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codruta's picture
codruta

hello from Timisoara!

I baked recently "Roasted Hazelnut and Prune Bread" from Hamelman book, page 185. I removed the butter and the instant yeast, and I increased the hydration from 66% to 68%, and I left the dough in the fridge overnight for the final fermentation.

The bad: I didn't know what to expect of it, I ezitated when I slashed it, cause it's still not clear for me when I have to give a perpendicular slash (with a straight lame) or an "almost-parallel-with-the-surface" kind of slash (does the shape of bread dictate it, or the kind of bread -rye, whole-wheat, white). The bread didn't have a spectacular oven spring. I think I incorporated a little raw flour in the dough when I shaped it (or else why do some prunes have a dry layer around them?). I think I could have roasted the hazelnuts for a longer time. I wish the prunes were more even distributed.

The good: I like the crumb, the contrast of textures and colours. I loved the combination of sweet, sour and nutty. Lovely for breakfast, with a cup of coffee aside. Lovely with goat cheese, or other kinds of cheese. Excellent with butter. I regret I didn't try to toast it...

For those who haven't tried it yet, I absolutely recomend it.

I decided to make this bread, because food-bloggers from Romania make a dish every month, with a chosen theme; and for august the theme was the plum. (They accepted me with prunes.) The challenge is called "Sweet Romania" and I was glad that I could participated with this lovely bread.

The recipe and details can be found here on my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Or not. Because my laminating obsession is resulting in all kinds of delicious breads. This one is inspired by a blog post I came across sometime ago, whiich has interesting backstory and detailed shaping instruction. The filling is laminated into the dough rather than directly kneaded in. My previous fourgasse(see here) was airy and crispy all around, this one is crispy on the outside, soft/slightly chewy on the inside - a different kind of yummy.

I used the Rustic Bread recipe from "Bread" for the dough, and two kinds of fillings.

Laminated Fougasse (inspired by "Bread" and this post)
Note: Makes two one pound loaves

--Poolish
Bread Flour, 267g
Water, 267g
instant yeast, 1/8tsp, i.e. a very small pinch

1. Mix and let rise at room temp for 12-16hours.

-Final Dough
Bread Flour, 267g
Water, 102g
Salt, 2tsp
Instant Yeast, 2.8g, a scant tsp
Poolish

- Fillings
Savory Filling: black olive, ham, cheese, 115g, chop finely and mix well
Sweet Filling: cranberries, almonds, pistachios, sugar, cinnamon, 115g, chop finely and mix well

2. Mix poolish, flour, and water, autolyse for 30min. Add salt and yeast, mix at medium speed for 3-4 min until gluten starts to develope.
3. Let rise at room temp until double (about 70min at 75F), S&F at minute 25 and 50.
4. Shape as this blog instucts. One with savory filling, and the other with sweet filling.
5. No proofing, bake right away at 425F for about 25min.

I like how the filling color shows through

 

Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy with intense filling flavor on the inside, whats not to love

I think it's the best eaten warm from oven

Mebake's picture
Mebake

In reference to the comment of TFL member : subfuscpersona, here, where SF thankfully shared his idea of Freezing a yeasted BIGA for future use; i have finally done the proposed method, with little deviations of my own.

The recipe was adapted from Peter Reinhart's (Transitional Multigrain Hearth bread).

Ingredients:

Soaker:       223g    Bran + coarse whole Wheat middlings

          (sifted remains of milled Wholewheat flour)

                   4g (1/2 tsp)    Salt

                   173g              water

-----------------------------------------

Total:          400 grams

               

Biga:      227g               Bread flour                                      50 % wholewheat

                  1g (1/4tsp)      Instant Dry Yeast                    50% Prefermented Flour

                   142g                     water                                             Total Hydration: 70%

------------------------------------------                                        Bulk Fermentation: 45 min.

