Make A Sweet Twist With Buttermilk Danish Dough

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on May 9, 2015

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.comIn the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I attended culinary school at L’ Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda. I was one of the many people in this world who decided to make a career change, so I left the medical field to go into the food industry. I can’t say it was always easy, but it sure has been a lot of fun.

The early 90′s was a great time to get into the industry, because I had many wonderful opportunities to study under some of the world’s best Pastry Chefs. One of them was Roland Mesnier who worked for 25 years as the Pastry Chef of the White House before retiring in 2004. The other was Dominique LeBorgne who had a star studded career in France that included training at Dalloyau Gavillon, and stint as head Pastry Chef at the Intercontinental Hotel in Paris. He won numerous culinary competitions across Europe and quickly rose in the ranks of the industry. He was then invited to open the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC and after a year or so, decided to branch out on his own by opening his own company called Le Palais du Chocolat in Takoma Park, MD. Dominique was an artist and a master of his trade. He was a perfectionist, and everything he did seemed effortless. I learned so much from him, especially about chocolate work. His untimely death left all those who knew him wondering what future he might have had in television– especially with the explosion of the food network only a few years away.

I remember the day we learned to make the European version of Danish dough — it was an extraordinarily delicious but excruciatingly laborious task. The dough is richly made with egg yolks, milk, butter, sugar and lightly scented with vanilla, orange rind or cardamom. It is very light and flaky, and very reminiscent of croissant dough. Compare this to the other more American variation of danish dough and you will find something very different. The American classic is a rich and moist cake-like dough that is usually creamy yellow in color and fragrant with lemon or cardamom and filled with just about anything — from almond cream (bear claws) to compotes made from apple, cherry or peach– the most popular being the  sweetened cream cheese used in cheese danish. These are very different from the ones you will find in Europe, but in a good way.

When I develop new recipes or research others to share with my readers, I am always looking for the recipe to hit a few points:

1. It should not only be delicious but should also be easy to put together
2. The ingredients should be easy to source
3. It should be versatile to use in a variety of different applications, and
3. It should look and taste like it took you a lot of time to make but really doesn’t

When I came across a buttermilk roll recipe on a blog called The Sister’s Café, I instantly knew I had to try it. I made it a few different times as cinnamon rolls and was so impressed with the taste and texture. It was very reminiscent of the American danish dough but without any of the fuss. Not only that, but the recipe can remain (covered) in the refrigerator and enjoyed as dinner rolls, crescents or sweet rolls throughout the week. I did make a few changes to help the recipe along a little. The first change was that I added 1 tablespoon of sugar in the slurry to help the yeast along. This is something you always do when you are using dry yeast, and is especially important here since we are using buttermilk (sour milk). The sugar is food for the yeast to help it wake up from its dormant state. The other thing is that after the yeast slurry rises, it is combined with the remaining ingredients. I have always had to add 6 cups of flour and not 5, as is stated in their original recipe, so I have written it as such here so as not to confuse you. Lastly, if you are going to use the entire batch for sweet rolls, use your favorite spice to add fragrance to your dough. Lemon, orange or cardamom work best, and I have included some quantities to get you started. If you want to add a little more, you can.

When my Facebook friend John Ross asked me to share a great dough recipe that he could use to make a Nutella ring twist he had seen, I knew I had to get my act together and finally write the post about this dough. As a gift to John, I chose to use some of the dough to make this ring twist, so that he knew how to go about making it from start to finish. I chose to use a cinnamon sugar and butter filling and then drizzled this with a milk sugar glaze, but you can use whatever filling you want. I know that John will make his with Nutella, but use whatever you like as long as it is not too watery. Stay away from things like fresh fruit because you will run the risk of the dough not cooking all the way through. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing other delicious pastries that can be made with this lovely dough, but for now, I wanted to make John happy by finally having the time to share this recipe with him. Happy Birthday John!

Milk Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 ½ tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add the sifted powdered sugar to a bowl and then add the liquid components until you get the perfect consistency. Make this a few minutes before the buns are ready to come out of the oven and once they are out pour this on top and allow it to set as the buns cool.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons soft butter (1/2 stick), 2 tablespoons for each layer

Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and set aside. Use a spoon or a knife to smear on the softened butter onto each layer and the coat the entire surface of the butter with cinnamon sugar.

Buttermilk Danish Dough
3 cups whole buttermilk, warm
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten (room temp)
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons lemon zest or
4 tablespoons orange zest or
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
Egg wash( 1 egg + 2 tablespoons water whipped together and passed through a sieve)
**For savory rolls you may choose to add a few tablespoons of your favorite herb mix

Before you begin, you need to know if you are going to be making sweet or savory rolls and prepare your spices, zest or herb mix accordingly and set it aside. Use a medium sized bowl and add in the yeast and warm water and whisk until it has dissolved. Add the 3 cups of whole buttermilk (not lowfat) along with the 3 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar and whisk together until you have a thick slurry. Cover this with plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow it to rest for about 2 hours at room temperature.

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Right before you are ready to add in the rest of the ingredients, you need to prepare your proofing bowl.You will need to add 3 tablespoons of oil into this bowl, and use your hand to coat the entire inside of the bowl. Set this aside until you are ready. Now, once your (proofed) slurry is ready to go, it will look like this…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Pour the slurry into a very large bowl and then add the 3 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 6 cups of flour, baking soda, 1/2 cup of sugar and your choice of zest or spices. Mix this all by hand until you have a uniform ball of dough. At this point it may be slightly sticky, but that is OK. Remove the dough ball from your large mixing bowl and place it into your prepared bowl that has been oiled. Cover this with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let it rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

It will go from this…
Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

To this…
Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

I scaled out 3- 8 oz balls of dough because I was going to make this ring twist with 3 layers instead of 4. I decided to use a butter, brown sugar and cinnamon filling since I did not have Nutella on hand, but use whatever you like, the principle is the same. Roll out the first sheet of dough fairly thinly, and place it onto a paper line sheet pan.

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Smear on 2 tablespoons of room temp butter and a few handfuls of the cinnamon brown sugar mixture to coat the entire surface of the dough.

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Repeat this with the 2nd layer…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

And top with the 3rd layer of dough…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Use a large ring mold to cut evenly around the dough. If you do not have one, then put a large plate on top of the dough and cut around it with a sharp knife. It should look like this…

IButtermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Place a small round cutter in the center of the dough simply to mark out (NOT CUT) this center piece…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Cut the dough into quarters from the outside rim of the cookie cutter to the edge of the dough…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Then cut this in the same fashion into 8 pieces…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Carefully twist the first piece of dough two times to the right…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Then carefully twist the piece of dough right beside it twice in the opposite direction, towards the left…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Turn your sheet pan around and repeat this with all of the remaining pieces of dough until you have achieved this…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Remove the round cutter in the center, cover with plastic and allow this to rise for about an hour…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Once it has proofed, glaze it with some egg wash and bake until golden brown in a 350 degree oven, about 30 minutes rotating the pan half way thru the baking.

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Once cooled, place it carefully onto your serving dish and drizzle all over it with some milk sugar glaze…

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Buttermilk Danish Dough, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar John Ross May 10, 2015 at 3:40 p

Thanks for the birthday present! Can’t wait to give it a go!

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet May 11, 2015 at 12:25 p

You are welcome John, let me know if you have a chance to try it!

avatar John Shoup October 17, 2016 at 8:10 p

Great blog

Adding Dominque Leborgne’s video to our site this week. Still looking for his date of birth
J

avatar Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet October 22, 2017 at 11:28 p

Thanks John, sorry for the delay in getting back with you…hope you have found what you needed!

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