Sourdough Danish Pastries: A Recipe from the Farm

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

sourdough Danishes displayed on a board

Flaky layers, delicious, with a dollop of jam, cream cheese custard, or both. These Sourdough Danish Pastries: A Recipe from the Farm are the perfect special occasion treat! It has become a tradition in our house to make these for Mother’s Day. I love how springy and pretty they are. Perfect as a dessert or a breakfast treat with coffee or tea.

A Fancy Farm Food for sure, these Sourdough Danish Pastries are a little time consuming but that bite into a flaky layered, jam and custard filled Danish really makes it worth it. Not to mention the joy this bake brings to the ones you share it with. Enjoy these sweet pastries!

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Ingredients for Sourdough Danish Pastries

bubbly and active sourdough starter
Agnes ready to make some Danishes

Active Sourdough Starter

You want your starter to be at least doubled, as well as have bubbles throughout. I love working with wild natural yeast.

If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet check out Learning Sourdough with Agnes to learn how to start your own sourdough starter.

Water

You want water that is room temperature and non-chlorinated, so that means no water from the tap. I use distilled water, but any filtered water should work too!

Whole Milk

Helping create a richness to the dough whole milk is an important ingredient to this enriched dough.

Brown Sugar

I love the fuller flavor brown sugar brings to recipes, so I opted for brown sugar in the dough, but just a little.

Unsalted Butter

You will use unsalted butter in both the dough and the butter block. I have done lamination with both a medium grade store brand butter and a name brand higher quality, higher butter fat butter and only noticed a couple differences.

It seems, the higher butter fat, butter was easier to roll out and had more flavor but other than that it was comparable to the store brand I used.

Egg

Just one egg in this enriched dough.

Bread Flour

I used bread flour to make this recipe. I like the idea of a stronger gluten formation for all the layers in this dough.

Kosher Salt

Just a little bit of salt for added flavor in the Danish dough.

close up of sourdough raspberry pastry

Making the Butter Block:

A pretty straightforward process, the butter block is made by sandwiching cut in half pieces of butter between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper. It is an important thing to have the butter cold but not too cold. I like to take my butter out about an hour before I plan to make my butter block. After doing this a couple times I know why the French have a different rolling pin…it’s to beat the butter down. Ha!

Shaping the Danishes:

You can do this a couple of different ways. I’ll explain my favorite way to do it first. I like this way because it keeps the filling in better and gives more consistent results.

  1. After you are done cutting the dough into 12 pieces take one of the pieces and roll it into a smooth ball. Then, with your hands, flatten the dough and create a lower center with higher “walls” around the outside. Place on a prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
  2. The more traditional way of shaping a Danish is to take the dough piece roll it into a square and fold the corners of the dough toward the center of the square. This also works but doesn’t hold the filling in as well.

Proofing the Danish:

Unlike most yeasted doughs, laminated dough should not be proofed in too warm of an environment. Proofing the Danish should be done in a 69–72-degree room. This is a great proofing spot. If the Danishes get too warm during proofing the butter may absorb into the layers and you won’t get as nice of layers or any at all. Be sure to be patient while the pastries proof it will take a couple hours at the very least.

The Danish Centers:

There are so many options when it comes to flavors for a Danish. Here are some ideas for you:

Jam Ideas:

  1. Strawberry
  2. Raspberry
  3. Blueberry
  4. Blackberry
  5. Lemon Curd
  6. Strawberry- Rhubarb
  7. Chokecherry
  • Cream Cheese Custard
  • Chocolate and/or Custard

The Sourdough Danish Making Process in Pictures:

Pin for Later:

Sourdough Danish Pastry Pin

Sourdough Danish Pastries: A Recipe from the Farm

Ingredients for dough:

  • 100 g Active Sourdough Starter at 100% hydration
  • 75 g water
  • 50 g whole milk
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 45 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 325 g bread flour
  • 5 g kosher salt

The Butter Block:

  • 2 sticks (16 T or 240 g) high quality unsalted cold butter, Tillamook works well

Cream Cheese Custard Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Icing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T whole milk

Instructions for Making the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer weigh the starter, water, whole milk, and sugar. Mix by hand to form a slurry then add the butter egg and bread flour.
  • Mix this by hand or with the dough hook attachment on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Then let sit for 30 minutes. This is the autolyse or rest.
  • Next, weigh out the salt and set aside. After the 30 minute autolyse add the salt and knead for 5 minutes on low speed.
  • After the 5 minute knead, place your dough in a separate greased medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Then place in the fridge for 10-16 hours or overnight.

