Daring Bakers: Danish Braid and the Patience for Laminated Doughs

When I learned that this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was Danish dough, the first thought that went through my mind was, “how in the world am I going to be able to keep my son home for at least 4 hours straight so I can roll the dough?”. And then my second thought was, “I better lower the air conditioning right now!”. So yes, in that sense this was a true challenge.

It has been a while since I have made laminated doughs. As a matter of fact, I believe this is the first time that I have ever made laminated dough at home. Laminated doughs require a cold environment, cold surfaces and a long, long time. I had to reserve this task for a weekend so I could have some help with my little boy. He will not stay home all morning or afternoon so I can bake, so having an extra set of hands was crucial for me to finish this challenge.

Since timing is everything I decided to start about mid-afternoon so I could let the dough rest overnight and shape, proof and bake the following morning. It has been hot, hot, hot here lately so I had to make sure the air conditioning was turned down and that no cooking needed to be done while I was rolling the dough. I worked as quickly as I could and given that this was a small batch, it was not too terrible to handle. I remember the large batches of croissant dough that I had to make in past lives and that’s when I really had to work fast so the dough never got warm. But I also had a sheeter back then.

This dough is soft and very, very aromatic with all that orange zest, vanilla bean and of course, cardammon. I struggled during the rolling process trying to keep the lock-in butter cold. It was getting sticky at times. Streching the dough so it relaxed was difficult because my hands were melting the butter a bit, but I finally made it.

I divided the dough in half and decided to make a large braid and some individual pastries. I filled the large braid with hazelnut frangipane and some black cherry preserves that I have from back home. With the other half of the dough, I made some mini cinnamon sugar snails that I topped with pistachio crumble and some frangipane diamonds that I topped with fresh strawberries.

Thank you very much to Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for hosting this month’s challenge. Please visit their blogs for the recipe. For other Daring Bakers’ creations, please visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

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70 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Danish Braid and the Patience for Laminated Doughs”

  1. giz says:

    Your braid is spectacular. I have to laugh – although I don’t have a little one at home, I thought for sure I’d need climate control just to make this thing proof properly. All turned out well.

  2. Eva says:

    Your creations look almost too good to eat – just kidding..;-) Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate this time but one day, I want to make laminated dough as well!

  3. Vera says:

    Aran, these are stunning as all your creations, I have to say. I can imagine how difficult it was for you with the little one in such an active age. Also the weather. Yet, you’ve done a marvelous job!

  4. enza says:

    I’m proud having your address in my blogroll and I must say that my challenge was a little bit more difficult than your…just having three children from 4 to 1 year and all of them with me rolling my dough!!!
    unfortunately here in italy is too hot for laminated dough even if yeasted so I had to turn on my air conditioning. ;D
    great job as usual!

  5. Peabody says:

    Yes, I imagine that trying to have a little boy sit around while you do this would be quite the challenge…gorgeous pastries.

  6. Aran these look and I am sure tasted fantastic, and pistachio crumble sounds divine!

  7. Your braid is gorgeous! I had no problems with the climate, although the season is called summer ;-)

    Great pictures, greetings

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  8. Ann says:

    Beautiful! I was lucky and made mine before the heatwave kicked in… otherwise I’m sure it would have been a disaster.

  9. Amazing pics! I love the one in which the layers show!

  10. C.L. says:

    Amazing as usual. I totally know what you mean with the kiddo. Mine is the same way. He was “helping” me sprinkle sugar and roll the cinnamon rolls last night. Beautiful job :)

  11. nadia says:

    Absolutely mouth watering!

  12. As always, yours turned out perfectly, Aran! Well done!

  13. Aran everything looks great but those snails are my favourites. So but so beautiful. And hazelnut frangipane, yummy!

  14. Bravo! Your little pastries look delicious. Vrey creative on the hazelnut/black cherry combo.

  15. Cakelaw says:

    Your braid looks wonderful and the filling sounds delicious. However, I fancy the little snails – they are so cute!

  16. Candace says:

    Beautiful pastries! But that sheeter really helps, doesn’t it?

  17. Christy says:

    Aran, even without that sheeter your lamination looks perfect!! Gorgeous photos! I can’t wait to become a member in July!!

  18. The layers look textbook-perfect! Beautiful job as always. :)

  19. Tartelette says:

    Told you you were super mom!! The snails are so round I just want to put my head (mouth) on one and fall asleep! Great choice of flavors!

  20. Robyn says:

    Wow! Those look great!

  21. Aran, honestly, you have the most beautiful blog in the blogosphere. Everything you do is so stunning, so exciting and so perfectly executed.

    Laminated doughs are gorgeous but painstaking and you did all this at home without temperature controls and a sheeter! You’re amazing and a total inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  22. Cakespy says:

    Once again, perfection. Yours looks like it’s got the perfect mix of chewiness and flakiness–perfect!

  23. Dolores says:

    Wow… your pastries are perfection. I now have an immediate craving for cherries and hazelnuts. Great job!

  24. oooo! beautiful! your braids are beautiful and i love your choice for filling!

    Looks like it really was a challenge!

  25. marion says:

    it’s perfect.
    What else can I say ?
    Perfect. Great job, as usual. COngratulations :)

  26. Tammy says:

    wow, that looks fabulous! I dont really like Danish but your photos make me want to eat it!

  27. oh, they are all beautiful, but i would love a cinnamon snail! i also had to do large batches of croissant and danish at a place when i used to work…thank goodness for the sheeter, becasue there was no way i was strong enough to roll that mass of dough by hand! so much easier in a small batch…

  28. Trixy Tran says:

    How beautiful, it looks so delicious!

