Here we have my second Daring Bakers challenge. The first one, Opéra Cake, certainly posed various challenges for me. So I was curious to see how I would fare on the June 2008 selection, which turned out to be a Danish Braid chosen by Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking?.
Danish Pastry is a “laminated” dough, which means that it’s made up of dough and butter layers. There are two components – Detrempe: ball of dough and Beurrage: a butter block. The dough is rolled out in to a rectangle and folded up into thirds like a business letter. This “turn” of the dough is performed four times with 30 minutes of chilling time in between each turn and a final chill time of at least five hours before filling and braiding the dough.
I had no problems making the dough or shaping the braid. I decided to use a filling of Orange Cream Cheese Filling and an Orange Blueberry Sauce. This happened by accident because I thought I was using Vanilla Extract for the cream cheese filling but after I poured it in, realized I had used Orange instead. No worries though.
Update: I did make another mistake that I realized late last night. I never adjusted the oven temp down to 350 after the 10 minute mark….
The filling leaked out a lot but I thought presentation wise it was beautiful. And it tasted as good as it looked to me. It was a long road to get it finished in terms of all the waiting in between each step, but this was a really fun challenge. This is not something I ever would have attempted on my own and as I was finished and enjoying a piece of the final product, I was proud of myself for being able to pull it off. Stop by the Daring Bakers blogroll to see all of the different Danish Braid creations by other members. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for July!
From Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough
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
Combine yeast and milk in a bowl and mix on low speed. 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.
1. Combine butter and flour in a bowl 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.
Makes enough for 2 large braids
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups filling, jam, or preserves
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
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.
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. 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.
Last week on my Blast from TWD post, I made the very first recipe ever chosen. This week, I decided to make the very first recipe in the book. Which brings us to these Orange Berry Muffins that were originally selected by Chelle of Sugar & Spice for the week of January 29th, 2008.
You don’t even have to break out the mixer for these. The recipe tells you to separate your liquid and dried ingredients first and then mix together later, but I just dumped everything in a bowl and stirred together at the same time. I did this partly because I used dried orange zest and buttermilk and partly because I was lazy.
At the 10 minute mark I added decorating sugar. I strongly believe that muffins are made 1000 times better by adding decorating sugar on top because I am a huge fan of texture differences. And extra sugar.
I thought the muffins were good. It’s a shame my boyfriend was out of town because he really would’ve liked these too. The orange flavor is subtle, which I liked. Every Dorie recipe that I’ve tried so far I would make again and these muffins are no exception. I’m actually really impressed. For me, Dorie is to baking what Ina Garten is to cooking. You know whatever recipe of theirs you make will turn out good.
My cat struck again and ate part of the top off of one of the muffins while I wasn’t looking. He seemed to like them too. But he did NOT like getting in trouble. No sir. Oh well, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, right?
Orange Berry Muffins recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours on page 3. And that’s it for this installment of the TWD catch up posts. I’m not sure what I’ll make next but check back soon to see. I think I’ve gotten all the easier recipes completed at this point. Five down, only twelve more to go…. :)
It’s time for another Barefoot Bloggers selection. This time, Parmesan Chicken was chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures. I have never made this sort of recipe at home before so I was really looking forward to testing it out.
I really waited until the last minute with this. Even though I read the posting date quite a few times, I thought I had until the weekend to get it done but that wasn’t right. Hmm. But that’s kind of normal for me to mix up days, the passage of time is very strange to me. A lot of times, I am not sure what day of the week it is. Or what week of the month it is. Sometimes, I get the month right… sometimes not. And, I’m embarrassed to say, sometimes I even talk about the wrong year… and not just right after the turn of the New Year when it’s acceptable. My co-worker is the one who sees this flaw of mine on a regular basis and catches most of my mistakes and quickly corrects me. She’s just accepted that I’m a little off with the concept of time and doesn’t make fun of me *too* much. Unless we’re in a large group of people, of course.
