Danish Pastry Bread in a Twist

dough-punch.jpgWhile reading an old cookbook I found this recipe and the instructions were so challenging and absurd that it just begged me to rework and revise for my readers – I love older cookbooks. Here it is in an easy to understand and undertake form. Perfect snacking for an afternoon or after dinner break.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) yeast
Sugar divided as below
—1 tsp. sugar then
—2 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. sugar
Milk divided as below
—4 Tbsp. then later
—8 0z., less the 4 Tbsp. previously used, then later
—1 Tbsp. milkdanish-bread.jpg
1/8 tsp. (a pinch) kosher salt
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract (no imitations, please)
3-4 Tbsp. milk or half-n-half

Get out a large bowl and sift or whisk the flour into it; make a hole in the middle & set aside.

In a small bowl combine the yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar and 4 tablespoons milk. Pour this into the hole in the flour and mix it in while slowly and carefully incorporating a little flour from the sides; you want to form a dough ball about the size of a lemon. You may need to pick it up, form it and place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth to rise for a 2 full hours.

Stir in the rest of the sugar, salt, butter, the whole egg & milk. Take dough out of bowl, place on work surface and knead until firm and smooth – about 5 minutes. Cover this again and let rise until doubled – will take 45-60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Get out a large-rimmed baking sheet and either lightly spray it or parchment paper line it. Punch down the dough and transfer it to your counter top. Knead it only briefly then divide into 2 pieces. Make 2 strips or ropes of dough about 18-20 inches long. Place these strips onto the baking sheet side by side, pinch them together at the top, then twist them together; pinch the end flat then fold them underneath the twist. Cover again for 15 minutes.

Mix the egg yolk with the 1tablespoon milk and brush bread. Sprinkle with the almonds; gently, very gently press the almonds into the dough to make sure they stay on. Bake for about 45 minutes, until it’s golden brown. Place on a wire rack and make the glaze.

Mix the confectioners’ sugar with the almond abstract. Add just enough milk or half-n-half to make a smooth glaze. Drizzle with a fork or spoon over the top of the braid while it’s still warm.

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