baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

daring bakers: danish braid

Recipe: danish braid

The DBs (Daring Bakers) made DBs (Danish Braids) this month! You can find the whole gang of Daring Bakers at the blogroll. Our co-hosts for this challenge are Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? It was nice to get a break from uber-sweet bakes. This recipe allowed for some flexibility, which I loved.

we knead to bake!

The entire month of June was a bit of a clusterfuck for me, but I managed to get this done after several intended starts that were postponed for various scheduling conflicts. I had seen a lot of DBers post their results on the DB forum and I felt uninspired… why? Because 95% were sweet fillings and I was pretty burned out on all of the sweet challenges of late. I wanted something savory.

wet ingredients for the dough

the detrempe is ready for chilling

What I ended up deciding on at the last minute was one sweet and one savory braid. A sweet bread compliments barbecue pork nicely. I figured if I could omit the cardamom from the recipe, the orange and sugar would not be too overt for the pork. The sweet filling I chose would be almond paste because almond goes with just about anything, but is especially lovely with an orange accent.

butter and flour in the beurrage

blended until smooth

Making the dough wasn’t so bad. I had timed everything just right until I read the part of the recipe that said to turn the dough a total of 4 times instead of what I had thought was just 2 times. I wish I could do all of my DB challenges with tons of leisurely spare time, but it is never that way and so my “challenge” usually ends up becoming a game of how many times I can dodge tanking the recipe because I didn’t read the instructions through thoroughly enough.

spreading the beurrage on the detrempe


Once the dough was done and sitting in the refrigerator, I figured I could make the braids the next day. But once I had gotten home from my radiation treatment, I rallied and decided to bake the braids. The house was hot, which I normally hate, but it was a good thing because it reduced my proofing time on the braids’ rises.

the dough is ready

barbecue pulled pork filling

The first braid to bake was the pulled pork. Unfortunately, when I turned the braid 180° in the oven, I forgot to reduce the temperature (hey, I was on the phone with my parents). So it cooked a little quickly and was browner than I would have liked.

folding over the almond paste filling

egg washing the braid

The second braid (almond filling) turned out just right because I actually followed the instructions to reduce the oven temperature. Both of the braids were delicious and I am quite fond of the bread. We had weekend guests who raved about the two braids. I think I might try more savory combinations with this dough in the future. This one is a keeper! A big thanks to Kelly and Ben for choosing and hosting a terrific challenge recipe.

a savory braid

a sweet braid

Danish Braid
[print recipe]
from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking

makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

dough (detrempe)
1 oz. fresh yeast or 1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 tsp ground cardamom (I omitted)
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

butter block (beurrage)
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

pulled pork filling
2 cups pulled pork with lone star barbecue sauce

almond filling
1 egg white
1/2 cup almond paste
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

[Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.]

butter block
Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

almond filling
In a small bowl, beat the egg white, add the almond paste and powdered sugar, and mix until smooth and blended.

to make the braid
1 recipe Danish Dough see (above)
2 cups filling
egg wash (whisk together 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk)

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends. Lightly coat the braid with egg wash using a pastry brush.

Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90°F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400°F. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

102 nibbles at “daring bakers: danish braid”

  1. barbara says:

    Jen you amaze and inspire me. Fabulous Braids and fabulous Lemon Mirror cake. Great job despite the difficulties of post treatment.

  2. Anzj says:

    Pork braid; I love it!

  3. Melinda B says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Picture me with a Homer Simpson drool face while looking at the pulled pork braid. One day, maybe one day I WILL master yeast cookery.

  4. enza says:

    jen your savory braid is a temptation.
    as you I don’t read the instructions with the right attention and as additional difficult I have to convert all the measure in the metric one but…I agree is a funny game.
    Great job

  5. peabody says:

    I love the pulled pork idea! I bet that was seriously all types of fantastic! If it wasn’t 90 I think I would go make me some tomorrow!

  6. fanny says:

    Jen it’s all quite lovely around here. Your braids look gorgeous, and the pork one makes me wish I wasn’t a non-meat eater!
    I know I know…

    xx fanny

  7. Rosa says:

    Both braids look wonderful, perfect and scrumptious! I particularly like the pulled pork one! Gorgeous!



  8. Rachel@fairycakeheaven says:

    wow your savoury braid looks fantastic, am salivating at the thoughts of it!!!

