Many people think of a “danish” as a type of iced donut with jelly in the middle, but in Denmark it is known as wienerbrød and they will have many varieties at the local konditori. In 1850 Danish bakers went on strike, so the bakery owners hired foreign workers from Austria to replace them. The Austrians brought their own recipes, which became very popular, and when the strike ended the pastries continued to be made as “Vienna bread” or wienerbrød. The base of wienerbrød is a dough rolled with butter in many thin layers making the finished pastry very light and airy. It can be shaped in many different ways and filled with marzipan or preserves or topped with nuts, seeds, or chocolate.
- 4 cups flour, all-purpose
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 ounces yeast, active dry
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- Sift flour and mix with sugar and salt.
- Mix yeast with a little cold milk.
- Add this, the rest of the milk and the beaten egg to flour and sugar.
- Beat well until smooth with a wooden spoon.
- Roll out the dough on baking board to 1 finger thickness.
- Spread small pieces of butter on 2/3 of the dough. The butter must have same consistency as the dough; if it is too soft it melts into the dough.
- Fold together into three layers like folding a napkin, first the part without butter.
- Roll out and fold again. Repeat three or four times.
- Leave in cold place 1/2 hour.
- This is the dough with which many different kinds of Danish pastry is made.
- When pastry is shaped, place on baking sheet and leave in cold place to rise for 15-20 min., then brush with egg white and bake in a fast oven until golden brown