It's that time of the month again when Daring Bakers strike! I must admit that I am constantly amazed by the choices of challenges month after month. Never once did the hosts choose something that I attempted before! The same can be said about the June Challenge : Danish Braid, which Kelly of "Sass and Veracity" and Ben of "What's Cookin" have picked. In fact, it is one of the pastry items I keep dragging my feet about.
Making a Danish Braid requires two things that I dread. One being making a laminated dough, the most temperamental dough in my opinion, that doesn't work well in warm temperature.
Secondly, the dough needs to be braided....Unless you are adept at bread making,(which I am not), otherwise the instructions of the recipe may seems daunting to the occasional bakers, such as myself.
Under such circumstances, watching someone demonstrates the process in video help to alleviate some of the trepidation. Thanks Kelly and Ben for the thoughtful attachments, they help tons!
So, I watched the videos diligently, and proceeded to make the danish braid. Surprisely, it wasn't as hard as I had imagined. And with a stroke of luck, my dough turned out really easy to work with. The only complaint I have, is the length of time involved. In between each rolling, the dough needs to be chilled for half an hour. Making the danish braid was a 2 day event for me.
I made a simple cream cheese filling to go with fresh blueberries, which are abundant at the moment. Other than the long down time, the whole process went on quite smoothly,and I am happy with the end result. The braid is flavorful, benefitted from the addition of vanilla beans, fresh orange juice and ground cardamom in the dough. I think I will probably leave the cardamom out next time, as I think the taste is a bit overwhelming.
Half of the dough has been tranformed into small invidual danish breads. I think I was a bit too generous with the filling, because almost all of them overflew! I jokingly told my friends that they were alien breads.
Will I make it again? Absolutely! I will even try adding Nutella as filling next.
By the time you read this, I will be in Boulder, visiting my lovely sister in law. I will only be able to read about other Daring Bakers experiences when I get back. Who knows, maybe after reading all the inspiring braids, I may start making another batch of danish pastries. To read more about other Daring Bakers takes on the Danish Braid challenge, click here.