Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge #1 Not So Scary Danish Bread!

My First Official Daring Bakers Challenge!!! I have to admit that when I found out what this challenge was I immediately thought wow I am in over my head!! I freaked about it for awhile, read about other Daring Bakers problems, continued to freak, but then I watched this video about folding and then this video.

Once I figured out how to fold the butter in, I then used thisfor my visual on how to do the braids (it is in Italian so it is all about the visual!).

What had me freaking out was how to do the butter block and folding and I immediately screwed up because I couldn't unfold it the way the directions said to; however, it seemed to work out okay by just rolling into a ball and flattening it out every time. I didn't have problems with the butter coming out or with it being overly sticky. However, I did have a problem with juice escaping and smoke everywhere but despite that they were pretty yummy!!! I brought one to work and the other is in my freeezer for later.

Mind did not come out as beautiful as the other Daring Bakers did but I am excited I could acutally do it!

The spreading of the butter

Not super Pretty but Delicious!

Slighlty Burnt but still delicious


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 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.

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.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

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.

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 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.


Michelle said...

Well...welcome to DBers!!! Your not a virgin any more so no more stressing. I bet your braids were delicious...they sure look good!

Robyn said...

Great job on your first Daring Bakers challenge! Mine never seem to come out as nicely as many others, but it is fun to try them and do things I never would have done without the challenge.

Jes said...

Congrats on your first challenge. It's the taste that matters anyway! :)

Susie Homemaker said...

Hey - it was my first DB challenge too - what fun! (and come on, would you rather it have been pretty and tasted gross?) I would much rather eat the "ugly" version! I think you did great...can't wait to see what you do next month!

giz said...

You did it!!! Isn't it great to feel the fear and do it anyways. Isn't that what life is all about or at least success. Welcome to Daring Bakers. You're in for a fun ride.

silverrock said...

Way to go on your first DB challenge. The braid looks delicious, I want to have a slice right now... actually, I've just had dinner, so maybe in a few hours :P

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

Congratulations on your first challenge! It was mine as well, and when I saw the recipe, my jaw dropped... partly because it looked delicious, but partly because it looked HARD! anyways, not so bad, eh? I might even make it again...

Ben said...

Great job on your first challenge! I know the recipe might look scary at first but once you are done with the first fold it is a piece of pastry :-p

Thank you for baking with us :)

shellyfish said...

Alternative Daring Bakers Rule! Welcome on board, and I think it looks great- send me some!

Angela said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! Your braid looks great--you should be very proud of yourself :)ufjiqtuc

breadchick said...

Welcome to DB and well done on your first challenge!

Lorrie said...

your braid looks delicious!

Barbara said...

Looks, looks darn tasty! Welcome to DB.

Claire said...

Yours doesn't look as dark as mine turned out! You know...I fuss at myself when something doesn't look great but REALLY as long as it tastes good....

Debyi said...

Your braid looks yummy! Great job on your first challenge.

marye said...

Congrats on completing your first challenge!

Amelia Bedielia said...

Great job tackling your first challenge!!!

Guess what - Tag... your it! Ashely at Memoirs from my Kitchen tagged me earlier today, so I am bestowing you with this wonderful task as a fellow DB freshman! Check out the meme rules at my blog

Renee said...

Congratulations on your first challenge. Welcome to the DBers!!

Jen Yu said...

Congratulations on your first challenge and welcome to the Daring Bakers :) I say if it tastes good, then you're 95% there!! Great job!

Lunch Buckets said...

Welcome to the group!

paulawy said...

I think your braids look great! The recipes seem scary at first - I know! But luckily the instructions are so precise, and there are lots of inspiring examples to look at and learn from!