My first challengeAfter being impressed by the baked goods all over the internet, I joined the Daring Bakers this month. My first challenge was a Danish Braid. I was a little nervous since yeast and I don't usually get along. And I should never do anything requiring kneading. I have warm hands and dough always get really sticky requiring way too much extra flour. My mom never let me help knead for this reason, and I've never gotten comfortable with it. But I went for it anyway.
Step one of this challenge was of course making the laminated dough. This involved making the dough (and learning that the dough hook of my KitchenAid does most of the kneading for me and eliminated the warm hands problem) and the butter block (learning that my KitchenAid can handle cold butter straight from the fridge). Then rolling out the dough, covering two thirds with butter, and folding into thirds. Then came the first of several rests - letting the dough sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling and folding again. After four turns and folds the dough looks like this - see the layers?
After all this folding and rolling, it's time for a break. At least five hours in the fridge to rest; I left it in overnight and resumed the following day. Now to pick a filling. I made a cream cheese filling - super simple with cream cheese, sugar, an egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. After rolling the dough nice and thin again, I spread the cream cheese over the middle third then topped with some raspberry preserves. The comes slicing the sides and making the braid.
After 2 hours to proof it's into the oven and this beauty comes out.
It smelled amazing! And tasted pretty darn good too. My only complaint about this recipe is that it didn't rise much. Remember that yeast problem? It reared its ugly head and my braid didn't double in size during the proofing time like it was supposed to. But this tasted so wonderful that I'm going to give it another shot. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracityand Ben of What's Cookingfor this challenge. I never would have tried this on my own, but now I realize that it's not so scary. Head over to Kelly's site for the recipe and step-by-step pictures. And check out the other Daring Bakers' work.