Anyway, good thing this Parmesan Chicken was ridiculously fast and easy to make because I made it tonight as soon as I got home from work. And I got off work late.
The boyfriend is out of town so I only made one chicken breast for myself. I pounded out the chicken with a rolling pin until I thought it was thin enough. Next, I got the three plates together with the flour, egg and breadcrumb mixtures and got to dipping. Then it went right in the pan. I cooked for a few minutes each side while putting together the salad. Within about 6 minutes dinner was done. Making spaghetti from a boxed pasta and a jar of sauce takes longer than this. It was really good and I would make it again for sure. I really liked the addition of the lemon vinaigrette salad although my first instinct was to leave it out. I’m glad I didn’t. Thanks Megan for such a wonderful choice!
featured on the Barefoot Contessa show Mystery Guest
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry, 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Click here for directions!
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was Mixed Berry Cobbler chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life. Things have been seeming a little rough for me lately. Ugh. So it’s actually the perfect time for a little comfort food and I can’t think of a more comforting dessert than cobbler.
This is an easy recipe, the filling and the crust are the only components. The nice thing is that you can use frozen berries and you don’t even have to defrost them first. I already had a couple of bags in my freezer and used a mix of mostly blueberries, a few blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
I only had one little problem and that was after rolling out the crust. The crust just did not want to come off the wax paper and eventually I gave up and starting pulling it off and putting it together like little puzzle pieces over the filling. I guess I could’ve scraped off crust with something to try to keep it in one piece but I didn’t even think about that at the time because I was distracted by watching Legally Blonde while I baked. Anyway, cobblers aren’t meant to be works of art, right? No idea if my problem with the uncooperative dough could be related to the fact that I had to substitute a mixture of regular milk and butter for the heavy cream. The cream I had in the fridge expired last week, it smelled weird and I wasn’t about to use it. And I definitely wasn’t going to head out to the WalMart on Sunday morning just to get some more. Pre-baking crust issues or not, it really didn’t seem to make any difference once baked. The heavy cream substitution worked out in the end.
I had read some comments from other people that they thought the crust was too bland, or too salty or just not that good. I decided to double the amount of sugar and I thought it tasted just fine. I cut the whole recipe in half and baked in a smaller round glass dish for only about 35 minutes. I would make this again, both the boyfriend and I thought it was good. I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream but I’m sure that would make it even better.
The recipe for Mixed Berry Cobbler can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking From My Home to Yours and here. Head on over to the Tuesdays with Dorie site to check out how all the other TWD member’s cobblers turned out. Next week, the selection is Apple Cheddar Scones chosen by Karina of The Floured Apron. I have to say I’m kind of excited to make these, it’s one of those recipes that has intrigued me since I got the book. See you next Tuesday!
Instead, I used the Chocolate Pastry Cream that Dorie recommends in the Playing Around section. I don’t doubt that the peppermint cream is delicious, I just personally hate the flavor combination of mint and chocolate.
This is a pretty easy recipe. The three components are the pastry dough, the cream for the filling, and the chocolate glaze for the top. Sliced almonds are the finishing touch and they are supposed to be toasted. Um… oops, I forgot that step. I made half a recipe and had enough to make three small rings the size of regular doughnuts. They tasted good and were very light. I think if I made this again I would turn the ring into cream puffs or eclairs.
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours and here. As always, stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see how all of the other member’s Peppermint (or Chocolate, etc.) Cream Puff Rings turned out.
Next week’s selection is Mixed Berry Cobbler chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life.
My boyfriend came downstairs this morning, confused by the lack of baking going on. Usually, Sunday mornings are my time to play around and try out new things. Instead, this morning, I was watching the movie P.S. I Love You and enjoying a cup of coffee. “What, no breakfast?!?” he said.
That’s the problem with having a routine, the second you step outside of it, people start asking too many questions.
