Sunday, 29 June 2008

Daring Bakers Danish Braid

Woo it was that time of the month again and another Daring Bakers challenge!! At first I wasn't really that pleased, I thought that a Danish Braid was going to be quite boring but boy was I wrong! It was great fun and I really enjoyed making it. I had to do the method without the stand mixer as unfortunately I still don't have enough money to buy one :(. I decided to just make the apple filling provided as my family love apple pies etc so I thought they were really appreciate an apple filling. However after forgetting the lemon juice to stop the apples browning I had to put them in a bowl of water to stop the air getting to them, whilst my mum had to rush out to the local supermarket to pick up a few bags of the pouring rain..oh dear! I had to make the braid all in one day as I had promised to bring it for dessert at my grandmas the next day, so it was baking all day! Despite me not really liking apple fillings and pastry I have to say this was very nice and the rest of my family loved my dad ended up eating over half in one day! How he is not fat I will never know! It's not fair hehe!!

See what other Daring Bakers did at (
Daring Bakers blogroll).

Danish Braid

Mixing the milk, yeast, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract

Making a fountain out of flour and a pinch of salt

Oh dear the dough seems slightly sticky

Kneading the now unsticky dough :)

Rolling the dough out ready to spread with the butter block

The final roll of the dough before refridgerating

Apple Filling

Ready to peel the cooking apples

Realised I didn't have any lemon juice!

Letting the finished apple filling cool


Making the flaps and filling with the apple filling

Folding over to make a braid

Brushing the egg was on the braid

The finished braid complete with apple filling

Danish Braid
Makes 2-1/2 pound of dough

1 ounce of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
115ml whole mlik
66g sugar, granulated
zest of 1 orange, finely grated *I did not use this*
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom *I did not use this*
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scrape *I did not use this*
2 large eggs, chilled
60ml fresh orange juice *I did not use this*
405g cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (beurrage)

225g butter, unsalted
30g all-purpose flour


1. Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
2. 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.
3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer:
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 (ball of dough) 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(ball of dough) 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

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
100g sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml fresh lemon juice
55g butter, unsalted

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. 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.
3. 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.


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

1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1. 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 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 (205C). 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 (175C), 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.


Zita said...

great work... very complete tutoring pictures awesome :)

Jenny said...

Nicely done. :)

Jeanine said...

Great job, looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job, it looks delicious!! :)

Angela said...

Your braid looks delicious :)

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

Natalie your braid looks fantastic, love the step by step pics.

Robyn said...

Looks great, I think I'll leave out the orange if I make these again.

Lorrie said...

yum! your braid looks really good!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Great braid and pictures. You are amazing getting this done in one day!

Aparna said...

Braid looks very good. Guess the family got to a piece of your Danish heaven.

CookiePie said...

Looks beautiful! I love your step-by-step pics, and the finished braid looks wonderful!

Joy said...

Ooh I envy your Dad - I had to stop myself polishing off half! It looks great and I'm glad you enjoyed it after your hard work.

chriesi said...

Looks great! Yeah the apple filling was very yummy!

breadchick said...

Great job on the danish!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful job & great pictures!

Jen Yu said...

Yum, that looks fantastic! I think this is a recipe I'll return to :) Great job on your challenge!

Claire said...

Fantastic job!

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice job...and happy Dad :)

Leslie said...

Love the Braid...I tagged you for a meme on my site..if you would like to participate you are more than welcome to!