A Danish or wienerbrød as we call it in Denmark is a great snack and goes perfectly together with a cup of morning coffee or simply just in the afternoon when you are looking for a delicious snack after work.
Danish pastry consist of several different things like the traditional A Danish, tebirkes, frøsnapper and similar. The common factor for all these is that they are all called Wienerbrød in Denmark and they are all based on the same base recipe.
Base Recipe for Danish Pastry Dough
I have decided to dedicate this recipe for Danish Pastry Dough its own page here on my blog - simply because this recipe it is used to make several different pieces of Danish Wienerbrød. You can find all the recipes in the section named Traditional Danish here on my blog.
Read also: Traditional recipe for Danish Dagmar Tart
I have to admit that the first time I tried making my own wienerbrød I thought that it sounded difficult. However, luckily it is easier than it sounds. Actually, it is quite easy once you get the feeling of it. There are just a couple of tricks that you would need to know in order to get it right the first time. I recommend to thoroughly follow my recipe further down on this page and study the pictures further down.
Important Things When Making Pastry Dough
There are two important things I would like to point out when making a traditional Danish pastry dough.
1. Remember to let the dough rest in the fridge like described in the recipe. Do not skip these steps.
2. When rolling the dough flat, do it gently and take you time. Try to avoid breaking the dough, which will reveal the butter inside. This is also described further down in the recipe. Let the dough rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes between the folding.
Read more: Use the Pastry Dough to make traditional Danish Poppy and Sesame Seed Twists
And remember, practice makes perfect. Cooking in the kitchen, especially new and untried recipes, can be challenging. However, most of the times it is actually also pretty easy once you take the right amount of time and focus on reading the recipe - this is also the case for this Danish Pastry Dough.
- 25 g fresh yeast (or equivalent dry yeast)
- 150 ml lukewarm milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 325 g all-purpose flour
- 275 g cold butter (in very thin slices)
- In a large bowl, add the lukewarm milk and dissolve the fresh yeast. If you normally uses dry yeast, add this together with the all-purpose flour in step 3.
- Add the sugar and a beaten egg. Stir to mix.
- Add the all-purpose flour and the salt. Knead everything into a nice and smooth dough.
- Leave the kneaded dough in the bowl, cover it with some plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a flat square measuring 45x45 cm (18x18 inch).
- Use a wire cheese cutter or similar cutting tool to cut very thin slices of the cold butter. You can with advantage place the butter in the freezer for some time to ease the process of cutting thin slices. Place the butter at the center of the dough in an angle of 45 degree to the corners of the rectangle dough. It should look like a diamond in the middle of the dough.
- Fold the four corners over the butter. Make the edges of the folded dough overlapping so that all the butter is sealed inside.
- Again, roll the dough flat using the rolling pin. This time the dough should be a rectangle. Be very gentle; make sure not to break the dough and revealing the butter.
- Now fold 1/3 of the short side over the dough and then fold the other 1/3 over. It is similar to folding a letter, which is to go into an envelope. Wrap the folded dough into plastic foil and let it rest/cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
- Continue this procedure with rolling the dough flat and folding it. This rolling and folding process should be done totally 3 times. Remember to let the dough rest in the fridge in between each step. Again, be careful not to break the dough revealing the butter. If you accidentally break the dough try to cover the hole and use a little flour to make sure, the outside of the dough does not get sticky from the butter.
- Now the dough is ready to make any kind of Danish pastry. Find several recipes here on my blog for different traditional Danish Pastry like. Browse the 'Traditional Danish section'
Thank you for the photos tryin to decipher from the words with the folding thing from previous recipes had me a little confused so thanks for photos cant wait to give it a go
You are welcome. :-)
Thank you for the recipe. Would you recommend active dry or instant dry yeast in place of the fresh yeast?
It's not that important what type of dry yeast you are using. I would recommend using the type of yeast that you are familiar with. Personally, I would go for the instant dry year as it's the one I normally uses.
Gary in Montana
Being a Master Baker for over 25 years, I've found that any good quality dry yeast will perform. I personally prefer a fresh yeast as it works quicker than dry and imparts more of a yeast flavor and aroma.
Fresh yeast should be crisp and crumble easily.
A playdo like texture should be discarded,as the yeast is old.
I absolutely agree. I also perfer fresh yeast. Is has a better flavor.
no no no fresh yeast every time
If you need to convert the fresh yeast to instant dry yeast, multiply the fresh yeast quantity by 0.33. Example 50 grams of fresh yeast is equal to 16.5 grams instant fresh yeast.
How do I keep Baked Weinerbrød fresh to eat for breakfast the following day?
In an airtight container is your best option.
I just returned from visiting Copenhagen and can't wait to replicate the delicious pastries.
For step #6, do you use all of the butter at this stage -- and then later in step #10, it is only the rolling and folding in thirds that is done 2 more times? Or do you only use 1/3 of the butter in step #6, and do two more diamonds of butter later when you repeat the rolling and folding.
Hi. The idea is to use all the cold butter in step 6 and then only folding later. Make sure to use cold butter :-)
What equivalent of dry yeast do you use in place of the fresh yeast? I don't have access to fresh yeast but I know 25g of instant yeast is WAY too much!
Yes you are right. 25 grams of instant yeast is too much. For this recipe I would normally use about 7-10 grams of instant yeast.
Okay well I'm not using instant dry yeast and using bread machine instant yeast and 7 grams to 10 how would I do that in tablespoons or teaspoons
I always use my scale. However, it's about two teaspoons.
Oh Wow thank you. Iam so pleased that ive just found your website. I cant wait to try out your recipes as iam also half Danish and grew up with these delicious dishes and cakes.
You're welcome. I'm happy that you like my site :-)
I love your site, Kim. Last year I made your Kransekage last year and will attempt your Wienerbrod on Friday. Will it keep until Saturday for New Year Breakfast? My mother was Danish and I love to keep to her traditions.
Danish Wienerbrod will be good for a 3-4 days in an airtight container. If it gets a little dry then you can gently heat the bread in a oven at low heat.
Hi, are you able to store the pastry dough overnight and cook the next morning?
Actually I've never tried it before. However, I can't see why it shouldn't work.
Abigail Aston McNair
What temperature should the oven be at to cook the pastry and for how long generally?
Try to take a look at this recipe for A Danish
I read the procedure several times, I didn't find howlong you let the dough in the fridge between folding.
If you say 2h minimum up to 8h we are talking about croissant dough.
Sorry, I forgot to add this information to the recipe. Thanks for letting me know. The resting time between folding is about 15 minutes.
Though I bake a lot of bread, I have never tried pastry dough. I usually knead my bread dough for 10 mins before allowing it to rise. Approximately how long should I knead the pastry dough before rolling it out?
The dough should be kneaded for about 5-8 minutes or until it is nice and smooth. Try the knead it by pulling the dough apart and press it back together (Look at one of my pictures)
Hi Thanks Pictures, Instruction, all and all perfect Thanks a lot
Do you mean wienerbrød?
Ohh I can see my mistake. Of course I mean wienerbrød. Thanks for letting me know.
Thank you for the wonderful recipe and clear instructions. I made this yesterday and it turned out beautifully. I will definitely make it again.
Thanks for your comment. I'm happy that you like the recipe :-)
Trina M Macko
I am in the USA and confused about the butter. Are you using unsalted sweet butter or salted butter...? In supermarkets we have both. Love your recipe for the rye bread with sourdough... seems so wholesome and substantial with whole grain taste... I'll be starting the sourdough starter soon, then on to the bread! Thanks for your wonderful website and recipes.
Thanks for your nice words. I'm happy that you like my site. For the pastry dough, you should use a good quality salted butter - this is where you get the best results.
Excellent recipe. Came out beautifully the first time I tried it. Thank you!!
Do you rotate the dough 45 degrees before each rolling out like you would if making puff pastry?
No I do not rotate the dough 45 degrees before each roll out. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
Have you ever used grated frozen butter?
I have not used grated frozen butter - I normally use sliced frozen butter in order to get all the nice and thin layers we are looking for in Danish pastry. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
As a Danish-born American living in the US, I often miss wienerbrød, so I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. I'm not quite clear, though, about what happens from step 8 onward. After enclosing the butter, it looks like you would end up with about a 30cm square. What dimensions should the rectangle be after you roll it out? Should it be rolled out to the same size each of the three times?
Hi - I agree with you it can be a little hard to understand the steps in making the danish pastry dough. I have tried to explain the best I can :-) You can see Step 8 and onwards in the last two pictures on the page. After you have folded the dough over the butter you should have a square of about 30x30 cm. Then you roll it plat into a rectangle of about 30x50 cm. Then you fold it like I have shown in the last picture on the page. Roll it again into a 30x50 cm sheet and fold again. These figures are indicative only. I hope this makes sense. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
I have no way of measuring grams!
Is there a way of translating grams to teaspoons?
I normally always use weight as a way of indication amounts in my recipes. This is the most precise way. Do you have a way of measuring ounces and pounds? In the recipe I have a button called "US customary" if you click that button then you will get all the ingredients in US units. I hope this can help you. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
Maria Laura Pierini
Hi Kim, how are you?
My name is María Laura, I'm from Argentina and in spite of my italian family name, I have part of danish blood.
I love your blog and every recipy becouse I want to learn everything about danish gastronomy.
As my great grandparents came from Copenhague at the end of 1800, I’ve inherited danish patisserie love from my grandmother. When I was a child, I enjoyed her kitchen flavors and aroma that I keep in my mind until now.
I would love to keep in touch with you to learn and cook specially danish patisserie.
I study pastry making in one of the most important gastronomy Institutes in Buenos Aires and it would be great to be able to specialize in your's
Love from Buenos Aires
Hi Maria. Thanks for your email. It is always nice to hear "stories" like yours. I really enjoy how people around the world have learned about Danish recipes from grandparents. I already have couple of recipes on my site showing how to make Danish pastry. My recipes are all made by myself and I am no professional chef. I only have a passion for cooking in my spare time. Therefore, I guess you are the one who can teach me a couple of things :-)
You can take a look at the basic recipe for pastry and also the most popular Spandaur (which is called A Danish around the world). Again, thanks for you mail. I love to hear from you. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
Maria Laura Pierini
Thank you a lot for your answer!! I loved it.
I think that the real value of tour recipies is your own way to cook as my grandma did
I'll follow your blog to learn a lot from you
Greetengs from Buenos Aires
What do you think, would this recipe work with sourdough instead of yeast? If yes, how would you do it? I started baking with sourdough a year ago, love to use it, and would like to try it with wienerbrød too. Thanks. :)
Hi. I will not recommend using sourdough for Danish pastry dough. Pastry dough needs to have this sweet taste. I think the sourdough will give a too much "bitter" taste. Hard to describe. :-) Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)
Can I leave the prepared dough in the fridge overnight and then make spandauer with it in the morning?
Yes that should be possible. Regards Kim (NordicFoodLiving.com)