Flo’s Berry Danish, Gluten Free

Flo's Danish, gluten free. Delicious with your morning coffee.When’s the last time you had a great Danish Pastry?

Really? Not since you’ve been GF?

Then this recipe is for you. It’s easy. You can even make it ahead of time and bake fresh pastries in the morning without breaking a sweat. There’s even plenty to share because once they’re in the oven you can be sure neighbors will be ringing your doorbell. 

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite people, my lovely and very stylish spare-back-up mom. During those last few months when we talked on the phone the subject would never be about her illness – it would be about Danish pastry and the importance of wearing a flattering lip color.

To say she was obsessed with a good Danish is an understatement. I sent her a variety of Danish from a New York bakery and she critiqued them with great enthusiasm. She quizzed me on all things Danish Pastry (and lip color) to make sure I was paying attention.

That she was even thinking of me at the end was humbling. That she mailed me that final recipe (her ultimate Cheese Danish) which arrived a few days after she was gone was bittersweet. That she was still thinking of Cheese Danish was not at all surprising.

This GF recipe doesn’t require any advanced baking skill. But it does require patience. After mixing it up you’ll have to add a butter packet and do a little rolling and folding, but it is a very forgiving dough so no worries.

The easiest way to make the Danish is to prepare the dough the day before and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. By the end of the day you’ll have several Danish rising in the refrigerator ready to bake in the morning. Think of a nice Danish for Sunday brunch – it takes no time at all to pull the formed dough from the refrigerator and let it rise a bit before baking. Warm Berry Danish – that’s a nice thing for any morning.

When you are making this, remember that it all began with  a wonderful woman who knew that a good lip color is never a bad idea. Also, that love was bigger than a Danish, but that it was a good start.

Flo's Danish, gluten free. With that fresh from the oven smell!

Flo's Berry Danish, Gluten Free
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon guar gum
  • ¼ teaspoon pectin
  • 88 grams or ⅓ cup superfine sugar
  • 390 grams AP GF flour (196 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 97 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca starch/flour) (3 cups)
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (half stick or 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 extra-large eggs plus 1 extra-large egg white (save the yolk for brushing dough)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (from a lemon)
  • zest of one lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 225 grams or 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to warm
Butter Packet
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, chilled room temperature (1 stick or 8 tablespoons)
  • 3 teaspoons AP GF flour
Jam Filling
  • 1 jar favorite berry fruit spread (works better than jam)
  • 76 grams powdered sugar, sifted (about ½ cup)
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a large bowl combine the yeast, dry milk powder, x-gum, salt, guar gum and pectin with the superfine sugar and flour. Whisk to mix well. Add butter and mix with a fork until mixture looks like uneven coarse crumbs - be sure to leave large pieces of butter. In a small container blend eggs with lemon juice, zest, vanilla and lemon extracts. Add to flour mixture and blend with a fork. Add warm milk and stir with a fork until blended. Using a silicone spatula, fold the dough until everything is well mixed, scraping the sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours.
Butter Packet
  1. Place one teaspoon of flour on a piece of plastic wrap. Place stick of butter on flour on plastic wrap. Add another teaspoon of flour to the top of the butter and cover with additional plastic wrap. Hit the butter with a rolling-pin to flatten the butter. Remove top plastic wrap and rearrange butter into a small 4 inch square placing pieces on top of one another. Dust with remaining flour. Replace plastic wrap and once again, hit it gently with the rolling-pin to flatten slightly. Roll to the size of a small square forcing the sides to line up (use the rolling-pin or your hand). Carefully place flat square (still in the plastic wrap) in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.
Preparing the Danish Dough
  1. Remove both chilled dough and butter packet from refrigerator. Using a silpat or parchment dusted generously with flour, place all the dough in the center. The dough might still feel sticky. Dust the top generously with flour and place a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment over the top. Pat the dough into a rough rectangle. Hit the dough with the rolling-pin smashing it into a larger rectangle, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
  2. Remove butter packet from plastic wrap and place in the center of the dough. Fold edges over the butter (think of folding a letter with the butter in the center) and turn the dough clockwise so the folded edge faces you. Dust with more flour and cover with the same parchment or plastic wrap. Roll into a rectangle again. Fold like a business letter. Turn the dough once again so the fold faces you. Repeat the fold. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes to one hour.
  3. Repeat the fold and turn. And one more fold and turn. Refrigerate once again for about 30 minutes. Roll dough into rough rectangle. Slice into thirds. Each third will make about 6 Danish. Wrap and refrigerate the remaining dough.
Rolling out Danish
  1. Place the dough on a flour dusted silpat or parchment. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Roll into a 12x8 inch-ish rectangle. It doesn't have to be exact. You just want it to be fairly thin and long. Using a pizza cutter cut six long strands (cut the long way). The short side should be divided evenly into 6 pieces. Take each strand and roll it up like you are winding up leftover ribbon after wrapping a package. Each piece will look like a spiral of dough (think roll of ribbon). When you get just about to the end, tuck that end piece under the spiral. Between your hands, slightly flatten the spiral. Place on parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart. 6-8 to one baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little water. Cover with plastic wrap. You can refrigerate them overnight just like this so that you can make Danish for breakfast.
  2. Remove from refrigerator and/or let them rise in a warm, draft free spot for about 45 minutes. Save the remaining dough for more Danish over the next few days.
Preparing Danish with Jam Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After the dough has risen and using the back of a spoon or a clean thumb (I use a one tablespoon measuring spoon because if looks like a small scoop) press the center of each Danish - make the dent as wide as you want leaving some dough untouched on the edges. Fill with as much or as little fruit spread as you like. Brush each with egg wash. Bake at 425 for about 5 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 and bake until golden brown and the internal temperature of each Danish is about 200 degrees - about 10-12 minutes more. Cool on a rack until just barely warm before adding icing.
  1. In a small bowl mix powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons of water and add vanilla. Drizzle or pipe over Danish. Give it a minute or two to set. And enjoy.

