My goal for this season was to try my hand at canning. One project I wanted to try was canning raspberries so that I could make hamantaschen with homemade pie filling. I like seeing how made-from-scratch I can get. I had some leftover raspberry pie filling that didn’t fit into the jars, so I decided to make a raspberry cream cheese danish.
My favorite raspberry danish is the Entenmman’s version. I found this recipe online, and it looked basic enough to try to accomplish. It uses a sweet bread recipe as the base, then fills it with the raspberries and cream cheese.
If you look at the bread dough recipe, you see that it calls for a bread machine. I don’t currently own a bread machine, so I had to do some guessing. In a bread machine, you layer the ingredients in the given order, and sit the dry yeast at the top of a little flour volcano. Then you turn the machine on and wait till it beeps. During that process, the ingredients get mixed, kneaded, and allowed to rise.
Without a bread machine, I used the official Bread Club technique for mixing the bread: I used my hands to simulate the paddle. I mixed everything together in my bowl, then kneaded the dough. Kneading is a pretty straightforward process. You stretch the dough out long with your palms, then fold it in half. Turn 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading promotes cross-linking of gluten chains between layers of dough. That way, when the yeast starts to produce gas, the gluten chains will be able to expand and entrap the gas. Imagine a mesh bag filled with oranges. In kneading, you’re building the mesh bag.
Some breads have long gluten chains, and you can get really puffy bread with large bubbles. Certain artisan breads have these large air bubbles in the middle. For this danish, we’re looking for a more cake-like texture. After all, this product could be a dessert. Cake has a smaller crumb than bread. If you cut open a piece of cake, you’ll observe more of a grainy appearance, while bread can have more of a honeycomb appearance. How do you get the desired texture in the dough?
This recipe calls for 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of butter. It also has sour cream, and I used a fairly fatty version. All these ingredients contribute fat to the dough. The fat will lubricate the gluten chains, so the gluten will be blocked by the fat instead of bonding with other gluten chains. This process is shortening, because adding the fat shortens the gluten chains. Commercial shortening was invented to accomplish that same goal; hence the name.
Someone questioned me about the usage of Danish thymus in the course of this recipe. I used a sweet bread recipe, not a sweetbread recipe. It can be considered vegetarian/dairy.