Let’s make homemade breakfast pastries using a variation of classic Danish pastry dough. We’re working the butter directly into the dough, which is a different method from laminating it with separate layers of butter. These breakfast pastries are buttery and flaky with sweet fillings and a drizzle of vanilla icing. For best success, use the video tutorial and photos, as well as the carefully explained recipe for guidance.
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
Do you remember when I published a shortcut variation of Danish pastry dough? You might not– it was several years ago! Since then, I’ve created a raspberry pastry braid and a blueberry cream cheese pastry braid using that same dough. Let’s take it a step further and make individual homemade breakfast pastries.
Researching their origin, I learned that traditional Danish pastries came to life around the 1850s by Austrian bakers working in Denmark. What started as the Austrian pastry known as Plundergebäck developed into what is now known as danishes. There are many ways to make, top, shape, and serve these pastries and that usually depends on the region. Here in the US, we can usually find them topped with fruit, jams, and sweetened cream cheese fillings. Bottom line: we’re all so very thankful for these sweets!
This is a Shortcut Homemade Pastry
Before I describe these homemade pastries and show you how to make them, let me explain this pastry dough variation. This is a shortcut version– it’s not the traditional method of making real danishes. This dough is usually laminated several times between layers of butter, similar to how we prepare homemade croissants and croissant bread. Here we are working the butter directly into the dough using a food processor. We’re still rolling out and folding the dough, just as you do when you laminate dough with butter, but we’re not folding it up with a separate layer of butter.
I use the term “shortcut” loosely as this dough still takes at least 5-6 hours total with 2 rounds of refrigeration. They’re just as buttery and flaky as the real thing!
Are you looking for a dough that’s more similar to puff pastry? We skip the lamination in this rough puff pastry dough as well. (And that recipe skips yeast unlike today’s yeasted dough, which creates slightly puffier pastries.)
I have the full written recipe below, as well as step-by-step photos and careful explanations below the recipe. This post is rather long, so I wanted to add most of the details below the recipe. I can’t wait for you to try these at home!
These Homemade Breakfast Pastries Are:
- Made from a modified yeasted pastry dough
- Crisp, flaky, & extra buttery
- Ready for your favorite breakfast pastry fillings
- Topped with sweet vanilla icing
Plus, you can easily make this dough in 1 morning or over the course of 3 days. I love make-ahead dough where you have plenty of options in terms of timing. You can also freeze half the dough if 16 pastries are too many or even make 8 pastries and 1 pastry braid!
You need around 2/3 cup of filling for the entire recipe (16 breakfast pastries). Feel free to mix and match, creating different flavors in your batch.
- Jam or Preserves, such as raspberry, peach, or strawberry
- Pumpkin Butter or Apple Butter
- Lemon Curd
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Cream Cheese Filling (my favorite and detailed in the recipe below)
Use This Dough to Make Pastry Braids
I love a versatile dough! Just as we can use pizza dough to make pizza, cheesy breadsticks, garlic knots, and pepperoni pizza rolls, we can use this homemade pastry dough to make individual pastries and pastry braids. I haven’t perfected other shapes yet, but feel free to try. Make sure you chill any shaped pastries before baking to help guarantee they hold their shape. See step 13 and corresponding recipe note below.
Baker’s Tip: I find that the braids bake up even flakier than the individual pastries! I have a video tutorial showing you how to shape this pastry braid. It’s easier than it looks.
See Your Breakfast Pastries!
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂
Step-by-step photos below!Print
Breakfast Pastries with Shortcut Homemade Dough
- Prep Time: 6 hours (includes chilling)
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes
- Yield: 16 pastries
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Danish
These homemade breakfast pastries use a variation of classic Danish pastry dough. We’re working the butter directly into the dough, which is a different method from laminating it with separate layers of butter. Make sure the butter is very cold before beginning. This recipe yields 2 pounds of dough.
- 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast from Red Star (1 standard packet)*
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature (between 68–72°F, 20-22°C)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 Tablespoons (205g) unsalted butter, cold
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for generously flouring hands, surface, and dough
- 2/3 cup filling (see recipe notes for options & cheese filling)
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
Vanilla Icing (Optional)
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preliminary note: To help guarantee success, I recommend reading through the recipe, watching the video tutorial, and reading the explanations below this recipe. (All answer many FAQs.) Do not use an electric mixer for this dough. It’s best if the dough is folded together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula since it is so sticky. There is very minimal mixing required.
