Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises #3 - Sourdough Danish

Here we are - the third Sourdough Surprise post! I hope seeing these challenges has encouraged some of you to try your hands at sourdough. And if you haven't been completely convinced as to just how delicious the world of sourdough can be, then this month's will probably do the trick.

Because this month we made cheese danish.

You read that right - flaky, tasty, delicious danish using sourdough.

Now, this month was a very busy one. And this recipe takes some time (and, therefore, planning), and I worried that I might not have the chance to complete it. But I did, and let me tell you - it was worth it!!

We used this recipe as our inspiration. While it isn't pure sourdough (there is some yeast involved), I knew it would be a great recipe, because it's from someone who I consider to be an expert on laminated dough.

It starts with making a levain - basically, a starter specific to this recipe. This levain was very dough-like (rather than liquidy), but was very healthy - it started out like this:

And, overnight, grew into this:

Beautiful, bubbly, airy and light.

This levain was then combined with the other starter ingredients to prepare the dough. Seriously, the instructions are to put everything in the mixer all at the same time...

And after a few minutes with the dough hook, it became a beautiful dough, which was then rested in the fridge for a few hours.

While the dough rested, I created the butter block - basically, a big square of butter that is rolled into the dough, which creates the beautiful, buttery, flaky layers of laminated dough.

The butter block was then incorporated into the dough - first by simple folding it in.

Butter, dough - nice little envelope!

This was then rolled out, then folded.

Remember when I made croissants? Same process. For this recipe, the laminating process required three sets of turns, with the dough resting in the refrigerator between sets.

By the time I was done, I was a little worried that my butter had been at the wrong temperature... since my dough wound up a little... mottled looking...

But I proceeded anyway with the rest of the recipe.

Once the dough was done, all that was left to do was to shape the danishes.  I rolled out the dough and cut it into squares. My squares wound up a little more rectangular and irregular than I'd have liked, so my shapes wound up a little wonky, but we'll just call them artisan...

Anyway, shaping the danishes was pretty easy - a dot of filling in the middle of each square, then fold in the corners.

A little more filling in the center...

And they were ready to go. (okay, so they did have to proof in there after shaping... preferably before putting the extra filling on them...).

So how did they bake up?


Flaky, crisp, buttery layers with that delicious filling inside...

And they are absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious. Absolutely worth the time that they take.

I packed some up for a friend, and apparently they didn't last long.

So did you have a chance to give this recipe a try this month? If so, link up!

Cheese Danish with Sourdough
(from The Fresh Loaf)

For the levain:
44 grams (2-3 tablespoons) sourdough starter (100% hydration)
75 grams water (1/4 cup)
134 grams flour (approximately 3/4 cup)

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature for 12 hours.

For the dough:
361 grams bread flour (2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
135 grams milk (1/2 - 3/4 cup)
77 grams egg (1 large egg + most of 1 large egg's white)
60 grams sugar (4 full tablespoons)
10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
7 grams yeast (original recipe calls for instant, I used active dry... about 1 3/4 teaspoons)
41 grams softened butter (4 tablespoons)
all of the prepared levain

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix on speed 1 for three minutes, then increase to speed 3 and mix for three more minutes. The dough will be smooth and not too sticky. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or overnight.

For the butter block:
310 grams butter (about 2 1/2 sticks)

To prepare the butter block, cut the butter into pieces and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap of wax paper. Roll the butter to create a square approximately 7.5" x 7.5". Place the butter into the refrigerator.

Once the dough has rested and you are ready to continue, remove both the dough and the butter from the refrigerator.
Roll the rested dough into a square twice the size of the butter block.
Place the butter in the middle of the square of dough and fold the edges in to seal in the butter. It should be, pretty evenly, one layer of dough, one layer of butter, then another even layer of dough.
Roll this resulting packet out to a rectangle measuring 8" x 24". Fold the rectangle like a business letter - fold the bottom third up over the middle third, then fold the top third over the folded layers.
This is your first turn.
Place the dough into the fridge for at least one hour.
You will need to complete two more turns (for three, total), resting the dough for at least one hour between each.
After the final turn allow the dough to rest for at least 90 minutes (I let mine rest overnight).

For the cream cheese filling:
226 grams cream cheese (one 8-ounce package)
113 grams sugar (1/2 cup)
19 grams butter, room temperature (1 1/2 tablespoons)
28 grams flour (t tablespoons)
21 grams lightly-beaten flour (it's about half an egg - I used the remaining yolk from the partial egg used in the dough)
4.5 grams vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)

Soften the cream cheese with a mixer on low speed (I allowed my cream cheese to come to room temperature and mixed everything my hand...).
Add the butter and beat together on medium speed until well incorporated.
Add the sugar in three portions, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.
The filling can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Allow it to come up to room temperature before using it.

To shape the danish:
Roll out the dough and cut it into 4.5" x 4.5" squares.
Place a small dot of the filling in the middle of each square and fold the corners of the dough into the middle - two opposite corners for a half pocket, all four corners for a full pocket.
Allow the shaped dough to proof until more than double and layers are visible (1-3 hours, depending on the temperature where you are).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Squeeze more cheese filling into the center and dot with fruit (blueberries or cut strawberries or whatever you would like!) if you want. (I omitted the fruit.)
Bake the danish at 425 for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 and allow them to continue baking for about 15 more minutes.
I moved mine to a wire rack to cook for a few minutes, then dug right in!



  1. Absolutely beautiful, Shelley! Those layers!

    I'll be a little bit late with mine, but it's on its way. :)

  2. They look so flaky and beautiful Shelley! I loved the cream cheese filling. All of mine disappeared way to fast and I was still craving a Danish, so I bought one at the store today and let me tell you, the homemade ones BLEW it out of the water! We rock!

  3. Oh my goodness!! Your Danish look so beautiful! I love how you can see all the fantastic flaky layers! Awesome job, Shelley!!


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