Sunday, April 6, 2014

Experiments

After making croissants at school and discovering how delicious and do-able they were, I had to try them at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked out at home! If you're a Facebook friend, you might have seen the pictures I posted of the final product - which were delicious, I might add. ;) But I also took a few pictures of the process as an experiment. I'm not a photographer or a tutorialist, and I missed a couple steps, but I wanted to try something new. Here goes.

First, put all your dry ingredients (except the yeast) in your stand mixer with the hook attachment, gradually adding the water. When it starts to come together you can toss in the yeast. Continue adding a small amounts of water and mixing until it forms a ball  that cleans the sides of the bowl. If you've added a bit too much water and it's sticking to the sides you can throw in a pinch of flour. If your recipe happens to ask for fresh yeast and you want to use dry, divide the amount by 3 (ex: if your recipe asks for 30g of fresh yeast, put 10g of dry).

It's a fairly soft dough, so to make things move along quicker, wrap it in plastic and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, during which time you can manipulate your butter into a square shape. If you've got lots of time and want your croissants to have a more developed flavour, place your wrapped dough in the fridge for a few hours.

Next (not pictured, really sorry) to make the butter square... your butter should be quite cold and cut into slabs. Place the slabs together between sheets of parchment or waxed paper, and pound with a rolling pin until the pieces start to meld together and become pliable. Cut off and rearrange the pieces to keep a square shape. Refrigerate while you work the dough. Roll the dough out into a diamond shape approximately the same size as the butter, leaving a small hump in the center. Place the butter in the middle of the diamond, folding the dough around the butter like an envelope, and proceed to roll out into a long rectangle - you can kind of see how my dough meets in the center around the butter and I've started rolling it out.

When your dough is long enough, fold it onto itself in a tri-fold, making sure you brush away any extra flour with a dry pastry brush. Repeat this process two more times, always keeping the folded edges on the sides as you roll out your rectangle. You may need to refrigerate between turns if the dough gets too soft.

Once you've done your three turns and let chill, covered, for another 30 minutes in the freezer (again, if you want a more developed flavour and have lots of time you can leave them in the fridge for several hours or overnight) you can roll out the dough for cutting. My recipe is supposed to make approx. 16 croissants. So I rolled my dough out into a rectangle roughly 20cm by 36cm. Cut in half lengthwise so you have two long strips and place one on top of the other (so you only have to measure and cut once). Measure out triangles approx. 5cm wide and 10cm long - you should have 8 marked out. I measured wrong or hadn't rolled my dough long enough, but I used the end pieces to make smaller extras. Make a little slit in the short side of each triangle.

Now you're going to take each triangle by the short side and gently pull down to the tip to elongate. To roll, place the triangles on your work surface with the point facing away from you. Start by folding in the wings at the notch you made in the center, as pictured. Then roll toward the tip from the wings in the center, pushing your hands slightly out to the sides as your roll. You should be able to roll three times before you reach the end. Try to make sure the tip stays on the bottom when you finish rolling.

Bring the tails around to connect at the front. Most likely they will not stay connected during proofing, but should maintain that iconic crescent shape.

Now comes proofing - the part that I wasn't really sure how to do at home, and I didn't end up doing right. You want your oven to be warm, but not warm enough to melt the butter in your croissants (like mine was... see the puddles? Don't do that). Let them rise until significantly bigger (how long will depend on your dough and where you're letting them proof). As you can see, they are much bigger than the previous picture. You'll know they are ready if you can see the layers when you look from the side, and if they jiggle slightly when you shake the pan. But try not to shake them up too much or they might deflate!

After they've risen, remove them from the oven and lightly brush with egg wash. Set your oven to the proper temperature, and once preheated, pop them in and they'll be done in 15-20 minutes! Mmm, mmm, mmm! Enjoy!

Ok, so that is definitely not the best tutorial I've ever seen, and like I said, I missed getting pictures of a few steps, and there are some things you might need to watch in action to understand, but hey! Not bad for being done on a whim, right?!

I also tried making this English Muffin Bread, from the blog Buns In My Oven found via Pinterest. It wasn't really like eating English Muffins, but it was good and I would probably try it again. :)

English Muffin Bread

No comments:

Post a Comment