Sunday, February 5, 2017

Savory Cheese - Olive Puff Pastry Braid (savory "Danish")

This is a puff pastry dough (Danish dough) with a savory filling.  The dough recipe comes from King Arthur Flour 's baking school.  My husband and I took a Danish baking class in January (a visit to Vermont in January that had nothing to do with skiing!) The class was lots of fun and although I may not choose to make Danish frequently, it's definitely something that can be made for "special occasions" and with a variety of unusual fillings. 

This dough has a goodly amount of butter. It was explained that "European style" butter, with a slightly higher fat content and slightly lower water content is preferable. At some point I'm going to try to create a non-dairy version, but in the meantime, here is the recipe as taught at KAF. 

Danish dough is a laminated dough, meaning that butter is worked into the dough in layers. The dough in the photo has over 75 layers - a process that will take several hours. That's the scary news, the good news is that you can prepare laminated dough and freeze it for later use. This is NOT rocket science, it's time consuming. 

Step 1: Make the yeast dough, chill a minimum of 5 hours or overnight. 
Step 2: "Lock" the butter into the rested dough, roll fold and turn 3 times. Rest time between each set of roll, fold, turn is 30 or more minutes a(either chilled or in a chilly room). After the third set of folds, chill and rest for 6 hours up to overnight (Allow 20-30 minutes to come to room temperature when you are ready to use it.)
Step 3: Shaping and filling danish. Let rest 1-3 hours. Fill, egg wash 
Step 4:  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. Optional wash with melted apple jelly or strained apricot jam. 

-Electric mixer (you can choose to stretch and fold by hand)
-A flat surface to roll out the dough. Marble, because it is cold, is the best, but any flat surface can work. Try to work quickly in a cooler room so that the butter doesn't melt
-Baking sheet, parchment paper 
-Scale, measuring cups, spoons, flexible dough scraper, bench knife (or sharp knife)
-mixing bowls 


This recipe will make 8 large individual Danish, 12 small Danish or 2 Danish braids.  Photos displayed show the procedure for forming a Danish braid. 

Basic Dough ("le detrempe") 
9 oz all purpose flour 
1 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast 
1 egg
2 oz milk
2 oz water 
(my variation: 1/2 tsp lemon or orange zest, optional) 

Butter: 4 oz unsalted butter 

jam, sweetened cream cheese, farmer cheese/sour cream, etc.

Filling pictured:  8 oz farmers cheese, 4 oz full fat unflavored yogurt, 1/2 c chopped pimento stuffed olives and 1/4 c very finely diced scallion (mostly green portion). 

Egg wash

Make the basic dough (le detrempe).
Step ONE:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients
  2. Combine the liquid ingredients and stir to combine.  Add a bit more water IF you need it to create a cohesive dough
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute. Or combine in a stand mixer and combine for a minute or so at low speed.  This dough will NOT be smooth.  Place the dough in a plastic bag, or a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 5 hours or up to 10 or 12 hours. 
Step TWO (Locking in butter and laminating)
  1. Take a 4 oz piece of cold butter and let it soften a bit at room temperature (NOT too soft - you should be able to just make a slight indentation with your finger. 
  2. Place on a clean surface, pound down with a rolling pin, it should be pliable. Using the straight side of a bench scraper or knife, push into a 5 inch square. Slide a blade underneath the butter and let rest on a piece of waxed paper while you attend to the dough. 
  3. Remove the chilled dough and on a lightly floured board, roll out into a six inch square. Brush away any loose flour. Place the butter square at an angle (like a diamond shape on the square of dough). 
  4. Starting at any corner of the dough, pull and stretch toward the middle of the piece of butter. Repeat with the adjacent corner, pinching and sealing the edges of the dough, so that you are "sealing in the butter."  Repeat 3x so that you have a square of dough that resembles and envelope with a center of sealed butter. 
  5. With the butter locked in, roll the dough out to a rectangle, approximately 8x16.  Fold the upper 1/3 of the dough down toward the center and then fold the bottom 1/3 up toward the center. The piece will be a layered piece of dough, about 1/3  Turn so that the folded edges are to the right and the smooth edge to the left. At this point you've made the first of three folds. Cover or slip into the plastic bag and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes (up to several hours).  The rolling out and folding process is repeated two more times.  This process is called LAMINATING the dough (creating butter-flour layers). 