- Make the Pastry Dough: Whisk the warm water, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon (6g) of sugar together in a large bowl. Cover and allow to rest until foamy on top, about 5 minutes. If the surface doesn’t have bubbles on top or look foamy after 15 minutes (it should if the yeast isn’t expired), start over with a fresh packet of yeast. Whisk in remaining sugar, the milk, egg, and salt. Once these wet ingredients are mixed together, lightly cover and set the bowl aside as you work on the next step.
- Cut the cold butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to a food processor or blender. Top with 2 and 1/2 cups flour. Pulse the mixture 12-15 times, until butter is crumbled into pea-size bits. See photo below for a visual. Using a food processor or blender is best for this dough. Keeping that in mind, if you don’t have one, you can use a pastry cutter to work in the butter.
- Pour the flour mixture into the wet yeast mixture. Very gently fold everything together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Fold *just until* the dry ingredients are moistened. The butter must remain in pieces and crumbles, which creates a flaky pastry. Turn the sticky dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, or into any container you can tightly cover.
- 1st Refrigeration: Wrap the dough/cover up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.
- Roll & Fold: Take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin the “rolling and folding” process. If the dough sat for more than 4 hours, it may have slightly puffed up and that’s ok. (It will deflate as you shape it, which is also ok.) Very generously flour a work surface. The dough is very sticky, so make sure you have more flour nearby as you roll and fold. Using the palm of your hands, gently flatten the dough into a small square. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a 15×8 inch rectangle. When needed, flour the work surface and dough as you are rolling. Fold the dough into thirds as if it were a business letter. (See photos and video tutorial.) Turn it clockwise and roll it out into a 15 inch long rectangle again. Then, fold into thirds again. Turn it clockwise. You’ll repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times.
- 2nd Refrigeration: Wrap up/seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point. See freezing instructions.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Rimmed baking sheets are best because butter may leak from the dough as it bakes. If you don’t have rimmed baking sheets, when it’s time to preheat the oven, place another baking sheet on the oven rack below to catch any butter that may drip.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut it in half. Wrap 1 half up and keep refrigerated as you work with the first half. (You can freeze half of the dough at this point, use the freezing instructions below.)
- Shape into rounds: Cut the first half of dough into 8 even pieces. This will be about 1/4 cup of dough per pastry. Roll each into balls. Flatten each into a 2.5 inch circle. Use your fingers to create a lip around the edges. See photos and video tutorial if needed. Press the center down to flatten the center as much as you can so you can fit the filling inside. (Center puffs up as it bakes.) Arrange pastries 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with second half of dough.
- Spoon 2 teaspoons of fruity filling or 1 Tablespoon of cheese filling inside each.
- Egg Wash: Whisk the egg wash ingredients together. Brush on the edges of each shaped pastry.
- This step is optional, but I very strongly recommend it. Chill the shaped pastries in the refrigerator, covered or uncovered, for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. See recipe note. You can preheat the oven as they finish up chilling.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Bake for 19-22 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Some butter may leak from the dough, that’s completely normal and expected. Feel free to remove the baking sheets from the oven halfway through baking and brush the dough with any of the leaking butter, then place back in the oven to finish baking. (That’s what I do!)
- Remove baked pastries from the oven. Cool for at least 5 minutes before icing/serving.
- Make the icing: Whisk the icing ingredients together. If you want a thicker icing, whisk in more confectioners’ sugar. If you want a thinner icing, whisk in more milk or cream. Drizzle over warm pastries and serve.
- Cover leftover iced or un-iced pastries and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw before serving. Before enjoying, feel free to reheat leftover iced or un-iced pastries in the microwave for a few seconds until warmed.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the dough as instructed in steps 2-4. At this point the dough can be refrigerated up to 48 hours. You can also prepare the dough through step 6. At this point the dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours. During or after this second chilling time, you could also freeze the dough for up to 1 month. (I don’t recommend freezing the dough before the rolling and folding step.) Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 8. You can also freeze the unfilled pastries after shaping them in step 10. Thaw in the refrigerator, then continue with step 11.
- Fruity Fillings: You need around 2/3 cup (about 200g) of filling for the entire recipe (16 pastries). Use jam or fruit preserves, pumpkin butter, apple butter, lemon curd, cherry pie filling, etc. Or even Nutella! You need 2 heaping teaspoons per pastry. Feel free to mix and match, making different flavors in your batch.
