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4 Time Winner

Danish Pastries Recipe & Video

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Danish Pastries, often referred to as just Danish, are made with a yeast dough that's wonderfully buttery rich and flaky. It's actually the same same dough used to make Croissants. What's so fun about making Danish is that you can fold the dough into many different sizes and shapes. The center of the Danish can be filled with filled with a jam (used here), almond cream, lemon filling, cream cheese filling, berries, or a pastry cream. Sometimes the baked Danish are drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze (combine powdered sugar with just enough cream so you can drizzle over Danish).

 

The dough used to make Danish is a laminated yeast dough, which means you have two layers of slightly sweet dough with a layer of butter in between. As you may be aware, once the butter is encased in the dough it is rolled and folded into thirds, three times, with resting times in the refrigerator between the second and third fold. This process of chilling the dough firms up the dough and butter plus it relaxes the dough. This does take several hours and it's important not to rush the process.

Danish, like Croissants, are not that difficult to make. It's really all about precision and temperature. You must roll the dough to the required length and width and the temperature of the dough needs to stay cool. Also, when rolling and/or shaping the dough, if it gets too warm the butter will melt into the dough which will affect the texture of the baked Danish. So if, at any time, you find your dough is getting too soft or overly sticky when rolling, then return it to the fridge until it firms up. If you're working in a very warm kitchen, I find it helpful to rub an ice pak over the counter to cool it off before you roll the dough.

A few notes on ingredients. The type of butter used will affect both the flavor and texture of your Danish. For the butter layer it's best to use a high fat unsalted butter (butter with 83% butterfat content) as it makes a flakier Danish with a more pronounced butter flavor. In the States this type of butter is normally labelled "European style" or "cultured". While we used a low protein bread flour at the SFBI, it can be hard to find so for this recipe I have used all purpose flour to make the dough. There is also a little dry malt (diastatic) powder which breaks down the starch and gives sugar for the yeast to feed on. This is especially good for doughs, like this, that have a long fermentation period. Malt powder also aids in browning and helps the Danish have a good rise. I have used SAF Gold instant yeast in this recipe. This type of yeast is normally used by professionals as it gives a good rise, especially when making sweet breads with long fermentation periods. An added bonus is that since the grain particles are so small, you don't have to proof it first. What's great too, is that you can store it in the freezer and then just scoop out the amount you need. However, you can substitute with 10 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast but I would activate the yeast in the water, with a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, before making the dough.

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Danish Pastries: In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and malt powder. Then stir in the salt. With your fingertips work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in small pieces and coated with flour. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water and milk. With a bench scraper or wooden spoon, gradually work the flour into the liquid, making sure that the dry ingredients are moistened. Then using your hands, work the dough for a minute or two to make sure all the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. At this point the dough will be a sticky mass. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it ferment for about one hour (helps to develop flavor and aroma) at room temperature (75 - 78 degrees F) (24 - 26 degrees C) .

After an hour transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and press or roll the dough into a 14 x 10 inch (35 x 25 cm) rectangle. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet, sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least six hours (or overnight).

About 15 minutes before you want to laminate the dough,  take a sheet of parchment paper and draw a 10 x 7 inch (25 x 18 cm) rectangle on the paper. Flip the paper over. Take your cold butter and cut it into six pieces. Place the cold butter within the drawn lines on your parchment paper and enclose it in the parchment. With your rolling pin pound the cold butter to soften it a little. Then fold the parchment paper to make a 10 x 7 inch rectangle (like an envelope) and roll the butter until it fits this size. Make sure the butter is of even thickness. At this point you want the butter to be cold but still pliable. It needs to be at the same temperature as the dough. If it's too soft then place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Rolling out the dough (lamination): The temperature of the dough is important when rolling it out. It is best that your kitchen is cool. However, I have found you can cool your countertop by running an ice pack over the surface before rolling.

Remove the sheet of dough and your butter from the refrigerator. Peel off the parchment paper from the butter and place the butter onto the center of your dough. Wrap the edges of the dough over the butter so they meet in the center. Press lightly to seal the edges. (The edges of the dough and the butter should be even.)

First Turn: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface with the sealed edges running vertical. With your rolling pin gently tap the dough and then roll the dough vertically into a 22 x 8 inch (55 x 20 cm) rectangle. Lift the dough frequently as you roll so the dough doesn't stick. Flour as necessary. Roll end to end, not side to side, making sure the dough is of even thickness. When it's at the correct length and width, fold the dough lengthwise into thirds, like you're folding a letter. Make sure the edges of the dough are straight and even. You now have your first turn.

Second Turn: Rotate the dough 90 degrees so the folded edge is on your left (like the binding of a book). Repeat the process of rolling your dough to 22 x 8 inches (55 x 20 cm) and fold the dough again into thirds. This is now your second turn. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet, lightly flour the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill one hour. (This is done to both chill the dough and to relax the dough after the rolling.)

Third Turn: Take the chilled dough and repeat the rolling and folding into thirds one more time. This is your third turn. Again, place your dough on a floured baking sheet, flour the top of the dough, cover, and refrigerate one hour.

Sheeting: On a lightly floured surface roll your dough into a 16 x 9 inch (40 x 23 cm) rectangle. Again, place on a lightly floured baking sheet, lightly flour the top, cover, and refrigerate one hour (at this point the dough can be stored overnight in the refrigerator.)

Shaping the Danish: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface roll your dough into a 24 x 9 inch (61 x 23 cm) rectangle. Make sure to lift the dough frequently so it doesn't stick and this also allows the dough to shrink back. Then trim the long edges of the dough with a sharp knife or pizza wheel. Then cut the dough into 4 inch (10 cm) squares. You will end up with 12 - 4 inch (10 cm) squares. 

Work with one square of dough at a time. For a pinwheel shaped Danish, using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut four - 2 - 2 1/4 inch (5 - 5.5 cm) slits starting at each corner and cutting towards the center. Do not cut all the way through the center. (So what you have is four triangles within the square.) Then take the right tip of each triangle and fold it into the center. Press the tips into the center to seal. Place on your baking sheet and repeat with the remaining squares.

In a small bowl whisk the egg with the egg yolks. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of each Danish. This prevents the Danish from drying out during proofing. Place each baking sheet in a large plastic bag and let proof for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature (75 - 78 degrees F) (24 - 26 degrees C). You know the Danish are proofed when they are puffed and soft to the touch.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees C). Place your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven.

Once proofed, gently press down the centers of the Danish to make an indentation. Fill with about 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam (can use other flavors of jam). Then gently brush the tops of the Danish with the egg wash. This will help with browning. Place the two baking sheets of Danish in the preheated oven and bake 10 minutes. Rotate your baking sheet top to bottom and front to back. Reduce your oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Danish are best the day they're made.

Makes about 12 Danish Pastries.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

 

Dough:

475 grams (3 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour

6 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) SAF Gold instant yeast Available on Amazon

65 grams (1/3 cup) granulated white sugar

2 grams (2/3 teaspoon) dry malt (diastatic) powder Available on Amazon

10 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons) salt

25 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

240 grams (1 cup) water, at room temperature

30 grams (3 tablespoons) cream, at room temperature

225 grams (1 cup) cold unsalted European style 'cultured' butter

Raspberry Preserves (can use another flavor of preserves or jam)

Glaze:

2 large egg yolks (about 35 grams)

1 large egg (50 grams)

 
 
     
 

 

 

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