Baking Challenge #1: The Croissant, Part 2

Well, they look a bit like croissants!!

Croissants are funny things. It actually doesn’t take much energy to make them, just time. The perfect time to make them would be when you’re home for the day, doing something like.. cleaning the house, and/or cooking a roast. Because after the initial process of mixing the ingredients together, it’s really just a repetitive, simple process of rolling, folding and refrigerating.

When I make them again – which will be soon, because I halved the ingredients in the recipe (to save on waste if I stuffed them up) and at any rate the ingredients cost barely anything – I will probably make a few changes to how I went about making them.

For one, I tended to use a bit too much flour on the bench when I was rolling them. I think this made the outside a bit dry and floury when they were cooked. Next time I think I’ll just use a tiny bit of flour, if any. The mixture wasn’t hugely sticky anyway – it was a bit of overkill on my part.

Secondly, they didn’t rise as much as I wanted them to. I think this is probably mostly because of the weather – it is pretty cold right now – and also I used dried yeast rather than fresh (which the recipe asked for). I think next time I’ll try activating my dry stuff first by putting it in some tepid water with some honey. I reckon this should do the trick.

Thirdly, I don’t think I’ll roll the pastry as thinly in the final step – the step before cutting it into triangles and folding into the croissant shape. I think if it had been a touch thicker they would have kept their shape better when I rolled them, and wouldn’t have been fatter and shorter, rather than long and skinny.

And lastly, I think I’ll slice my final rolled piece of pastry into many more triangles than I did. I cut it into 8. I reckon that I could have cut those pieces in half again. If they rose properly, they would be the ideal size I think.

Anyway, with those points aside, I think they turned out pretty well for my first shot. Canaan reckons they’re the best  – and I have to say they do taste really good homemade, fresh from the oven and spread with butter and apricot jam – but they do need to be tweaked. Not the recipe, just my baking habits & knowledge. They were edible though, and not burnt, so that’s an achievement in itself I think, for now!

Here’s the recipe I used, and recommend. Once you read through it and get a grasp of the general method, you’ll see too that it’s actually quite straightforward.

As I think I said in my previous post, it’s taken from the book: “Patisserie” by Aaron Maree (1994).

CROISSANT

Ingredients

1 & 3/4 cups cold milk
1 egg
3 teaspoons sugar
30g fresh compressed yeast
6 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
500g unsalted butter
1 & 1/4 cups plain flour

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix cold milk with egg, sugar and yeast and stir until well combined.
  2. Add flour and salt to the liquid and mix until a dough is formed.
  3. Knead the yeast dough for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface and then allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix butter and extra flour together lightly and quickly until both are combined. Do not cream butter, simply mix lightly until a dough is formed. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  5. Roll dough into a large square. Press the chilled butter mixture into the centre of the dough square. Pull each of the four corners up and over the butter mixture so that it is totally enclosed within the dough.
  6. Refrigerate the dough for a further 30 minutes.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to triple its original length, then mark and fold into thirds.
  8. Rest dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes, then once again roll out to triple its original length and fold into thirds.
  9. Rest dough another 20 minutes in the refrigerator, then form a further threefold and place back in refrigerator.
  10. Roll dough out to 5mm (1/4 inch) in thickness and form a long oblong shape.
  11. Cut straight down the centre of the dough and then cut each half into individual triangles.
  12. Roll the crossaints, starting at the large end and rolling towards the pointed end, curving the croissants so that they are crescent-shaped.
  13. Place on a baking sheet.
  14. Place the sheets of croissants in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until double in size.
  15. Bake at 200C (400F) for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  16. Allow croissants to cool slightly before serving.

Good luck and enjoy!

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One thought on “Baking Challenge #1: The Croissant, Part 2

  1. wow…. good stuff!!

    Maybe I’ll have a crack at them sometime this winter… Could be a nice lunch treat one Sunday… mmmm….

    Can’t wait to see the next challenge….

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