- Cheese Filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, beat one 8 ounce block (224g) of full-fat cream cheese that is softened at room temperature in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in 1 large egg yolk, 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract until smooth. Use 1 scant Tablespoon per pastry. Feel free to dot the cream cheese filling with fresh berries before baking or mix fruit preserves in with the cream cheese filling (still using 2-3 teaspoons of filling per pastry).
- Temperature & Substitutions: The temperature of your ingredients is imperative to this pastry’s success. Make sure you take the time to warm the water and bring the milk to room temperature. Keep the butter in the refrigerator until you need it in step 3. I do not recommend any substitutions in this carefully formulated dough, though a lower fat or nondairy milk works in a pinch. For the egg wash and icing, low fat or nondairy milks work, as do heavy cream or half-and-half.
- Yeast: Platinum Yeast from Red Star is an instant yeast. If needed, you can use active dry yeast instead. The instructions and amount remain exactly the same regardless of which you use.
- Optional Step (step 13): Chilling the shaped pastries in the refrigerator helps them maintain their shape in the oven. Remember, cold pastry dough is best. I usually refrigerate them for 15 minutes as the oven preheats. If you’re nervous to chill the baking sheets in the refrigerator then bake them (which can cause warping), you have two other options. You can simply assemble the pastries on parchment paper or silicone baking mats, lift the parchment/baking mat as a whole and place on another baking sheet or directly onto a shelf in the refrigerator. After chilling, carefully lift up and place the entire parchment/baking mat onto the baking sheets for baking. Or you can use a thin spatula and very carefully transfer the assembled unbaked pastries to a large plate to chill.
- Halve the Recipe? I don’t recommend halving this dough recipe. Make the dough as written, then freeze half after step 9. Or make 8 breakfast pastries and 1 pastry braid (cream cheese or raspberry).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor, Pastry Cutter, Pastry Brush, Rolling Pin, Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Dough recipe adapted from Cooking Illustrated, Joy of Cooking, and Beatrice Ojakangas
Keywords: breakfast pastries, danishes, pastry
Detailed Explanations: How to Make Homemade Breakfast Pastries
This yeasted pastry dough comes together with 8 basic ingredients.
- Water: You need 2 liquids in this dough recipe: warm water and room temperature milk. Don’t use all water or all milk; this careful balance is key. Mix the warm water with yeast and some granulated sugar. Cover and wait until the top is a little foamy, as pictured below. (You will do this step no matter if you are using instant yeast or active-dry yeast.)
- Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. The instructions, amount, and recipe do not change– you will still do each of these exact steps regardless of which type you use. I recommend Platinum Yeast from Red Star, which is an instant yeast that is blended with natural dough improvers.
- Granulated Sugar: Sugar sweetens this dough and feeds the yeast. Use 1 Tablespoon at first, then add the rest of the sugar when you whisk in the milk, egg, and salt.
- Whole Milk: Use room temperature milk, not warm milk. For best taste and texture, I strongly recommend whole milk.
- Egg: 1 egg tenderizes the dough. Don’t skip it!
- Salt: Adds flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: You need flour in the dough, plus a generous amount for the rolling, folding, and shaping steps. As you can see in my video tutorial above, it’s helpful to have plenty of extra flour on hand. I use a lot of it!
- Cold Butter: Butter is the main ingredient in this dough recipe– you will work it directly into the flour, forming pea-sized crumbles. Just like when we make pie crust or biscuits, make sure the butter is extra cold. If the butter isn’t cold, the butter will melt, the dough will turn to semi-liquid, and you won’t have any layers or flakes in your pastry. The colder the butter (and dough), the better results.
After the yeast has proofed and foamed (above), whisk in the rest of the sugar, the milk, egg, and salt. We’ll call these the wet ingredients:
You need a food processor blender for this recipe. If you have neither, use a pastry cutter to cut the cold butter into the flour. An electric mixer will not work for this step. You are looking for pea-size crumbles of flour coated butter. This step is only possible if the butter is cold.
Pour the butter/flour crumbles into the wet ingredients and fold it together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It is very sticky. Since this dough is so sticky, I do not recommend using an electric mixer. It will create a huge mess! There is minimal mixing required anyway– we don’t want to overwork this dough.
You’ll notice many bits of butter still visible in the dough– that’s a GOOD thing! Wrap the dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.
This is the 1st refrigeration.
