Jesus answered, "It is written:
'Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
I was delighted to see that this months project was a Danish Braid. I've always wanted to try making pastries, but I've never done so. All I've made are cinnamon rolls, bolotchki, and tea rings. But those all use rich bread dough, not a laminated dough. Well it's been a really busy month, but then aren't they all. But anyway, I had it all planned that I would make this month's Daring Baker project on Saturday, June 28th. Then by the time I could have a chance to change the day, I found out that the weather people figured that that day was going to set a record for hottest ever recorded on that day - 100 degrees. So it seemed best that I get up very very early in the morning to start my laminated dough.
So my husband woke me up on Saturday morning at 4:30. My first reaction was "why are you waking me up!" He said, "You told me to." Well I found that hard to believe, but he was insistent, so I got up. By the time I got down stairs he had a great many windows and doors open, and it was feeling rather pleasant. But I don't really move too fast at that hour.
But by just before seven I was finally getting serious about making the Danish dough. I had everything ready, and I started in. It was so convenient to have all those 30 minutes in between. I mixed the dough by hand, though I used a hand mixer for the beurage. By 9:50 I had the turnings all done, and that was a good thing because it was getting really hot. Just as I was finishing up the last turn a daughter called. We talked for maybe 10 minutes, and when I got back to my dough one corner was melting. I tidied it up and hurried the dough into the refrigerator.
It was so hot for the rest of the day that I didn't get back to the dough until 9:15, after having made and cooled my rhubarb filling. My friend Marilyn gave me a whole bunch of rhubarb from her garden on Friday.
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
Put it all in a saucepan, bring to a boil, them simmer until the rhubarb is soft. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and put in the freezer to chill.
My mother used to serve this to us at breakfast. You can put it on your oatmeal.
I decided that since the rhubarb was tart I would put on a thin layer of sweet strawberry jam that I'd made first, then the rhubarb. But first I needed to get half the dough rolled out to 15 x 20 and 1/4 inch thick. As far as I was concerned that was next to impossible. I rolled and rolled and rolled and I never got it that big. And anyway, it seemed to be melting, so I stopped the rolling.
The cutting was tricky. But the filling and braiding were easy. By this time it was 10 o'clock and 82 degrees in the kitchen.I estimated that the dough would be ready by mid-night. Well by mid-night the dough was as flat as ever!!! I went into the living room and layed down on the sofa and waited for daughter #3 to get home from an outing with daughter #1. While asleep I dreamed that I didn't put the yeast in the dough. When I woke up, upon her arrival, I went to look at my bread. It was as flat as ever. I felt like a complete failure and decided that what ever it was I had made I was going to cook it. I don't think I'll ever know if I forgot the yeast until I make the danish dough again and see the difference. But in the end it looked and tasted pretty good.
Verdict: despite the obvious problem of possibly having forgetten the yeast, it really does taste good, as my family has assured me. Annie said it was scrumpdillyicious. Sarah and Zac and Riley loved it. Zac saw my left-over rhubarb filling and he spooned it over his slice of the braid. For all intents and purposes what I have made is really a ponsey-wonsey rolly-polly, a dessert I'm quite fond of. I'm definitely going to use the other half of my dough for a tasty something.
But when I do it over again, which is right now, I will leave out the vanilla and orange rind. Just as with the lemon meringue pie, I found the vanilla distracting. And of course, I would pile in as much filling as I thought I could manage.
There are so many fabulous fillings that all the daring bakers are coming up with. I think that the daring bakers are amazingly creative.
I think that I'm going to make enough of this dough that I can have several blocks in the freezer ready to go. When I lived in Hong Kong I would order my groceries over the phone. In all the time I did that there was only one mistake. One day I received a box with a block of puff pastry, which looked a great deal like the block of Danish dough. I didn't sent it back, and instead I had a lot of fun using it. I've always wondered why I can't find anything like it in America.
"Success consists of going from failure to failure
without loss of enthusiasm."