Total:        370 grams                                                             Final Fermentation: 30-45 min @ 25c

 

Final Dough:

                 400g                     All Soaker

                 370g                     All Biga

                 9g  (2 ¼ tsp)          Instant Dry Yeast    

                8g  (1 tsp)              Salt

------------------------------------------

Total:       787 grams

Deviations where in mixing the White Biga , fermenting it at room temperature for 4 Hours until it doubled, then immediately freezing it. biga was frozen for three days, and thawed slowly in the refrigerator for another 24 hrs prior to baking day. Amusing, how convenient these Yeasted Bigas are!

Yesterday, 2 hours before mixing, i removed the thawed Biga from the refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature. Mixing proceeded, and i did not notice any adverse effects of the freezing on the structure of the Biga. Mind you, it was a White Biga, I'am sure the same would apply for a wholewheat biga, too.

The Final dough developed very quickly, and was bulkfermented, preshped, shaped, and fermented in a banneton. I wanted to try Franko's recent scoring style: here, Nice!

Thanks to Subfuscpersona, for his Ideas...! my Freezer shall be packed with Bigas from now on... :)

khalid

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Today was similar to yesterday in that we mixed dough for three types of baguettes. It was very similar to David's Day 3 except I interpret we did different doughs but I am not certain. Once again the scoring fairy visited and our loaves were better. Not what I want yet, but...getting there.

As in David's class we discussed flour - types, milling, characteristics, additives, oxidants, agers, etc. But the hands on experience was the highlight. And we began much more actively participating in mixing, baking, etc.

Our three doughs today were improved mix (our standard reference), an improved mix with a short autolyse, and a high gluten dough made by the improved mix formula (70 % hydration). Each person made five baguettes using each dough. The improved mix is becoming familiar as this is the third time we have made it. Shape and slashes are improving but the flavor and open crumb are now what we expect as is the dough handling.

The improved mix with autolyse combined all of the flour and almost all the water for 30 minutes autolyse before mixing in the yeast and salt (remaining water added to the salt at the start of the autlyze to aid in mixing. The autolyse jump starts the enzymes which means there is more sugar when the yeast is mixed in. The mixing and processing were similar to the improved mix baguette dough but with a shorter second mix since the autolyse allowed for good gluten development. The window test after the autolyse and short mix was "amazing". The best I think we have gotten. And the dough is a bit softer and more extensible. 

The high gluten baguette dough was exactly the improved mix but with higher protein dough. So it was arguably underhydrated relative to the improved mix. And more elastic. Most of the loaves took two shaping passes to get them long enough.

There is little reason to show photos. They aren't remarkable and take me a good bit of time to upload so I will concentrate on flavor.

The high gluten dough yielded a baguette somewhat similar to the intense mix from yesterday. No bad tastes, but insipid, and familiar as the loaf you pick up from the local Mega Mart. It did have better (more open) crumb and the cell walls were much prettier but...not a loaf to lust after. But easy to handle, easy to shape and score (except for the elasticity), and good for large production schedules.

The improved mix reference was very good. A bit more challenging to handle but repetition pays and my handling of dough was clearly improved today. Wonderful, open structure, good flavor. Nice!

The star of the show, however was the improved mix with autolyse. A bit more challenging to handle and a bit gassy (like the short mix). A bit harder to get a good, taut loaf but it was the last of the day and I thought I did pretty well. Wonderful crumb, darker crust due to the additional sugar in the dough and crust. Flavor was slightly sweeter, with more acid both acetic (just a touch of bite) and lactic (slight buttery flavor). This was a real star and is to be repeated. The technique of beginnn a straight dough with a short autolyse is straightforward and is guaranteed to give your straight yeasted breads more flavor.

Like David's class we will make five different breads tomorrow - none baguettes. It will be a busy, hectic day!  But a pleasant change of pace. Then, Friday we will make four different baguette doughs, a hand mix dough and three using preferments (poolish sponge, and dough).

Now for dinner and sleep!

Jay

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

There are a lot of posts on activating a starter on this wonderful website and I thought I’d add my two pennies worth and get a chance to show off my hubby’s wonderful photos :)

My starter is taking over the world, well, taking overUKat least and I thought I’d share my feeding schedule with the rest of you and open a forum for questions / comments.