Now let’s do a variation of laminating aka rolling and folding dough and butter together. Remember when we made croissants and laminated the dough with a sheet of butter? The butter is IN this pastry dough. So, instead, we’re just rolling and folding the dough itself. Roll it out into a 15×8 inch rectangle:
Fold it in thirds like a letter:
Turn it clockwise:
Then roll it out into a 15-inch rectangle again. Repeat the folding. Turn it clockwise again. Repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times. Wrap the laminated dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
This is the 2nd refrigeration.
How to Shape Homemade Breakfast Pastries
This dough recipe yields 16 breakfast pastries. See recipe note above about halving/freezing the dough. Cut the dough in half. (Work with only half the dough at once. Wrap half up and refrigerate until ready to use.) Cut the half of dough into 8 pieces. Roll into balls:
Flatten each into a 2.5 inch circle. Use your fingers to create a lip around the edges. Arrange pastries 3 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with second half of dough.
Spoon your filling of choice inside each, then brush the edges of the pastries with egg wash, which is a combination of 1 egg and milk.
What is the purpose of an egg wash? It guarantees a shiny and crisp golden crust.
To help guarantee the shaped pastries hold their shape, chill them in the refrigerator as the oven preheats and even up to 1 hour. (See recipe note above.)
Bake until the breakfast pastries are golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then drizzle with vanilla icing and serve!
Reader Comments & Reviews
Made half into apple pastries and half into a Nutella braid. Kids loved the “Nutella bread”
I don’t have a food processor or mixer. Can I make this by hand? It looks so good!
Hi Peggy, you can use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in the butter if needed.
Hey Sally! Thanks so much for all the great recipes. I tried this one and it was great! I did have a lot of cream cheese filling left over, though. Is there any other recipe that calls for this filling? If not, that’s okay. I’ll just have to make more pastries 😉 Thank you!
Hi Anna! We’re so glad you enjoyed these breakfast pastries. You could use the filling in a pastry braid as well — very similar to these!
This is my second try at this dough. I made the braid version and it was delicious as well as this version now. The braid version was much more flaky while this version was more like a kolache so not sure if I did something off that they were so different.
My only issue is I can’t seem to get the bottoms not to turn so dark. I use a regular oven setting and have tried it at 400, then at 375, and again at 360. They look beautiful and are delicious but just the dark bottoms every time with the 400 turning them much darker.
I’m using a light cookie sheet with parchment. The butter leaked out of the braid, but then the breakfast danishes the butter seemed to stay put. I chilled for at least 30 minutes before baking too.
Any tips? Want to perfect this recipe for a brunch next week.
Hi Joanna! We recommend moving the baking pan away from the heat source in your oven (move the baking pan portion up if the heat comes from the bottom). This will help them from browning excessively. We also always recommend using an in-oven thermometer to ensure your oven in the correct temperature – most are at least a little off. Hope these tips help!
I made this for first time today. Baked in 2 batches. First came out with the darker bottoms several have commented on. Second batch, I put parchment paper in a close grid wire rack, and set that on a cookie sheet. Turned out perfect. Just need to get the dough away from the hot sheet.
I find that putting a piece of aluminum foil on the very bottom rack of the oven and putting the cooking sheets on the middle rack really makes a difference in how brown the bottom of stuff gets.
These are outstanding! I made 1/2 batch as full size pastries and I decided to make mini pastries out of the remaining dough. Sooo tender and delicious! I love being able to control the amount of icing (we use a little drizzle and find it is plenty sweet enough) And this is not really a hands-on time consuming recipe—most of the time is chill time! This one is definitely going into the favorites! Always love the format of the recipes and easy to read instructions. Thank you Sally!
I always double my pans to prevent burning on the bottom.
These came ut perfect. But Twice the bottoms get burnt look? What can I do. I cooked on convection 400F
Hi Jeannette, the convection settings may be causing the burnt bottoms on your pastries. We always recommend conventional settings for baking, if possible (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake. If you’re using dark pans, that can also cause the bottoms to bake quicker. Hope these tips help for next time!
I was super excited to try these…but….mine baked up almost like biscuits! Ok so they didn’t taste bad….they tasted like flaky buttery biscuits with jam baked into them. They were soft and has good texture not dry. The ones with the cream cheese were really good….almost like cheesecake in a biscuit….
But what happened to make this happen? I paid very close attention to the instructions. Could my 2nd round of refrigerating being too long affect them?
