Sunday, November 21, 2010

Croissants - from Baking with Julia

 Since it's my goal to try as many master chef's formula and practice on techniques, I chose to make Croissants from "Baking with Julia" cookbook.  I prepared the dough around 2 pm, and I just now finished baking them - 10:30 pm.  What interested me in her book's Croissant recipe is the dough process and 'forming' or the 'shaping' technique.  Once the dough is portioned, the triangular shaped dough is pulled and stretched twice its original size.  Then, right before it is rolled into horn shape, a scrap piece of dough shaped into football is placed in the center to help give the baked croissant the plump "belly" look.  While the instruction is very detailed, I missed the "moisten the hands with moist towel" part and pull and stretched the triangle shaped dough.  Although I had 24 chances to do it correctly, I did not find out until I was done.  However, while I was viewing the illustration images, I was wondering the whole time while I was doing mine why or how the chef managed to stretch it so nicely and smoothly without causing the tear.  I also didn't roll the scrap dough into football shape, but I just cut them into equal amount of croissant triangles ready for rolling; then, used it as is.  Luckily the croissant turned out wonderfully.
Today, my kitchen temp is around 67'F.  Rainy day.
Once the dough was ready for the butter block, I divided the dough into halves.
This will allow me to roll the dough within the available work surface' area.
The first group of croissants are baked at 350'F. The base of the triangle is 4-inch wide.  Yielded 14 croissants.  They have beautiful crust. It is crispy with distinct layers.  The croissants are light.  Butter did not leak out much at all.
The second group of croissants are filled with chopped cranberries and raisins.  The base of the triangle is sliced at 6-inch.  Yield: 10.  They were baked at 375'F.  They turned out beautifully as well.
I had a bit of doubt with my dough at the beginning. The recipe called for 1 Cup of Milk for 3-1/2 C of flour.  My dough really felt dry in my mixer.  I added approximately 1/2 C more liquid - just water.  But the dough really felt tough.  I decided to knead the dough regardless and also included pound or slam or slap method for 10 - 15 min.   All that time, I was thinking, may be I should have added the salt after allowing the flour to absorb the liquid first, then, added it.  But, that's not what the instruction says, so I just followed the instruction.  Mixed all ingredients together in the mixer.  But with everything, I need to know how to of recovering/rescue the ingredients when the unexpected sign(s) appears.  So, my manual kneading and slap down of the dough worked to my advantage that my mixer was not able to help with. 
So here it is:  (Click on the image to view other comments)

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