             6.  The dough should rest for several hours before you proceed with making the pastry. You c
                   can double wrap and freeze the dough at this point.

Step Three: prepare the filling.
            1. You can use a number of different fillings. The filling pictured is a combination of
                 8 oz farmer cheese , 4 oz full fat unflavored yogurt, 1/2 c chopped pimento stuffed
                 olives and 1/4 c finely diced scallions (use more green parts than white). Mix well.
             2. Other filling ideas:  lemon curd  or lemon curd mixed with flavored cream cheese (12 oz
                 cream cheese, 2-3 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla or lemon extract, mix well), good
                 quality preserves, sweet- Sephardic style harsoset ( see our haroset filling )

Step Four: braiding

  1. Dust your work surface with a bit of flour. Working with cold (but not frozen) dough, roll out a 8x16 rectangle. Brush away any excess flour. 
  2. Divide the dough vertically along the length - forming two 4x16 pieces of dough.  
  3. To form the braid: Along the length of the dough, lightly mark the piece into thirds. Cut strips emanating from the inside border of the right or left third, out to the edge of the dough. You are essentially cutting "ribbons of dough along the right and left thirds. 

  4. Spread a thin layer of filling along the center third An bring a thin strip of the dough over the edge of the cheese and fold over the top ribbon at an angle. Press into place. 

5. Continue folding over the ribbons of dough, by alternating sides and pressing the edges onto the dough. 

6. Continue until the bottom strip, folding a thin strip up to enclose the cheese and tucking the last ribbon of dough.  Move the braided loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for 2nd loaf. 

7. Cover and let rise in a draft free place for 1- 1.5 hours. Rising time varies, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The dough will look puffy when risen, although it will not double in bulk. Preheat the oven, 400 degrees. 

8. Egg wash: 1 whole egg, 1 Tbsp water, pinch salt (optional). Lightly spread egg wash over the dough. You can sprinkle with a non-melting sugar.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan after 10-12 minutes.  The pastry should look well cooked, not pale brown. 

9. Remove from the oven and cool. You can optionally brush with water-thinned apple jelly to create a shiny "skin" on the pastry. 

Baked pastries can be double wrapped and kept in the freezer for a month or two. 

Other delicious yeast-dough pastry on this blog include: Walnut- Maple Rugelach and  Yeast Hamantachen .  Happy Dessert Eating. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Viennese Style Fruit Tart (Fig- Orange variation)

Viennese Style Fruit Tart 
Fig-Orange Variation 

Fresh figs!  Picked and frozen at the end of the summer.  What a treat in February. 

Defrost frozen, whole figs, halve the fruit. Substitute a good quality orange marmalade for the preserve in the original recipe. 

Find the recipe at :Viennese Style Fruit Tart 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Yeast Cake Roll (Pastry dough) with chocolate or cinnamon or chocolate-orange filling

This yeast cake is flaky and pareve. Perfect with a cup of coffee, not too sweet as a breakfast treat. 
The recipe is a variation of "Coffee Cake Dough" by Ginsberg and Berg (Inside the Jewish Bakery). 

I love the recipes in Inside the Jewish Bakery, but at the same time I prefer my bake goods to be pareve.  Try the recipe once and see if you miss the butter. 

This dough needs a strong prolonged kneading period, you should use a Kitchenaid or electric mixer.
Mixing bowl  
Measuring spoons , cups
Rolling pin 
Frosting spreader or butter knife
Baking sheet , lined with baking parchment 

  • The method for making the dough is somewhere between a cake dough and a yeast dough. It's not hard to make, but will need an extended kneading period at speed 2 or 3 on the stand mixer (8-10 minutes). 
  • Once the dough is made it will need a 45- 60 minute proofing (rising) period. It can be covered and placed in the fridge to rise if you find you have other things to do.  If you chill the dough, allow about an hour to come to room temperature and continue to assemble the cake.
  • The assembly will remind some of you of making rugelach; however, the dough will handle somewhat like pie dough. 
  • There is no second proofing, so preheat the oven while you are assembling the cake rolls and pop in the oven once you've fully assembled. 

1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 c coconut oil
2 large egg + 1 yolk
1 large egg white (for egg wash)
2/3 c water
2 1/3 c all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
Optional: if you are making a chocolate orange filling, add 1- 1.5 tsp orange oil to the dough.