 

Also, I would like to know why would you keep waters (raisin water, apple water, etc.) that started popping up in a lot of recipes on this side AS WELL as a starter – whats the difference, advantages of one over another?

 Full post and lots of photos on my blog here

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

An emergency bake,  supplies of bread are running low, Mexican chilli on the go for dinner and I have nothing to go with it. To me all of that calls for a soft and buttery corn bread – I wanted to use starter as it was bubbling away nicely but due to time constrains I had to use some commercial yeast as well.

I am very very happy with the result – lovely and crumbly corn bread with whole corn kernels and a touch of chilli. It only lasted a day, and I haven’t even had a chance to try it toasted – I can imagine it would toast really well.

 

Full recipe and lots of photos (including in-progress ones) on my blog here

iPhone quality photos this time, didn't have time to get the big camera out

longhorn's picture
longhorn

David's photos from Day 2 tell the story well. Except it was really busy and crazy. Having four teams of bakers making 15 baguettes each (5 each of short mix, improved mix, and intensive mix) was almost crazy! By the third bake we pretty much had our act together and it went pretty well, but...it felt really busy!

What SFBI calls the "short mix" is a minimally mixed dough that has a shaggy window and requires a long ferment to develop gluten and about three folds to develop the dough. It is effectively the "hand mixed dough" of olden times. The intensive mix is the "high energy" mixer approach that is so typical of commercial, large scale bakeries and the "grocery store baguette". It is intensely mixed, a bit oxidized, and bland by comparison. The improved mix is a dough mixed to an intermediate level with a nice but not clear windowpane and needs an intermediate level of fermentation and one fold. It yields a loaf that is quite similar in crumb to the short mix but with less labor and is therefore appealing to commercial operations. 

Mac didn't cut any of my loaves so I didn't get a comparative crumb shot but the short and intermediate loaves had very similar crumb and similar to the crumb photo from day one. The intense mix dough yielded the familiar fine crumb of "conventional" baguettes. 

The photos below are the improved mix, intense, and short mix loaves. More comments on the loaves will follow the photos.

Good news was the scoring fairy showed up today and all of us seemed to score better! 

The smell of the intense baguette was a bit strange. Not much aroma and a bit of a chemical smell - not sure where that came from. Decent crumb and texture but relatively bland due to the high yeast, and fast fermentation.  A long proof is necessary to compensate for the high development and relax the bread...but the lack of flavor tends to support the logic that flavor doesn't develop in small loaves (or it leaks out??).

The improved mix at the top and the short mix were surprisingly similar. Some preferred the short, others the improved. The short seemed a bit sweeter (less oxidation from mixing?) and a bit fresher to me. The improved seemed to have a bit more acidity (which it arguably should not but...). In any event they were remarkably similar and good.

Handling wise the intense dough was easy. We were using 11.8% protein flour and those loaves were 65% hydration. Our improved mix dough was 70% and our short mix was 71%. They were both a bit sticky but the short was clearly more of a handling challenge. I described it as reminiscent of Peter Reinhart's Pain l'Ancienne but better behaved - to the point that it could be formed and scored. 

I am really tired! 

Tomorrow we will make another 15 baguettes. Our reference improved, improved with autolyse, and high gluten with autolyse.

Time to have a beer! More tomorrow!