Flo's Danish, gluten free. All dressed up and ready to go.

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  1. I have very little experience working with yeast – however this recipe inspires me to try again. And I really do miss Danish – Cheese (Delkelekh) in particular. You’re a star for sharing this!

  2. I’m going to attempt this from Australia, could you please tell me how many mls are in your teaspoons and tablespoons as I think it’s different to our standard measurements? Thanks so much.

  3. This looks great! But is there a substitute for dry milk powder? It’s difficult to get around here and I don’t want t buy a lot since I wont use it all…

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      The milk powder helps support the dough as it rises – gluten-free dough often suffers from those pesky holes in the dough as it rises. A nice diversity of helpers like milk powder, whole milk, egg white help counter that problem. I have not made it without the milk powder but you could certainly give it a go. It might work out just fine, but we haven’t tested the recipe that way. If you find that there are holes (bubbles in the dough) when it rises you might reconsider. Powdered milk lasts forever (almost) if you store it in airtight container in the refrigerator. Hope that helps!

  4. I found I had some whey powder, so I might susbsitute that instead!

  5. I have substituted potato flour (I ground up instant mashed potatoes) for other GFCanteen recipes that ask for milk powder (LOVE the Book of Nosh!) and it worked well. I’m going to try it.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Thanks, CJ. Glad you like the book. Interesting about the potato flour. Glad it works for you.

  6. .while rising in a warm place….some of the butter melted nd leaked out. What do u think I did wrong ?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Kady – not sure at all what happened but if they were rising in a place that was too warm, that might account for that. Also, did you add the butter packet with the flour mixed in and fold the dough 6x? By then, the butter is well incorporated(or laminated) and shouldn’t leak out at all. Hope that helps.

  7. haha this looks really good. But as a Dane, I’d never ever eat that sweet thing in the morning :/

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Sara – I always wondered if the Danes ate Danish Pastry which is over-the-top sweet in most bakeries around here. This dough is not all that sweet and the filling is fruit spread, not jam so even less sweet. I’m not a fan of really sweet pastries – they make my teeth hurt.