Filling 1
1 can cake filling (e.g. chocolate shmear, cinnamon shmear, nutella,  Israeli chocolate spread, etc,) . For schmears - use the 8 oz can. All of the spreads are easier to work with if you warm them a bit - you want a very thin layer of filling.  If you have left over spread, wrap it and store in the fridge and use as you might jam for cookies or toast. 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 cup sliced almonds

Chocolate-Orange filling option 2:
Substitute the single flavor filling for a combination of orange marmalade and chocolate smear. Warm the mixture a bit to spread. For 2 loaves I used about 10 oz of the mixed spread.
Brown sugar and almonds as above.

  • combine the flour and yeast in a small bowl, set aside
  • cream the coconut oil and sugar, beat well until fluffy
  • add the whole egg plus yolk and salt, continue mixing 
  • add the water
  • add the flour/yeast mixture 
  • beat at speed 2 or 3 until the entire dough holds together and comes away from the side of the bowl, this could take up to 8-10 minutes 

  • cover the dough and set aside to proof for 45-60 minutes 
  • if you do not plan to complete the baking project at this time, place in the fridge and chill for up to 12 hours, remove from fridge and let the dough come to room temperature (about 45-60 minutes)

  • the proofed dough will be puffy and smooth 
  • gently fold and de-gas 
  • divide the dough in half 
  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees 

  • cover the piece of dough you are not working with
  • dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thin sheet (approximately 20"x 12") 

  •  spread 1/2 of the spread  over the dough in a thin layer, leaving a border of about 1 inch along all sides
  • sprinkle 1/4- 1/3 c sliced almonds on top of the spread
  • sprinkle about 1/4 c brown sugar on top of the spread-almonds 

  • begin rolling up the dough along the long edge
  • flatten the roll as you move it along 
  • if necessary, use a flexible scraper to help move the dough along  

  • fold in the end piece, it will help form a better shaped log 
  • continue to roll and flatten the roll 

  • finish rolling, the seam should be on the bottom, flatten a bit with your palm
  • repeat with the process with 2nd dough portion  

  •  use the rolling pin to create an indentation running down the center of the log 

  • brush the egg white onto both logs 

  •  sprinkle almonds and brown sugar (about 1/4 c of each) , do not cut through or across the entire log 
  • place in middle shelf of the oven 
  • bake 30-35 minutes 
  • cool, loosely cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or store in the refrigerator 

Apricot Cinnamon Babka Ring

  • for longer storage, double wrap and freeze 

 Filling variation: chocolate spread/orange marmalade. 

Looking for something a bit more "cakey?"  Try Bread and Babka's  Apricot Cinnamon Babka Ring

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sauteed Onion- Fig Relish (Quick and Easy)

It's closing in on the end of fig season and we're trying all sorts of things in our kitchen. This onion-fig relish is simple, quick and delicious. Serve it with any protein- meat, fish, cheese, tofu.

If you're lucky enough to have access to fresh figs, here is another recipe to try.

10-12 figs, quartered
2 medium onions, sliced thin
a splash of good balsamic vinegar
several tablespoons of neutral oil

1. Slice onions, quarter figs

2. Heat oil, slowly saute onion, until they are softened and just starting to brown (10-15 minutes)

3. Add the figs and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook slowly until the liquid thickens into a syrup (approximately 10 minutes).

5. Serve warm or room temperature, as an accompaniment /relish. Yield: approximately 2 cups.

Other condiments on BreadandBabka you might like to try:
Fresh Peach Chutney   and Oregano Pesto with walnuts and orange

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fresh Peach Chutney

Peaches, figs, and soon, early apples. Late summer/ early fall in the Garden State! 
This is an easy condiment made on the stove top. 
This condiment is NOT processed. It will keep in your fridge for a week to 10 days. 
Use the heaviest bottom covered saucepan you have to avoid burning on the bottom. 

Heavy bottom 2 quart saucepan 
Measuring cups, mixing spoons, mixing bowl 
Sharp paring knife, cutting board 
Storage jars 

The ingredients are more a guide than a hard and fast recipe, feel free to improvise, the results will surely be delicious. 
4-5 large, slightly under-ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, diced
1" piece ginger, peeled and sliced into 2 or 3 pieces 
2 - slices red onion (about 1/2 inch slices), chopped 
1/2 small shallot, diced finely
1/2 sweet pepper diced (it's pretty to use a mix of green and red)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar (you may want a bit more, correct after the mixture is cooked and cooled)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2 cinnamon sticks

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl
  • Pour into the saucepan and bring to a simmer
  • Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, onion pieces will soften, the peach pieces will be soft, but intact
  • Cool and pour into clean jars , cover and keep in the refrigerator
  • The chutney will stay for 7- 10 days 
  • Other additions/flavorings you may consider: a small hot pepper, 1-2 cloves of garlic, diced celery pieces, slivered almonds. Use your imagination and share the ideas on this post! 

