Sunday, June 29, 2008
June Bakers Challenge...Dare I?
Oh yes - I dared to take on the June Daring Baker's Challenge, and though it was a bit of a work out, I'm happy with the results. The challenge is to create a Danish Braid, filled with apples. Yum. It takes a while to make the basic laminated dough, but it is completely worth it. At first I was surprised when the recipe called for yeast mixed with milk in a stand mixer - I followed those instructions and didn't see any type of change in the milk. I was used to bread recipes that require you to feed the yeast, thereby activating it. But I followed the directions and carried on. Cardamom, Orange zest and sugar give the dough, or in this case, Detrempe, a great flavor - along with the soft and tender lining of a vanilla bean.
Next came the "butter block" - half a pound of butter with some flour, beaten until soft enough to spread. I rolled out the detrempe as directed, to 18 x 13, and spread the butter over two thirds of the dough. The carefully folded the dough three times to incorporate the butter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, roll the dough and fold again - followed by two more foldings over the next hour or so. Then let it sit for at least 5 hours (we let it stay in the fridge overnight.) This morning, Another rolling, strips cut in the sides and then the addition of the filling, which we made while the dough was cooling it's heels last night. Delicious fuji apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and butter, cooked down to a lovely soft texture. Back to this morning, when I cut the strips on the sides, filled the center and "braided" the strips over the top of the filling, to form a basket-like length of apple-orchard-smellin goodness. It sat for another two hours to "proof", then Joe baked it, as I had to go to work.
I came home tonight to a truly delicious pastry - the basis of which will lend itself to so many other great flavors, as evidenced by the fact that, as we'd made enough for two braids, Joey had decided to try his hand at some fruit filled croissants. He chose lemon curd filled, and then raspberry filled, topped with slivered almonds. You can bet our apartment smells lovely tonight, and that we will definitely make this one again, when time permits.
Daring Bakers, my hat is off to you - you pick some excellent recipes to inspire and enhance our creative processes.