  8. Baking scares me, but if it didn’t, this would be on my “must bake” list.

  9. Has anyone tried making this with a substitute for the eggs? I was cursed with intolerances to both gluten and eggs. *sigh* I have really been missing flaky danish dough. We used to have a bakery in Portland that made muffins out of a variety of flaky danish dough. hmmmm.

  10. I’m sorry for your loss. The world would be a better place if we all had good back up moms. It sounds like yours was a gem. Thank you for giving so freely of her recipe. I will be thinking of the two of you when I try it!

  11. This sounds hard but I’m buckin up and trying it because I HAVE to have a GF cheese Danish! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I hope I do you “mom” good!

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Linsey – I’m following up here on your question from the GF Canteen Facebook page. It’s frustrating when that happens with the butter packet – and it’s happened to me, too. The butter packet should be chilled but not cold enough to shatter – think play-dough consistency. You should be able to make a dent with a finger in the butter, but it should not be squishy soft. You always want the butter packet to be smaller than the dough and for the dough to cover it completely once it is folded over it. You shouldn’t be able to see it at all. Also, instead of rolling it right away, try covering it with the plastic wrap after it is folded (and the butter packet is inside) and hitting it with the rolling pin (the dough and butter are chilly) until it is pretty much a rectangle. Then fold it and repeat as directed. In Danish it is ok for some of the butter to get mixed into the dough (but that would not be ok for croissant dough). Danish will still have plenty of layers once it is rolled and baked. Also, make sure you use all the ingredients listed in the recipe – any substitutions can make the recipe come out differently. I’m sure you can do this – and I bet they will taste just great. And don’t forget – it takes making them a few times to get comfortable with all the steps, so if it’s your first time making them, don’t give up. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

  12. My wife need to eat GF, and this is one of the things she has said for years that she missed. Thank you for sharing this recipe and story with us! 😀

  13. Carole Huck says:

    I would really like to try this. I use Better Batter GF flour. How could I incorporate this flour instead of guar gum, AP flour, and xanthan gum. Hope you’re able to tell me that I can use the flour I have!! 🙂

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      The recipe was developed and tested using the mix you see in the ingredients list. I’m afraid I don’t have any experience using Better Batter. Feel free to experiment, but keep in mind that different flours/starches will yield a different result.

  14. Pauline Howes says:

    Hi, not sure where I went wrong but it was too soft a dough, might be too much milk, texture when cooked resembled a dough but gone wrong, me sad, was looking forward to my first Danish in years after all the hard work 🙁

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Pauline – I’m sorry the Danish didn’t work for you. Happy to help trouble shoot if you like. The first thing to do is go over the list of ingredients to see if they match what’s indicated in the recipe. The dough is very soft when it starts out but after chilling and then using additional Canteen flour to fold the dough, it should become less sticky by the time you roll up each Danish. Then review the instructions to see if a step might have been overlooked. Let me know what you come up with and we can go from there. I know it’s frustrating to try a recipe and have it not come out so let’s see if we can figure out what happened and fix it so you can have some Danish.

  15. could you use soy milk powder?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      I don’t have any experience using soy milk in these recipes, Julie. I’m afraid you’d have to experiment.

  16. Emily Jane says:

    do you have a ruff guideline for how long this recipe takes to prepare and cook.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Emily – there’s information in both the post and the recipe that should help you figure out how much time you might need to make the recipe because everyone works at different rates in the kitchen. Also, you can make the dough ahead of time or make the recipe all on the same day – your choice. Hope that helps.

  17. I am curious why you use both guar gum and xanthan gum…why don’t you use just one or the other?

  18. I made these almost a year ago and they were amazing. I shared them with a friend who doesn’t have to eat gluten free and she liked them so much that she requested I bring them to a bbq next week.

    Finally I have a reason to spend the time making them again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.