Hi Kristen, thank you so much for trying these! I don’t think a longer refrigeration had anything to do with it. (In fact, this dough benefits from extra fridge time!) As you made the dough, was the butter extra cold? Were there visible pieces of butter in the dough? That’s a good thing, and you want those to help create a flaky pastry.
These were wonderful! I made the cheese filling and they were fantastic! The dough reminded me of a kolache, less flakey, more brioche-like, but an all around delicious pastry! Went down a treat with friends, and I’ll definitely be making again!
Ok, here’s s the deal…. This was a test for me. I loved the dough. First time to make and I was pretty happy with the outcome. I made sure to pay attention to detail. The first roll and fold was the hardest but each one after got easier. I’m very surprised at how easy it is to make this pastry dough. It is a very wet dough… I ran into trouble baking the pastry…I have a new thermometer in my oven to make sure I’m were I need to be. My oven runs about 15* hi. I put my baking sheets in the frig. to cool and then processed the pastry as directed and then put them back in the fridge for another 15 min. I put 1.5 tsp. chs. mix on bottom and 1.5 strawberry jam on top. baked @ 400 (415 in my oven) for 9 min. and rotated and turned pans and then baked for a total of 20 mins.. The pastries were on parchment and egg washed. The problems I ran into were: some bottoms were darker then others, I put to much jam and cheese in my pastry..( I put 1.5 tsp. cheese mix and 1.5 tsp. jam in each) I baked at reg. instead of convection even though I monitored the oven temp. and rotated the sheet pans some of the pastry bottoms were darker then others. I feel Like the dough was a little to wet because the interior of the pastry wasn’t baked enough/properly. I will definitely make these again! practice makes perfect.. My question I guess is how to gage the proper hydration of the dough and how to determine when to add flour. I also learned cut back on your fillings! These cheese and jam works beautifully you just need the right filling ratio. All in All they turned out delish! Just not to my perfection. This is definitely a learning process.
So I’m assuming because the inside was a smidge wet and the exterior was nice and brown that the oven ran to hot and I need to back it down. I also would like to know what temp. to bake these at convection..? or is it wise? I(I have pics but cant find away to input) , Thank you
Hi Lisa, thank you so much for trying this recipe and I’m glad to help troubleshoot for next time– first, it sounds like your dough could have benefitted from a little more flour. The dough is going to be sticky, but shouldn’t feel overly wet. I recommend another 1-2 Tbsp of flour. Reduce your oven temperature to help the pastries bake more evenly. In your convection oven, I recommend 375°F (191°C) or even 350°F (177°C). Increase the bake time as needed.
I have just one more question. I am fortunate enough to have a convection and regular oven. I am assuming you are baking these on a “regular” oven temp. and not convection ?
Hi Lisa, All of the recipes on this site are written for conventional settings. Convection ovens are fantastic for cooking and roasting. If you have the choice, we recommend conventional settings when baking cakes, breads, etc. The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.
Someone might’ve already asked this but, am I able to shape the dough/fill them and then stick them in the fridge overnight so that the only thing I need to do in the morning is pop them in the oven?
Hi Abbie, yes you can refrigerate the shaped pastries overnight. You may want to lightly cover them since they’ll be in the refrigerator for so long. Enjoy!
Can you use both the cheese filling (on the bottom) and the jam (on the top) by reducing the volume?
I am currently in the process of making the dough. Thanks, Lisa
Hi Lisa, we haven’t personally tried it but we can’t see why not. Let us know how it goes!
Did you try this? I was thinking of doing the same thing and I’d love to learn how it went for you! Thanks!
I used both the cheese(on bottom) and the jam (on top)⁹and they were fabulous!
Tried this recipe for the first time and it got an awesome response from Hubby. Note though, do NOT use waxed paper it will cause light burning on the bottom. I have a new stove so it had to have been the waxed paper. Did the recipe with all the chill times and couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Hubby keeps saying thank you 🙂
HELP!I have made this recipe in the past with happy results. However, today my kitchen was very warm and while I tried to work very fast, my butter melted into the batter at the 1st mixing stage. No visable butter pieces. Can I move forward to make Danish, can I use the dough for something else or do I need to scrap the dough. I hate to loose all that butter. I was planning a double batch. Thank you for any suggestions.
Hi Amy, you can still use the dough, but it won’t have the flaky layers. For best results we recommend starting again. Hope they’re a hit!
If I don’t have parchment paper should these be baked on a cookie sheet with or without a non-stick spray?
Hi Alecia, If your baking sheet is not nonstick, you can give it a very light spray. Enjoy!