  29. I love the snails…they look soooo good! The photos are gorgeous!

  30. PheMom says:

    Hey Aran! Beautiful job! I’m just still trying to get to make mine too. Sigh – life gets crazy!

  31. Mrs.French says:

    I would never have the guts to try this, or the patience…however, I swear I could feel the dough, and smell the vanilla bean and cardammon and orange zest just from reading your post. I bake vicariously through you!

  32. This looks absolutely fantastic. I love the touch of pistachios…

  33. Yours look really good! Sounds like it really was a challenge for you – but they turned out great!

  34. They all look simply stunning, Aran! I could devour each and every one!

    I know what you mean about the temperture. I had my a/c set at 68degrees all day long yesterday! We were all wearing sweaters!

  35. Cheryl says:

    I make Danish once a year — for a New Year’s Day brunch when we invite everyone we know. I’m inspired by your flavor combos and may have to screw up the courage/energy to make some before the official start of 2009.

    Your photo of the layered raw dough, all speckled, is a thing of beauty.

  36. Suzana says:

    Beautifully done, Aran! The hazelnut frangipane and black cherry preserves filling sounds lovely!

  37. nicisme says:

    All this Danish everywhere is making me hungry! I really like the individual ones Aran.

  38. Oooh, those flavors…
    Hazelnut – count me in! Pistachios – oh my! And the diamonds – who could resist?
    Great post!

  39. linda says:

    Your braid looks wonderful, love the hazelnut and cherry filling!
    I know what you mean about the extra hands…

  40. Stunning Danish, amazing flavours, perfecto!!! What a treat this is! Well done!!

  41. Shari says:

    Your pastries look gorgeous and delicious! Love all the variations.

  42. I love all your different takes on danish, especially the cinnamon sugar snails with pistachio crumble! I wish I’d thought to put my marble rolling pin in the fridge, but it didn’t cross my mind until you talked about keeping the dough cold. Thanks for the handy tip (as per usual)! ;-)

  43. Cinnamonda says:

    Your Danish braid & pastries look absolutely stunning!

  44. everything look so perfect.. and pistachio crumble, wow, what a wonderful idea!!! Gorgeous!

  45. Sandie says:

    Your pictures look wonderful, I was wishing for a sheeter too!

  46. Lorrie says:

    wow! your braid looks stunning!

  47. momquixote says:

    What lovely braid and pictures. Great blog!

  48. mimi says:

    everything looks beautiful! love all your fillings, but especially that braid with hazelnut frangipane and black cherry. must have been so delish!

  49. breadchick says:

    Absolutely lovely job on the danish!

  50. cindy* says:

    aran, these all look so wonderful and hazelnut frangipane? yum. i love frangipane.

  51. Angela says:

    Stunning Danish! I love the hazelnut frangipane.

    (I made my braids at night to avoid having a bored toddler underfoot. Worked out nicely :) )

  52. Mobula says:

    La trenza se ve absolutamente deliciosa… y los pastelitos ni que decirte que me comería ahora mismo unos cuantos a pesar de que ya comencé la dieta…Buuuaaaaa!!!!
    Espero que el próximo reto no tenga muchas calorías….



  53. Y says:

    Gorgeous danishes, Aran. Looks like the hot weather didn’t hold you back at all :)

  54. Claire says:

    Cool pastry pics! You did a great job.

  55. Ben says:

    Those pictures look delicious. For me the best part was the aroma that lingered in my house for days after I made it. Thank you for baking with us :)

  56. your neighbors are so lucky it kills me.

    stunning. and so very very inspirational. thank you.

  57. Meeta says:

    Aran do I have to say this? You are amazing – I love the ideas and the way you execute them. Those snails are right up my alley with the pistachio crumble!

  58. Kim says:

    Aran- I agree with Tartelette, you do have the most beautiful blog. Your pastries are a feast for the eyes and I imagine a bigger feast for the stomach. Cute story, and glad you kept all cool in this warm weather. Lovely!!!

  59. Jen Yu says:

    Not only do you make the most lovely pastries, but your photography highlights their beauty perfectly. Wow! I am in awe :)

  60. Miss Ifi says:

    Wow.. your pictures are amazing!!! your braid looks perfect and your little pastries look divine!!! Congratulations on such a well done challenge!!!
    I am glad that you were able to finish this challenge ^_^

  61. Andrea says:

    I also had to turn the temperature down to keep the butter from running! Your bread looks beautiful, as always.

  62. Kelly-Jane says:

    Your braid and breads look really fantastic, well done.

  63. morgana says:

    Por el amor de dios! Me acaba de mandar un enlace a tu blog una amiga y estoy alucinando. no sabes cuánto me alegro de haber llegado hasta aquí! A los favoritos de cabeza!

    Un besazo.

  64. Laurie says:

    Well after a week of unveiling, I am still getting around to all the Dbrs’ blogs and enjoying the fruits of their labor. This is truly beautiful! Although it took me more time than I would have liked to prepare it..I would like to make it again..but without the posting pressure! :)

  65. Jenny says:

    How lovely all your creations turned out. Beautiful.

  66. Anis says:

    Hi Aran, hope you are fine can you please explain how to shape the mini snail I find yours so cute!!
    many thanks

  67. Aran says:

    Anis- roll the danish dough out, then spread bottom half of the dough with filling. Fold the top half over the bottom and with a pizza cutter, cut strips pf dough. Twist them and then roll them into a tight snail. Let them proof again, top with streusel and bake!

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