Mother’s Day Danish Braid

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This weekend I over did it. Not with buckets of dough, but in my garden. I am determined to recreate the organic urban farm I had last year, but this time I am doing it without the aid of a professional farmer. Just me, a bunch of compost/manure and my dad, who happens to be a long time green thumb. I spent 12 hours prepping the beds and getting in some seeds. At the end of the day my right hand (the hand I write with) was so swollen I couldn’t move my fingers, tendonitis. The Dr. says not to use it for 2 weeks ~ 2 WEEKS! (I am typing this with one hand.) In order to do this post I enlisted my friend Jen to help make a Danish Braid. She is a great sport and it turns out quite skilled at modeling/braiding/baking.

The braid is made with the Brioche from ABin5, but you can do this same thing with any of the enriched doughs from that book or HBin5. We’ve done this same technique with savory fillings, so let your imagination go wild and let us know what you come up with.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Braided Raspberry Almond Cream Pastry (page 231, ABin5). I replaced the almond cream with a slightly sweetened cream cheese filling (1/2 cup softened cream cheese, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla), raspberry preserves and fresh blackberries.

The recipe in the book calls for 1 1/2 pounds of brioche dough, but we made a slightly smaller one (1-pound). Make them as small or large as you like, but just be sure to increase/decrease the resting and baking times slightly.

egg wash for brushing on top (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water)

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Jen rolled the dough out on a Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat, using plenty of flour, until it was about a 1/4-inch thick.

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gently stretch out the corners to create a rectangle.

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She transferred it to a sheet of parchment to finish up the braid. If you leave it on the silpat you must be extremely careful not to cut through the mat in the upcoming step.

She then marked a 2-inch section in the center of the dough for the filling.

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Spread your filling evenly along that center area. You want to use enough filling to get some in every bite, but not so much that it will leak out when baking. This amount will be determined by what you are using.

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Spoon on the jam.

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We used blackberries. I’ve done this same braid with peaches in the summer and caramelized apples in the fall.

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Using a Pastry Wheel or Pizza Wheel cut 1/4-inch strips on either side of the filling.

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Lightly egg wash the strips. This will act as a glue to keep the braid together.

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Stretch the strips, on both sides of the filling…

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then cross them over the filling and pinch the strips together. Make sure that there is quite a bit of excess dough beyond the point where you pinch them together. If you pinch right at the ends it will bust open when baking.

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When you get to the end tuck the loose strips under the braid.

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Slide the braid onto a Cookie sheet and very loosely cover the braid with plastic and let sit for about 40 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly egg wash the braid and sprinkle it with sugar. We used Pearl Sugar, which doesn’t melt and caramelize. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes (adjust the baking time for larger or smaller braids).

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Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

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Thanks Jen, sorry you had to leave before it came out of the oven. Your braid was not only gorgeous, but it tasted fantastic and the boys devoured it after school. I will get them to bake me another one for Mother’s day.

Other great Mother’s Day breakfast ideas:

Bacon & Egg in Toast

Homemade English Muffins

Aunt Melissa’s Granola

Almond Bear Claws

Fresh Fruit “Muffins”

Apricot Pastry

Breakfast Pizza

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

83 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Danish Braid

  1. I’ve been looking for something to make for Mother’s Day brunch and this looks perfect! Sorry to hear about your hand, I hope it heals quickly. Take it easy.

    • Hi Helen,

      Yes, I used a slightly sweetened cream cheese. I added the recipe to the post. Thanks for asking, I’m sure others were wondering the same thing!

      Cheers, Zoë

  2. Yum yum yum yum. Can’t wait to make this– Will the challah dough work, too?

    Sorry about your hand, Zoe.

    I have a question. My basic boule has been great but the crumb is not perfect for me. It is great around the perimeters– nice hole structure, but the center, and, therefore, the largest part of it, is pretty dense–

    Should I bake it longer? Proof it longer? Proof it shorter?

    Thanks and feel better.

  3. Is it possible to do the refrigerator rise method with a flatbread like the Focaccia with Onion and Rosemary? I’d like to roll it out on the cookie sheet tonight and then top it and cook it in the morning.

