Danish Braids – Strawberry with Orange Vanilla Glaze and Cinnamon and Brown Sugar with Vanilla Glaze

Strawberry with Orange Vanilla Glaze

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar with Vanilla Glaze

My very first Daring Bakers challenge is over and I am so proud of myself. I honestly can’t believe I made these. I have been wanting to join the Daring Bakers for quite some time but have been afraid to take the plunge. I finally did join and for my very first challenge we were to make the very detailed and time consuming Danish Braid. It was a two day process and worth every second. I had fun with my kids in the kitchen “helping” and could tell my husband was really excited to try the finished product. I made homemade strawberry freezer jam for the first braid and topped it with an orange vanilla glaze. The second braid I wanted it to be similar to a cinnamon roll (my favorite treat) so I did a simple combination of cinnamon and brown sugar, then I topped it with a vanilla glaze. I unfortunately overcooked the cinnamon braid a little but it still tasted fabulous. We had friends over for dinner and everyone enjoyed these scrumptious treats including my neighbors.

This months challenge is being hosted by Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’?. The recipe is “Danish Braid” from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking.

Danish Dough: Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

  • 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

Butter Block:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Dough:

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. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

Butter Block:

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.

After the dough 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 dough 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.

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.


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. This recipe makes enough for two braids.

Strawberry with Orange Vanilla Glaze Danish Braid:

Orange Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or orange juice for a strong orange flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange, chopped finely

Mix powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and orange zest. Stir until smooth and consistency of thick syrup. If it’s too thick add a bit more milk and stir.

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar with Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1/2 Danish Dough (see above)
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Egg wash

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon thoroughly.

Vanilla Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth and consistency of thick syrup. If it’s too thick add a bit more milk and stir.

Line a baking sheet with 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. 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 have already made.

Spoon the filling you have chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. If you are doing the cinnamon braid, first spread the butter evenly on the bottom then top with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. 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. Whisk the egg in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid. Top the braid with a bit more cinnamon sugar (for the cinnamon braid).


Proofing and Baking:

Spray cooking oil 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. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. 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. Drizzle the top with the glaze 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. Enjoy.

Strawberry with Orange Vanilla Glaze

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar with Vanilla Glaze

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25 Responses to “Danish Braids – Strawberry with Orange Vanilla Glaze and Cinnamon and Brown Sugar with Vanilla Glaze”

  1. 1

    Michelle — June 29, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

    OH MY…both braids look so good!! I’d have to have at least a piece of both!

    Welcome to Daring Bakers!

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  2. 2

    Ann — June 29, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

    Congrats on a fabulous job for your first challenge!

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  3. 3

    Lorrie — June 30, 2008 @ 12:40 am

    wow your braids look delicious, you did a great job :)

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  4. 4

    Steven and Aisha — June 30, 2008 @ 3:31 am

    Your blog is so amazing! I would love to try this but I’m sure it will be very difficult. SO delicious!

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  5. 5

    Jason — June 30, 2008 @ 3:40 am

    Nice work, these look like pure perfection! I’m not much of a baker, but this would be fun to try out.

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  6. 6

    Paula — June 30, 2008 @ 4:26 am

    Wow, what those braids are works of art! I really enjoyed the step by step photos. Your neighbors are lucky!

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  7. 7

    MaryMary — June 30, 2008 @ 4:55 am

    I love the brown sugar and cinnamon idea…I bet it was fabulous. Your braids look fabu!

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  8. 8

    HoneyB — June 30, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

    Looks totally awesome! Congrats on your first challenge!

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  9. 9

    Lucy — June 30, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

    Kudo’s on your 1st challenge!!! Beautiful !

    It was my first as well & look forward to the next ;-)

    [Reply]

  10. 10

    CookiePie — June 30, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    Beautiful braids! They look really delicious. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

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  11. 11

    Cheryl — June 30, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    My gosh those were so good, thanks for sharing. I am afraid of this months challenge :)

    [Reply]

  12. 12

    takethecannoli — June 30, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

    Your braiding is absolutely beautiful! Wonderful job!

    [Reply]

  13. 13

    Katie B. — June 30, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

    Great first challenge and welcome! Your braids look amazing and it sounds like you had a lot of fun!

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  14. 14

    MaryMary — June 30, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

    Fabulous…I love how perfectly it’s braided. Great job!

    [Reply]

  15. 15

    Laura — June 30, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

    The cinnamon and brown sugar braid was a great idea! I might make one with my leftover dough.

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  16. 16

    Kristen — June 30, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

    That looks fantastic!!

    [Reply]

  17. 17

    breadchick — July 1, 2008 @ 2:34 am

    Well done on your 1st challenge!

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  18. 18

    Becky — July 1, 2008 @ 2:34 am

    the cinnamon and brown sugar braid would make me so happy right now if i could actually eat it instead of staring at it on the comp screen. good job!

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  19. 19

    Half Baked — July 1, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

    Yummy looking braids! Nice job on this challenge!!

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  20. 20

    Elle — July 1, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

    They’re gorgeous! And I love your flavor combos!

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  21. 21

    Rosa's Yummy Yums — July 2, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

    Your braid looks great! Very well done!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    [Reply]

  22. 22

    Claire — July 3, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

    Great job! These look delicious.

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  23. 23

    silverrock — July 5, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

    yum! your braids look so tasty. The strawberry one looks so nice and flaky and gooey… I could eat it right now! Way to go on your first DB challenge!

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  24. 24

    Lunch Buckets — July 5, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

    Welcome to the group :) Love the cinnamon roll idea!

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  25. 25

    Sue — January 11, 2012 @ 3:26 am

    Where do you live? I want to be your neighbor! These look fantastic! The challenge idea is interesting, I’ll be following this to find out more. I’m feeling challenged just looking at this. Might be too ADHD to do all that folding. But…the pictures! Gonna have to try it!

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