Daring Alternative Bakers: Gluten-Free Apple or Plum Danish Dutch Braid Recipe

June 29th, 2008 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Blog Event, Daring Baker, Dessert, German, Pastry 28 Comments »

When I first saw this month’s Daring Baker challenge, I have to admit I felt some trepidation. After all, I’d never tried anything as complex as making a gluten-free “Danish Braid,” and to be honest, except for the braid part, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Was a danish bread like yeast bread? Or was it more like pastry? Should I substitute chebe and hope for the best? It turned out that danish bread is a cross between yeast bread and pastry. According to the challenge, “Danish dough is in the family of butter-laminated or layered doughs.” Puff pastry is the most extreme example of laminated dough, but “danish dough is sweet and is yeast-leavened, however, whereas puff pastry is not.” Our challengers said that while Danish dough wasn’t as difficult as puff pastry, the process of making it was delicate, and it was “a great starting place to begin to learn about laminated doughs in general.” Whew. Well, I sat out the last event due to a schedule conflict, but this recipe sounded appealing, if a little daunting. The trick would just be making it gluten-free. Luckily, the new Daring Bakers site has a forum for alternative bakers (both vegan and/or gluten-free) and I was able to read about the experiments of my peers. Many of their flour combinations sounded promising, but I was most drawn to Jeanine’s millet blend. I don’t do very well with millet, so when testing the recipe I tried one batch with teff flour, and another with quinoa flour. I liked both versions, but the teff is better if you like a brown “nutty” flavor, and the quinoa is better if you like a sweeter brown flour. The quinoa especially complimented the cinnamon apple filling, but ieither one was quite tasty. I was impressed to find the dough quite workable, although the layer of butter (Beurrage) tended too ooze out and make a mess. I rolled it out inside ziploc plastic bags and wrapped it up in saran wrap for chilling sessions, and that helped contain things somewhat. Also, I sprinkled my keynote flour (teff or quinoa) on the buttery parts as I rolled it out and that helped contained things somewhat. I was most excited when I rolled out the dough the last time and found that I had a dough that I could actually braid. It helped that I had rolled it out on parchment paper and was able to keep the dough on the parchment when I put it in the oven.

One of the fun parts of making any danish is deciding on a filling. Really, the possibilities are limitless. Here at our house, we are big fans of a traditional apple filling, and it compliments the cardamom dough so beautifully it was hard to resist. But, since I decided to make this recipe twice (in the interest of science, mind you), I felt that I really ought to experiment the second time around. Don’t get me wrong- I still made half of the second version apple ’cause it’s so darned good. But, I was also inspired by a recent Foodgawk sighting of Tartelette’s Plum and Rosemary Sugar tartelettes to try making half with a plum filling with rosemary sugar sprinkle. It was quite fortuitous really, since the only fruit I had in the house was apple and fresh plum, and I grow my own rosemary on the balcony! I also experimented with the lamination technique. An egg was was nice, although it ended up in extra eggs (No worries, I used them in a late-night omelet for the DH), but I wanted to try the dough sprinkled with seasoned sugar. For the apple danish, I was inspired by my Father-in-Law’s GF Norwegian Christmas Bread Recipe to sprinkle the dough with two parts sugar to one part cinnamon. I sprinkled the plum filling with Tartelette’s rosemary sugar. One note, though- wait until right before you are going to sprinkle the dough with sugar to combine them, as the moisture from the rosemary will cause the sugar to clump up a bit. Also, plums contain a lot of moisture, so you may want to drain them after slicing before using them as filling. I noticed that the plum mixture was fairly liquidy. The apple filling was also rather liquid according to the original recipe, so I added cornstarch and it was perfect.

When I brought the pastry over to DH for taste testing, he was enthused- and then he tasted the melty, sweet apple danish. To my surprise and delight, he loved it, and said he’d give it a “9.5 out of 10″ which is the highest rating he’s ever given out. The combination of cardamom pastry and cinnamon sugar made him think of Christmas, and he was completely enamored with the flaky, light dough. “I wouldn’t know it was gluten-free if you didn’t tell me,” he said, and I was thrilled. At last, a pastry that passed the glutenoid test! Of course, I absolutely loved the decadent and flaky pastry. The plum filling and rosemary sugar was a novel flavor combination, and went well with the pastry, although I might leave out the cardamom in the dough next time. The apple filling with fresh vanilla seeds was absolutely divine, especially with the cinnamon sugar topping and with extra apples.