Jay

Franko's picture
Franko

Pain au Levain with Red Fife 75% Sifted

Last week I posted a bake of this bread, http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24636/sweet-amp-sour that although a good loaf, I wasn't entirely happy with it because of it's close crumb and slight under baking. The finished loaf however resulted in a flavourful combination of the three different flours used in the mix, which I felt had good potential for an even greater flavour profile. One of the things I wanted to change from the last bake was the level of sour flavour, which was not as strong as I like. Since then I've been building my starter to a fairly stiff consistency to bring more acidity to it. With the warm temperatures we've been having here on Vancouver Island recently it's become a very active and tangy community of yeast cells. The mix, bulk ferment and final rise for Pain au Levain went well, giving me enough dough for two 800 gram loaves, one of which was shaped as a boule and placed in a brotform, and the other as a batard of sorts. I'd lined a wicker bread basket with linen and very clumsily sewn it into the basket to make a brotform, all the while suffering through stabbing myself repeatedly with the needle and hearing the occasional burst of laughter from across the room. It's not a thing of beauty but it does the trick, giving the dough a shape that's somewhere between a boule and a batard, or as David Snyder called a similar one of his, a 'boutard'. Both loaves went into a 500F oven turned down to 460F after 5 minutes and baked for 35-40 minutes with steam system in place during the first 5 minutes. With this bake I didn't have to rush off to a golf game, so the breads had a thorough bake, checking the internal temps for a 210F reading before I removed them to cooling racks and wrapped in linen. The loaves have a more pronounced flavour this time and a good sour tang that stays on the palate after eating. The crumb is more open than the previous loaf and with a bit of gelatinization as well. A good result for both loaves that I'm satisfied with.


Attamura Loaf

Somewhere along the way during the 3 builds of the levain I over- scaled and wound up with more levain than I needed for the Pain au Levain mix I was doing. Hmmm... Well rather than return the excess to the starter, I decided to try making an Altamura type bread using Atta flour, or Attamura, a project that Varda http://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/vhaimo has been working on over the last few weeks with some good results to show for her efforts.

The mix was made almost entirely with Golden Temple durum Atta flour except for the standard wheat flours and rye in the levain, roughly 67 grams total or 13.4% The levain was 27% of the mix, hydration was 70% (not counting the levain) and the salt at 2% for 500 grams of Atta flour. I did the mix using my new toy, a Bosh Compact, as it has a very gentle folding action when used on 1st speed that I felt would be just right for slowly developing the fragile gluten of the durum flour. The dough came together almost identically to ones that I've made previously using Extra Fancy finely milled durum flour, making a very smooth and supple dough. The dough had a temperature of 79.3F going into a 2 hour bulk fermentation and stayed in the mid 70'sF range throughout. Stretch and folds were done every 30 minutes and it was clear that the dough was gaining strength and fermenting well at each of these intervals. After the last S&F the dough was rested for 20 minutes and then shaped in a cap style by pressing the dough into a disk and folding it to almost meet the opposing side of the disk. The shaped loaf was placed fold down on floured linen and covered with another piece of floured linen for a final rise of 2 hours, then tipped on to a parchment covered peel and slid into a 450F oven on a stone.

So far so good, this might actually work I thought. The door of the oven was left open for the 1st 15 minutes, then closed for the duration of a 40 minute bake. No steam was used during the bake. After checking the loaf for an internal temperature of 210F, I left the loaf on the stone, turned the oven off and propped the door ajar to allow the loaf to cool gradually over the next hour.

 The final result of this bake is something that looks like an Altamura type bread but has a deeper flavour than the one I made with Extra fancy durum flour a few weeks back. I actually prefer the flavour of the durum Atta flour over the X Fancy, which works out well as it's considerably less expensive and readily available here in B.C. I think two of the key factors in the success of this loaf was the high level of acidity contributed by the levain, as well as steady temperature during the bulk fermentation phase. Both Hamelman and Suas mention in their books 'Bread' and 'Advanced Bread & Pastry' respectively, that increased acidity and use of preferments will help strengthen the fragile gluten network of high ratio durum mixes. I'm satisfied now that a reasonably good loaf can be made using 100% (or very close to) Atta flour keeping these two factors in mind as critical to success.

Formulas and photos below.

Best wishes,

Franko

Pain au Levain with Red Fife 75% sifted

 

 

Ingredients

%

Kg

 

 

 

Levain

 

 

Central Milling Artisan White Malted

94

100

Nunweiler Dark Rye Flour

6

6

Mature Starter-stiff

20

21

Water

60

64

 

 

191

Final Dough

 

 

Central Milling Artisan White Malted

43.76

365

All Purpose Organic White

31.17

260

Medium Rye Flour

5.03

42

True Grain Bakery & Mill Red Fife 75% sifted

20.02

167

Levain

22.9

191

Water

70

616

Sea Salt

2

18

Total Percentage &Weight

194.88

1659

Total Hydration

73.8

690.5

Total Prefermented Flour

13.9

116.5

Desired Dough Temperature-78F/25.5C

PROCEDURE:

Mix the flours, levain, and water till all the flour is evenly saturated and autolyse for 1 hour.

