Te what? Okay, I guess you have never heard of these. But you are missing out! Because if you like danishes and croissants, you should definitely make these crunchy and flaky tebirkes. They are a Danish speciality. The name of this pastry is pretty straightforward: Te means “tea” and birkes, “poppy seed”. I know tebirkes from a couple of trips to Denmark, but I have never eaten them because obviously the original recipe calls for butter. These flaky rolls are made from croissant dough. This dough is simply cut into squares and sprinkled with (a boatload of) poppy seeds. If you know me, you know I love poppy seeds. (Click to find all of my other poppy seed recipes.)
Tebirkes are made with or without a remonce filling. Remonce is basically just fat and sugar, but it can have other ingredients added for flavour. I chose to make these without remonce, because that way they are more versatile. The process of making tebirkes is a bit easier than making croissants. Most Birkes recipes I’ve found use a cheese slicer to cut the cold fat into thin slices that are distributed on the dough. Isn’t that smart? And I still have a cheese slicer! Nobody uses it, but it’s still there for very nostalgic reasons. I bought it when I lived in Norway 20 years ago. Because my Norwegian is still pretty decent I used a tebirkes recipe from this lovely Norwegian site. The recipe is not vegan, but I only had to swap out vegan margarine for the butter. And look what a great trick the cheese slicer is:
How to work with margarine when making layered yeast-leavened dough
If you have ever made vegan croissants, you know that margarine can be a bit tricky to work with. It has a different melting point than butter. Usually it is really important to cool the heck out of your dough, so the margarine won’t melt and ooze out. To avoid that I cool all my ingredients: I place the flour in the freezer the night before. I use ice water. And I make sure all of my other ingredients are cold, too. As with croissants, you need to plan in some time for preparation and rest. It’s very important that the dough gets cooled between steps.
How to laminate dough for tebirkes
To make the laminated dough, you have to roll it into a rectangle that is twice as long as it is wide. Then you place the margarine pieces on one half, layering them. (Picture 1) After that you fold the other half over the margarine. (Also picture 1) Make sure all the ends are tucked and wrap the dough in plastic. After you’ve cooled it for half an hour, roll out the dough into another rectangle. It should be twice the length of its width again (picture 3). Fold over one third as you can see in picture 4 above. Brush off all the extra flour and fold over the other third. (Picture 2) Wrap the dough again and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this process two more times.
Important: Every time you start a new round, rotate the dough about 45 degrees. You should always have a short side in front of you. (Check out these instructions, if you don’t know what I mean.)
Now maybe you are worried that this is very complicated and easy to mess up. But tebirkes are much easier to make than croissants. They are more forgiving and if your layers aren’t perfect? It doesn’t matter. These poppy seed rolls are great for practicing your skills. And they are fun! Also, you could easily make these into pain au chocolat simply by wrapping some chocolate into the dough. Are you in?
If you make this recipe leave a comment below. This is very helpful to other readers. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @seitanismymotor and #seitanismymotor. I love seeing your pictures and comments!
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Don’t want to use margarine in this recipe? Here are some tips on how to make vegan croissants and laminated dough with coconut oil.
500 g (2 cups + 2 tbsp) cold flour (Placed in the freezer over night)
10 g sugar (1 tbsp)
20 g fresh baker's yeast (or 1 teaspoon instant yeast)
300 ml (1 1/4) cold water, maybe a bit more
10 g salt
200 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) vegan margarine
100 g (2/3 cup + 1 tbsp) poppy seeds
water for brushing
Recipe adapted from krem.no.
To make the dough, place the flour in a large bowl.
Add sugar and yeast and pour in cold water.
Let sit for 10 minutes.
Add salt and knead the dough until it is smooth.
Add some more water if it's too dry.
I knead by hand and it takes about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic.
Let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough into a rectangle. (Twice as long as it is wide.)
Cut the margarine into thin rectangles. (A cheese slicer works really well.)
Place the margarine slices one one half of the dough rectangle and fold it over.
Pinch the edges and wrap the dough in plastic.
Let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Roll into a rectangle again.
Fold one third of the dough towards the centre. Fold over the other third.
Wrap the dough in plastic. Cool for 30 minutes.
Placing the short side of the rectangle in front of you, roll out the dough again and repeat the folding and cooling process.
Do this two more times.
Now roll the dough into a rectangle again and cut it into 16 pieces.
Place the poppy seeds on a plate.
Brush the top side of your rolls with water and press into the poppy seeds.
Set them aside and preheat the oven to 225°C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bake the rolls for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown and puffy.
I use a kitchen scale for all my recipes. Cup measurements are just conversions, so please use a scale for best results.