Danish Braid with Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese

by Michelle on June 29, 2008

This is my 2nd challenge for Daring Bakers and I absolutely had a blast making the Danish Braid!!! Our hosts for the June Challenge are Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’?. Thank you both so much for choosing such a fabulous challenge. I loved every minute of the process and can’t wait to make it again!

The Detrempe is so good and when it’s baking…OH MY did my kitchen smell good. The Detrempe is one of those doughs that I will use again and again for many things. I made my braid over a week ago and while typing this it is reminding me of how good it was and how I wish I had a piece right now. Gosh, it was so good!!

For the filling I used cream cheese and sliced fresh strawberries and it worked out perfectly. I only put 1 layer of fresh strawberries but after baking my braid, I think I could have added another layer of strawberries.

Danish Braid
Recipe adapted from “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard

DANISH DOUGH:
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe):
1 oz fresh yeast or 1 TBL active dry yeast
1/2 c. whole milk
1/3 c. sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
3-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 c. 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.

DANISH BRAID (Yields 2 large braids)
1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups cream cheese filling (recipe below)
1 pint fresh strawberries, clean and sliced into 1/4″ slices

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

Cream Cheese Filling

2-8 oz. pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg beaten
1 t.sp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Beat together cream cheese with sugar until fluffy. Add egg, salt and vanilla extract and mix well.

Braid:
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. Spread a layer of cream cheese about 1/2″ thick down the center of the rectangle. Then layer the slices of strawberry. 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 unt
il 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.

All Rights Reserved 2008 © Big Black Dog

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Comments

  • Dolores June 29, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Your braid looks perfect. I love the strawberries and cream cheese oozing out in that last photograph. Glad you enjoyed this challenge as much as I did. Great job!

  • enza June 29, 2008 at 7:24 am

    it looks truly scrumptious!and I love your filling choice.nice job

  • zorra June 29, 2008 at 8:35 am

    I’m a fan of the detrempe, too! Your braid looks awesome.

  • OhioMom June 29, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Good choice of filling, you know I like anything with strawberries :)

  • bunny June 29, 2008 at 11:47 am

    your braid looks so golden and yummy!! i loved this challenge!!

  • Marc @ NoRecipes June 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Wow, nicely done! This was my second month too. Love the cream cheese strawberry combo!

  • onespicymama June 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Yummy! I love the photo of the oozy cut danish. Great job!

  • Robyn June 29, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Your danish look great!

  • Tanya June 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Beautiful! I agree, the smell of the braid baking was really overwhelming. I wish I could always have that smell coming out of my kitchen! Great work!

  • Michelle June 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks so much for all the kind comments. I had so much fun with this challenge and would never have attempted it without Daring Bakers.Can’t wait until next month.

  • Leslie June 29, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Georgous Braid! Didnt your house just smell lovely??!!Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting about my Braid!!! Stop by anytime!!

  • Tiffany June 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Your filling sounds delish! Yum Yum! Your braid turned out beautifully as well! Good Job!

  • Natashya KitchenPuppies June 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Looks perfect! Seems many of us wish we had bumped up the filling a bit. Great job.

  • Michelle June 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Natasha, you’re right about the filling. But being I was using fresh fruit I did not want to take the chance of the filling oozing out during baking.I now know better and let the over-stuffing begin..for next time!

  • Amy June 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Your braid looks fabulous! I would have never thought of fresh sliced strawberries. I will definitely have to try it next time!

  • Lucy..♥ June 29, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Wonderfully Awesome!!!

  • Prudy June 29, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Beautiful braid and I’m swooning over your kitchen. What an artistic pleasure to create in there. My filling was similar so I know it’s yummy.

  • Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) June 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Thnak-you for the comment on my blog. Yours looks great – especially the filling!

  • Bonbon Oiseau June 29, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    OOO! Just linked to you from tartelette..nice work!

  • Andreia Sousa June 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Congratulations on your braid! I chose a similar filling and it worked just fine.Good work!

  • Pam June 30, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Your braid looks really tasty! The cream cheese filling looks so delicous.

  • Ben June 30, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Great job. I am also going to make this bread over and over again. I am thinking about replacing some of my puff pastry recipes with danish dough. Danish empanadas anyone?Thank you for baking with us :)

  • giz June 30, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Nice job girl!!! Your braid does look great and if I close my eyes, I’m sure I can still smell it baking. I love that bottom picture – if you’re wierd like I am you can see a monster smiling at you – told you I was wierd. It looks great.

  • MaryMary June 30, 2008 at 2:41 am

    What a yummy combination. Your braid looks fabulous!

  • Cynthia's Blog June 30, 2008 at 5:28 am

    Wow the house does smell great! great braid!

  • Helen June 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Lovely! I cannot wait to make another one from the freezer! I loved my first challenge and cannot wait for the next one!

  • Angela June 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Your braid is beautiful. I’m a sucker for strawberries and cream (of any sort) so I’m drooling at the thought of them with cream cheese. Yum!

  • Lorrie June 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    your braid looks perfect and delicious, wonderful job!

  • Ally June 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    MMMM! Your braid looks delicious!

  • culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess June 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Ooh delightful :)

  • breadchick June 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Bakery display perfect braid! Great job.

  • ☾ Ash ♡ June 30, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Okay, the Pics are making my mouth water! You did an awesome job! I was tagged earlier today, and I am spreading the love to you. The meme is on my blog at this link http://inthekitchenwithme.blogspot.com/It’s all in good fun, you can play along as you wish. Have a Great day!Ashley~

  • silverrock June 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Mmm… cream cheese and strawberries, a lethal combinations (for a diet anyways :P). Your braid looks beautiful, I want a slice right now :)

  • Amelia June 30, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    The braid looks fabulous. I love the sugar topping, it gives it a jeweled appearance! I didn’t think of that topping option when making mine!

  • madcapcupcake July 1, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Hey, this was my second challenge too :) Your braids turned out absolutely beautiful – I’m dreaming about that strawberry filling right now, it must have been gorgeous!

  • Lauren July 1, 2008 at 1:11 am

    your braid looks wonderful! I like the detrempe too, but i think i just like using the word detrempe

  • Elle July 1, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Looking at your photos makes me want to rush to the kitchen and make these all over again! Gorgeous!

  • Claire July 1, 2008 at 3:07 am

    Looks great! It seems that some people had trouble with strawberries…maybe the amount of strawberries used is the key.

  • Renee July 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Your braid looks great. Freah strawberries and cream cheese sounds wonderful.

  • Jen Yu July 1, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    yum, that sounds so good! the braid is beautiful and I have to agree that the house smelled so terrific while the pastry was baking :) congrats!

  • Lunch Buckets July 2, 2008 at 4:04 am

    It’s beautiful! Will you be doing a “skinny girl” version soon?

  • Andrea Meyers July 3, 2008 at 2:20 am

    I fell hard for that dough. It was so nice to work with (when I cooled it properly, that is). Your braid looks lovely!

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