Sunday, February 03, 2008

sloppy croissants

Inspired by my friend Astrid, I attempted to make croissants. Per usual, I used the Cook's Illustrated recipe, aided by Sherry Yard's instructions in The Secrets of Baking. Despite my poor and lazy effort, they tasted pretty darn good, probably because of the 12 oz (24TB) of butter for 12 croissant. I ate three in one day (one slathered in Nutella) and felt like I might have a heart attack at any minute. They were definitely better than Swiss croissants, but as Astrid says, that's not saying much. Here's what I learned (I was in a hurry so I didn't take pics of all the steps and the pics are blurry and ugly - sorry)...


This is the butter block that will be rolled between the dough layers. Getting this cold butter into a 7in square was the hardest part. Obviously, I'm not a perfectionist. That is the smoothest I could get that stupid block o' butter without throwing it out the window and calling it quits.


Then I folded the corners over the butter and chilled for 2 hours. Then I rolled out to 14in square. This involves banging the dough/cold butter with the rolling pin to soften it. I thought bang meant bang, and I banged too hard creating lots of chunks of butter in my dough instead of smooth layers. Must be more gentle next time.


I folded it in thirds like a business letter, then again, creating two "turns" in pastry terms. Then chill 2 hours and repeat. I chilled the dough in the fridge overnight before the final roll and shaping. This didn't have any poor effect on the dough (like over yeasty flavor or something).


I rolled to 20in square, cut and rolled up the croissants. Mine are so ugly, esp. compared to Astrid's. Only that one in the top right-hand corner any hope of being pretty. Then they rose for an hour or so.


After a couple minutes in the oven, there were pools of butter under every croissant and I was expecting the worst. However, they puffed up nicely and were flaky, buttery, and delicious. They were however, quite heavy - not sure why. Next time I will roll more gently so the butter evenly spreads in the layer - I think that's my main problem. I froze six shaped but not baked ones. I'm curious to see if they bake up ok.


there's nothing better than a croissant fresh out of the oven - ok, maybe two croissants fresh out of the oven

8 comments:

Astrid said...

Oh my, lots to say on this topic, no time now though! But great first results! I'm a bit shaken right now because my third attempt was a complete disaster. Same with macarons by the way: I made two good batches, then a disastrous third batch. What's up with that? Anyway, on the butter quantity: I don't know the Cooks recipe, but the Sherry Yard recipe I have has way too much butter. Even Hermé uses only a little more than a 1:2 ratio of butter to flour. Yes in my recipe 1, there's a 15-hour fermenting time to start with, room temp. But next time I make these, I won't use that recipe, but rather the Hermé recipe in my second post.
Well, looks like I waxed prolific despite myself. Last word: I will soon post about my disaster croissants, just for the educational value. One interesting thing is they seemed dry and heavy, though the butter quantity was the same.

Aluwicious said...

Those look pretty darn good! I"ll have to try them. I need to make the bread again to rebuild my confidence though.

margaret said...

Those look scrumptious! How decadent with that much butter. What kind of flour did you use? Do you think whole wheat would work?

Megan said...

Wow... I'm impressed, and now very hungry for a croissant.

Rika said...

Croissants are so difficult! My first try came out same - not really flaky but heavy.

But Switzerland has great ones at even Migros and Coops. It's really hard to get good one int he US even in San Francisco. (as you might know, good bakeries are fad right now in SF and there are many good ones now)

Did you figure out year old question of " What is the difference between regular weissmehl and zopfmehl? The protein level is the same.
What exactly are halbweissmehl and ruchmehl? I know they are part whole wheat, but what does that mean? What percentage whole grain is in these?"
If not, I posted the comment.

I really miss those laugenbrotli! My Boyfriend is still in Zurich and I have asked him to bring some home ;) And I ordered food-grade rye and will attempt to make one soon.

Enjoy great breads there! I'm jealous.

Tanya said...

Thanks Rika for the great comments. Your flour comment was very enlightening - where did you get your info? I'd love to read up more on this topic. Re: croissants - I used to love all the croissants here in CH until I went to Paris and ate their buttery ones. Swiss croissants seem much leaner. Of course, mine were dripping with butter, what a mess. Can't wait to make them again.

Rika said...

Hi Tanya

I have been reading up your webpage and my hat's off! You bake very intelligently - with notes, schedule, precise measurements - and no wonder mine's always so-so ;)

I'm trying Swiss bread recipe with American flours. So I did found good info here which would help you (but given those bread, you don't need it anymore!)

"German flour type numbers (Mehltype) indicate the amount of ash (measured in milligrams) obtained from 100 g of the dry mass of this flour. Standard wheat flours (defined in DIN 10355) range from type 405 for normal white wheat flour for baking, to strong bread flour types 550, 650, 812, and the darker types 1050 and 1600 for wholegrain breads."

Ash Protein US German French
~0.4% ~9% pastry 405 45
~0.55% ~11% all-purpose 550 55
~0.8% ~14% high gluten 812 80
~1% ~15% first clear 1050 110
1.5% ~13% white whole w. 1600 150

and, this link really explains. Swiss use same standard.

http://www.practicallyedible.com/
edible.nsf/pages/germanflours

So indeed, very "white" AND "strong" flour seems like American thing. Good you got those vital gluten.

Rika said...

and.. BTW, how many grams of dry yeast in each package there? My recipe for Gugelhupf only says "1 Pck. Trockenhefe"
Thanks!

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