Sunday, April 04, 2010

Croissants

(This entry is an edited version of installments originally published here, here, and here)

Many, many moons ago, Miss Amandine sent me a book as a present. This book was the lifestyle guide, diet book, and NYT #1 best-seller extravaganza French Women Don't Get Fat. When I opened it, I did not take offense at the idea of someone sending me a diet book as a gift - I perused it for its lifestyle tips and ooohed over the recipes inside. The recipes included one for croissants that Mireille Guiliano claimed was *easy*. The catch? It takes three days. Hah! Needless to say, I never made them because I never had three days in row without work during the PhuD and Ma would probably have a heart attack watching me throw flour around the kitchen benches.

BUT NOW the PhuD is over (until the corrections get back). AND the Parental Units decided they were going to Sydney for the weekend. This means that I have the kitchen pretty much TO MYSELF!!! (Okay, I'm sharing it with the bros but I will cook and they will be happy.) And so this Easter, I will make CROISSANTS!!!

Ingredients

  • 260ml milk + 2 tablespoons for brushing over pastry
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 250g plain flour + 3 tablespoons (kept separate)
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 180g unsalted butter
Day 1
  1. Heat 65ml of milk to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in milk, stir in 6tbs of flour from the 250g, and whisk until lump-free. Cover with clingwrap and and let stand at room temp until doubled in volume (about 20mins).
  2. Mix sugar and salt into remaining flour.
  3. Heat remaining 195ml of milk to lukewarm. Transfer raised dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hooks. Add milk, and with mixer at high speed, add sugar, salt & flour mixture, a little at a time. Lower the speed to slow-medium until dough is sticky-soft.
  4. Cover with clingwrap and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2 - START IN THE MORNING, STEP 5 IS IN THE AFTERNOON
  1. Bring butter to room temp and incorporate the 3 tbs of flour until smooth.
  2. Flour the working surface, shape the cold dough into a 38 x 15cm rectangle (portrait, not landscape), and spread butter on the upper 2/3 of the rectangle. Leave a 1cm border between the sides and the butter.
  3. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, folding the bottom (butterless) third first. Turn the dough anticlockwise, roll out into a 38 x 15cm rectangle, and fold again.
  4. Transfer dough to a baking pan, cover with clingwrap, and refrigerate for 6 hours.
  5. (THIS IS IN THE AFTERNOON) Roll out the dough two more times, wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3
  1. About 1.5 hours before baking, remove dough from fridge, and flour working surface. Roll dough into a 40cm diameter circle. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into three triangles.
  2. Roll the base of the triangle towards the remaining point. Do not curl the pastry into a croissant shape. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with 2 tbs of milk. Let stand at room temp for about 45mins or until the croissants have doubled in volume.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C. Brush croissants with glaze (egg yolk + 1 tbs milk), and bake for 15-20mins. If they brown too fast, cover loosely with foil.
  4. Cool for 20 mins before serving/eating!!!

I had a bit of trouble doing the rolling into a vague croissant shape because I wasn't able to roll the dough into a perfect 40cm circle. This is probably the reason why they came out of the oven partly unrolled and really...looking kinda ugly.

However, I took some to the Vanderpoons where Rachie and Clinty taste tested them. They both gave them the thumbs up for having the right texture and being buttery while not as sweet as commercial croissants. *thumbs up*

And here are some close ups showing the fluffy texture of the croissants.

Layers, layers, layers!

So now that I'm done and they're not a failure, I will do as any good scientist does - try to optimise the protocol to improve it! Muhahahahahah! My aim being to make it not take 3 days.
Happy baking!

3 comments:

  1. do join www.ozbloggers.com and ping every time you blog a topic..

    ReplyDelete
  2. impressive stamina and patience!!
    looks delicious =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fantastic - love the last layer-y shot!

    I'm looking forward to future posts as you optimise your protocol. ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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