What’s not to like about the Danish braid? It is so flaky, so tender and it melts in your mouth. It is one of my personal favorites, although I tend to think that each time I think about one particular recipe, it instantly becomes a favorite of mine. While you may be taken a bit aback by the fancy appearance of the famous Danish braid, I can assure you that there is nothing to be worried about. You can do your Danish braid at home, and you can do so easily.
One of the things I highly recommend when working with the dough for Danish braid is that it needs to be chilled enough. So, I advise that you make the dough and you let it cool overnight in the fridge so you can work it properly the next day. Especially if you have big plans for a Sunday brunch, getting a little busy on Saturday is the way to do it right. I know people who even prefer to make their dough well in advance and keep it in the freezer until an occasion arises for them to cook their favorite Danish pastry.
Now, let’s get to the recipe, and I will give you a few more tips later. For the pastry, you will need two and a half cups of flour, one quarter of a cup of warm water, one standard package of dried yeast, half a cup of milk (make sure it is at the room temperature, and not directly from the fridge), one egg (should be at room temperature, too), 14 tablespoons of butter (the unsalted variety), a quarter of a cup of sugar and half a tablespoon of salt.
Mix the yeast with the water in a bowl and let it react. Add the milk, the egg, sugar, and salt. In a different bowl mix the butter and flour. Use a food processor for best results. Bring the two mixes together and combine them with gentle moves. A good trick for making great Danish braids is to leave the butter in small chunks. Once you obtain the dough, wrap it in plastic and send it to the refrigerator until the next day.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and began rolling it, making sure you have plenty of flour around since this is quite a sticky type of dough. The trick is to roll and fold three times, making sure to obtain a rectangular shape. Leave the dough to rest wrapped in plastic for at least half an hour in the fridge. The amount used in this recipe is good for two braids, so you need to cut the dough in half, and keep the one you are not working on in the fridge until it is its turn.
Cut the corners and create slanting strips. Pour the filling in the middle and bring the strips over, alternating. Bake everything in the oven preheated to 400F. If you want your Danish braid to have that amazing, beautiful sheen, make some egg wash from one egg and a bit of milk and brush it over the braid, once you see it turn it golden in the oven.