Saturday, June 28, 2008

Daring Baker Project #9 - Danish Braid

Matthew 4:4
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.

rhubarb filling:

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."
Winston Churchill

28 comments:

Cakelaw said...

Molly, your braid does look delicious with that jewel red rhubarb poking out. Good job, despite the unco-operative weather.

giz said...

The danish is beautiful and that rhubarb filling makes me happy all over.

Amy said...

Your braid looks beautiful. How did it taste? Do you still think that you forgot the yeast? Oh, and I love the picture of your kitchen.

glamah16 said...

Hey it looks fine tome. Mine didnt rise a whole lot either. The most inportant thing is that it tastes good.

Aparna said...

Your braid looks good, Molly. Rhubarb is new to me as we don't get it here, but I like the colour. Mine didn't rise much either but the taste more than made up for it.:)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That is a terrific Churchill quote!
Your braid looks beautiful. Left the yeast out . . . that doesn't happen to folks who don't bake :0)
I am so going to make this with rhubarb! That would have been just what my grandmother would have used. I guess I learned to love rhubarb from her.
Wonderful braid!

breadchick said...

I'd say that even without the yeast, your danish looks wonderful. And this is the perfect time of year for rhubarb fillings!

Andreia Sousa said...

Hi!

Congratulations on your braid. The filling was very creative.
You asked me how I did mine.
Well, first, I put the cherry jam all over the dough and then mixed the mascarpone with some sugar (not much), put over the jam (both mixed a bit)and “closed” the braid.
See you!

Lorrie said...

Your braid is so pretty, I love the pictures and your filling looks delicious!

maybelles parents said...

so seasonal and lovely. good job.

onespicymama said...

Dough can be funny like that - all three of my braids rose at different rates, even though they came from the same original batch! The rhubarb filling look delish!

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

Rhubarb is a great idea for a filling, well done.

Summer said...

Your braid looks beautiful for leaving out the yeast! I was laughing that you woke up at 4:30 am to make it...that is something I would do, and have done and will probably do quite frequently! Thanks for your nice comment!

Beth said...

Mine didn't rise much either. Next time I'm also going to leave the sweeter seasonings out of the dough so that I can use a more savory filling. Herbed goat cheese maybe?

strawberriesinparis said...

the sugar on top makes the braid look so taaty! yay for rolling pins and paris!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Scrumpdillycious it is! Great Danish...looks good; must have tasted heavenly Molly! Well done!!

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

4:30AM start!?! you are one dedicated baker!!:) the rhubarb filling sounds delicious...

I'm surprised you can't find puff pastry -- I have used Dufour brand puff pastry many times with great success -- and the ingredient list is unbelievably short: butter, flour, water, salt, & lemon juice

Madam Chow said...

Your are too funny! It's nice to know that other people out there goof like I do! Your braids look wonderful!

Miss Ifi said...

Awww your braid looks really nice.. now I want to know if you actually forgot the yeast or not is a mystery and a really entertaining one!.
Congratulations on your challenge.. o h and your filling made me drool.. mmm rhubarb!

Emilie said...

Totally impressed with your dedication to the braid! 4:30am! That's serious. Looks totally great, love the idea of rhubarb filling. Yum.

Laurie said...

Yum!! I love rhubarb!
You always do a great job Molly!
Hope you are well and enjoying your family this summer! Ciao and blessings to you! :)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I'm sure that you forgot the yeast, because you woke so early in the morning! 4:30!?! Wowsa, that's some dedication! It looks delicious nonetheless, and as a rhubarb fan, I'm excited about your filling!

eatme_delicious said...

Wow you got up at 430am to make this! That's dedication! Your braid looks beautiful - love the sugar on top.

Aamena said...

hey rhubarb sounds good and the braid looks good! mine didnt rise much too.. dunno why.. tho i know that i added yeast!

Debyi said...

Your braid looks fantastic and your filling sounds delicious. Another thought, maybe your yeast was dead and you didn't actually forget it.

Molly Loves Paris said...

I've thought that maybe in the extreme heat we had that day, a record, that the yeast died.

Dolores said...

This is one of very few recipes that might get me up at the crack of dawn... I thought it was that good. And the rhubarb filling... yum! I'm sorry the heat got the better of your braid in the rising though.

Claire said...

Mmm...looks great! I did mine overnight instead of all in one day. To me, it made it a bit more manageable.