Do you want to save loads of carbon on baked goods? Then here’s a recipe that will save you the drive to the posh bakery to get a Danish or equivalent and makes a heap of goods for the price of two bought cakes.

This dough, which I learnt to make in 1974 is one that, if you have a small patch of sun, you can put it in a bowl, cover with a clean table cloth and leave it for the first rising all morning.


  • 2 pkts dry yeast (14 grams altogether but it’s not necessary to be hugely accurate)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tspn sugar to activate the yeast
  • 1 cup milk heated to just before boiling point (not skinny)
  • ½ cup of sugar (extra for the dough)
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 70 gms butter (1/2 stick for USA) salted or not as you prefer.
  • 2 eggs (large)
  • 1 tspn orange zest
  • 1 tspn lemon zest
  • 5 cups plain flour
  • Dash of olive oil
  • ½ cup flour approx for the rolling out process

Sprinkle yest over the water and add the tspn sugar and stir it. Cover and leave in a warm spot to double and foam up.

In your biggest mixing bowl, mix the milk, sugar, salt, butter and oil. Use a flat wooden spoon for this.

Add the beaten eggs, zests and flour and beat it again and then when it is combined into a nice dough, put a nice show on TV, tip out the dough onto a floured board and knead until it is a soft, pliable, elastic and smooth as a bay’s bottom dough.

Place back into a well-greased bowl and make sure that each surface of the dough is greased. Cover with a sheet of parchment and then with an old but spotlessly clean tablecloth.

Put it in the sun or other warm place and go and do something nice for at least an hour as it rises to at least double and should look spongey on the bottom.

Punch it down, tip it out on the bench again (floured) and knead again for 10 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 mins but no longer, then shape it into Danish pastries, plaits, rings. Little buns or whatever you want.

If Danish, roll out squares, put an apricot half or some berries in the centre, tuck the corners over still exposing the fruit and glaze with some Dr. Oetker’s glaze or even just red currant jelly melted and brushed over, or brush on some egg yolk. You could also add currants, sultanas, raisins or craisins or chopped nuts.

When you have your shapes completed on cookie sheets cover with a clean cloth and let prove for around 15 minutes or at least till the cakes are doubled.

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F (Mod. Hot, 190° C).

Bake around 35 minutes but check at 30. Cool and powder with icing sugar if you want.

Note that if you want the loaves to be even lighter, add a pinch of cream of tartar to the flour. (up to a teaspoon for the whole lot but no more).

The pastries can be frozen at the pre-bake stage.

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