 

After autolyse is complete mix the dough on 1st speed for 6-7 minutes, or by hand until the dough is smooth and cohesive with medium gluten development. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic for a 2 hour bulk ferment.

 

Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl every 40 minutes over 2 hours. Ambient temperature for this bulk ferment was 71-72F/21.6-22.2C . After bulk ferment is complete, divide the dough into desired weights and round lightly. Cover the pieces with cloth or plastic and rest for 15-20 minutes.

 

Shape the dough pieces into batards or boules, using brotforms, or free-shaping as desired.

 

Final proof of 1.45 to 2 hours depending on ambient temperature and scoring considerations. Tip the loaves onto a parchment/semolina lined peel and allow to air dry for 5-10 minutes before scoring. For the batard, a slightly shorter proof is needed to achieve the ear effect, which is done at a 30 degree angle not quite end to end.

The boule can be slashed as desired, but for the side slash pattern of the loaf pictured, it was allowed to proof marginally longer to avoid it blowing out above the side scoring.

 

Bake in a 500F/260C preheated oven, on a baking stone, with preferred steaming method in place. Bake for 5 minutes at 500F/260C, then lower the heat to 460F/237C, remove the steam system and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, rotating the loaves midway through the bake for even colouration. Check for an internal temperature of 210F/98.8 before finally removing the loaf to cool. Cool on a rack, wrapped in linen, for a minimum 5 hours, or overnight before slicing.

 

 

 

Attamura Bread

 

 

Ingredients

%

Kg/Grams

Levain

 

 

All Purpose flour

100

100

Water

50

50

Mature Starter-stiff

20

20

Total Weight

 

170

 

 

 

Final Dough

 

 

Golden Temple Durum Atta Flour

100

500

Water

60

300

Levain

27

135

Sea salt

2

10

Total Percentage & Weight

189

945

Total Hydration

70

 

Total Prefermented Flour

22

 

DDT of 78F-79F

 

PROCEDURE:

Levain

Build the levain over 12-16 hrs using 3 feedings in increments of the total flour indicated for the levain.

 

Final Dough

Mix the flour, water, and levain until all the flour is saturated and autolyse for 40 minutes. Adding the salt, mix on 1st speed for 4-5 minutes, or by hand until the dough is uniform and of a medium soft consistency.

Bulk ferment for 2 hrs, doing stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes. The dough should become slighty more developed with each S&F.

Shape as desired, or press the dough into a thick disc 9 inches/22.86cm in diameter, relax the dough for 5 minutes and fold the disc over to almost meet the other edge of the dough. Place fold down on floured linen and final proof for 2 hours. Flip the dough on to a parchment lined peel so that the fold is right side up. Slide the dough into a preheated 450F oven and stone and leave the oven door ajar for the 1st 15 minutes. No steam is neccesary. Close the door and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check for an internal temperature of 210F before turning off the heat and propping the door open. Leave the loaf in the oven for an hour to cool gradually then remove to a cooling rack and wrap in linen. Allow to cool overnight before slicing

 

 

 

 

 

lumos's picture
lumos

I know.....It's really reckless of me to blog about my miiiiiles-away-from-perfect-looking baguette soon after Jay (Longhorn)'s wonderful report on SFBI course with the picture of his great looking baguettes.  But I'd already finished writing this up last night and  didn't know he'd do such a thing while I was sleeping..... Oh well......:p

 

 

As many of you may think I’m turning into a broken record know, now I’ve got 6 bags of real, authentic French T55 and T65 flour in my hand which my daughter brought back from Paris for me,  this is going to be the last blog about my poolish baguette with improvised UK flours for a while, I think.  Just to show you what my regular baguette usually looks like.

