Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Good Reason to Measure

I have a kitchen, I have an oven! What else is there to do now but join the Daring Bakers!

Ok, this may not be the first reaction of everyone, but I do really love baking, and having been without an oven for a year I now am ready to leap into a group that all bakes the same recipe in the same month (that usually is a bit more advanced than we're used to) and share the results (unfortunately only in electronic form).

So this month is a danish braid. What is a danish braid? Well just follow along.

First, preparation of the filling. It can be anything as long as it tastes good with bread. Yes, that is quite a lot of things.

For me, it is two kinds of pineapple. The white kind is sweet and soft and you even eat the core. The yellow kind, the kind we eat in the States, it tarter and has a woodier core. Nicaraguans won't eat it, they puree it, strain it, add sugar and have it as a juice.

This mixture also has freshly grated ginger (much easier to come by than the powder here).

Then, you make the dough, fill it and bake it. Ok, it's not quite that easy, but the directions are in the recipe below.

I also sprinkled sugar on top that I bought from workers who boiled it from cane juice in little shed in the cane fields. It's sweet, but has an additional molasses-y flavor as well.

It was definitely a challenge to make, my first attempt went to the dogs (literally, with pork inside too, going for a Hawaiian danish) and so I bought myself a liter measuring cup. I still have to estimate between the lines, but it's more exact than eyeing measurements as they go into the bown as I've been doing for everything up until now.

In the end, I was pretty happy with the result, but since I had to extend the refrigerator chilling time to 1 hour each turn, as well as work only early in the morning when it was cooler, I probably won't be making this again for awhile.

But I highly recommend it!

From The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

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.

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.


Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) 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.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. 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.


enza said...

you're the last blog for A-amazing and this is so amazing!
├╣good luck for your kitchen and your oven!

Ann said...

Terrific looking braids!

Robyn said...

I didn't know there were two types of pineapple, you learn something new every day! Your braids look great!

Lorrie said...

your braid looks delicious!

Angela said...

I've never heard of white pineapple. It sounds delicious, though.

Your braid looks great--well done!

breadchick said...

Nice job on your 1st challenge and welcome to DB! The recipe was actually from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking btw ;-)

MaryMary said...

Your braid fabulous. And I peaked down a bit...the shark ceviche looks fascinating. How fun to have access to such exotic ingredients!

Nic said...

Thanks breadchick for the correction! I know why I had Dorie on the brain (another recipe), but I can't believe I so was so thorough! The credit has be edited.

marye said...

your dough looks amazing.

Jen Yu said...

Would you just look at the flakiness in your pastry?! OMG, that is sooo beautiful. Wow. You did such a nice job on this challenge - congrats! :)

Ruth said...

your dough is amazing!! Great job

Celine's Cuisine said...

beautiful braid... and welcome to a great Bakers community.
Your 1st challenge is a success!

Ben said...

Great job on your first challenge. Pineapple was a great choice. Thank you for baking with us :)

Claire said...

I didn't know there WAS a white pineapple! Fun. Great job. Glad you joined.

Lunch Buckets said...

welcome to the group!

Jenny said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers - great job on your first challenge.