  9. Marija says:

    Of all the braids I’ve seen this month, the one with the pulled pork is definitely my favorite!

  10. Kelly says:

    Wonderful braids, your pictures are gorgeous as usual! I’ve been following your sushi reviews and even though I have a real dislike of fish (even battered fish sticks which aren’t even fish!), your pictures are so droolworthy that I’m almost convinced to give it another go. Love your site!

  11. Aran says:

    beautiful braids!!

  12. Sarah says:

    Looks gorgeous and I love the idea of the pulled pork…sounds delicious!

  13. Barbara says:

    Yours turned out so great! Almond is one of the fillings I want to try next time. And being a Southerner, the pulled pork one will have to go on my ‘must try’ list.

  14. JennyBakes says:

    What creative braids you made. And your beurrage looks very different than mine did – I feel like I’m sitting here thinking “THAT is what it should have looked like.” Hehe..

  15. Jeanine says:

    Beautiful danishes! Great job on the sweet & savoury versions.

  16. Ann says:

    Love the idea of a pork braid! And I bet it was terrific with the orange and cardamom!

  17. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    Your pictures are allways inspiring. And that pulled pork filling I could swear it was calling my name!

  18. Michelle says:

    Two gorgeous braids! Well done! (Love, love, love the pulled pork idea!)

  19. Candace says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! As always, love the step by step photos.

  20. Mia says:

    Ha! That pulled pork braid is awesome – love the savory/sweet combo there…

  21. DaviMack says:

    Wonderful! I think that you’re the first DB’er that I’ve seen to have done a savory one – and it looks wonderful!

  22. Courtney says:

    That BBQ pork filling looks amazing.I wish I had made mine in a savoury version now after seeing this.

  23. Laura says:

    Wow, that pulled pork braid looks DELICIOUS.

  24. manggy says:

    Ah, this must be part of the flurry of activity you were describing from before– plus the Click event, judging DMBLGIT– you’re a machine, Jen! My silliness has got me thinking that a fly landed in the detrempe liquid (“Now why would Jen take a picture of that?…”). Of course, I wasn’t used to a detrempe having vanilla in it, hahaha :)
    Both braids look really appetizing, even if you say the barbecued pork one is over-brown. The sight of the sticky, oozy barbecue sauce has got my stomach grumbling!

  25. Mary says:

    I’m so glad you made a savory braid, even though they both look delicious. I toyed with the idea of a spinach, raisin and pinenut braid, but I chickened out.

  26. zorra says:

    I would like to taste the hearty one, right now! Yum!

  27. Molly W says:

    My #2 daughter said that your pulled pork is positively brilliant, and she’s really keen to have me make it. I think that the extra browning is just right for a savoury braid. Both your braids look wonderful.

  28. Cynthia says:

    I bow down to you. This was my first time as a DB. As my kids would say. Shawty lookin’ fine!

  29. Amy says:

    Oh, my goodness. Pulled pork in a danish braid? Sounds SO GOOD. I’m going to try savory fillings next…that was an inspired idea. Both your braids look lovely! :)

  30. Lorrie says:

    The layers of your dough are perfect! Both braids look delicious, very curious about the pulled pork!

  31. Dayna says:

    They both look wonderful. Yours is only the second savoury choice I’ve seen, must have been delicious – and so perfectly flaky!

  32. marion says:

    a salted danish braid ! fantastic !!!!
    Eveything looks so good at yours, I’m so happy I discovered your blog thanks to the BB :)

  33. Kevin says:

    Your braids look so good! I really like the sound of the pork filled one.

  34. June says:

    BBQ pork?? Inventive! It would have never occurred to me! Looks great.

  35. Syrie says:

    Jen, your mirror cake and the braids are amazing!! You make me want to try it in spite of my fear of pastry. Pulled pork is one of my favourite sandwich fillings, so I can just imagine… damn I’m hungry…

    Congratulations on a fantastic submission. I am so happy to have found your blog.

  36. Melanie says:

    Officially the first savory filling I’ve seen and I love it. What a great idea! As always, I love your step-by-step photos and the finished product is amazingly lovely.

  37. sunita says:

    Jen, i’m drooling over both your braids…gorgeous :-)

  38. silicone_spatula says:

    MMM!! barbecue pulled pork. sounds delicious!

