29.6.08

daring bakers: danish braids

wow. what a time to come back, huh? just in time for this month's amazing daring baker challenge, co-hosted by kelly at sass & veracity and ben at what's cooking? how did they know i just LOVE laminated doughs?! uh, i mean, i love eating them cuz i've never made one before today (yes, i made my danish bread TODAY!) so i didn't know if i would love that part too. and well, wouldn't you know it ... now i'm a little afraid that i will indulge the new love making (hehe) with more puff pastries, turnovers, croissants, and danishes than ever thought imaginable.

close-up braid

the recipe chosen is from sherry yard's the secrets of baking. i bought this book a couple months ago and was intrigued by the fundamentals building block nature of the recipes. classic culinary learning style (or so i'm told by mr. mimi, CIA grad). it makes sense, and yet feels a little unfamiliar. two months ago i did try one of her frosting recipes, but it was written so scratchily and sparse, and i didn't make it right. for someone with more knowledge about frostings and how they work, i'm sure they would have easily filled in the missing pieces of info and been fine. but this was my first frosting that did not come from a betty crocker tub and sigh, it was a mess.

but what she has sometimes with sparsely written recipes, she makes up with lovely written introductions to each section of fundamentals. from the intro to laminated doughs:

"laminated dough is made up of two components: a ball of dough, or the détrempe, and a butter block, or the beurrage. the two are sandwiched together in a pâton, then rolled out and folded many times into a tour (turn). each fold and roll is call a turn, and each turn results in several thin layers of dough alternating with thin layers of butter. when the dough hits the heat of the oven, the water in the butter evaporates into steam, and pushes each layer of détrempe. and voilà! you now have beautiful, flaky pastry." (p. 264)

each type of laminated dough has a slightly different recipe. for a wonderful tutorial on la pâte feuilletée with tour double (double turn, folded like a book rather than a letter) please visit the lovely foodbeam. i was surprised to know that danish dough has cardamon and orange flavors. and it's not even a danish creation, but a pastry made up by viennese bakers replacing striking danish bakers in denmark. who knew baking history could be so gossipy!

danish braid

umm, really. did you need all this rambling text? let's just get to it, huh? the dough itself was easier to roll out and turn than i expected, my butter stayed in place and there was no oozing or tearing. but there is still some refinement to be made in my handling because i seem completely unable to understand how thick 1/4" really is, even with a ruler in hand! i cut my sides a little wrong and my resulting braiding was a little (lotta) loose, so it didn't shape up ideally. i have a perennial problem with overfilling, and it reared its ugly head with these braids too. (trust me, i made sure to photo only the good side of things!) oh yeah, and as you see, i didn't watch it in the oven and it came out a shader darker brown than desired.

golden brown

but despite all those little flaws, i loved this challenge. i made two versions, sweet and savory. the first one was a traditional strawberry marmalade with tonka bean pastry cream. the savory option was a mediterranean style fennel, onion, cured olive, and herbed goat cheese. wowzers, that savory one was to die for.

the sweet photos ...

almonds

with pastry cream and strawberry

a sweet slice

and really, almost anything could go in these braids of pastry. to see more combination creations, please do check out every other daring baker out there! my fellow bakers have some kick ass talent. in the meantime, please try to clean up that drool on your keyboard :)

the savory photos ...

mediterranean savory

savory danish braid

close-up savory slice

38 comments:

  1. Wow! Those pictures are just beautiful! Yummy!

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  2. Your braids look beautiful! I love your photos.

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  3. What camera are you using? Are you shooting in RAW? I love the creativity of your braids.

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  4. Your photos (and braids) are beautiful. Can I add you to our blog watch list? Oh, and how do I participate in Martha Mondays?

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  5. Your pictures are really good. So is your braid. I can see the lovely layers. I searched, but couldn't find the layers in mine.:)

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  6. this is beautiful. your braids look perfect; I mean, that flaky pastry, totally gorgeous!

    xx fanny

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  7. Never done this before, huh? Looks pretty practiced from here. Very well done!

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  8. The savory one does sound super delicious! Great job!

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  9. mimi, you made such beautiful braids...great pictures :-)

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  10. I'm dying to make a savory version. Yours looks so perfect - so flaky!

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  11. I'd take a dozen slices of the savoury one please :)

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  12. Wow, great job on the laminating! And I can believe that savory filling was out of this world.

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  13. Nice and flaky - great job!

    Alexandra - glad you are back!

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  14. oh! So beautiful---your braid came looks so nice! so glad i found your blog! But what are Martha Mondays?

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  15. look at those beautiful layers!! was mr CIA happy?

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  16. Looks great, and I love your fillings...

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  17. both braids look wonderful! don't worry, you're not the only one that cleverly photographs only the good side of things ;)

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  18. can I PLEEEASE have a piece of your savoury bread?? geesh it just sounds and looks sooo amazing... I am drooling over here!!! did I say please?
    Seriously.. a challenge reeeally well done.. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    I also want to make more and more of this dough, I am glad you also enjoyed it ^_^

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  19. Your photos are awesome! I love your braids, they look so yummy.

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  20. wow! both of these look so fantastic...and the photos are gorgeous! nicely done!
    -Susan of http://doughmesstic.blogspot.com

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  21. What a great looking Braid! You did a fantastic job! I was lousy on laminating the dough, hence my snake looking braid:)) Great job!

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  22. Oh my that is lovely... and so yummy looking... You did a great wonderful job...yum:)

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  23. These are AMAZING - flaky, golden, and perfect! Can I come over for a bite?
    Madam Chow
    http://www.mzkitchen.com

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  24. That first picture is fantastic. The savory one looks great, I wish I'd done a savory one.

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  25. Excellent job and I so love the Savory braid.

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  26. that looks so flippin good!

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  27. I've seen a lot of photos of danishes in the last few days, and that is some really well-done braiding.

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  28. Holy moly, that looks so sinful! Excellent job, some of teh best I've seen!!!

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  29. What a great braid! Looks yummy!

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  30. OOOOoooooo!!! Your savory braid looks fantastic! Great job!

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  31. Yum both versions of yours sound good and the braids look delicious! I have a hard time rolling out dough to specific thicknesses too.

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  32. Your photos are beautiful! I like your savory idea!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

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  33. Love what you did with the challenge! Look at that flaky pastry! Yum!

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  34. I'm not normally a fan of fennel, but your savory braid looks a-MAY-zing. I'd like a slice of each, please. :) Great job!

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  35. Both braids look fabulous! And the savory...Oh my!

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  36. The drool aint gonna go till I shut the window...great great Danish. Love the savoury one too...stunning!!

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  37. Good gravy, Mimi, you've got me drooling too! Great work, lady!

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  38. how did i miss this before? my god, those look good. i love that savory combo and where the heck did you get the tonka bean?

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