Monday, January 19, 2009

Croissants - Bread Baking Babes goes French


I have to say that there are advantages with procrastination, today's post is a great example of it; this month I made the BBB challenge very early, I think I was one of the first for once, and I have been feeling virtuous ever since but now comes the backlash - I can't really remember that much about the actual baking, the general picture is still there but I am sure there were more to it. So sometimes it is better to be late, especially as you grow older and your memory begins to prepare itself to leave home and get its own life. Far away from you. Just like your children. Back to the point, this month it is Katie of Thyme For Cooking who has chosen the recipe and I was happy to see that she went French and opted for croissants! Because I think they are delicous and because it made me realize that they are not as difficult to make as I thought they were. Thank you Katie for boosting my baking confidence!
I baked them together with Karen and Tanna, we chat and/or talk over Skype when we bake together and it is surprisingly fun to do it this way, stimulating too because there's always someone who knows what to do when you are standing there with a question mark hovering over your head.


The recipe Katie choose is originally from a French chef, Michel Roux, and apart from one problem (I had to add more liquid) it worked well and the final croissants received rave reviews from my family, especially from the one who ate 8! No names.
We all had a problem with the amount of liquid which resulted in a incredibly detailed analysis of different types of flour and whether it was using the wrong type of flour that caused the problem. I felt completely inadequate and opted for the combination, too little liquid
and wrong type of flour. I did have another problem when I made them but that wasn't because of the recipe but because of my cold house, it was so cold then that I had problems with rolling out the butter properly in the dough so here we have another pro for procrastination (as if I need any, I am natural procrastinator), if I had done it like yesterday, I wouldn't have had that problem. Anyway, half of the croissants was just normal ones and the second half I filled with chunks of Nutella that I hacked off (yes, it was that cold). I preferred the normal ones but my children really liked the Nutella ones.
If you too want to bake our croissants
and get a Bread Baking Buddie badge, head over to Katie who will give you all the instructions! Well I would suggest you to go there anyway because she will give you more details about this whole croissant thing! And you'll get the original recipe. And she is funny too!



Yield: 1.1kg/ 38,8 oz dough, enough for 14 - 16 croissants Time: 9 - 13 hours

25g/0,9 oz fresh yeast
350 ml/1,48 cup whole milk
500g/17,6 oz plain flour
6g/0,2 oz salt
50g/1,75 oz sugar
275g/9,7 oz butter, cold but not too hard
Egg Wash - 1 egg yolk mixed with 1tbs milk

- Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Put flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook and mix on low. Gradually pour in the milk/yeast mixture.
- Stop working the dough as soon as it comes away from the sides of the bowl. It should not become too elastic.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place (24C, 75F) until doubled, 45 - 60 minutes.
- Punch down dough by flipping it over with your hand, but do not overwork it. Cover the bowl again and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but not more than 8.
- Punch down dough by flipping again and place on lightly floured surface.
- Shape the dough into a ball and cut a 3cm (1 1/4") cross in the center. roll out the 4 sides to make flaps. Bash the butter with a rolling pin to make a rectangle and place in the center of the dough. Fold the flaps over to completely enclose the butter.
First Turn: Lightly flour the work surface, roll the dough out to a 60 X 30cm (24 X 12") rectangle. Fold in thirds, wrap in cling film and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Second Turn: Give the chilled dough a quarter turn, roll out into the rectangle, fold, wrap and refrigerate as above, 30 minutes.
Third Turn: Roll the dough in the opposite direction as before, into the rectangle, fold wrap and refrigerate at least 30 but no more than 60 minutes.
- The dough is now ready for use.

The shaping of the Croissants

- This is how it should be done, I didn't but just cut out the triangles free-hand from the the dough rectangles but here we go: Cut a cardboard template, 9cm (3.5") base, 18cm (7") to the point. Lightly flour work surface and roll dough out to 65 X 40cm (26 X 16") rectangle. Lift it slightly off the surface to aerate it to keep it from shrinking. Trim sides with a sharp knife to make straight edges, then cut in half, lengthwise. Using the template as a guide, cut into triangles.
- Lay 1 triangle on the work surface. Make a 1cm (1/3") cut in the middle of the base and pull the 2 base points slightly to separate; then pull the top point slightly. Roll the croissant from the base to the point. Place on a baking sheet and turn the base points to form a crescent (You could lay a piece of ham on the base before rolling for a savory croissant) Repeat with the rest of the triangles.
- Lightly but thoroughly brush with egg wash.
- Put the croissants, on a baking tray, in a warm, preferably slightly humid, place (24 - 30C, 75 - 86F) to rise for 2 hours, or until almost doubled.
- Brush with egg wash again, and bake in a preheated oven (170C, 340F) oven for 12 - 14 minutes.


I recommend you to go and see what the other
Bread Baking Babes came up with, they are a creative bunch and make really nice variatins on the given theme:

Bake My Day (Karen)
, I Like to Cook (Sara), Living on Bread and Water (Monique), My Kitchen in Half Cups (Tanna), Grain Doe (Gorel), Notitie van Lien (Lien), The Sour Dough (Mary aka Breadchick), Thyme of Cooking (Katie), Cookie Baker Lynn (Lynn)

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