Sunday, 29 June 2008

Danish braid with chocolate


It feels like a while since I've last done a Daring Baker's challenge but in reality, I've only just skipped one month, when I was away on honeymoon. In any case, after a long absence, I was raring to go again and was delighted with the pick of Danish Braid for this month's challenge.

I rarely make yeasted doughs on my own simply because it requires a bit more planning, but I absolutely adore the results. Since we were given the option to vary the filling, I decided to skip the suggested apple filling and made my braid with chocolate instead. I suppose any kind of chopped chocolate would do, but since I had an excess of chocolate batons in my cupboard (the type for making pain au chocolat) I decided to use that.

The braid turned a little darker than I expected when it was in the oven, so next time, I might just decide to skip the egg wash. Taste-wise, however, the braid was a hit. I brought it to a friends' house where 5 of us devoured the braid over a cup a coffee. Will I make this again? Absolutely!

Danish Dough
From The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

For the dough
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup 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 cup fresh orange juice
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

For the butter block
2 sticks cold unsaltd butter
1/4 cup 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.

Butter Block
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.

After the detrempe has chilled 3o minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and 1/4 inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and the 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.

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, 1/4 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.

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
1 recipe Danish dough
Chocolate batons (like those for Pain au chocolat)
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

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, 1/4 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.

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.

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
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid. 

Proofing and baking
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.

Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

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.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

37 comments:

Robyn said...

I wouldn't have thought of a chocolate braid, but so many people like orange and chocolate together, that it makes sense now!

Di said...

Ooh, chocolate! Yum. I'm definitely going to have to make more dough, since I'm reading all these great things to do with it. =)

Lorrie said...

I love the idea of chocolate, I think I might try that next time. Looks delicious :)

Rigby said...

Chocolate sounds wonderful....I may have to play with my frozen half of dough today...

DaviMack said...

I'm wondering what 'an excess of chocolate' would be. ;)

Agreed on the darkness - but this happened with ours, too, and we didn't do an egg wash. So, maybe it was the butter in the dough?

ostwestwind said...

I love the idea of chocolate and the shape, well done

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

rainbowbrown said...

Friends, coffee and a homemade Danish? How perfect.

glamah16 said...

Yumm. Excess of chcoclate batons. Lucky you. Great filling.

bonnie said...

my favorite so far!
i love the chocolate.

Amy said...

Chocolate sounds wonderful with this dough! Your braid looks great!

The Food Duo: C + C Cooking Factory said...

I like that you used chocolate with yours. I may have to try that the next time I decide to make this.

Angela said...

Oooh, chocolate and orange! A classic combination :) Your braid looks great!

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar

broadcasting from a knitting parlour said...

Why didn't I think of that? Mmm. Chocolate, vanilla, cardamom, orange...sounds like a song to me!

Susie Homemaker said...

yum, chocolate! that sounds like a great idea!

Lou @ The Higher Nest said...

My husband thought ours looked maybe a bit dark, too, but honestly, I love the glaze so much...

A chocolate braid sounds delish: nice work!

Shari said...

Chocolate sounds delicious in this braid! One of my braids turned out too dark so I'm with you on omitting the egg wash next time.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

maybelles parents said...

chocolate and orange is a good combo. interesting...

Prudy said...

Chocolate sounds heavenly. I love chocolate croissants so I'm sure this would have been a huge hit with me. A honeymoon is a very worthy reason for a month off.:) Hope it was fun and welcome back!

Ketutar said...

Don't skip the egg wash, skip five minutes of baking time, and it'll be perfect. :-)

Marye said...

MMM! Chocolate! Great job!
blessings,
Marye
http://bakingdelights.com

Jen Yu said...

Nicely done. I have to say that chocolate is a brilliant idea. I had not thought of it. I think my husband would have gone giddy if I had done one with chocolate. Next time :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Claire said...

I thought the baking time was too long as well....at least the result still tastes good! Great job on your braid...it reminds me of challa!

Dolores said...

Chocolate...who'da thunk? Great idea!

I skipped the egg wash (because I forgot about it) with no ill effects, for what that's worth.

Lauren said...

Mmm. Chocolate. Great Idea!!

Celine's Cuisine said...

Same thing here I thing Chocolate with Danish Braid must be delicious I will try it next time.

Renee said...

Chocolate, how delicious!

Renee said...

Chocolate, how delicious!

Elle said...

Chocolate! Good thinking! It looks amazing.

Heather B said...

chocolate...oh dear...I'm sold! Great job! Looks delicious!

Barbara said...

oohhh chocolate. I don't know why I didn't think of that filling.

Yours looks dark and delicious!

Lunch Buckets said...

"I had an excess of chocolate batons "

uhm yeah, me too

snort!

Liliana said...

Your braid looks so delicious! I can just imagine what it tastes like with chocolate!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Love the chcolate filling, you've made your very own pain au chocolate! One of my two danishes turned out darker then it should have too, so don't feel bad.

David said...

This bread looks very similar to challah bread. I'm going to have to try my challah bread with carob and see how that goes.
I usually buy my challah bread and carob from Holy Food Imports since the quality of their products is much better than anything you find at your local supermarket.

giz said...

Congrats on the wedding/honeymoon.
I like your choice of chocolate and I agree with the whole planning thing on yeast but the results...ahhh...and the smell when it's baking ... ahhhh.

I have this vision of 5 starving savages devouring a Danish bread. I also have a vivid imagination.

Mediocre Chocolate said...

Oh, I meant to try chocolate, too, but i was afraid of what I would see on the scale the next day! Points for bravery!

Arika said...

Your braids look amazing! I made my dough tonight and intend to bake the braid in the morning. I am confused though. At what point do you divide the dough into 2 for 2 braids? When I take the dough out of the refrigerator to assemble my braids to I divide it then? Was I supposed to separate it into 2 batches already? Thanks for any help you can offer!