Anyway, I’ve always wanted to try out these Banana Crumb Muffins on Allrecipes. They are the most popular, highest rated recipe on the site. I looked at the three overripe bananas sitting on the counter and thought that it would be a perfect time to try it out. They came together really easily. As long as you already had bananas, the rest of the ingredients are things you’d have on hand. The taste was excellent, the crumb topping was really good. I would make these again for sure.
Check out the recipe for Banana Crumb Muffins here!
Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food has chosen Pasta, Pesto, and Peas for the second Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection.
Let me just say that I LOVED this!
The pesto was so good (I did cheat and use store bought) and the peas really stood out and tasted sweet against all the other flavors. I really liked that combination. It gets a five star rating on the foodnetwork site. People don’t just rate Ina Garten’s recipes five stars for nothing, they really are that good.
Pasta, Pesto, and Peas is from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook and was originally featured on the TV episode “Portable Picnic”. View the ingredient list and directions here. This would be a great dish to bring to your next get together with friends and family. It makes a huge amount so cut it in half if there aren’t going to be a lot of people. I made the full recipe just for myself and I think I’m going to be eating this pasta for the next week.
WHAT I DID/CHANGED/THOUGHT: the only thing I changed was using a full pound of one pasta and a half pound of the other instead of the 3/4 of both. It just seemed silly for me to have two mostly empty boxes of different pasta in my cabinet.
I’ve taken the week off of work for a little R&R. Now, I love going on vacations where you actually go somewhere but I also like the ones where you can just stay home and do nothing. I feel like I hardly ever get to just be home for more than a few hours at a time. It’s been nice to completely clean the house, have my sisters over for pizza, catch up on Netflix movies and stupidly take scissors to my own hair and start cutting.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was La Palette’s Strawberry Tart chosen by Marie of A Year From Oak Cottage. I just finished making this a little while ago. I kept putting it off since I knew I would have free time this week. Too much R&R gets in the way of things sometimes when you aren’t used to having it.
I love strawberry pies/tarts because they’re so light. You could eat a huge dinner and still manage to squeeze in this as dessert. Dorie’s version is really simple to make and tastes really good. It has a sweet crust with a layer of jam and sliced strawberries on top. Adding the optional whipped cream and black pepper made this especially good. I would make this again and try using different jam/fruit combinations with the same crust.
The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Please stop by here to see how all of the other Tuesdays with Dorie members La Palette’s Strawberry Tarts turned out.
Next week, the selection is Peppermint Cream Puff Ring chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion. This one looks interesting, can’t wait to see how it comes out.
Has anyone ever taken the Candy Bar Identification Quiz where a candy bar is cut in half and you have to guess what it is? I took it yesterday and got 16 out of 20 correct. I only messed up on ones I had never eaten or were so similar looking to another kind that I went back and forth about my answer but guessed wrong in the end. Now, I can’t deny myself my true natural abilities but for some reason, I’m not too proud of this prior unknown skill of mine for recognizing candy bars.
Anyway, I’ve got three down and fourteen more to go before I’m caught up on all the previous Tuesdays with Dorie selections that I missed before I joined the group. So far, I’ve been catching up by posting my normal Tuesday results and an additional “Blast From TWD Past” entry some other day during the week. That way, it doesn’t interfere as much with all the current posts from other members in the blog readers. I’ll continue to keep trying to complete them this way as long as my interest, budget and waistline can handle it.
Ever since I got Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours I’ve had my eye on these Snickery Squares. I don’t even know why exactly because Snickers is not one of my favorite candy bars. I think more than anything I was just curious to see how a similar homemade version could compare.
Every component to this recipe was easy but A LOT of dishes get dirtied in the process. These tasted pretty good but were a little too rich for me. I could only handle a small piece at a time. I think I would make them again maybe for a party where there would be more people around to eat them.
Snickery Squares were originally chosen by Erin of Dinner & Dessert for the week of March 4th, 2008.