Danish pastry is a yeasted dough similar to croissant dough, but enriched with eggs and sugar. Like the puff pastry and croissant, the technique of rolling and folding the dough so that it is interlaced with butter creates wonderfully flaky layers.
This is the master recipe for Danish pastry and will yield about 1kg of dough. It’s all right to make such a big portion as you can freeze the dough for up to 1 week. Meanwhile, you can plan what you want to bake from the dough!
For the Danish dough
2 packages (5 tsp) active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105 – 115F)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
For the butter package
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining sugar, salt, cardamon, melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the yeast mixture and then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix just until the dough clings together in a rough mass. If it is still very soft, add up to 1/4 cup flour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Place on a half-sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 min. To spend the time, you can wash the dishes (a clean kitchen should be your pride and joy), sweep the floor, do jumping-jacks, read the recipes again to ensure you know the steps well and key in the recipe in the blog.
To make the butter package, use the heel of your hand (you can use the rolling pin too) and knead the butter on a work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60F. Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into an 8-by-7-inch rectangle. If the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60F).
To laminate the dough, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-6-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then, with a folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 12-by-20-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. This completes the first turn. Return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Return the dough to the work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling each time, for a total of 4 turns. I promise you that the shape of the dough improves with time. Refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours or for up to overnight before shaping.
That’s about it. With the dough, let’s see what we can do next.