This months Daring Bakers Challenge is Danish Pastry. I have tried my hand at laminated dough before. I remember making Danish pastry years ago. What I remember of the recipe was it was most definetly not laminated (I seem to recall it was a Nigella Lawson recipe involving a food processor…). I had also tried my hand at laminated dough like croissants (worked fairly well) and puff pastry (why, oh why, did I try that when it was 95 F all day every day, getting down to a ‘chilly’ 85 F at night?)
Thankfully, this challenge was announced over our dry season when the temperature is a bit more forgiving for people trying to make thin layers of butter in their pastry.
This dough is a pleasure to work with. I used the grating the butter technique (using the food processor for speed) and that was a wonderful revelation. I wasn’t sure if I was then supposed to process the flour through so i just tossed the butter in the flour and patted it on the rolled out dough (so much like mozzarella, it is not funny).
This bread needs 4 turns (roll it out and then fold it like a business letter) with a chill 30 minutes in between each turn. Easy enough to do during a morning with the boys. I used my trusty pastry mat so I didn’t have to clean the bench between turns.
Please take a moment to admire the lamination…
I struggled a little bit with the instructions for the shaping of the braid (I do wish Sherry Yard had included a simple diagram). So I turned to the Pastry Bible and Rose Levy Beranbaums (RLB) chapter on Danish. Her books are my go to guides when I need simple clear instructions and I want to know why…
I used a ruler to mark everything out and then I used my bencher to give me even cuts
My braid came out pretty well although I didn’t keep perfect even tension.
I made the apple filling from the Sherry Yard recipe and it was good. However, being a girl who likes to experiment a little I also made RLB’s Apricot Levkar and her Remonce (almond filling). One would think I would take it easy on myself given I was about to go on holidays and I still don’t have a functioning oven at home but that’s not very Daring Baker is it…
So I messed around with fillings and shapes. My stunt kitchen oven was running a bit hot so they got a touch more malliard than I was aiming for.
My hands down favourite was the bear claws filled with the Remonce. The almond filling really brought out the cardamon and orange flavours in the pastry. I have some work to do with shaping and not letting the filling leak out so much, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.