  39. Madam Chow says:

    Pulled pork? My husband may want to move in with you guys!

  40. Tartelette says:

    Pulled pork danish…you are killing me…Seriously if we ever meet, I want a full Tupperware of it and I’ll bring one of macarons! Fantastic braids!

  41. Lizr says:

    Wow! I love the idea of BBQ (I am a southerner) so you can guarantee this will be on my next ‘do’ menu. Thank you for sharing this! Liz

  42. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Pulled pork in this sounds insanely great!

  43. Lori says:

    I think that is the flakiest danish I have seen so far! Amazing as always!

  44. Mrs Ergul says:

    Wow, yummy! The braid with the pulled pork reminds me of Bo Luo Bao! The VERY popular Hong Kong bun! Both looks so yummy Jen! If this braid recipe sounds so good (I had to sit out again), I must do it in time to come!

  45. breadchick says:

    OMG!!! Pulled Pork…. slurp….

    How incredible does that look? It looks the absolute best filling I’ve seen all day!!!

  46. Antonio Tahhan says:

    your braids came out beautiful!! I know you must be hearing this for the millionth time, but the pulled pork idea is brilliant!!

  47. kitten says:

    i too had the same dilemma and make a sweet and a savory braid… i bet the pork tasted so good with the danish dough. beautiful photos too!

  48. onespicymama says:

    Mmmmm…pulled pork! Inspired! Your photographs are always so beautiful. I feel I could just sunbathe in your kitchen – it must get the most incredible light!

  49. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Just as I expected, your braids are gorgeous! I absolutely LOVE the pulled pork idea! Genius! I am definitely trying that one.

  50. talida says:

    Both sweet and savory look and sound awesome!

  51. Sathya says:

    What a great idea. Your posts are always so fun to read and look at, thank you. Well done.

  52. farida says:

    Your Danish Braids look awesome! Well risen, golden, stuffed with creative fillings:) You did a great job!

  53. Meeta says:

    this is simply perfect Jen! I love the step by step pics – very helpful for those making this the first time. i really loved this challenge. and your idea of the bbbq pork sounds tempting!

  54. Shari says:

    I love the savory idea with pulled pork. Both your braids look perfect!

  55. mimi says:

    your braids look beautiful! i love the idea of pulled pork, i bet it was terrific with the sweet dough!

  56. Deborah says:

    I’m drooling over the pulled pork filling! Yum!

  57. kat says:

    OMG, I said I wasn’t going to make this ever again & then I saw it with your pork filling…hmmm perhaps i have to make it again now

  58. Joy says:

    Your savoury braid looks fantastic – so, so tempting. what the heck is a “clusterfuck” though?!

  59. Pam says:

    I love the idea of a savory braid… the pulled pork looks so tasty. Nice job (once again) Jen.

  60. Sweet Tooth says:

    That pork filling looks good. I try to hide this fact ( ;-) ) but I usually steer towards the sweet versions, but this one – oh my…

    Great picture where one can see the layers too.

  61. Angel says:

    Wow the pulled pork looks so moist and delicious. I didn’t even think of that as a filling. Genius!!!

  62. Patricia Scarpin says:

    It’s so beautifully braided, Jen! And I love the idea of almond filling.

  63. Ruth says:

    The pulled pork looks so tasty makes my mouth water!!

  64. Tanya says:

    I never would have thought about using pulled pork as a filling! How creative! I love your photos and your braids look beautiful.

  65. Adriana says:

    Great job!!! interesting the savory braid!!!

  66. Gabi says:

    Hey Jen- Great idea with the pork- it just sounds amazing! I am also a complete almond paste fan so double pleasure here :)

  67. Patti says:

    GORGEOUS. Seriously.

  68. Christine says:

    I really like the idea of bbq pork for the braid. I’ve made a braid only once but I love it because it’s quite the show-stopper for not too much effort. Lovely step-by-step directions, as usual :)

  69. Renee says:

    I love the idea of pulled pork in the braid!! It’s very creative and it looks so yummy.

  70. Erin says:

    Your braid looks beautiful and delicious! I love your ideas for the fillings.

  71. Milli says:

    your braid looks so so so so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and the dough as well, look at the layers!!!!

  72. BC says:

    Barbecue pork sounds delicious. I didn’t even think savoury but for those bakers who did, they look amazing.