    Thanks and I hope your tendonitis is improving!

  4. Oh my word. I just finished the most fabulous dinner of BBQ meatball subs on HBin5 Wheat Brioche hoagie rolls. That was just a little slice of heaven. Thank you for the recommendation to make buns out of brioche!

    • Kathaleen: Yes we do– there are two doughs with potato in HBin5, check the index under “potatoes.” First book has potato-based doughs too…

  5. Looks great, and can sympathize with the hand problem, been there done that and am much more careful now.
    I tried the danish recipe for the strawberry from the site, and then while looking elsewhere on the net found a braid very similar, so combined them. I am considering making them smaller like the ones from the store, although those are mostly puff pastry, but am having trouble finding pearl sugar anywhere in town. Of course we live in a small town without a lot of baking items, so have to buy it when I find it!

    • Hi Eva,

      They are lovely as smaller braids and you can also use granulated sugar for a more caramelized look.

      Enjoy! Zoë ~ still typing with one hand! ;(

  6. This was very tasty, I’m going to make another one and substitute 2 tablespoons of goat cheese for some of the cream cheese.

    • Hi Christina,

      The goat cheese will be lovely. I’ve also done it with a portion of mascarpone and ricotta! Let me know how it goes!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  7. I discovered your book a couple of months ago and “yay”!! I do my own grain grinding and wanted to know how to take some of the great recipies that I use and adapt them to your method? I have some great bread machine recipes and hand kneaded recipies that I’d like to transform. I love to experiment, but I would appreciate any helpful guidelines or hints.
    Thanks! …Kezia

  8. You say in the recipe above, to let the braid sit for 40 minutes before baking.

    Yet, in the Brioche recipe it says to chill the dough before shaping. Chilled because the melted butter makes the dough quite wet. Firms up when chilled.

    Shaped chilled dough is usually instructed to sit-out for 90 minutes.

    ????????

    • Hi Helen,

      If you choose to use a whole wheat brioche with this recipe you can let the danish braid sit longer than 40 minutes, but for the brioche dough from ABin5 it only needs 40 minutes. Because you are rolling the dough so thin you can get away with a shorter rise.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  9. I’ve made the boule and the light whole wheat and love them. I just have to get a sharper bread knife for the crispy crusts. I am excited to try more of your recipes. I was wondering if you have a recipe that would work as a sort of puff pastry. I made a pain au chocolate yesterday and the dough was very hard to roll out (five times to 1/4″ thick) and I am very sore today. I was hoping would have something easier. Thanks

    • Hi Melina,

      None of our doughs are laminated so you will not have the flakiness of the croissant or puff pastry, but the brioche would give you the richness.

      Happy baking! Zoë

  10. Our family loves all of your breads. Our favorites are the pitas and the pizza. We have a large family (7 of us) and I was wondering if I could use 2 stones at once (one on two different shelves) so we could have two pizzas ready at a time Do you know if this would work and what adjustments I might need to make? Thank you from all 7 of us =D

    • Hi Sylvia,

      The issue will be cooking the crust before the toppings burn on the pizza baked on the upper shelf. You may want to switch the pizza from one stone to the other half way through so they are baked evenly.

      Be sure to preheat your oven for a long time to make sure the stones are good and hot!

      Enjoy and happy mother’s day! Zoë

  11. Zoe,
    You have such wonderful recipes… I love them all. I am writing to you in here, because I am having trouble with you http://www.zoebakes.com website. You might want to check it. Everytime I log in there, my computer gets infected by several virus, I love to follow your site, but I am afraid of doing it now, after I got all computers in my home (4 ) infected, and spending a lot of time formatting and cleaning up. It is a type of phishing that they simulate you directory and tell you that you computer is infected, listing 4/5 viruses, and you need to click the box to clean your computer. Once you click on it, your are doomed…. Let me know if you find the issue. It is too scary…. Love all your posts. Jane

    • Hi Jane,

      Thank you so much for the lovely note. I am deeply sorry about the inconvenience you have had with the malware on the sites. Many sites that are run on WordPress have been suffering this fate this week and I got slammed twice. That is the reason I have not done a post on Zoebakes in a while. It is all cleaned up now and I’ll be back at it in full force next week.

