Danish Braid -- Daring Bakers

This months Daring Bakers Challenge was the Danish Braid. This was my first attempt at making a pastry dough. I was so looking forward to the end product and I must say I was not disappointed in the least. The sheer joy of biting into a flaky home baked pastry is something I will remember for a long time to come! :)

The recipe is from the book 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 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.

>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 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.

>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.

>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.

We were allowed to use a filling of our choice, sweet or savory. If I made a sweet one I knew hubby dear wouldn't come within miles of it :D so I made a savory one, with an Indian touch to it...err...a little more than just a touch! :P

Peas & Potato Filling:
Makes enough for two braids

You will need:

3 medium sized Potatoes, cubed and boiled
1/2 cup Peas, boiled
2 Onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Corriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Crushed Kasthuri Methi
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic.Saute till onions are soft and garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, turmeric, corriander and red chilli powders. Saute for a minute. Now add the boiled potatoes and peas. Combine well and cook for a minute more. Season with salt and let the mixture cool completely.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups Peas & Potato Filling (see above)

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, 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.
>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.

The pastry dough was extremely simple and the instructions were so precise that there was no reason to go wrong. I was very happy when the braid took shape and it actually looked like a braid :D I also halved the dough recipe and made only one braid.

Thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for the wonderful challenge. I definitely enjoyed this challenge a lot, and learned a few things too.


  1. OMMGGGG!! this is mindblowing!! awesomeeeeeeee Nami.. I think I will try to make this sometime!! simply superb!!!!

  2. Thanks Shubha, do try it :)

  3. Beautiful work! Nice work :)

  4. Wow....wow...wow - looks so good.

  5. Wow...this looks awesome..doesn't look like its ur first time,great!!

  6. Namratha, that is one gorgeous looking braid :-)

  7. that is a great samosa-esque filling.

  8. Lovely Braid. Love the filling too

  9. This was my first time at making such a laminated dough too - urs looks too good. Simple perfect :)

  10. yummy braid, I love your fillings!

  11. what a nice idea to make a braid! lovely :)

  12. YUMMY! Now I know why so many Braids are showing up, it's that time again! :D

    Looks fabulous, I am drooling at the savory bread, slurp!:)

  13. nammu...wow!! i am bookmarking this..i have to try to make it..and i will bug you if i have any questions...

  14. oh wow! peas and potatoes? YUM! great job...so glad I dropped by your blog!!!
    -Susan of http://doughmesstic.blogspot.com

  15. Man, the daring bakers are at it again, eh? Looks stunning, Namratha! And the filling is just too good! :)

  16. Thanks Cham! :)

    Thanks Giz, glad to have u over :)

    Thanks Hetal, so nice of u to say so :)

    Hehehe, righto Bee :D

    Thanks Medhaa, glad to have u over :)

    Thanks DK:) I'm headed over to yours now ;)

    Thanks Lorrie, glad you stopped by :)

    Thanks Nags:)

    Hehe, yaa its that time again :D Thanks Asha! :)

    Thanks Rajitha, oh sure do shoot away with any doubts u might have... :)

    Thanks Susie, glad you stopped by :)

    Thanks Kalai:)

  17. Nice looking braid! I like the savoury filling and it looks tasty!

  18. You've done an outstanding job! Hearty congratulations!

  19. Looks really good. Very flaky pastry. And I love that filling no matter how many times I have it.
    All the DB challenges have been first timers for me, so far!

  20. Lovely braids! well done.

  21. wow what a great filling potatoes and peas and best ones to go with this flaky pastry.
    Nice braided bread

  22. Awesome entry Namratha, looks divine, delicious. Keep rocking gal!!!!

  23. Namratha, I had trouble commenting earlier but this pastry looks so darn good! :) Beautifully done.

  24. AnonymousJuly 03, 2008

    Wow...this is simply gorgeous and thanks for making it so simple to understand.

  25. The flakes look just perfect! The potato filling (minus peas) reminds me a pastry we had in Kyrgyzstan called piroshki...mmmm!

  26. hi namratha
    you have done very well and i the pictures are really good.I fully agree with you of the sheer joy of biting into the apna home baked products.

  27. Wow Namratha.. awesome dear... I must admit i dont have guts to make any pastries... Lovely dear.. You go girl!!!

  28. Glad you enjoyed the braid challenge as much as I did. I love your savory pea and potato filling. Great job!

  29. waowww .. what a patience and hard work..

    no wonders why the end result is so good...

    do visit my food blog when u find time..and leave ur comments and suggestions...

  30. Awesome, mouthwatering recipe!


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