  73. jillian says:

    Wow, the pulled pork braid is genius! My husband would go crazy for that!

  74. abby says:

    that pulled pork has my mouh watering jen!

  75. bunny says:

    your braids look fantastic, i’m leaning more and more to trying a savory one along with the sweet one!

  76. deb (anm8rchick) says:

    awesome work!

  77. Barbara Bakes says:

    What beautiful braids – looks like nice flaky layers to me!

  78. Jane says:

    Hi Jen,

    If I still ate meat, I’d love to try your pulled pork danish. I was thinking of a savory danish too, but since I put everything together at the last minute, I didn’t leave myself enough time to figure out what I wanted to do…
    Next time.

    Jane of

  79. Lynn says:

    Oooh, barbecued pork fillling! What a terrific idea. Both of them look gorgeous.

  80. CookiePie says:

    Ooooooh – beautiful braids! And pulled pork in a danish – OMG! Can I have a slice of each, please? Pretty please??

  81. Medhaa says:

    Thanks for dropping by.

    The pork looks delicious.

  82. JMom says:

    That pulled pork looks to die for! I’ll have to make this again and try some of the savory fillings from other Daring Bakers.

  83. Cakespy says:

    Your savory braid looks simply incredible! A flavor combination I would not have thought of–but would love to taste now that I’ve seen it!!

  84. jenyu says:

    Thanks all, for your comments!

    Joy – oops! Yeah, a clusterfuck is just a huge mess, but we used the term liberally when doing field work in graduate school and it’s a bad habit of mine ;)

  85. celine says:

    wow I would like to know how you liked your Pork filling savory braid it looks really yummy. The picture of the dough ” ready” is incredible. I love the look of your braid texture, crunchy, flaky, golden and perfectly moist in the midle. beautiful job.

  86. Elizabeth says:

    The pulled pork braid sounds fantastic! And both turned out gorgeous, nicely done!

  87. Mary says:

    Pulled pork looks fascinating and fabulous!! Very creative–and such lovely braids.

    And of course…I love your sushi photos. If you are down in Denver–you should try Sushi Sasa. It’s at 15th and Platte, pretty reasonable, and super yummy!

  88. Tamami says:

    wowza! it looks scrumptious! and the dough looks perfect! xx

  89. Dana McCauley says:

    Pulled pork – cool idea! Love your pictures.

  90. Julie says:

    Oh, man, it’s like a flaky pork bun–so awesome! I agree–almond cream does go with everything. I always think so … almond cream would go with bedtime, which is now. Gorgeous work, and as always, beautiful photography! Hopefully we’ll get a savory DB project sometime soon!

  91. Karen says:

    I love your idea for the savory braid. Well done! I’d love to try that sometime.

  92. steph (whisk/spoon) says:

    oh, bbq in a braid–a most excellent idea!

  93. Ashley says:

    Yum your braids look so nice and flaky. I love the photo of the dough ready to be used (just folded over).

  94. Dharm says:

    Oh Wow! You are just amazing! A Danish Char Siew Pau – a fantastic idea. And I love the ‘clusterfuck’ too – but that’s me, any excuse to find a new swear word!! Great Job Jen!

    hugs xoxox

  95. Katie B. says:

    You are a rock star – pork filling??!?!?! FANTASTIC idea!!!

  96. Jenny says:

    I don’t think I would ever have thought of pulled pork as a filling for this! Its great.

  97. Colleen says:

    omg….pulled pork danish. I think I have found nirvana :)

  98. Christina says:

    The pulled pork danish sounds amazing! Your pastry looks perfectly flaky and nicely colored.

  99. Paula says:

    Wow – your braids are amazing! And I’m so impressed with all the pics on your blog!

  100. Ivonne says:

    Oh my gosh! That savoury braid … I almost fainted!

  101. Dolores says:

    Oh. my. g-a-w-d. I’m with Ivonne. Bring on the barbecued pulled pork!!! Great job Jen.

  102. xolecita says:

    This is the first time I read your blong and it just made my mouth water!
    I am not part of the daring bakers club but I love this challenge and I am trying it on my own with a spinach filling. As you mentioned I too was disappointed of the lack of savory braids, but you broke that opinion and I just had to congratulate you for this awesome pork braid!

leave a reply