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Wienerbrød: Traditional Danish Pastry – The ones you have to try

Spandauer, Danish pastry

The Danish pastry in Denmark actually originates from Austria and was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers mid-1800, which explains the Danish word for Danish pastry, Wienerbrød, which translates to “Vienesse bread” or “bread from Vienna”. The pastry has a flaky, layered texture, and there are many different types, with different kinds of fillings. The most common fillings are jam and custard cream, but some kinds of wienerbrød are just sprinkled with sugar and nuts and do not have anything inside.

One of my family’s weekend rituals is breakfast with rundstykker (Danish breakfast rolls) and wienerbrød. The person who wakes up first in the morning (usually me) drives off to the bakery and get the rundstykker + wienerbrød supply that we later eat for breakfast, when everybody is up.

Here is a selection of my favorite kinds of wienerbrød. Please note, that the different types of wienerbrød often have different names in different parts of Denmark. Oh, and one more thing: In Denmark, wienerbrød is always sweet, so you won’t find authentic Danish pastry with cheese. Ever.

Spandauer, Danish pastry


This is one of the oldest and most treasured kinds of wienerbrød, and this is also my favorite. It comes with a filling of either jam or custard cream, sprinkled with nuts. A real classic.  

Danish pastry, cinnamon roll


For the last couple of decades, kanelsnegle (cinnamon rolls) are made from the same kind of flaky dough as other kinds of wienerbrød. However, the traditional way of making Danish cinnamon rolls is actually with another kind of yeasted dough, that is not flaky. The best ones are moist and soft and have a generous amount of gooey, sticky cinnamon filling inside and lots of chocolate glazing. Fun fact: The Danish word for cinnamon roll, kanelsnegl or just snegl, means (cinnamon) snail.

Tebirkes, Danish pastry


Tebirkes have an inner core of remonce, which is a traditional Danish marzipan/sugar/butter filling. They are always sprinkled with poppy seeds on the top (birkes = poppy seeds in Danish), and the best ones have lots of remonce inside. They taste amazing straight from the oven, but be careful not to burn your tongue on the remonce. You can also find tebirkes without remonce, and in that case, they are just called birkes.

Danish pastry, Kaffestand


The kaffestang (coffee stick) is not made from traditional Danish pastry dough, and I am not sure whether it is in fact member of the winerbrød family. However, it is my dad’s favorite, and apparently, according to the famous Danish bakery chain Lagkagehuset, Kaffestænger (plural of kaffestang) are particularly popular in my part of Denmark. The typical kaffestang consists of a slice of white bread baked with a topping of almond macaroon. Gets even better with a thick layer of butter on the non-macaroon side.



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