      I so appreciate your support and your feedback!

      Zoë

  12. Hi Zoe and Jeff, I happened to stumble upon your method while searching the web for some recipes. It seemed to good to be true so I just h-a-d t-o give it a try. It was amazing! I actually baked bread (and good bread). I baked the master recipe and the WW sandwich bread which is amazing. I am very curious to try the rest of your recipes but I believe amazon does not deliver to Israel. Is there any other way to purchase your books? Ornit

  13. Thanks Jeff, I had a chance to check this and apparently they do not ship to Israel with the exception of books and media? Anyway, thanks for you help. I can’t wait to get the books. Ornit

  14. Made this and Wow it was good. Used AB5brioche w/ that Costco flour that’s partially white ww.

    Tho, next time I’ll try adding some gluten to get more of a rise. Gonna try the spinach/feta/pinenut braid for a potluck on Thurs and rolling the dough thicker (so to get more “bread” part).

    However……my cream cheese/jam/berries sorta merged during the baking instead of staying seperate as in your photos. ???? Any thoughts? I baked it much longer, so it’d brown. And yes, used the egg wash.

    • Hi Helen,

      The merging of those fillings sounds like a very tasty result. The difference could be the extra baking or the type of preserves you used may have been a bit runnier?

      Enjoy, Zoe

  15. An artisan bread that I used to buy before I bought your book “HB in 5″ was a great granola bread. Can you suggest a way to make a bread such as this using one of your recipes?

  16. I suggest that Helen in CA should check her oven temp with thermometer, as the first time I made the Danish with strawberries from the web page, mine came out half done and pale, I couldn’t figure out why, but checked the oven and it was 20 degrees out! So next time I baked I upped it by 20 and it turned out beautifully. Nice browning and cooked berries.

  17. Could these be done as mini danish, something round with the filling in the middle, and maybe a few strips of dough on top? Not sure how that would work out, but it sounds yummy and more bite sized :) I’m going to attempt to make this this week I hope :)

    • Hi MommaBlogger,

      Yes, it should work out great. Just be sure to adjust the resting and baking times for the smaller size.

      Enjoy, Zoe

  18. I am trying the basic recipe for the first time. I measured out the 6.5 cups of flour – 910 grams of unbleached flour. When I added the 3 cups of water I didn’t get a loose batter, I got a clump that I could hardly get the spoon through. I subsequently added almost another cup of water. Why did his happen? Most of the other questions seem to be about the mixture being too wet.

  19. Oh my! I think this is the best thing I’ve ever made. I used the whole wheat brioche recipe in HBi5. It is fantastic!

    Thank you so much for the books and this idea in particular.

    • Hi Susan,

      So glad you enjoyed it! I just happen to make this with the whole wheat brioche in a class today and it was wonderful.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. Love your books, i purchased both a few months ago and have not bought a loaf of bread since! I am wondering how i could incorporate sprouted grains into the bread, i have made the Vollkornbrot with wheat berries, which is wonderful, but if i sprout the berries first how could i use them? Thanks again for the great recipes!
    PS I make the granola recipe (doubled) every week, we love it!

    • Hi Ruth,

      I have not yet tried adding sprouted grains to the recipe. But, I would just try adding a small amount to your favorite dough and see how it goes. If you like it you can try adding a few more, but you may need to add a bit of Vital Wheat Gluten to the mix to keep the dough from being too dense.

      So glad you are making the granola. I ran out and was so disappointed to see the empty jar this morning! ;)

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. Help on Almond Brioche–

    I don’t see anywhere in the instructions when/where to use the zest from 1/2 orange and the 1/4 c. sugar?!~
    Thanks!

  22. Got the books a few weeks ago. The buttermilk bread (p. 207) is delicious and a great hit with the kids. I use it for making soft buns for school sandwiches.
    Good luck with your new book!

