The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Danish Tebirkes

hanseata's picture

Danish Tebirkes

Today I revisited my childhood. For the first time I baked Danish Tebirkes.
For many years my grandmother, aunt, two cousins and I would spend our summer holidays in Denmark. Every morning
one of us kids would bike to the grocery store to pick up freshly baked rolls for breakfast. My favorite were Tebirkes, buttery, croissant-like rolls, sprinkled with poppy seeds.


dmsnyder's picture

You show us those beautiful rolls with the tempting description ... and no recipe?

Recipe! ... Please?


SylviaH's picture

I would love to see the crumb...yes how about a recipe ; ) for these beauties.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


hanseata's picture

I always had these Danish rolls in my memory, and when I started selling my breads 2 years ago, I searched the internet for more breads from other European countries (no shortage of German bread recipes). I was very happy when I found this Tebirke recipe, but didn't do anything about it because, at that time, it seemed too time consuming to bake them for the store.

After reading the "Artisan Breads Every Day" croissant recipe I wanted to give the Tebirkes a try. The original recipe, as most of the stuff you find around, is for same day baking. So I adapted it to overnight refrigeration. In the original recipe half of the butter is in the dough, and half used as a layer in between. I tried to make a butter block with it (a little flour added), but the layer was too thin, and I ended up with just smearing it with a spatula over the rolled out dough (as the recipe author described it, too).

Everything worked just fine, and the Tebirkes taste wonderful, but they have no distinct layer (see photo of crumb), as I'm sure they should have. Question: should some butter of the dough go into the butter block instead? Should the butter block be smaller (therefore thicker) and placed on the not yet to full size rolled out dough?

This is the recipe:

TEBIRKES (14 - 16 rolls)

540 g bread or AP flour (I used bread flour) and 5 g extra for butter layer

 10 g salt

 12 g sugar (1 tbsp)

  8 g instant yeast

240 ml milk, cold

120 g water, cool (65 F/18 C)

   1 egg

226 g butter, divided (1 stick melted and cooled for detrempe, 1 stick cold for butter layer)

1 egg white + 1 tbsp water for brushing

2 tbsp. poppy seeds for topping


Whisk together flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast to combine.

Pour in milk and water, add egg, and then 113 g/1 stick melted butter. Mix on lowest speed (paddle attachment) for 1 min, then on medium-high for 10 -15 sec more.

Turn dough out onto a floured workspace, gather to a ball (with floured hands), and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Mist with spray oil, cover and refrigerate overnight.


Roll out dough on a floured work surface to a 40 x 40 cm  (16 x 16 inch) square.  (The original recipe says: spread 113 g butter over half of the dough, leaving a 1 cm rim, I tried to do a butterblock between two layers of parchment paper, but it was too thin and I had to spread with spatula).

Fold unbuttered half of dough over buttered half, press down to make it stick. Then fold dough once again from the long side. (The result should be a approx. 50 cm x 10 cm (20" x 4") piece of dough.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 F/205 C.

Divide dough block in the middle in halves. Brush top with egg white wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cut each dough half in 7 - 8 triangles (I found a sharp chef's knife worked better than my bench scraper - dough is sticky).

Transfer triangles to sheet pans. Mist with spray oil, cover and let rise at room temperature for 30 - 40 min, until they have grown to nearly double their original size.

Bake for 15 - 20 min (I used convection, so I could do both sheets at the same time, rotating sheets after 9 min and baking for another 9 min).

This was the result - wonderful taste, but should the crumb look different?




hanseata's picture

Thanks for your comment, Dover. I would love to try those sweet Tebirkes - I can translate the ingredients, but the preparation part is above my limited abilities.

Yes, I spent six wonderful summers with my family in Blaavand at the North Sea side, swimming, jumping off half buried bunkers, finding amber amid algae on the beach, picking lots of chanterelles (sadly missed), buying strawberries and raspberries from the farmers and eating them with Ymer (sadly missed). The Tebirkes we had for breakfast were not sweet, but I remember I had sometimes sweet ones, too.

I definitely would appreciate a translation of the recipe in your link,


hanseata's picture

Pastries with poppyseeds are quite popular in Germany, especially in the Eastern part. I can post some - especially good is Mohnstollen (poppyseed stollen), I made one last Christmas, it was wonderful.

If you could describe the pastry your grandmother baked with more detail, perhaps I could find something about it - the name doesn't seem familiar.


hansjoakim's picture

Great looking tebirkes, Karin!

It's been years since I last had proper tebirkes... I've never made them myself, so your post definitely motivates me to give them a try. Google gives a whole bunch of different recipes; common among them is that some butter (or margarine...eeew... stick with butter) is rolled in. Many of them suggest spreading softened butter over part of the sheeted dough while others call for a firm butter block, as used in croissants or other laminated viennoiserie. A firm butter block will give you that flaky end result (i.e. distinct layers of dough and butter that you have in croissants. Softened butter will tend to "weep" between layers of dough, reducing the flakiness). Here's a recipe by Jan Hedh (yeah, he's Swedish, but I believe from the southern part of Sweden, so he probably know his way around tebirkes too...) which looks particularly good.

hanseata's picture

That was what I was wondering - having less butter in the dough and more in the butter layer to form a real butter block.

The funny thing about your recipe is that it's the same woman, Petra Holzapfel, who translated both recipes, mine from a Danish cookbook and yours from Jan Hedh's book. So there are quite obviously several different versions, also the sweet variety with marzipan. I will definitely try the Hedh one and Dover's sweet version, too. 

No matter what, taste rules, and my Tebirkes are a good beginning - if they can be improved, all the better.


hanseata's picture

Thanks for your information! As a child I didn't even know what these rolls were called, I found the original recipe in the internet.

So please, can you give some expert opinion regarding the question "spreaded butter layer" versus "butter block". Is the former option more for the average housewife and the second for professionals? Or are those just two different ways that are both valid?



hanseata's picture

Mike, in my recipe the dough is folded only twice. I saw on your photos more layers. How often do you fold the dough?



hanseata's picture

Thanks, Mike - I read that "Pleiotropy" website, too, amazing what people can come up with, or ponder over, or make a problem out of...the scientific question of "if it's established that a white poppyseed topping is the original, is it a sacrilege to use black poppyseeds"?

So you would brush the butter over all of the rolled out dough, except for the rims (in my recipe it was only over half of the dough)? Makes perfect sense to me.

I also noticed that when I cut the dough (as required in my recipe) into triangles, the narrow sides would slide and splt open.