 (Never mind the bent tip. It caught on the hot baking stone when loading….::sigh::)

The formula is loosely based upon Hamelman’s Pain Rustique with Poolish (uses 50% of flour for poolish) and Richard Bertinet’s Poolish baguette (adds small amount of rye to poolish), hence the name, ‘Hamelinet Poolish Baguette.’  With those combination of flours, I added small amount of WW and wheatgerm to emulate French flour which is higher in ash than typical flour in UK, and also introduced TFL’s Gold Stamp cold retardation in the fridge for extra improvement in flavour and texture.  So, basically it’s a mish-mash of ideas and tips I’ve picked up along my never-ending, long journey in search for MY ultimate baguette from home oven…in England.

 

 

************************************************************************************************************

 

Hamelinet Poolish Baguette with Cold Retardation

 

INGREDIENTS  (makes 2 x 40cm mini-baguettes)

Poolish –  Flour (total) 125g …. Strong 115g

                                                             Rye  10g

                      Instant dry yeast 0.2g

                      Water  125g

 

Main Dough - Flour (total) 135g …..  WW  10g

                                                                          Strong  85g

                                                                           Plain  40g

                                     Wheatgerm  1/2 tbls

                                     Instant dry yeast  0.6g

                                     Good quality sea salt  5g

                                      Water  60g

 

 

METHOD

  1. Mix all the ingredients for poolish and ferment at room temperature until it peaks. (6-7 hrs @ 22C)
  2. When the poolish reaches its peak, add all the ingredients for the main dough and mix to a shaggy mess.
  3.  Autolyse for 30 minutes. (or 20 minutes if it’s a warm day)
  4.  After the autolyse, S & F in the bowl. (6-8 x S & F as you turn the bowl once). Rest for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Another S & F in the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and cold retard in a fridge for 21 hrs.
  7. After 21 hrs (you should see a few large air pockets just below the surface of the dough), take out from the fridge and leave for 30+ minutes. The dough does not need to return to room temperature.
  8. Turn out the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Pre-shape (just one letter folds)  and rest for 10-20 minutes, depending upon room temperature. Be careful the dough doesn’t’ ferment too much at this stage.
  9. Shape into baguette and proof between the cloche. Pre-heat the oven @ 240-250C with a baking stone and a tray filled with pebbles/lava rocks.
  10. Just before the dough is ready, put a heat-resistant deep dish with boiling water in the oven to ‘condition’ the oven. (Note : If necessary, uncover the couche to dry the surface of the dough in the last 10-15 minutes of proofing)
  11. When the dough IS ready (finger test!), score and spray the surface with water generously.
  12. Take the dish with hot water out from the oven, load the dough onto the baking stone, spray inside the oven generously and pour 1/2 – 3/4 cup of boiling water onto the hot pebbles/lava rocks. Shut the door immediately.
  13. After 5 minutes, spray inside the oven again, IF necessary.
  14. After another 5 minutes (= 10 min after loading the dough), take the tray of pebbles/lava rocks out, lower the oven temperature to 220C with fan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  15. (If the crust is browning too quickly) Lower the temperature to 200-210C.
  16. Take the baked baguettes out of the oven and cool completely. (No extra-drying in the turned-off oven with a door ajar. It’d dry the crumb too much)

 

 

 

(This part suffered from the bent tip, ended up with one side with closed crumb......Excuse, excuse. :p)

 

 

(More evenly spread holes in unaffected part of the baguette......Yes, the crust looks too thick. Some ****** sales xxxxxxx person rang me just about when I was trying to take the baguettes out from the oven.....)

 

 

 ************************************************************************************************************

 

So…….the next report will be …..the experiment with T55 flour, at last. With proper, authentic flour, I will have NOTHING to make excuse for my dire result!  Watch this space.....with kinder heart, please!!

best wishes,

lumos

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

 

[

I’m coming up on my first anniversary.  It was late August last year when I first baked something like bread and wrote something like a blog post about it. 

