Wienerbrod (Vienna bread) is a multi-layered, laminated, sweet pastry. It was introduced to the Danes during a bakery workers strike in 1850. Danish bakery owners had to hire workers from abroad, including several bakers from Vienna, Austria. These bakers brought techniques and recipes with them. The Austrian pastry called plundergeboek really took off, and when the Danish bakers returned to their jobs, they adapted the plundergeboek for their local tastes (e.g. more eggs and fat), and the world-renowned Danish pastry was born. Wienerbrod has become a favorite throughout Scandinavia where every country has their own version adapted to local traditions and tastes. In America, they just cut to the chase and call the pastry a “Danish”.
Danish Wienerbrod- Cheese Pastry
- Medium bowl
- Small bowl
- Rolling Pin
- Offset spatula
- Pizza cutter or bench scraper
- Large baking pan lined with parchment paper
- Wire whisk
- Wire baking rack
Danish Pastry Dough
- 1¼ cup Bread flour
- 2 tbsp Granulated sugar
- 2 tsp Active dry yeast
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 14 tbsp Cold unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 1 large Egg
- ¼ cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Water
- 1 batch Danish pastry dough
- 8 oz Cream cheese
- ¼ cup Confectioner's sugar (for filling)
- 1 cup Confectioner's sugar (for glaze)
- 1 large Egg yolk
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 large Egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp Whole milk
- Fruit jam (optional)
Danish Pastry Dough
- Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add diced cold butter and pulse to combine. Flour/butter should be the size of small peas. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Whisk together the egg, milk, and water in a small bowl.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Fold together until evenly moistened. Turn the dough out to a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a small rectangle and wrap it well. Chill for at least 3 hours and up-to 2 days.
- Roll dough into an 8 x 15 -inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. With the short side at the bottom, fold the dough in thirds like a letter – top third down and bottom third over that. Rotate the rectangle 90° and fold into a letter again. Repeat process one more time. Dust with flour along the way to avoid sticking. Wrap in plastic wrap again and refrigerate for an hour.
- Repeat the rolling, folding, and rotating 90° process three more times. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Transfer mixture to a sealable plastic bag and set aside.
- Roll the dough into a 12½-inch square on a lightly floured work surface, Trim ¼-inch off all 4 edges. Cut the dough square into 9 squares (3 across, 3 down). Brush all 4 corners on each square with the beaten egg. Fold each corner to the middle, pressing down gently. Move pastry to parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Pipe the cream cheese into the center of each pastry by cutting a ½-inch hole in the bottom corner of the plastic bag with cream cheese filling. Loosely cover the pastries with plastic wrap and let stand on the counter for around 1¼ hours. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Bake – Remove plastic and brush the top and sides with egg wash. Place a teaspoon of fruit jam, if using, in the center of the cream cheese filling. Place both pans in oven and bake for 10 minutes, Reduce heat to 375°F (175°C). Bake until pastries are puffed and a deep golden brown, another 6 to 8 minutes.
- Glaze slightly cooled pastries by whisking the confectioners' sugar together with the milk. Drizzle glaze over pastries and serve warm or at room temperature with hot coffee or cold milk.
- Dough will keep in the freezer for around 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before continuing.
- If not using a food processor, cut butter into 1/4-inch dice and chill until cold and firm. Fold butter into the flour and continue on with recipe.
- If you want to add fruit, spoon raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry jam into the center before baking, either directly on the pastry or atop the cream cheese filling.
- Completed pastries can be frozen frozen up-to 3 months. Wrapped each danish in plastic wrap after cooling completely. Place them in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer.