27 July 2008

Croissants From Scratch

Well, since the June Daring Bakers Challenge, I've been planning to repeat the attempt at making laminated pastry and this week-end the opportunity arose.


I scoured the web for recipes and there is a lot of variations on the theme. I decided to go with the recipe from Bo Friberg's The Professional Pastry Chef. And for the first time ever, I used the imperial weight setting on my kitchen scales, I just couldn't be bothered to check the conversions given in the book. I used the small batch recipe that would result in 15 croissants.

For the butter block, I had to add some flour, just like for the Danish braid. And this is my first failure - I didn't mix it in well enough, there were still a few lumps of butter in it, but I was worried that mixing by hand would warm the butter too much, so I left it at that and just formed it into a square and put in the fridge, just to be on the safe side, while mixing the dough.

I also mixed the dough by hand, it took me ages to dissolve the dry yeast in the milk. The recipe calls for fresh yeast, but I didn't have any.

Once I'd added all the flour, the dough was more a paste than a dough, extremely sticky, so I added some more flour. Not much, still I think the dough went a bit too stiff and it said it should be soft and not rubbery. Also it was not to be overdone!

Anyway, I rolled it out, placed the butter block onto it and folded it in. I think the consistency of both was similar, but there were those butter lumps that hadn't been softened...

So once I started doing the turns, the word lumpy would be the best description to it - all those butter lumps that I hadn't softened up were indeed too hard and went through the layers and squirted out from everywhere.

The book also said 3 single turns only in total, whereas most other instructions I'd found called for 6. I noticed that with each turn, it seemed that the butter lumps dispersed, so I did 10 single turns in total yesterday.

Finally this morning, after oversleeping, I rolled out my laminated dough to the specified size. I couldn't find a ruler, so guessed on the measurements. I cut the dough into the triangles and started rolling. Well the dough mostly insisted on sticking to the baking surface and I had trouble rolling the croissants into a recognisable shape - mostly they ended up looking like hedgehogs.

They rose a bit, but not very much and I should perhaps have left them for longer. All in all I got 21 pieces.

At this point I was hungry and sick of the whole thing, so I didn't bother with egg wash, but brushed with milk. The book said this is how it's done in France.

I baked them in the oven for 17 minutes at which point they were well brown on top, but probably not entirely baked inside.

Still, left them to cool a bit and had them for an extremely delayed breakfast (almost noon!).


The taste was the right one, but the texture wasn't and given my alterations to the recipe, perhaps it's no wonder. Very fatty of course, but fairly edible with a dab of Nutella.

I'll leave the laminate doughs for a few months now I think, it's such a big effort and the final result is not really as expected, I need some time to recover from this failure.

I was planning to make some cinnamon buns today as well, but half the day is gone, so I'll leave that.

On a different note, we barbecued yesterday and Lundulph got to try out his new barbecue wok. It worked rather well - got all veggies done nicely and also the king prawns I'd bought especially for this occasion. It's a uni-tasker, but a useful one.


Anonymous said...

I remember making croissants at school, the smell of yeast and butter took forever to come off my hands. I've never attempted it since, well done for being so brave!

Caramella Mou said...

Hi Ginger!
Yes, it was quite gooey, but I don't mind that. Just got very depressed that things didn't work out. But I'm not giving in on this.