaspoon). Then I cooked until the peaches were soft - they had been parboiled in an attempt to peel easily (but didn't work) so they were already soft.

As to the texture of the skins in the braid, you really couldn't notice. The skin softened up during the parboiling. If you have any more questions, let me know!

Maggie said...

I love the perfect color you got on all of your braids. Chocolate and butterscotch chips sound delicous.

Irene said...

the chocolate chip one looks amazing

littlelisa said...

The bread looks great! I like your step by step pictures. Glad you ended up getting excited about making it in the end, it was a really fun challenge!