June 29, 2008

Danish Braid with Butterscotch and Apple Filling - My First Daring Bakers Challenge


There it is... My first Daring Baker's challenge - Danish Braid. It looks lovely, doesnt it, or is it just me? I am so happy that I got to finish my first challenge, even if it did not turn out perfect. It is supposed to be a closed braid, but mine opened up while baking, but it sure tasted awesome!! Now I can say that I love danish pastry a lot!! Well...it was not a lovey-dovey relationship from the start. This is my second braid, after the super disappointment on my first try.


FLASHBACK: It all started when Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? announced the June 2008 edition of Daring bakers - Danish Braid using Sherry Yard's recipe from "The Secrets of Baking".


I was very nervous when I started on my first braid on Tuesday last week. I felt that this was one very-tough challenge. I did everything according to the recipe, made enough dough for two braids. I decided to make one a vanilla-creme braid with chopped strawberries and lychees. The second braid was to be a savory one with curried onions and boiled eggs. The only thing different from the assembly was that I made the cuts for the braid at an angle and only made about 5 cuts. I spend the entire day doing the pastry turns and finished baking the braids individually by about 9.00 at night.The sweet braid actually became over-proofed and had risen a lot. The savory one was just right and I finished baking it perfectly. While I was baking the sweet one, I did a few mistakes and it browned a lot, but still was ok. But when I took it out of the oven, it slipped from my hand and fell on the floor!! It broke in half and was on the floor before I could take any pictures!! GASP!!! I actually shed a few tears. A whole days work down the drain! Only because JM encouraged me, did I decide to try making another sweet braid, from scratch! The pictures below show the savory one that I made with curried onions and boiled eggs (much like the egg puffs that we get in the bakeries of Kerala).



The second time, I decided to do the braid in two days - making the dough and completing the turns in one day and the proofing and actual baking on the second day. So I made half the dough enough for a single braid and reduced the amount of orange zest. I actually ran out of yeast (I usually have several packets, so I hadnt bothered to check) and added about 1 1/4 tsp where I needed 1 1/2 tsp. When it was time to make the butter block, I see that my butter stock is almost over. Is this some kind of a joke!!? Is this really happening to me!? But I dont know why, I was kind of cool with the setbacks (when compared to the previous days disaster and tears!)! I decided to go through with it anyways, and used only 3 tbsp of butter in the place of 8 tbsp (1/4 cup) that I needed. I did all the four turns as specified in the instructions given and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.


The next day I had finalised a different filling for my second sweet braid - butterscotch and apple filling! I made the butterscotch filling using this recipe. I only made half the amount and that too was a bit too much. The braid was rolled out to 7 1/2" by 10" rectangle and I spread the butterscotch filling in the middle third of the pastry. Then I placed the fresh chopped fuji apples (about 1/2 an apple) on top. I braided the pastry according to the instructions. This time I made closer cuts perpendicular to the filling. I kept the braid for proofing for about 2 1/4 hours, because 1) I could see that it wasnt rising as much as the previous one did 2) it was refrigerated for almost 16 hours 3) that was the time specified for proofing the refrigerated dough at 75F. I made sure that it didnt over-proof by checking it at intervals. Some of the butterscotch filling leaked out during proofing, which I just cleaned off before keeping in the oven.


I baked the braid at 400F for only 7 minutes on one side (instead of 10 minutes). I could see that the braid had actually opened up (it was perfectly closed even after proofing)! Then reduced the temperature to 350F and sprinkled a few almond slivers on top. I turned the baking sheet 180 degrees and baked for about 12 minutes (instead of 15-20 minutes) for a total of 19 minutes. The braid was baked to perfection with crisp and browned pastry which was flaky (even with a lot less butter than specified!!) I waited for JM to come home from his office to enjoy it, and enjoy we did!! As I write this, I only have less than a quarter of the braid left! :-) I am glad I could make it atleast healthier by even a bit by reducing the amount of butter, eventhough it was quite unintentional! So finally I can say that I am proud to be a Daring Baker and I completed my first challenge with some satisfaction. Eventhough the first trial of making the danish bread ended in a mishap and I vowed that I will never make this again, the bounce-back on the second day has made me atleast consider making this again! :-)


I am sorry for my rambling, but this IS my first challenge!! :-) Please take a moment to check out the wonderful creations of the other Daring Bakers!! Email me if you would like to see the entire recipe.


Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Dont forget to leave your thoughts on my Danish braid.

26 comments:

Ann said...

Congrats on your first challenge! great work!

Michelle said...

OMG...butterscotch, next to chocolate this has to be my favorite flavor!!!

Interesting braiding technique too.

Welcome to Daring Bakers!

Rachel said...

Congrats on your first challenge..The spirit lies in you not giving up after the mishaps..they look gorgeous J..they probably opened out cos of the strips being short..

Love the filling!!!

Sujatha said...

Wow, that looks pro! Butterscotch and Apple filling is such an interesting combination.. Great work, JZ!

bhags said...

this has come out so well....that curried onions and eggs must have tasted delicious......was waiting for urs when i saw blogs flooded with danish pastry.......keeping my fingers crossed for every thing to go well this time.....and it was fantastic....

P.S. btw have posted about those crossianrs I was talking that day....they havn't come out that well, but still i clicked them

Lorrie said...

i love love love your filling ideas! I know what you mean about feeling proud, I wanted to tell everyone about it. I wanted to yell out my window "I made a danish" haha you did a wonderful job!

Suma Rajesh said...

great work jz...no words to express...dish is excellent

sunita said...

Welcome to the gang...I'm sure your braid must have tasted gorgeous :-)

ranji said...

awesome JZ..the braided breads looks perfectly done..loved the egg filling and apple filling...way to go :)

Jeena said...

Wonderful recipe for your first daring bakers challenge! It looks and sounds amazing!

Mrs.SriLekha said...

realy awesome... as usual the presentation of the pic is superb and ur effort is reflecting good in the dish... chanceless.. superb recipe

Laavanya said...

That looks awesome JZ and I really have to hand it to you to picking yourself up and re-doing it inspite of the disappointment the first day. I must say that both braids have turned out beautifully and both fillings are just perfect! Congrats on your first DB challenge very well done.

meeso said...

That must have been horrible when you dropped your first one!!! All that hard work, I would have shed some tears too!!! The butterscotch apple filling sounds delicious :)

Harmony said...

Butterscoth and apple yummy. Way to go for your first challenge

vandana rajesh said...

Congrats JZ...the pics looks gr8. Having been wanting to bake something like this for sometime now..however, with my mental block have not still been able to gather the courage to do so.

Illatharasi said...

Great Job!!! Looking toooooooo gud:)

Cham said...

Congrats on ur first challenge, beautifl braiding, i love the egg surprise inside the bread :)

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

Thanks Ann and Michelle! Welcome to my blog..

Anyways, I am happy I could complete my challenge, Rachel..urs looked awesome!

Thanks Sujatha and Bhags! Bhags I checked out ur croissants and they look great!! :-)

hehe, I know what u mean lorrie!

Thanks Suma and Sunita! :-)

Thanks Ranji and Jeena! :-)Why dont u guys join too...

I am glad you two liked it Srilekha and Laavanya. Laavs, only cos of my hus JM, did I do it again!! He said this is how we learn!

Thanks a lot Meeso and Harmony!

Hey Vandana! get over ur fears and try it once, you'll soon forget the work that goes into it!

Thanks Illatharasi and Cham..I am glad you loved it :-)

Mansi Desai said...

it looks beautiful for your first challenge JZ! love the filling in the brioche, and the bread looks perfectly baked too! beautifully executed gal! congrats on a successful DB challenge!

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

Thanks a lot Mansi! :-)

TBC said...

All u DB girls make it look sooo easy!:D
Great job!

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

Thanks TBC, it was somewhat hard for me! ;-)

Divya said...

hey jz...congrats on your first db challenge...i mean this is your first..??its looking so nice..and bouncing back after a mishap is not a joke..that too the very next day?kudos to you..great looking danish pastry!!love it!!

breadchick said...

Welcome to DB and excellent job on your first challenge!

I love butterscotch and this danish is right up my taste alley!

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

Thanks a lot Divya and Breadchick !!

Debyi said...

Great job on your braid. Way to persevere through setbacks and not enough ingredients! Your butterscotch apple filling sounds fabulous.