Danish Pastries

3 ¾ cups all purpose flour, plus for preparation
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons milk
2teaspoons active dry yeast
¾ cup White Starter
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Detrempe (base dough): In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt, and nutmeg. Cut the 2 tablespoons of cold butter into small cubes. With a dough hook attachment at low speed, mix the cubed butter into the flour mixture until it is the size of small peas and equally distributed. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and the yeast until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the starter, egg yolks, egg, orange zest, and vanilla. Mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture, until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Shape the detrempe into a small rectangle; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

2. Bourrage (butter block): Place the remaining 1 ½ cups cold butter between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Working quickly to keep the butter cold, with a rolling pin, gently pound the butter into a 6” square. Place the bourrage on a tray in the refrigerator until firm but not too hard, about 10 minutes. (The bourrage and the detrempe should be equally pliant.)

3. Unwrap the detrempe. On a lightly floured surface, roll the detrempe into a 3” x 10” rectangle, leaving a slight mound in the center. Remove the bourrage from the tray and place in the center of the dough. Lift and gently stretch each side of the dough over the bourrage, until the edges of the dough meet in the center. Press the edges to seal, enclosing the bourrage.

4. Roll the dough package lightly to anchor the dough with the butter. Sprinkle the dough package lightly with flour and gently roll into a 12” x 18” rectangle. With 1 long side facing you, fold the left edge of the dough over to the center of the rectangle, then fold the right edge over to the opposite side. Turn the dough 90 degrees, so that 1 long side faces you again. Sprinkle the dough lightly with the flour and gently roll again into a 12” x 18” rectangle. Fold the left edge over to the center of the rectangle, and then fold the right edge over to the opposite side. Mark the folded dough with 2 finger imprints indicating that 2 “turns” have been completed. (Refrigerate the dough if it becomes too soft at any point while rolling or turn.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at lest 2 hours or overnight. You now have completed 2 “turns.”

5. Repeat turning the dough 2 more times, so that 4 turns are completed. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. After each turn, mark the dough with an imprint to remind yourself of the number of turns that have been made. If you choose to complete this entire process in 1 day, be aware that each time you roll the dough the gluten will develop, making the dough more difficult to roll. We find it better to plan ahead and complete the turns over 2 or 3 days, giving the dough time to relax. Once the dough is completed, wrap it in plastic wrap then foil and freeze up to 2 weeks.