Tuesday. Day Two.
Having vaguely informed my unsuspecting daughter to ‘expect a loaf or two of bread’, I pivot and bake an elaborate Danish coffee cake. My goal is to not hit the grocery store for any additional ingredients this week so I decide to sub out the traditional raisons out for dried cranberries. I have a LOT of dried cranberries right now so relying on my frugal nature to use what I have, I make no runs to the store for any ingredients. While the dough is rising, I make another two loves, my go-to cheese bread which is divine with a glass of wine and some fruit on the side.
Use What You Have Danish Coffee Cake
1/3 cup milk (can be soured but increase sugar by another tablespoon)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup butter diced up
1 tablespoon active, dry yeast
3 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel (or a 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract)
Filling made of 1 and 1/2 cups dried fruit (apricots, raisons or cranberries, figs, dates…all work fine), 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar all boiled together for a few minutes until thickened. Cool and mixed with a 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds all work fine, use what you have)
Method: Warm the milk, sugar, salt and butter in a heated pot until about 110-deg F. In large bowl;, whisk the yeast in the warm water. Whisk in the milk mixture with 1 and 1/2 cups of the flour, blending well. Beat in the eggs, extract and peel until well blended and then stir in another cup of the sifted flour. Knead dough by hand or in a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook. Add in enough flour so the dough no longer is sticky and holds together but is not dry. Place dough in a greased bowl covered with a damp towel (turn the dough to coat with the oil before covering). Let rise until doubled, up to two hours., Punch dough down and knead out air bubbles for about 30 seconds before rolling out into a 13 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread filling on the dough leaving a one-inch border. Roll up, tucking the seam at the bottom when you place it on a greased cookie sheet. You can also make two smaller loaves. Over ad let rise until doubled, about an hour or so.
Preheat the over to 350-deg F and bake for about 27 minutes or until a thin knife inserted in the coffee cake comes out clean. Serve immediately with jam, butter and sprinkled with powered sugar.
Danish coffee cake is really a wonderful treat both for breakfast and afternoon. The cheese bread, one of my all-time favorites, is perfect to wrap a simple meal about. Some wine, a plate of fresh fruit, a chunk of cheese, a handful of nuts and with the warmed cheese bread slathered in butter, you have the makings of a memorable meal during these uncertain times.
All Time Favorite Cheese Loaf
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flaxseed, wheat bulgur, wheat germ or hemp seed, use what you have
5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup firm grated cheese (swiss, cheddar, Monterey Jack, again, use what you have)
1/4 grated parmesan or Romano cheese
Optional: a teaspoon of red Tabasco sauce
Whisk yeast in a large bowl with the warm water. If possible use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle hook. Add in the sugar, melted butter, wheat germ (or whatever you are using), Tabasco, and 2 cups of the sifted flour, mixing well. Add another cup of the flour and mix well/ Switching to a paddle hook (or by hand) knead in two more cups or so of the flour until the dough is soft but no longer sticky to touch. Place in a greased bowl, turning over to coat, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise for about two hours until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and work in the firm grated cheese and all but two tablespoons of the Parm or Romano cheese. Shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans, cover and let rise another 90 minutes to two hours until dough is risen just above the rims of the loaf pans.
Brush loves with a bit of melted butter and sprinkle loves with remaining cheese and bake in preheated (350-deg F) oven for 32 to 37 minutes, until a thin knife inserted in the loaves comes out clean.
As I said, best served warmed with fruit, nuts, wine and a chunk of good cheese on the side. Nothing else is necessary, this breads is perfection.
Before I give up the bake on Day Two, I start a sponge for another coffee cake for tomorrow and soak a couple of handfuls of dried cranberries in whiskey. I didn’t have raisons or rum but I still have plenty of cranberries and a nice bottle of whiskey. At least the booze is going to good use.