Wow, what a month, I loved having danish and never once imagined that I would have baked one at home. When Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin set us to make some Danish pastry this month, I was one happy person, but the yeast did worry me a bit and also the rolling since I do not have much strength in my arms after a broken neck fours years back. But that does not stop me from trying anything and went ahead and decided if I cant roll then my hubby would take over.



I followed the recipe exactly, did not use vanilla bean substituted it for vanilla extract. I made the apple filling which was delicious and was glad I decided to make it.

Not having a standing mixer I made the dough using hands, was not as bad as expected and waiting for the dough to rest for 30 minutes was a good break I actually allowed it to be in there for 1 hour for the much needed break and did not actually take my husbands help. At the end of the day I did have some pain but was satisfied that I had pulled it through.

Half the dough was used to make the apple danish, I sprinkled some sugar on top of the braid.

The other half was a savoury one with a spinach, mushroom and zucchini filling and sprinkled the braid with some dry oregano and loved the smell while it was baking.

But after baking I realized that I had made it quiet thick and would have rolled it more, but anyways it tastes good and worth the rolling bit.

I was overall satisfied with the end results and hope I will pick up the courage to make this again.


Apple Danish


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

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.

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 (I made only half)

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


  1. Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


SPINACH FILLING


Spinach Danish


Ingredients
1 kg Spinach, washed and chopped
500 gms button mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced in quarters
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
2 green chili, chopped ( or red chili flakes)
200 gms ricotta cheese
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 tsp fry oregano

Method
  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the zucchini, cover and cook on low till the zucchini is all done and water evaporated. Add salt, pepper. Take out and keep aside
  4. Repeat the same for mushrooms and spinach.
  5. Mix all the 3 mixtures, zucchini, mushroom and spinach and place it on the gas again. Add the ricotta and cook till water evaporates. Add 1 tsp oregano and mix well.


DANISH BRAID
Makes 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

Method

  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.


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34 comments:

The Irreverent Cook said...

Oh dear, a broken neck sounds serious, I hope you have recovered and wish you nothing but good health from now on! In this case, it is all the more commandable that your braids turned out so successfully! I especially especially like your spinach one =D

Rachel said...

I did the apple filling as well.. was wonderful isn't it?

Spinach..nice!!!

notyet100 said...

wow,..it looks so delicious...

bhags said...

this looks so amazing and the spinach feeling makes it so desirable......hope your neck has recovered

Cham said...

So may Danish Goodies re out... Beautiful creation Medhaa...Hope u feel better now :)

Sunshinemom said...

I prefer you spinach version - lovely:)

madcapcupcake said...

I hope you feel better and wish you a speedy recovery! Eat lots of tasty treats, like these delightful braids you made. I made an apple one too and just loved it - I LOVE your idea for a spinach one, sounds delicious!! All the best:)

Medhaa said...

Hi THank you so much, yes I am much better now just the hands are not the same.

delhibelle said...

Both the apple and spinach danish look so pretty! Take care

kamala said...

So many Danish Bread...I have seen this in William Sonoma baking book.Now got confidence after seeing ur beautiful braids..Look soo pretty

Aparna said...

Looks good. I made the apple filling too. Love apple pie. Your savoury filling sounds delicious.

DK said...

I stuck to the apple filling too - ur spinach danish esp luks amazing :) Good one

Archy said...

Wow, looks so nice and wonderful Medhaa.. u bake so well !! Looks like a shop bot one !! Both the filling are awsome !! Keep it up :)!!

Robyn said...

The apple filling really was delicious, wasn't it? Your spinach one sounds good too!

Susie Homemaker said...

oooh - hope you are better. your braids looks awesome! And so clever with the spinach!

Kalai said...

Looks beautiful, Medhaa. Just came here from Shilpa's site and she's made the same thing. Absolutely delicious!!! :)

farida said...

Beautiful braid! I love the idea of using savory filling in it. Great job!

Sireesha said...

Wow, looks so nice and wonderful Medhaa.. u bake so well !!I love the idea of savory fillings .

Lorrie said...

your braids look so good, i especially love the spinach one!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Well done Medhaa....love the spirit & what a great Danish you got here. Love both fillings; sweet & savoury!Good for you!!

Sailaja said...

very delicious. Broken neck sounds dangerous. I hope you are ok now. Take care of you.

BA Gourmet said...

Looks great. The spinach one sounds delicious thanks for posting the recipe I think I may try it soon.

breadchick said...

I love all the savory and sweet braids! Well done!

Suma Rajesh said...

wht a lovly dish u have made ....excellent...guess u took lots of effort rt?...on cing i dont think i can do it..urs looks great ...good job

Sophie said...

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Namratha said...

Wow, you made the dough by hand...awesome! That's a beautiful braid and the spinach filling sounds gr8! :)

Uma said...

beautiful braided bread and nice idea to use spinach filling. Take care Medhaa!

Rebecca said...

You did it by hand? Way to go!

Swati Raman Garg said...

wow... perfec t loking ones medhaa... kamaal hai ... and hope u r better now...

Jen Yu said...

Lovely job on your pastries. I really like the spinach one because it is both savory and little! Awesome :)

Claire said...

Ooooo...that spinach braid looks so good! Great job. The walnut garnish is fantastic.

Barbara Bakes said...

Your braids look delicious! I too loved the apple filling.

Lunch Buckets said...

beautifully done, congratulations :)

Dolores said...

Oooh... I love love LOVE the savory spinach with oregano topping. I MUST make this version soon. Thanks for the inspiration, and great job with June's challenge.

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