Making the Butter Block:

  • To make the butter block take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Then, take your two sticks of butter that have been sitting at room temperature for an hour, and cut them in half lengthwise. Once you have them cut, place the butter pieces side by side on the parchment paper and sprinkle the top of the butter lightly again with flour. Place a second sheet of parchment paper over the top of the butter.
  • Next you can either fold over the edges of the parchment paper to create a rectangle to use as a guide and uniformity on your butter block or just begin rolling. I have done it both ways and both work well.
  • Roll the butter block to roughly 6” x 12”. After you have rolled out the butter, place in the fridge until ready to use in the dough and to let the butter cool.

Laminating the Dough:

  • After the dough has long fermented, take it out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. The flour may not be necessary, you will be able to tell if it starts sticking too much to the surface of the counter and you can add flour to the surface as needed. It can be a sticky dough.
  • With a rolling pin, roll out your dough to a 16”x24” rectangle. Next, take the butter block from the fridge and remove one side of the parchment paper from the butter block. Place this side down on one half of the rolled-out dough and remove the second piece of parchment paper. Next, fold the second half of the dough over the butter block and help seal the edges by rolling the dough a couple times with your rolling pin.
  • Next, take and fold the dough from the top down a third of the way. Then take the bottom of the dough and fold it up on top of the other third. Place the folded dough on a small parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  • After the 45 minutes remove your dough from the fridge and roll the dough into a large rectangle and then complete the fold again as above. Place in the fridge for another 45 minutes and then take it out and complete the last roll and fold. This is the last fold and creates 27 layers of dough. Place the dough back into the fridge after this third and last fold for 45 minutes.

Shaping the Sourdough Danish Pastries:

  • Once the 45 minutes are up take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 12”x8” and then using a bench scraper, pizza cutter, or sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • You can use a ruler for this to help you make the pieces as even as possible.
  • Next, take one of the 12 pieces and roll them in your hand. Then take and flatten them working to make a center with walls around the edge to hold in the fillings. Place the shaped pastries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 11 pieces of dough.
  • Once the dough is all shaped let rest covered with a damp tea towel for 3-5 hours until slightly puffy and risen.

Making the Cream Cheese Filling:

  • While the Danishes are proofing you can make the Cream Cheese Custard Filling. Simply combine the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and using a whisk combine until smooth. Store covered in fridge until ready to use.

Baking the Danishes:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the Danishes are done proofing take and add your desired fillings. I prefer all to have the cream cheese custard and a flavor of jam, but you can do any combination you’d like. Some all jam, some all custard.
  • Place about two-three teaspoons of filling in the middle of the dough. If you want them to be a little less messy stick with one-two teaspoon but I like them to be nice and full.
  • Once they are all filled, place in the preheated 400 F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely golden brown as well as the bottom of the Danishes.
  • Remove from sheet pan immediately and place on cooling rack while they are cooling you can prepare the glaze.

Making the Icing:

  • Simply add the powdered sugar and milk into a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Finishing the Sourdough Danishes:

  • Once the Danishes are mostly cooled take the icing and drizzle over the Danishes with the whisk. You want the icing thick enough so that it makes a nice line of icing. In the pictures mine was a little thick.
  • You can simply adjust the thickness of the icing by adding a little milk to thin it or a little powdered sugar to thicken.
  • You can enjoy them warm or cooled!

NOTES:

  • You can save the parchment paper from the butter block in the fridge for future use if you make laminated dough often. This will help cut down on waste.
  • Often Danish Pastries have an egg wash also. I decided to omit this step as I got a beautiful golden color without the added step.
  • If you would like to do an egg wash, simply beat an egg and a teaspoon of water and brush on the pastry right before placing it in the oven.
Danishes lined up ready to eat

Sourdough Danish Pastries: A Recipe from the Farm

These filled sweet pastries are the perfect treat to celebrate the holidays or other special occasions. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!
Print Recipe
sourdough Danishes displayed on board

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Danish Dough:

  • 100 g Active Sourdough Starter at 100% hydration
  • 75 g water
  • 50 g whole milk
  • 40 g brown sugar
  • 45 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 325 g bread flour
  • 5 g kosher salt

Butter Block Ingredient:

  • 2 sticks high quality unsalted cold butter Tillamook works well

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Custard Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Ingredients for the Icing:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T whole milk

Instructions

Instructions for Making the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer weigh the starter, water, whole milk, and sugar. Mix by hand to form a slurry then add the butter egg and bread flour.
  • Mix this by hand or with the dough hook attachment on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Then let sit for 30 minutes. This is the autolyse or rest.
  • Next, weigh out the salt and set aside. After the 30 minute autolyse add the salt and knead for 5 minutes on low speed.
  • After the 5 minute knead, place your dough in a separate greased medium sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Then place in the fridge for 10-16 hours or overnight.
    Ready to go into the fridge dough

Making the Butter Block:

