Sunday, December 12, 2010

Adventures in Dough - Danishes

I just realized that recently my life has been revolving around dough.  Laying awake at night I worry that I did not turn the dough on time or that my bread starter over developed or under developed, or that I have frozen yeasted dough in the freezer that should have been baked weeks ago and was not… “is my yeast dead now?”.  As I am not a professional baker doing this for a living, it is very difficult to schedule a very full and busy life around the timetables and demands of the dough beast.
Although very labor intensive, I was very happy with the way my puff pastry turned out, so I have decided to venture out into the world of yeasted laminated dough.   All those years appreciating someone else’s croissants and Danishes, I wondered, how hard can it be?  I used the Danish dough recipe from the Joe Pastry blog.  I used real Danish butter to re-create the most authentic taste I could master.  It took me about three days to get through the whole process and to make all my dough turns.  I would run home after work, turn the dough a few times and then leave it in the fridge overnight to rest.   I was finally left with two portions of gorgeous looking dough.  Unfortunately it was just not a good time to bake it so I decided to freeze it and bake the following weekend.  Here is when all my worries begun.  I was suddenly swamped at work and pulled in many directions at home.  Family breakfasts were not to be for the next few weeks and I just kept the dough in the freezer.  In the mean time I came across an advice from a very prominent pastry chef, who strongly cautioned against freezing yeasted dough for more than two days, because the combination of fat and frost destroys the yeast.  So here I was awake at night, mourning all the work and $25 worth of Danish butter, until finally, weeks later I got the chance to bake. 
I thawed the dough overnight in the fridge and made 4 kinds of Danishes just to try out the fillings and see if my Danishes will puff at all.  This batch yielded eight bakery size pastries, but next time I will make them a bit smaller.  Could have easily been twelve.
Fortunately, my worries did not come true.  My dough had risen, separated and puffed just as if I baked it the next day.  The Danishes were a big hit with all who tried them and I still have half the dough left over for next time.

Here is the whole laminating process gain.

Cutting in the butter

Oh those turns!!!

Over and over again!

Try folding and rolling this monster.

And this is what you get

Orange Marmalade filled Danish


Pain du Chocolate

Almond cream filled Bareclaw

Cheese and Raspberry filling was delicious but the Danishes did not hold together.  I sealed as pouches and they fell apart, so I did not take any pictures.   

And more to bake later.

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