 Want to try another delicious condiment on BreadandBabka?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Blackberry Ice Cream

Blackberry Ice Cream 

New Jersey is known for summertime blueberries, peaches and tomatoes. Who knew that blackberries are also grown all over the state!  This past week we've gone blackberry picking twice, so we've had delicious blackberries out of hand, blackberry yogurt, a blackberry cobbler and here, you have a photo of very delicious - and easy to make- blackberry ice cream. The only trick is that you'll need an ice cream maker.  #jerseyfreshlove  !!!!

Measuring cups and spoons
Ice cream maker
Cute ice cream dishes (optional)


  • 4 cups half and half OR 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cups half and half . Try to find cream that is NOT ultra pasteurized- I use Whole Foods house brand
  • 3/4- 1 c granulated sugar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp raspberry or pomegranate fountain flavor - this is stocked at LorAnn Oils 
  • 1-2 tsp vodka (optional)  
  • 1 1/2 c lightly crushed fresh blackberries 
  1. Combine very cold cream and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the flavors and mix well. 
  2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process as per the machine's instructions.
  3. Mix the vodka into the fruit. A few minutes prior to the mixture being finished add the fruit to the soft ice cream and mix for several minutes more. 
  4. Pour into a container, cover and freeze until very firm. 
  5. Enjoy this very special summer treat! 

Other frozen dessert recipes on : 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Frozen Peach Dessert (peach non-dairy ice "cream")

Frozen Peach Dessert 

Its summer, it's hot (3rd day of a heat advisory in our area) and Shabbat is coming. We've been living without a working kitchen for months, but now that we're back in the kitchen, even with air conditioning,  it's unpleasant to bake. 

We purchased a container of Trader Joe's non-dairy cherry-chocolate chunk non dairy frozen dessert, but there are gorgeous, slightly under-ripe peaches in our fridge. There is no crime to have two flavors of non dairy ice cream for dessert, is there? 

I made this frozen dessert with unsweetened almond-coconut milk. I would think you can use your favorite (soy? rice? hemp? almond?) . The consistency of this peach dessert is not creamy or smooth,  it's more reminiscent of a chunky fruit sorbet. The yield is a bit more than a quart. 

Plan ahead and keep your ingredients very cold:
Making frozen ice cream, sorbet, ices, non-dairy ice "cream" in a regular ice cream maker requires that you have the space and remember to keep the freezer container frozen. There are options for more expensive machines that house a freezer unit within the machine, although there is a dramatic price difference.  

Pre-freezing will take at least 12 hours, although in my chest freezer I like to have the container frozen at least 24 hours. I have two containers and paddles for my Cuisinart ice cream maker, for dairy and non-dairy recipes. 

Prep your ingredients and then chill them at least 6-8 hours. I often prep the ingredients and then chill them overnight. 

measuring spoons, cups, silicone spatula
food processor, blender or immersion blender
ice cream maker (use according to instruction)

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar 
4 medium peaches, slightly under-ripe, peeled, pitted and diced 
2 tsp peach flavor, available from LorAnn Oils 
1 1/2 (scant) cup unsweetened almond-coconut milk 
3 T vodka or peach or orange liquor 

1. Freeze the ice cream container at least a day ahead. 
2.Prepare the peaches
3. Make a simple syrup, mixing water and sugar and heating to a slow simmer. Turn off the heat, add the peaches and cover the pot. Cool 
4. Puree approximately half of the syrup and fruit. Mix with the un-pureed portion. Cover and chill at least six hours
5. Chill the almond-coconut milk at this time
6. Mix the fruit puree, peach flavor and almond-coconut milk 
7. Pour mixture into frozen container and process according to the machine instructions.
8. Just before you are ready to stop processing add 3 T of vodka or liquor, process another few minutes. 
9. Pour into a clean container, cover and freeze further to desired consistency. 

Enjoy and cool off !

Other frozen desserts on BreadandBabka: Creamsicle Sorbet  and Blueberry-Lemonade Sorbet