  • To make the butter block take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Then, take your two sticks of butter that have been sitting at room temperature for an hour, and cut them in half lengthwise. Once you have them cut, place the butter pieces side by side on the parchment paper and sprinkle the top of the butter lightly again with flour. Place a second sheet of parchment paper over the top of the butter.
    butter sticks cut in half on parchment paper, lightly floured
  • Next you can either fold over the edges of the parchment paper to create a rectangle to use as a guide and uniformity on your butter block or just begin rolling. I have done it both ways and both work well.
    Butter sticks ready to be rolled out
  • Roll the butter block to roughly 6” x 12”. After you have rolled out the butter place in the fridge until ready to use in the dough and to let the butter cool.
    butter block ready for the fridge

Laminating the Dough:

  • After the dough has long fermented, take it out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. The flour may not be necessary, you will be able to tell if it starts sticking too much to the surface of the counter and you can add flour to the surface as needed. It can be a sticky dough.
    rolled out dough ready for the butter block
  • With a rolling pin, roll out your dough to a 16”x24” rectangle. Next, take the butter block from the fridge and remove one side of the parchment paper from the butter block. Place this side down on one half of the rolled-out dough and remove the second piece of parchment paper. Next, fold the second half of the dough over the butter block and help seal the edges by rolling the dough a couple times with your rolling pin.
    flattened butter block on top of the dough
  • Next, take and fold the dough from the top down a third of the way. Then take the bottom of the dough and fold it up on top of the other third. Place the folded dough on a small parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
    first fold in the lamination process
  • After the 45 minutes remove your dough from the fridge and roll the dough into a large rectangle and then complete the fold again as above. Place in the fridge for another 45 minutes and then take it out and complete the last roll and fold. This is the last fold and creates 27 layers of dough. Place the dough back into the fridge after this third and last fold for 45 minutes.
    the tri fold lamination process

Shaping the Sourdough Danish Pastries:

  • Once the 45 minutes are up take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 12”x8” and then using a bench scraper, pizza cutter, or sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • You can use a ruler for this to help you make the pieces as even as possible.
    cut into 12 pieces to be rolled
  • Next, take one of the 12 pieces and roll them in your hand. Then take and flatten them working to make a center with walls around the edge to hold in the fillings. Place the shaped pastries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 11 pieces of dough.
  • Once the dough is all shaped let rest covered with a damp tea towel for 3-5 hours until slightly puffy and risen.
    shaped and ready to proof

Making the Cream Cheese Filling:

  • While the Danishes are proofing you can make the Cream Cheese Custard Filling. Simply combine the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and using a whisk combine until smooth. Store covered in fridge until ready to use.

Baking the Danishes:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the Danishes are done proofing take and add your desired fillings. I prefer all to have the cream cheese custard and a flavor of jam, but you can do any combination you’d like. Some all jam, some all custard.
  • Place about two-three teaspoons of filling in the middle of the dough. If you want them to be a little less messy stick with one-two teaspoon but I like them to be nice and full.
    pastries ready to bake
  • Once they are all filled, place in the preheated 400 F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely golden brown as well as the bottom of the Danishes.
  • Remove from sheet pan immediately and place on cooling rack while they are cooling you can prepare the glaze.

Making the Icing:

  • Simply add the powdered sugar and milk into a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

Finishing the Sourdough Danishes:

  • Once the Danishes are mostly cooled take the icing and drizzle over the Danishes with the whisk. You want the icing thick enough so that it makes a nice line of icing. In the pictures mine was a little thick.
    drizzle of icing on danish
  • You can simply adjust the thickness of the icing by adding a little milk to thin it or a little powdered sugar to thicken.
  • You can enjoy them warm or cooled! Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
    close up of sourdough raspberry pastry

Notes

NOTES:
You can save the parchment paper from the butter block in the fridge for future use if you make laminated dough often. This will help cut down on waste.
 
Often Danish Pastries have an egg wash also. I decided to omit this step as I got a beautiful golden color without the added step.
If you would like to do an egg wash, simply beat an egg and a teaspoon of water and brush on the pastry right before placing it in the oven.
Servings: 12 Danishes

I hope you enjoy making these Sourdough Danish Pastries: A Recipe from the Farm and sharing them with family and friends. Perfect to celebrate something special or a special treat just because. Let me know what you think of the recipe! I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions below. Thank you so much for stopping by TheFarmChicken.

Mariah | TheFarmChicken.com
sourdough Danish pastries displayed

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What makes a Danish pastry different?

A Danish pastry is commonly just called a “Danish.” These pastries are made with a yeasted, laminated dough and filled with cream, jam, or both.

What is the difference between Danish pastry and flaky pastry?

The puff pastry which is know for its super flaky and thin layers is different from the Danish pastry. The Danish pastry is a heavier dough that has more in it such as egg and milk. It is more like a bread dough than puff pastry.

Is croissant dough the same as Danish dough?

Simple answer. No. A croissant dough is enriched with sugar, milk and sometimes butter whereas a Danish dough includes egg.

Other Sourdough Pastries to try:

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