These sourdough danish pastries are buttery and flaky, topped with sweetened cream cheese and berries.
The dough in this sourdough pastry recipe is similar to my sourdough croissants but it’s more enriched, with milk, egg and an optional touch of fragrant cardamom.
Like the croissants, making sourdough Danish pastry is a drawn-out process. However, it’s not too difficult. I’ve changed the timings a little in this recipe, compared to the croissants, so you can do most of the steps in one day and then shape and bake the dough when you’re ready.
Note: If your room temperature is above 25°C / 77°F you may struggle to keep the dough and butter cool.
Find the ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a run down of what you will need.
- Active sourdough starter
- All-purpose flour
- Large egg
- Granulated sugar
- Ground cardamom
- Unsalted butter
In a large bowl, mix all the dough ingredients to form a sticky dough.
Tip it on the bench and knead it for 5 minutes, pushing it forward and pulling it back until it smoothens. Shape it into a ball and place it into a clean, greased bowl.
Cover the bowl and leave the dough to proof in a warm spot for 3 hours.
Beat the softened with a bit of flour to create a butter mixture that is nice and malleable. Place it on a sheet of parchment paper, then place a second sheet on top.
Roll this butter into a rectangle measuring 6×8 inches / 15x20cm. Once rolled, if the butter is squishy and starting to melt, place it in the refrigerator to firm up a bit. Later, this butter needs to be consistent with the dough, so you want it cool but still nice and pliable, not rock hard.
Rolling the pastries
After the dough has finished its 3 hour ferment, roll it out on a lightly floured bench into a 20x40cm(8x16inch) rectangle.
Check first that the butter isn’t too hard. Then place it in the middle of the dough. Bring the top of the dough down and the bottom of the dough up to meet in the middle and tuck in the butter.
Turn the dough a quarter turn. Use a rolling pin to push on the dough to help disperse the butter gently. Roll this dough out into a 25x50cm (10x20inch) rectangle, and focus on lengthening the dough rather than making it wider. While rolling, check that the dough isn’t sticking to the bench and dust it with flour if it is.
Once it has been rolled out, it’s time to fold the dough like a pamphlet. Take one end and fold it into the middle, then take the other end and fold it over the first end.
Wrap the dough up in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
Fold 2 and 3
Repeat this process two more times, so that’s three turns in total.
If you find that during the rolling out, that the butter is shattering, it may mean the butter is too cold. If this happens you can leave the dough to rest on the bench instead of the fridge before rolling it out again.
At the same time, ensure the butter does not melt into the dough or you won’t achieve flaky layers. It’s a bit of a balance that will get easier with practice.
After the third turn, the dough needs to be kept in the fridge for at least 8 hours. I leave it overnight.
When ready to bake the dough, take it from the fridge. Roll the dough into a 16×16 inch / 40x40cm square.
Cut the square into 16 smaller squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
I stick to two basic basic shapes. The first is a simple square with each of the corners folded in to meet in the middle.
The second is a little more intricate looking but so simple to make. Take a pastry square and make a slit from one corner to nearly the middle. Do this on each side, but ensure they don’t meet in the middle. Then take one side of each cut piece and fold it into the middle, folding up the same side on each piece.
Place each shaped piece on the baking paper used previously and let them proof for around 4 hours. They should become more puffy.
Then, add the toppings.
We like either a spoonful of cream cheese mixture and a couple berries or custard and canned peach slices.
Then they’re brushed with an egg wash and into the oven. A hot oven will ensure they puff up quickly, but just watch that they don’t burn, especially the windmill style danish. The thin points cook quickly.
Once baked, let the sourdough Danish pastries cool for about 30 minutes. Then, drizzle with an icing glaze or simply dust with powdered sugar.
- 30g starter
- 60g flour
- 60g water
- 450g all-purpose flour
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 100g milk
- 80g water
- All the starter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, optional
- 50g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 250g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cream cheese filling
- 113g cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- Fresh or frozen berries
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
- In the morning, feed your starter by combing the starter, flour, and water in a bowl and mixing it until well combined. Tip it into a clean jar or glass and let it double.
- When the starter has doubled, mix all the dough ingredients together in a large bowl to form a sticky dough.
- Tip it on the bench and knead it for 5 minutes, pushing it forward and pulling it back until it smoothens.
- Shape it into a ball and place it into a clean, greased bowl. Cover the and leave this to proof in a warm spot for 3 hours.
- Mix 1 ½ tablespoons flour and 250g softened butter when the dough has been proofed. Spoon the mix onto parchment paper and place another sheet on top. Roll the butter into a rectangle of about 6x8 inches (15x20cm).
- Place the butter in the fridge for around 15 minutes, so it is cool. Ensure it is cold but still easily pliable. Aim for the butter and the dough to be similar consistencies.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into a 20x40cm(8x16inch) rectangle
- Check first that the butter isn't too hard. Then place it in the middle of the dough. Bring the top of the dough down and the bottom of the dough up to meet in the middle, and tuck in the butter.
- Turn the dough a quarter turn. Use a rolling pin to push on the dough to help disperse the butter gently. Roll this dough out into a 25x50cm (10x20inch) rectangle, and focus on lengthening the dough rather than making it wider. While rolling, check that the dough isn't sticking to the bench and dust it with flour if it is.
- Once it has been rolled out, it's time to fold the dough like a pamphlet. Take one end and fold it into the middle, then take the other end and fold it over the first end.
- Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Repeat this process twice, so that’s three turns in total.
- If you find that during the rolling out, the butter is shattering, it may mean the butter is too cold. If this happens, leave the dough on the bench instead of the fridge before rolling it out again. Also, ensure the butter does not melt into the dough, or you won't achieve flaky layers. It's a balance that will get easier with practice.
- After the third turn, the dough must be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake the dough, take the dough from the fridge. Roll the dough into a 16x16 inch / 40x40cm square. Cut the square into 16 smaller squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
- Shape the pastries as seen in the pictures above.
- Place the shaped pastries on baking paper and let them proof for 4-5 hours (at a room temperature of around 25°C/77°F.) They should puff out slightly.
- Place a damp cheesecloth or lightweight fabric over the top if they dry out. Alternatively, lightly brush them with water.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
- Mix together all the cream cheese filling ingredients except for the berries. Add a teaspoon of filling to each Danish, then top with berries.
- Mix the egg and water together, then brush the pastry edges with this egg wash.
- Bake the pastries for 18-20 minutes until deep golden brown. Bake them in two batches to ensure even baking.
- Dust the baked pastries with powdered sugar, or mix powdered sugar with enough water to make a pourable glaze and drizzle with glaze.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g