A few weeks ago I was exchanging emails with a friend of mine who was studying abroad in Zurich, Switzerland. It’d been a while since we’d talked, so we were catching up when he mentions that he has a couple recipe’s that I might like. I’m always one for new recipes, so I was excited to see ones recommended by a friend. Imagine my surprise when I was forward a link to Korena in the Kitchen!
For those of you who don’t know, Korena is a member of the Daring Kitchen Society – she makes the most beautiful creations every month, and has actually commented on my tiny blog. See how the internet connects us ? Seattle -> Zurich -> Vancouver Island -> Seattle….round and round it goes! After giggling at this coincidence for a while, I sat down to actually look at the recipe I’d been sent.
The recipe turned out to be a fabulous looking set of sourdough danishes. You can find the link to Korena’s instructions here, or keep reading since I’m going to go through them as well.
First things first, do not panic. Yes this recipe is quite involved and takes a long time, but it’s really mostly time management. Take a deep breath, and let’s start mapping out the rest of your week.
Sourdough Starter : 5 days
Lavain: 12 hours
Dough: 2.5 hours
Butter Layers: 3 hours
Rise Time: 2-3.5 hours
Baking: 20 minutes
Eating: Really depends on your self control…
Let’s Get Baking!
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water
Stir together in a large container (2 quart minimum). Cover with a dish cloth and let sit in a warm place – do not cover with an airtight seal! Let sit at room temp for 2-5 days, until it smells “pleasantly sour” and looks bubbly. (Honestly what smells pleasantly sour? I waited until it smelled a bit like sourdough bread.)
Once bubbly, feed daily (if left out on a counter) or every week or so (if in the refrigerator). Feeding your sample means removing about a cup of starter, then replacing it with 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water.
44 g sourdough starter
75 g water
134 g bread flour
Knead together until the mixture pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball. Lightly cover with plastic and leave at room temp for 12 hours (the mixture should have ballooned at this point and be full of bubbles).
361 g bread flour
135 g milk
77 g beaten egg (~ 1.5 eggs)
60 g sugar
5 g salt
7 g yeast
41 g softened butter
Knead the ingredients together until gluten formation starts. You want to knead it just enough that all the ingredients are incorporated, especially the levain, but then stop when the dough is elastic and smooth so it doesn’t get over worked. Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2+ hours.
While chilling, take 361 g of cold unsalted butter and flatten it between two sheets of parchment paper until you have a 7.5″ square. I did this by cutting the sticks of butter in half, laying them out in a square, then flattening with a rolling pin.
Roll the chilled dough into and 11″ square. Place the butter in the center of the dough (the corners of the butter should touch the center of each side on the dough square). Fold the corners of the dough over the butter so it is completely encased. Rolls this entire thing out until it is approximately 8″x24″. Fold the dough into thirds (it will end up being an 8×8 again), wrap in plastic and tuck in the fridge for an hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll out into an 8X24 rectangle again. Note: you want to make sure that the folded edge is facing you – before starting to roll out the dough, you should be able to grab the upper layer of dough and pull it back towards you, undoing the three folds you did before putting in the fridge. You want to dough folded up before rolling it out, but partially unfolding it, then refolding, helped me orient it. Once rolled out in a rectangle, fold it into thirds again, and refrigerate again. Repeat this folding process 1 more time.
Once you’ve finished folding your dough you get to cut it up!. I did a full batch of dough and made 32 danishes. Since I have essentially no kitchen space for me this involved rolling the dough out, cutting it into fourths, then rolling out each section, and cutting it into 8 squares.
Shaping these things is a ton of fun – a sort of edible origami if you will. I did a couple different shapes; a pinwheel, a square with the corners turned in, a diamond, and a braid. Korena has such beautiful photos of how to make these shapes that I am not going to embarrass myself with my sad attempts to explain each shape. Rather here’s the link to how she makes them. You can also get creative and come up with your own shapes.
Most of these I filled using a cream cheese filling and fruit, but the braids I filled with cubed apples mixed with cinnamon, sugar and a little flour. One important concept. You have to proof the dough for 2 hours to get it to rise…do NOT add the fillings before you let the dough rise (because I totally didn’t do that, and have no way of definitively telling you that the dough takes a lot longer to rise and isn’t as fluffy in the middle). The only one you get to fill is the braid, because you can’t proof it and then fill since it’d already be folded.
Cream Cheese Filling:
500 g soft cream cheese
226 g granulated white sugar
38 g soft butter
56 g flour
42 g beaten egg (about 1 egg – remember that leftover 1/2 egg from the pastry dough?)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Blend until light and fluffy.
Spoon or pipe onto the danishes and decorate with fruit.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for another 10-15 minutes (I did 10).
Alrighty, well that was a ridiculously long post. These treats do take quite a large time commitment but rest assured they are worth every second. The sourdough gives the pastry a great flavor that pairs perfectly with the cream cheese, and the smell as they come out of the oven is pure bliss. I served these at a friends general exam (an oral presentation you have to pass partway through your PhD program – we make it into a potluck to make it less intimidating and to put the reviewers in a good mood) and they were a huge hit. The neurosurgeon reviewing her talk was particularly infatuated with them – I think he ate 4 or 5. Over all, success!! But probably something I’ll save for special occasions or when I need to ask for a really, really big favor.