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Daring Bakers June Challenge: Danish Braid

June 29, 2008

This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was to make a danish braid, including making the Danish dough (which was easier than I expected – try it!). The recipe we were given was for a very tasty cardomom and orange infused dough, from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking. Thanks to hosts Ben of What’s Cookin? and Kelly of Sass & Veracity!

The challenge was to make the laminated dough, and then create some sort of filling and make a braid. We had our tasty pear-filled braid on Friday evening (my last exam was on Friday, so although I managed to prepare the dough in between bursts of study on Thursday, the filling wasn’t happening until after the exam).

My biggest challenge was proving the dough; being mid-winter, it’s pretty chilly here at the moment, and although we heat the bedroom end of our house (we spend most of our time in our rooms and at that end of the house anyway) it’s still not tropical. I actually had a test run, making a couple of small pastries on Thursday, when I tried to proof in front of the heater while I was studying. I think that was actually too hot, and those pastries didn’t rise or flake. When I came to making the braid I moved the cake upstairs, where we keep the warmth. After an hour the dough was still pretty cool, though, so I decided to move it to the warmer drawer… Which was way too hot! When I checked it after 15 minutes it was browning on top – it had started to bake! So I put it in the oven – since it had started, it wasn’t going to be proving anymore, or so I figured.

It was very tasty, but definitely not proved enough – quite dense in places. I still have some dough – the braid only used about half, so I froze the rest (I’ve been in Auckland all weekend doing the Wilton course 1, which was interesting and will warrant a post and some pretty pictures tomorrow) for use later this week. I was speaking to someone about my woes, and she suggested I put it in the oven on the very lowest temperature setting, so I’ll try that with the next lot. 🙂

Anyway, over today (as it falls around the world) all the other Daring Bakers will be posting their Danish Braids, so go check out the blogroll – and if you want to try the recipe, Kelly’s blog hosts it in all its glory – click here!

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17 comments

  1. Beautiful braid!


  2. Sorry it didn’t turn out so well with the cold temps, I had the opposite problem in the northern hemisphere! Your braid still looks good.


  3. I’m sorry this didn’t rise better for you… but it *looks* great. And I’m impressed you were able to make it fit around exams. Good job!


  4. Yours in my favourite website! I have it bookmarked so I can see exactly when the next post becomes available and can come look at your tasty treats. I might have to have a go at that Danish braid!


  5. you can’t even tell you ran into some proofing trouble… your braiding is impeccable : )


  6. beautiful, you did a wonderful job 🙂


  7. There seem to have been a lot of proof issues all around, but never you mind: your braid looks delish! What perfect braiding!


  8. This wasn’t a huge raiser of a dough so it looks to me like you had good success! Well done.


  9. I agree, you can’t tell that you’ve had any problems with proofing the dough. Your Danish looks fantastic!


  10. Wow, thanks for all the kind words! I’m convinced it should have proved just a little more, as it was quite dense when we ate it – I still have to use up the other half (I’m defrosting it at the moment) so we’ll see how we go with that.

    Sylvia, definitely give it a go. 🙂 Even if something does go wrong (e.g. not proving enough!) it still tastes delicious!


  11. Great job! I honestly like the more dense texture…more like puff pastry!


  12. Great job. I was also surprised that it wasn’t that hard to make. Thank you for baking with us 🙂


  13. I proofed outside and I was bit worried it was going to start to bake out there – you did end up with a lovely color though…


  14. I think it looks great, and I bet it tasted good, too! I was lucky and had very warm weather which made proofing a bit easier I think! Your above cake looks fantastic, too!


  15. Thanks – so many lovely comments! 🙂

    Thanks, Shellyfish – I was worried it would look about a century old and too traditional, and while it’s not particularly modern I’m quite happy with it now. 🙂


  16. Ah, it’s either too cold or too hot. My house was quite warm. We should have done the dough at your house and proofed at my house 🙂 Well, in all honesty, you can’t tell that you had any trouble whatsoever because it looks perfect, my dear!


  17. Your braids look lovely!!! but yeah definitely a good method is to turn on your oven in the lowest setting and also turn on your oven light.. now preheat the oven and when you are ready to proof your dough you can turn off the oven and leave the light on and that will pretty much ensure constant proofing temperature.
    Congratulations on making your braid and still doing your exam!!!



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