This month, the Daring Bakers tried our hands at making a laminated dough. Hosts Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking? chose a recipe for a Danish braid from Sherry Yard’s book The Secrets of Baking. While I can’t say that I ever feel the urge to have a Danish, I do appreciate tasty homemade breakfast treats, so I was looking forward to this challenge.
Like its sisters, puff pastry and croissant, a Danish is made from a butter-laminated, or layered, dough. This means a block of butter is encased in dough and repeatedly rolled and folded to create layers. Danish dough is sweet and contains a bit of yeast to help it rise (it also makes it a bit more bready than puff or croissant). While this type of dough may initially seem intimidating, it’s not hard to make in small quantities, and Danish dough is a good introduction to the laminating process.
The dough is flavored with cardamom, vanilla and orange. While the cardamom and vanilla were must-have flavors for me, I found the orange to be a bit too pronouned. If I made it again, I’d probably leave out the zest and use only the orange juice. We were allowed to choose our own filling, and I made mine with a center of sweetened quark cheese and cherries. It was great, but I was worried about having a runny filling so I was a little skimpy with the cherries. I wish I’d been a bit more liberal with them. Just about all sweet breakfast pastries should have an icing sugar glaze in my opinion, so I was liberal with that!
The full recipe provided by Kelly and Ben made two braids. I didn’t need that much, so I halved it to make just one. It was beautiful, and big enough for six quite healthy portions. And braiding dough is way easier than braiding hair, let me tell you. If I’d thought about it enough, maybe I would have made a smaller braid and saved aside some dough for other fun shapes like pinwheels…another time.
If you’d like to test your laminating and braiding skills, you can find the recipe in Kelly’s post or Ben’s post. And no need to worry if, even after you look at the zillions of braids on the DB Blogroll, you still feel nervous about trying it yourself. Kelly and Ben also pointed out a great video clip from Julia Child’s Baking with Julia series on PBS. This clip demos a different recipe by Beatrice Ojakangas, but the technique is very similar.
Oh yeah–pecans and brioche laquered in brown sugar and honey goo. Does it get any better than that? I think not.
Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen chose Dorie’s Pecan Honey Sticky Buns for this week’s TWD, but I actually made these awhile ago (luckily I had the forethought to take a few pictures). These sticky buns share the same brioche base as the Brioche Raisin Snails the group made back in March. I had a little extra dough from those snails and I turned it into these sticky buns the following week.
I only made two buns, but they were probably double the size of Dorie’s. I don’t always think that bigger is better, but with sticky buns, I sure do! Since I was so drastically scaling down the recipe, I just eyeballed the ingredients for both the filling and the glaze. I added some chopped toasted pecans to the cinnamony-sweet swirl inside the buns as well.
With a big cup of black coffee, these are a delicious (if not quite nutritious) breakfast! You can find the recipe here on Madam Chow’s Kitchen or in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
Ah yes, it’s that day of the week again, and Peabody has chosen Dorie’s Brioche Raisin Snails as the recipe for this round of TWD. I imagine this would be an ideal breakfast treat, but R & I moved faster than a speeding snail and ate them for dessert just a few hours after I made them.
Actually this recipe is a few recipes in one, beginning with brioche dough. It’s not hard to make (especially if you have a stand mixer to do the dirty-work for you), but requires a some time and patience, as it needs to spend a night in the fridge before it’s ready to shape. I strayed from Dorie’s advice in her opener for Golden Brioche Loaves (which is the base for the snails) and did half a recipe…it came out just fine. Once the brioche dough has had its beauty sleep, it’s rolled out and smeared with pastry cream (I don’t think I’ve ever baked pastry cream before!) and rum-flamed raisins. I said last time that I am not a raisin fan, so here I used dried cherries in lieu, as I knew they’d be nice with the rum. Then it gets rolled up and sliced into rounds– hence the whole “snail” thing.
Like I said, we ate these the day they were made, and they were really nice…soft and slightly boozy. Of course I glazed them, which Dorie says is optional (but in my books is mandatory). I only turned a portion of my dough into snails…I froze the rest as Pecan Honey Sticky Buns for another time. Yum!
You can find the recipe on Peabody’s site (her version includes a few yummy-looking modifications to the original) or in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. And head over to the Tuesdays with Dorie space to see all the other snails crawling around the blogosphere.
P.S.: I’ll be on vacation by the time you see this. I’m not sure about the internet situation, as I’ll be a tourist in lands unknown to me…so if I can’t comment on your posts for a few weeks, please forgive me!
What smells better than bread, cinnamon and sugar baking in the oven? Not a whole lot, really. And that’s why I was so pumped to see that Daring Baker Marce, aka Pip in the City, chose cinnamon/sticky buns for the September DB challenge! She went with a recipe, which you can see here, from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The recipe gives instructions for making a cinnamon-swirled dough that can be customized into either basic cinnamon buns with a white fondant glaze or sticky buns with a caramel/nut topping.
We could pick either variation (cinnamon or sticky), but why make one when you can make both? I thought they would be a great weekend breakfast, but I didn’t want to wake up at 4:00 AM on Saturday to start the long dough making and proofing process. The recipe says that unbaked, formed buns can be retarded for up to two days in the refrigerator, and since I’ve successfully employed this method with other types of bread dough, I thought I’d make this my plan of attack.
On Friday evening, I made the dough (using mostly AP flour combined with about 1/2 cup of bread flour) and gave it it’s first rise. The dough really a cinch to make, and once risen, was beautifully silky smooth and easy to roll up with cinnamon sugar and form into large buns. Half of my rolls were put, just as they were, into a baking dish for cinnamon buns. The other half were put into a separate dish slathered with a sugar, butter and pecan mixture that would bake up into a gooey sticky bun topping. (In other words, I prepared the recipe through Step 4 of the instructions.) Then they both when into the refrigerator for a good night’s rest.
On Saturday morning I pulled out the cinnamon buns to come to room temperature and proof for a couple hours before baking. On Sunday morning I did the same thing with the unbaked sticky buns. I admit that I did get up early both days to do this!
The baked and slightly cooled cinnamon buns got a healthy drizzle of powdered sugar and milk glaze, flavored with a vanilla. The warm sticky buns were turned out to reveal a buttery caramel topping. Both variations were great with a cup of coffee, but which were better? I’d say the sticky buns. The cinnamon rolls were a bit dry inside, but with the sticky buns, the topping oozed into the dough, eliminating any dryness problem there.
I don’t make this kind of thing often (my real buns don’t need this kind of breakfast every week), but when I do, I normally make a sort of hybrid variation of the two…I make a cinnamon swirl using brown sugar instead of granulated and add chopped nuts to it. The brown sugar makes the cinnamon buns bake up caramely and gooey on the inside. Then the baked buns are frosted with a heaping amount of glaze. I’d like to retry Reinhart’s dough recipe using that filling.
Thanks for a great challenge Marce, and if you want to see some more hot buns, be sure to visit the ever-expanding Daring Bakers’ Blogroll!