This treat tastes the best the first day you make it, like most baked goods, but you can also refresh it by putting it in a toaster oven for ten minutes and letting it cool to room temperature the next day or even the third day. You know, almost every month when I see the Daring Baking Challenge I have to ask, “Wow, how am I going to do that with gluten-free flour?” Luckily I’m not on my own anymore, as I have my fellow alternative daring bakers to get suggestions from and learn from. Not only am I learning from my peers, but the recipes themselves turns out to be a huge learning experience. So far I’ve learned how to make a double layer cake, how to make (dairy-free) chocolate cheesecake pops, and how to make a gluten-free braid danish inspired by the best of Viennese cuisine. I can’t wait to see what we learn how to make next month!

Gluten Free Danish Bread Braid Recipe
Bread  Dessert  Dairy  European  
Ingredients
For the dough (Detrempe):
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup whole milk (I used milk infused with cardamom and saffron)
1/6 cup sugar
Zest of 1/2 orange, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 large eggs, chilled
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp. teff OR quinoa flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

*more teff or quinoa flour for dusting

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1/8 cup GF all-purpose flour (I used Rebecca Reilly’s blend with brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch, but anything is fine)

DOUGH
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. Add the salt with the (combined) flours and xanthan gum and baking powder, 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 10 minutes.

BUTTER BLOCK
1. 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.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 10 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and 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 10 minutes.
3. 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, 1/4-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.
4. 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.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids

Ingredients
3 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a saut pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and saut until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If youve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

PLUM ROSEMARY FILLING:
4 plums, pitted and sliced

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1/8 cup sugar

DANISH BRAID
Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
Warm milk
Cinnamon Sugar (Cinnamon and sugar, combined, to desired sweetness)

1. 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, 1/4 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.
2. 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 youve already made.
3. Spoon the filling youve 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.

Cinnamon Sprinkle:
Coat the braid with warm milk and sprinkle with even but generous amount of cinnamon sugar.

Proofing and Baking
1. 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 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. 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 degrees 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.

Directions
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Gluten Free Travel in Europe: German and Austrian Reformhaus Product Reviews including GF Beer and Croissants

January 11th, 2008 yum Posted in 3 Pauly, Austria, Europe, German, Gluten Free Beer, Gluten Free Product Review, Schaer, Travel 17 Comments »

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Produkte Ohne Gluten (Products without Gluten-German)
It should be no surprise to you, my readers, that when I found myself in Austria and Germany, I was very excited to explore the various types of European Gluten-free products offered that aren’t accessible here in the States. I had visions of arriving in Vienna and immediately dashing to a health food store (called Reformhaus in German), but it didn’t quite work out that way. However, before too long I did find some grocery stores, and I did scour the shelves until I found the health food section. Tip: just look for the rice cakes!
Supermarkets you can expect to find in Austria and Germany include: MERKUR, BILLA, INTERSPAR, EUROSPAR, SPAR, dm-Drogeriemarkt. I found Spar to be especially nice, as they had a more diverse collection of rice cakes. Yes, yes, I know. I’ve sneered at rice cakes many a time. Who wants to eat puffed cardboard when you COULD be eating homemade bread, fresh from the oven, or some lovely rice pilaf? But these were no ordinary rice cakes. They had chocolate and coconut dipped rice cakes, plain chocolate dipped rice cakes, and even Strawberry yogurt dipped rice cakes. YUM! My non GF DH was stealing them, that’s how good they were.


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How to find a reformhaus in Austria or Germany:
The rice cakes from the grocery store were nice, and some grocery stores even had gluten-free corn flakes or muesli, but I really wanted to explore Reformhaus/ health food stores in Austria and Germany to find out what they had to offer. We finally managed this in Augsburg, Germany. I had addresses of reformhaus, but we found it too difficult to find things by address alone without GPS or the internet. Luckily our hotel (Ibis) was in walking distance of the train station, so we used an internet terminal at the train station. I went to www.reformhaus.de/branche/reformhaeuser.htm, entered in the city, and got a list of Reformhaus. (Note: site is in German so the Google translation feature was very helpful) Then I entered addresses into Google Maps and came up with about 3-4 in walking distance of the train station. I was glad we’d mapped that many because the first reformhaus had gone out of business- luckily reformhaus #2 was open and I was thrilled when I found their gluten free shelves, labeled with “produkte ohne gluten.” Sometimes shelves will be labeled “gluten frei” or not labeled at all, but the products are all in one place so once you find the right section, you are set. I have to admit, I went a little crazy, although the pile you see above was actually the result of me stopping every time we saw a reformhaus and getting “just one more thing” to try. The two major companies in Austria and Germany seem to be Schaer and 3Pauly.


