Here’s a nice Danish-style pastry dough that works as well for coffee cakes as it does for Danishes. And mark my words, this tastes as close to the real thing as we can get in the States. A mighty viking woman I once had the honor of knowing (until, sadly, she died two years ago) told me that she hadn’t tasted Danishes like these since she was a child in Copenhagen (and believe me, not even the Danes make many Danishes like this anymore). I usually quadruple this recipe, cut it into four pieces and freeze it in individual batches.
Danish Pastry Dough
For the dough (détrempe):
5.5 ounces (2/3 cup) milk
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) instant yeast
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose (AP) flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the butter slab:
8 ounces unsalted Danish or Euro-style (cultured) butter
2 tablespoons flour
Combine all the dough ingredients in a mixer and, using the dough hook, mix about five minutes until the dough is smooth and uniform (it will be somewhat sticky…this is what you want). Turn it out into a dough rising container and let it ferment for half an hour at room temperature, then put it in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.
When you’re ready to shape your Danishes, make your butter slab (and need I say it? Real Danish butter), according to the “How to Laminate Dough” instructions under the Techniques menu. Then carry on with the rolling and folding process for a total of three letter-style “turns”, letting the dough rest twenty minutes between each folding.
Put the dough into the refrigerator and let it rest for one hour, then use (or keep it there for 2-3 days). It keeps well frozen for up to two months. Most small Danish pastries bake at a temperature of 375 Fahrenheit for between 15 and 20 minutes, but can take longer of they’re filled.
Makes enough for about a dozen Danishes or two coffee cakes.