Don’t you just love those Butter Braids the kids sells for fundraisers? I sure do! I started making my own butter braids a few years ago, and freeze them for making in the mornings for holidays. They are truly a labor of love, and take a bit of time (much or it resting time in the fridge), but they sure are worth it.
You can change them up and fill them with whatever type of filling you like. You can make a cinnamon-sugar filling, any type of jam or pie filling, or a sweet cream cheese filling. They’re just so good no matter what you decide to fill them with.
Here you can find step by step instructions, with pictures, on how to make them.
Step 1. Mix the yeast and warm water together in a small bowl and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy.
Step 2. In a large bowl place flour, and cut in butter pieces until the mixture is the size of small peas.
Step 3. In another bowl mix together the milk, egg, granulated sugar, and salt. Stir in yeast mixture.
Step 4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently just until they are moistened and come together. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap the dough up tightly into a rectangle, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Following is a picture of what your dough will look like after it’s been refrigerated for several hours, it will puff and stretch a bit.
Step 5: After 4-12 hours, take the dough out the refrigerator to begin the “rolling and folding” phase. Flour a work surface. The dough will be sticky, so make sure you have a small bowl of flour handy for this process. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 15-inch long rectangle, flouring your surface and rolling pin as necessary. Fold the dough together as if it were a business letter.
Roll it out into a 15″ long rectangle again. Then, fold again into a business letter. Repeat one more time, for a total of rolling and folding 3 times. Fold the dough up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.
Step 6: After at least 30 minutes, take the dough from the refrigerator, unfold it, then cut in half. Wrap half up and keep chilled as you work with the first half. Place one of the halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roll into a 12-inch x 8-inch rectangle. Cut off two corners of the dough on one end, and then two small triangles on the other end.
Step 7. Spread filling (not too much or it will burst out while cooking) down the length of the center of the strip of dough. This example is filled with a cinnamon-brown sugar filling. Cut 3/4 to 1-inch slanting strips along both sides.
Step 8. Fold the bottom edge to “seal” the filing in. Begin folding the slits, one at a time, alternating sides. When you get to the end, tuck the end in before the last piece on each end. Allow the braid to rest for 15-20 minutes as you preheat your oven to 400°F. Repeat with the second portion of dough while the oven is preheating.
Step 9. Make an egg wash with 1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water and brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar, if desired.
Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for for 15-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: This dough can also be made for any other danishes you want to make. You can make round danishes, for example. And you can make a glaze by combining a mixture of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract to drizzle on top as well if you wish.