The best Schaer Products I tried:
magdalenas.jpgThis was the only product I bought multiples of on our trip- Although I’m not a huge fan of apricot, these jam filled sponge cupcakes are absolutely delicious and satisfying. They are also individually wrapped, making them perfect for travel, even on the airlines. DH liked them too. 9/10 I would buy them back home, too, for the right price.

crisprolls.jpgThese crisp rolls looked promising in the package and were just as I expected them to be. They are crispy, crunchy bits of bread perfect for jam or an impromptu sandwich- and best of all, don’t need toasting to be delicious! They aren’t individually wrapped, so it is best if you can put them in a sealed ziploc bag once they’re opened so crumbs don’t get everywhere. As time went on, they got a bit broken up in the bag, but they were perfect for a bite of bread with breakfast. I have a feeling these aren’t the healthiest of snacks- they have a strong margarine or butter flavor, but I didn’t care- we were on vacation! 8/10 Great for traveling. I probably wouldn’t buy them at home.

quadritos.jpgThese decadent little wafers taste just as you would expect them to from the package. Chocolatey wafery goodness, conveniently packaged. I’m sure they’re terribly bad for you, but they’re perfect for staving off depression after you watch your DH eat his 5th apple strudel of the trip. (That boy really loves his apple strudel!) DH also gave them a big thumbs up. 9/10 for taste 7/10 for high calories and being junk food. I might (guiltily) buy them at home, very rarely, if they were not too expensive.


Schaer Products that were Not too Bad:
ciabattine.jpgThese rolls, like most of Schaer’s bread products, require a toaster oven, so I didn’t actually try them until I came home. Once heated for 10-15 minutes in the oven, they have good texture and satisfying “roll” like qualities- a nice crunchy exterior and fluffy interior. The powdery corn flour taste on the outside bothers me a little bit- it can taste slightly bitter and “off” to me if I think about it too much. However, these rolls were pretty nice with some butter, honey or jam. Not good for traveling unless you have access to your own oven or toaster oven!
7/10 I might buy them at home, if I had no time at all to bake.


GRISSINI breadsticks were ok, but nothing special. Tolerable for travel. Good as a side with salads. 7/10 I wouldn’t buy them again, unless traveling and nothing better was available.

Schaer Products that were Not good:
baguette.jpgbaguette2.jpgI was really excited about these baguettes. It made me wonder why we don’t have any nationally available shaped breads available like this in the States, when Schaer has more than you can count. However, when I finally tried it, I was disappointed. I tried it three ways- first, toasted, and then cut in half horizontally. The bread was gummy and did not slice well post toasting. Then I tried cutting the bread in half horizontally and then toasting it. It maintained its structural integrity much better, and wouldn’t be half bad with tomato sauce and cheese melted on it- or some other flavorful topping. The bread itself had very little flavor. I also tried slicing the bread in little circular rounds- they were quite crunchy and would be good for crostini. I didn’t like the flavor of the bread especially, but it was ok.
6/10 for texture and flavor. I would not buy these at home.


scroissant.jpgThese gluten-free chocolate “croissants” were the biggest disappointment of all. It sounds like a good idea, especially described on their web site. “Quickly warmed in the oven, they taste heavenly!” they claim. They come in a two pack, with two “croissants” per side, for a total of four “Croissants” all together. These must be toasted to be palatable. They smell very gluten-free and bland. Toasted they taste just as gluten-free, and just as bland. The chocolate is mild and not especially sweet. Far inferior to other European gluten-free croissants. Edible but not deserving of the name, with no butter flavor whatsoever. One positive- they don’t taste rich enough to cause feelings of dietary guilt. 5/10 I would not buy these again, anywhere.


Schaer Products that were Pretty Awful
rustico1.jpgThis bread looks fairly typical for packaged gluten-free bread that is antiseptically sealed for long storage, a la Ener-g foods. I haven’t eaten Ener-g foods bread in years because there are so many better options out there- Whole Foods Bakehouse gluten free bread comes to mind. If I had any better option, I wouldn’t have eaten this bread either. I toasted it in safe toaster bags in one guesthouse that we stayed at- none of the others had toasters. I made grilled cheese sandwiches by packing it in the toaster bag with cheese between the bread- it wasn’t too bad. I would not enjoy it plain, or even with jam- it just tastes too bland. Gluten-free bread can be so much better than this! 5/10 with cheese, 4/10 without. I would not buy this again unless I was traveling and wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and had no other options. Bleh.


funkies.jpgFunkies taste like they sound. Funky. I thought that corn wafer snacks might be tasty. I was wrong. These are awful. DH refused to even try them after getting a whiff of the seasonings. I wish I hadn’t bought or tried them. 2/10 I would never buy these again, anywhere, anyhow. I wouldn’t even accept them if they were free.


FETTE CROCCANTI, gluten-free cracker toast- about as tasty as corn Styrofoam. They seemed like a good idea, but weren’t. I couldn’t even finish the package on the plane. 3/10, higher if you put really flavorful sandwich fillings on them. I wouldn’t buy them again as I disliked the texture.


