Author George Greenstein has a gift for teaching home bakers to think, work and bake like the pros with his evocative and tactile descriptions of baking. In A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets (Ten Speed Press, 2015), he crafts master dough recipes for Jewish holiday baking and European classics, creating a comprehensive set of building blocks for both beginners and baking enthusiasts. The book also offers an in-depth guide to ingredients and equipment, including both professional and home ovens, as well as 40 basic recipes for fillings, icings, and glazes. With Greenstein's steady guidance and familiar voice, home bakers and professionals alike will be encouraged to turn out flawless pastry creations for any occasion.
Some bakers use half butter and half vegetable shortening for a flakier pastry, but I suggest all butter. Mix by hand or with a paddle in a stand mixer.
Danish Pastry Dough Recipe
• 3 scant tablespoons (3 packets/21 grams) active dry yeast
• 1⁄2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 milliliters) warm water 95 to 115 degrees F/35 to 46 degrees C
• 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 milliliters) cold milk
• 7 eggs
• 3⁄4 cup (5.25 ounces/150 grams) sugar
• 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 cups (1 pound/454 grams) unsalted butter, for roll-in
• 1⁄3 cup (1.33 ounces/38 grams) nonfat dry milk powder
• 5-3⁄4 cups (32 ounces/925 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour as needed
• 1-1⁄2 cups (8 ounces/227 grams) cake flour
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• Finely grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 orange
• Vegetable oil, for brushing
1. Flour a half-sheet pan. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water to soften. Add the milk, eggs, sugar, 6 tablespoons softened butter, milk powder, all-purpose flour, cake flour, salt, and orange zest and juice. Mix at slow speed, pulsing with the on/off switch so that the flour does not fly out of the bowl. When the flour is fully incorporated, stop and scrape all of the ingredients clinging to the bottom and sides using a plastic scraper or rubber spatula.
2. Mix for 10 to 15 minutes at slow speed. After 10 minutes, if the dough has not come away from the sides of the bowl, use medium speed for a few minutes, adding more flour, 1⁄4 cup at a time, if necessary. It is important to keep the dough soft. Don’t add flour unnecessarily. Remove and scrape down the paddle, cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
3. Punch down and turn out onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with a floured cloth or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes, or until chilled.
4. Before removing the dough from the refrigerator, allow the remaining 2 cups of roll-in butter to soften slightly and then cut it into 1-inch cubes. Put the butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat paddle. Pulse the butter with the on/off switch to break up the cubes. Work fast: the butter should remain cool.
5. Remove the butter from the mixer. The butter should remain cool to the touch. Don’t worry if some lumps remain. They will blend in when the dough is rolled. The goal is to try to have the roll-in and the dough at the same rolling consistency. If necessary, refrigerate the roll-in to achieve rolling consistency.
6. On a floured work surface, roll out the Danish dough into a 1-inch-thick rectangle measuring 24 inches long by 12 inches wide. First roll the length gently from the center outward to the edge, dusting with sufficient flour to keep the dough from adhering to the rolling pin. Then roll the width. Try not to tear the dough, but if you do, holes can be repaired by pressing in a little piece of dough. Use the dusting flour generously. If the dough sticks to the work surface, flip half the dough over on itself. Scrape the work surface clean wherever the dough has adhered, dust well with more flour, and flip it back. Repeat with the other half. Brush off excess flour from the top of the dough.
7. To roll-in, dot the butter over two-thirds of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border so that the butter does not ooze out while rolling. As if folding a letter in thirds, fold the nonbuttered third over the center. The goal is to form alternate layers of butter and dough. Brush off the flour and then fold over once more.
First Roll: Three-Fold
8. Turn the dough a quarter turn so that the seam is facing you, and dust with flour, top and bottom. Roll the dough along the length to about 24 inches and then roll to about 18 inches wide (about the length of your baking sheet).
9. After brushing off excess flour, fold in thirds. Gently lift or flip over onto the well-floured baking sheet. Make an indentation in one corner of the dough with your finger. This signifies that the dough has received one roll. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes.
Second Roll: Three-Fold
10.Repeat as in the first roll, above. Make two indentations and refrigerate. The indentations mark the number of rolls.
Third Roll: Four-Fold
11. Roll out as for the first two rolls, but this time roll the dough longer and thinner, to about 32 by 18 inches. Brush off the flour. Fold the short ends in to meet at the center. Brush off excess flour and then flip one end over the other (like closing a book), producing a four-fold.
12. Place the dough on the well-floured baking sheet. Gently roll and press the top down with the rolling pin so that the dough fills the pan evenly. Brush off any excess flour from the top and brush with vegetable oil to prevent a crust from forming. Mark with three indentations with your finger tip in the corner of the dough. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap so that the top does not dry out and place on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight on the baking sheet until properly aged and well chilled. Cut the dough in quarters, wrapping each section tightly with plastic. Sections can be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator as needed.
More recipes from A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets:
Reprinted with permission from A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets by George Greenstein with Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein and Issac Bleicher and published by Ten Speed Press, 2015.