So how do I celebrate this anniversary?  Perhaps by baking some wonderful bread to demonstrate the skill and experience I’ve gathered over the past year?  Of course not!  That’s would hardly be a meal fit for a glutton for punishment.  No, I have to try something new and difficult, to re-live the feeling of utter novice-hood that I remember as if it were just last year.

Croissants and Laminated Pastries!!  Something I could study for weeks, work at for days and finish by realizing how very much I have to learn.  Sounds like the kind of challenge that got me started baking bread. 

I started preparing myself for this experiment by reading everything I could find and watching lots of videos about making lamented dough (yes, I know that word is missing a letter; more about the lamentation later).  I was hoping that if I knew the mistakes other people had made, I would only make my own new and novel mistakes (of which I was sure there would be plenty).

Of all the writings on croissants on the World Wide Web, the best by far is Txfarmer’s TFL post about her pursuit of the perfect croissant (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection).  I careful reviewed her lengthy and detailed description of all the lessons she learned in repeated attempts.  Her account is a perfect example of what makes TFL great.  So much work so generously shared, and a wonderful pictorial of a successful course of experimentation. In the process of making the dough and shaping the croissants with the benefit of her numerous tips, I realized that she probably saved my ten pounds of butter worth of inedible (or at least grossly imperfect) croissants. 

I made two batches of dough, one Friday for baking Saturday, and one Saturday for baking Sunday. Each batch was split, with some of the dough going into croissants, and some into pastries—morning buns Saturday and pains aux raisins Sunday.

The Morning Bun recipe is here (http://www.7x7.com/recipes/tartines-heavenly-morning-buns-recipe), as cited in Sue’s blog post a couple months ago (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23704/tartine039s-morning-bun-best-eaten-fresh-morning-every-morning).  The pains aux raisins recipe is here (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jacques-torres/croissants-pain-au-chocolat-pain-raisin-and-danish-recipe/index.html). 

In general, I found the process challenging but manageable.  So many steps, a full weekend is needed, and almost as much patience as butter.  I found the dough to be very elastic after the third fold, and never could get it as thin as ¼ inch, even after repeated rests.  I also learned on the first batch to be very patient with the proofing…it does take a long while at 70 degrees F. for the pastries to get sufficiently jiggly.  The first batch was a bit underproofed, I think.

But, all told, the results were very satisfying, even delectable.  The croissants are flaky on the outside, tender on the inside—a wonderful mouthfeel.  I slightly oversweetened the morning buns the first time, and will cut back the sugar coating a bit next time  The texture of the morning buns is pretty close to the way they should be.  Just a bit too heavy and chewy, probably due to underproofing.  And the pains aux raisins (which I may re-name “raisins d’etre”) are delightfully tender and delicious, with their almond cream and rum-soaked raisins.

I’m pretty pleased with my first tries at laminated goodies, and grateful to my mentors.

The peak experience was a mid-morning macchiato with warmed pastries.  A real morning buzz.

Now, about the lamentation.  Yes, I admit I love a good pun almost as much as a bad one.  But I really do have a lament about this baking experience.  I knew pâtisserie had lots of butter.  But, until I saw and dealt with the quantity of butter in this recipe, I hadn’t realized that eating this stuff is basically eating butter and sugar held together with just enough flour and liquid.  I imagine if I ate these regularly, someone would need to bash my arteries with a rolling pin (per the proper lamenation technique) just to get the blood to squish past the plaque buildup.   I’d end up looking like our local pinniped friends, the elephant seals.

It is simply not fair that something soooo good is soooo bad!  Plus, I know that Txfarmer is right that it would take a lot more practice to get really good at it, and of course I have to eat my homework.  Plus, today I got an Amazon package with the Tartine cookbook with all their amazing cakes, tarts and pastries.  I’m doomed!

So, if I can muster the will power, this will not be a weekly, or even monthly, habit.  But I will return to these sinful pleasures on occasion, hopefully when I have a crowd of butter-loving carbotarians around so I don’t need to eat more than one or two myself.  Okay…maybe three.

Glenn

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