  23. i made this and it was great. However, I continue to have problems every time I roll out dough. If I’m shaping into a ball, no problem. But when I roll it out, it is a sticky mess top and bottom no matter that i keep dusting with flour. By the time I made the mock braid, it was just a gooey mess. Had the same problem with making stuffed baguettes. Dusted with flour, patted dough out (didn’t even try to roll it), just kept patting and holding and hanging it. Couldn’t roll it up it was so sticky; used dough scraper but by the time I got it onto parchment, it was a sticky mess. Do you just have to add tons of flour to tops and bottoms of doughs if you’re gonna roll/pat?

    • Hi Kathy,

      It sounds like maybe your dough is too wet. How are you measuring your flour? We use a scoop and sweep method. If you spoon the flour into the measuring cup you will get too little flour and your dough will be too wet. You can also weigh the ingredients to get a consistent result: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=392

      Thanks, hope this helps! Zoe

  24. yes, i use the scoop and sweep, but haven’t tried weighing which i’ll try next. But I never have problems as long as I am just baking a round loaf; just when I try to flatten/roll it. My daughter tried for first time yesterday and she had no problem with sticking dough, but she left the dough on the counter for an hour before she got around to flattening it. Would that make any difference?

    • Hi Kathy,

      Sounds like your measuring is spot on! In that case I would recommend that you use much more flour to roll it out on. It will not hurt the dough in the slightest, not like a pie crust.

      By letting the dough sit out for an hour your daughter let the gluten relax, which in turn makes it much easier to roll, but it also can get sticky, which means you will need more flour to roll!

      Zoe

  25. i did try measuring a cup of all purpose to see what i got; tried twice and got 4 7/8 oz to 5 oz. Also tried measuring two half cups which is sometimes what i use and got 5 to 5.1 oz. so it doesn’t seem like i’m off there. Am using all purpose unbleached. Both master recipe and brioche recipes have been to sticky to work with if i flatten or roll

  26. ok thanks a lot; i was trying to be pretty sparing with the flour when i rolled it out, afraid it might hurt things; i’ve enjoyed your first book and made the master recipe, euro peasant bread and brioche; and i’ve ordered the new book as well. Love the technique and the bread is great, too!

  27. Yesterday I used the Whole Wheat Challah with wheat germ from the HBin5 book to make the danish. I made three loaves and used the cream cheese filling from above and then filled with my homemade strawberry and raspberry jams. They were wonderful. I only have 1/2 of one loaf left. Everyone loved them and couldn’t believe I made them from scratch.
    Your books are wonderful and I am so enjoying trying everything.

  28. This was SO good! After mixing all my ingredients I realized I’d forgotten the yeast! I ended up adding it after and it still came out fantastic!

    • Hi Mica,

      That is wonderful! I’m so glad that you just added the yeast after the fact, it works like a charm!

      Enjoy, Zoe

  29. Saw this wonderful braided danish cake and baked one last saturday and again on sunday.
    I did fill the second one a little bit different: with pudding (the stuff that is called “Pudding” here in Germany, it’s not the same as english pudding) and raisins. Both were instantly eaten and praised by husband.
    Beware my friends – the next weeks you all will be served this pretty and yummy cake when you come to visit.
    Thanks!!
    Betsy

  30. Hi Zoe,

    I would like to try making a similar fruit braid for a brunch this weekend. I am curious if I could make it ahead of time (the day before) and warm it up before serving.

    Thank you for the lovely recipe and good illustration!

    Hoa

    • Hi Hoa,

      The best way to do this is to form the braid, cover it loosely and then refrigerate it. The next morning preheat the oven and you can bake the braid directly from the refrigerator.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  31. I have a questions about the baking time:why is this one only needs 20 minutes, whereas the blueberry lemon curd ring would need 35 minutes? They both use 1 1/2 lb of brioche…….Thank you!

    • Hi Rosalina,

      The ring requires that you roll up the ingredients, so there are actually several layers and therefore it takes longer to bake. The braid is really only two layers of dough and so it doesn’t need quite as much time in the oven.