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3 Pauly Products I regret that I wasn’t able to try more 3 Pauly products while I was in Europe, as I get the feeling that they are more innovative than Schaer with new flours. Schaer seems pretty comfortable with their corn flour, but 3 Pauly is experimenting with various teff products, and I say more power to them! I would have to try more of their products to really give them a fair assessment, however.

The Best 3 Pauly Products
croissantpkg3paul.jpg3 Pauly Croissants are a world away from Schaer’s travesty of a gluten-free croissant. They do require heating in the oven, and I found I liked them better baked more like 15 minutes than 10 minutes, but they actually taste buttery and flaky. They may not be the perfect gluten-free croissant (see the French products below sold through Amazon for a superior gluten-free croissant) but they’re pretty good! They have that guilt-inducing richness we all look for in a croissant, and taste nice with jam, or pretty much whatever you care to put on them. They are not quite as fluffy as they could be, but they were pretty good! 8/10, mostly for novelty. I would buy them again IF traveling with access to a toaster oven.


Glutenfreie Brezeln- Gluten-free pretzels- These corn-based pretzels are not much different than gluten-free pretzles from Glutino or Ener-g Foods. Great travel food; I ate them up faster than almost anything else. High in fat, though. 8/10 I would buy them sometime for travel on the road.

Corn Flakes These hardly need explaining- any gluten-free corn flake you can find should be good, and I was very happy to have them at breakfast time. 8/10 Great for travel but nothing special, persay.

The Worst 3 Pauly Products
lighttomato.jpgThese light tomato crackers were about as bad as the Schaer version of this type of cracker. They may be healthier for you, but again, who really wants to eat corn Styrofoam? Certainly not me, even if it is “tomato-flavored.” These might be ok with some great toppings, but I didn’t enjoy them. 4/10 I wouldn’t buy them again unless dieting and desperate.


Other products to be on the lookout for:
Gluten-Free Beer in Austria and Germany
Luckily we now have Redbridge Beer and Bard’s Tale to stave off our hunger for gluten-free beer, but it can be fun to try new gluten-free beers, and I loved the two Gluten Free beers that I tried in Austria.

brau.jpgThe German Schnitzer Brau is the best sorghum beer I’ve ever had! It contains Water, Sorghum malt *, Sugar *, Hops *, and Yeast *, and comes in at least two varieties- a golden lemony beer and a regular beer. I tried the lemony beer and it was sweet and wonderful for this hard-cider loving gluten-free girl! We found it at the Reformhaus in Augsburg, so keep your eyes open for it on the shelves!10/10 I wonder if I can Buy it Here I would buy it if I could!

upbeer.jpgAustria’s gluten-free beer, “Up Bier,” is made from a blend of Sorghum Buckwheat, Corn malt, Hops, and water, which may explain its authentic beer taste and complex flavor notes. It was really very, very good and I was happy to get the chance to try it at the Gluten-free pension in Austria. 8/10, perfect for real beer lovers. Buy it Here I would buy it if I could, although that lemon beer was really my favorite.

I also enjoyed little pizza flavored cracker wafers (Great with cheese), by an unknown company, and there were many things on the shelves I would have liked to try. In retrospect I would have tried less breads and more cookies and cakes- they don’t need toasting and are better for snacking. If I’d had my own kitchen with toaster oven I think I could have enjoyed more of the products- next time I really think we’d consider renting a place with a kitchen, or maybe buying a cheap toaster oven for on the road.

Want to read more about gluten-free croissants in Europe? Read Catherine’s story here about the French Croissants sold through Amazon now. (Also see slideshow below- looks pretty yummy, huh?)

Other Gluten-free European croissant options include the frozen ones offered by Dietary Specials. What I want to know is why no gluten-free companies in the US have jumped on this and created a gluten-free croissant? C’mon guys, what are you waiting for??? Are you really going to make us order our gluten-free croissants from France through Amazon? Really? Well… ok…

Or, you can follow the amazing Kate’s example and make your own, using her Gluten-free homemade Croissant Recipe

For more information on traveling gluten-free in Austria, contact the very nice people at Austrian Celiac Society (But don’t put it off until the last minute, like I did! Way too stressful!)

For information on traveling gluten-free in Germany, go to the German Celiac Society

Read about Carol Fenster’s experience in Austria and Europe


Traveling in Switzerland? Read this article on Gluten Free Travel in Switzerland

Traveling in Italy?

Let Catherine of a Gluten-Free Guide Help you! Read her gluten free experiences in Italy- sounds like an amazingly yummy trip!

Read about Shauna’s gluten-free experiences in Italy
More here

Celiac Travel on Gluten Free Italy

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