      Hope that makes sense. Thanks, Zoë

  32. howdy – with the holiday season coming up, I’m thinking of pastry-/bread-based apps, as they are both “make-ahead” and endlessly variable and almost everyone can enjoy a taste.
    Brioche is great for a soft, rich dough, but I’m wondering what version of dough or change in technique would make a crustier/flakier product?

    thanks for all the great info/books. Hope you enjoy the holiday season.

  33. Jenna: Brioche is by nature not flaky and doesn’t form a crisp crust. Which of our books are you working from?– then I can help you figure out which recipes might be a good fit for what you’re working towards. Can you also give some details on what kind of bread/pastry you want? Jeff

  34. This is an absolute must-make in my family. I substituted strawberry jam made last summer and didn’t add any fruit (I dislike the texture of strawberries after they’ve been baked), used the sweetened cream cheese and ohhh my word!!! This is definitely going to be ready and waiting for my family as they come downstairs to Christmas breakfast this year. Thanks for such a scrumptious recipe!

  35. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I already made the bread at least ten times with the same filling; apples and peaches; strawberries; and mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Always a success!

  36. I just made brioche dough for the first time and made this recipe with cinnamon spiced apples and honey sweetened cream cheese. I made it a pretty big wreath and it is almost gone! Thank you! I don’t know if I would have attempted it if I didn’t have your book.

    I am going to get a grain grinder this week and start making my own flour! So much fun and my kids love it. It makes me sad to think of all the times I have thrown store bought bread away because it was forgotten and moldy. Your bread is NOT forgotten but requested and devoured. Thank you!

    P.S. As I write this, my 19 month old is making the last of it disappear!

    • Sarah, be aware that home-ground wheat is pretty unpredictable in its water absorption. Be ready to adjust the liquids, sometimes radically, in order to achieve your expected consistency. I did a post on this, but it was a commercially sourced fresh-ground, and it performed just like commercial flour (see http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1165). That’s not the experience of most of our readers with home machines. Jeff

  37. I’m planning to make this for Mother’s Day. I’ve made brioche in the pan before but now I want to try something different with it. I’m not sure what filling to use but I want the fruit to be local. I live right here in Minneapolis.
    I’m thinking I’ll either do this, the raspberry-almond cream in ABin5, or something with pears. If I were to do pears, how do you think I could alter the recipe? Which cream should I use — this one or the almond cream? I really have no idea what goes well with pears since I am a (very) beginning cook. Please help!

    • Hi Seth,

      Local pears are going to be a challenge this time of year, but if you have a source for canned ones you are a lucky baker! Your best bet for local right now is rhubarb, which is just now poking up in my yard. Very happy times!

      Pears and almond cream are a match made in pastry heaven. Rhubarb will also go with the almond, maybe with some sweet preserves with it!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  38. Of course! I’m so silly. I have rhubarb in my yard too but I’ve only ever made pies with it.

    How many stalks wide do you think would be best? One, two?

    • Hi Seth,

      You will want to cook the rhubarb first, or it will let off too much liquid while baking in the Danish.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  39. Hello there…I would really love to make this for my Christmas brunch and substitue lemon curd for the almond pastry. How much would you recommend using? Also, If I wanted to assemble this the night before and put in the fridge overnite, do I need to let it rest on the counter prior to putting in the oven on Christmas morning?

    Thanks so much.
    Amanda

    • Hi Amanda,

      You can use about the same amount of lemon curd, perhaps a few tablespoons less, since it will spread more than the almond cream. Just let it rest on the counter while the oven preheats in the morning.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  40. I’ve just bought ABin5 and HBin5 (on kindle, will have to get a physical copy too!) and I baked my first loaf today. So far it’s been declared delicious!

    I’m wanting to make this for Christmas morning, but I was wondering if there is a way to get it ready the night before? Perhaps before the rest?

    • Hi Amanda,

      Absolutely, you can make the braid, cover it loosely with plastic and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake the next morning. Just preheat the oven and slip the braid into the oven, no need to let it come to room temperature.

      Thanks, Zoë

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