The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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wally's picture

This weekend I decided to have a second go at croissants and pains au chocolat.  I used a recipe that Julia Child had featured with a guest on her show, and which DonD helpfully included in his blog here (it appears as a two-part video).  The written recipe sans video can be found here.

I also benefited from a nice explanation and accompanying video of the lamination process that ananda posted here .

I found that the process of laminating the dough seemed to go smoother this time - less hesitation which causes the dough and butter to warm.  I used what I have come to understand from ananda as the British method (vs. the French method) to initially incorporate butter into the dough (which had retarded for 24 hours), by rolling out the buttter to a rectangle 2/3'ds the length of the rectangle of dough. You then execute a letter fold by thirds, beginning with folding the dough not covered with butter over the butter.  Aside from it being an easier method, I like the fact that the it yields a dough that now has two layers of butter prior to your intial folds/turns.

I followed this with three folds with 2 hour intervals between each where the dough was wrapped tightly in plastic and placed in the refrigerator.  While some prefer to do a series of 4 letter folds, I followed Child's recipe which uses a letter fold for the first two folds, and then executes what's called a wallet or a book fold for the third and final 'turn.'

After completing the three folds, the dough was refrigerated overnight.  Next morning I cut it into 2 pieces, returned one to the refrigerator (it would become pains au chocolat), and began rolling out the other piece to create croissants.  Julia's recipe will produce about 14 croissants that are 4 1/2" wide and 7" in height.

Forming the croissants, as I'm discovering, is much like learning to shape baguettes: it takes a lot of repetition to get it right.  Crucial to achieving many layers is a stretching of the croissant triangle after it's cut.  The base is stretched out by about 1",  and the height is stretched considerably.  I've read that a well-formed croissant should have at least 6 visible layers.  I managed to achieve this on about 1/3 of the croissants I rolled - the others came out at 5 layers. 

After the croissants were shaped I eggwashed and proofed them for three hours, and began shaping the pains au chocolat.  I used two chocolat batons (I use the less expensive Callebaut, rather than the Valrhona DonD prefers - I figure I'm on training wheels here, so I'll work up to the really good chocolate) per pain, and also allowed them to proof for 3 hours after an eggwash.  At the end of the proof I proceeded to freeze both batches (see below).

the frozen stash

Today I pulled out a couple of each, preheated my oven to 350° F, and applied a second coat of eggwash.  Total bake time was 20 minutes.

Both looked nice immediately after the bake - good color and nice puffiness.

After letting them cool I cut them, and uh....well...the pictures speak for themselves. 

Obviously I have a BIG problem with the layers not rising.  Not sure what the potential causes were, so I'm looking for any and all feedback (jump in Don and Andy!).  I did pay particular attention during the lamination process to not letting the dough get warm, and placing it back in the refrigerator as needed to allow it to relax before rolling out further.  So I don't think that's the issue.  Could this be a yeast problem?

In any event, I have approximately 325 Callebaut chocolate batons stored in a cool place, so plenty of practice ammunition!  In the meantime, I need some pointers!


dstroy's picture

I made a sweet treat yesterday for an afternoon snack.


Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 12 cupcakes
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I think I'd maybe like to try this with about slightly-more-than-half cake flour and the other half regular flour next time)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
just over 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into little cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix until combined.
3. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
4. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
5. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients gradually; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full.
7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream

Makes enough for 12-15 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
about 3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
color if desired

1. Cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Mix on low speed adding the sugar, milk, and vanilla;
mix until light and fluffy.
If necessary, gradually add more sugar to reach desired consistency.

The colored sprinkles are REQUIRED, I am told, at least according to the kids. So don't forget those too. ;)

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hi All,

I'm sure you've seen that past few stinkers that I have baked...  Here is something slightly more successful.  A simple 60% hydration sourdough bread using a stiff sourdough starter.  Not as open of a crumb as I had hoped for, but it has a nice crumb, chew, texture, and a pleasant sour tang.  Enjoy!


Here goes:


500g AP

200g Firm SD Starter @ 60% Hydr

300g Water

10g Kosher Salt

1010g Total Dough Yield



1:15pm - Mix all in large mixing bowl, cover, autolyse 30 minutes.

1:45pm - Knead 1 minute in bowl using wet hands, and no extra flour, rest 30 minutes.

2:15pm - Knead in bowl 1 minute, rest...

2:51pm - Knead in bowl 1 minute, rest...

8:45pm - Shape into boule using letterfold method as if you were turning the dough, place into floured linen lined banneton, place into large plastic bag, proof.

10:10pm - Place banneton into refrigerator, arrange baking stone, steam pan in oven, preheat 450F, go out to dinner.

11:15:pm - Remove banneton from fridge, turn onto lightly floured peel, place into oven directly on stone, add 1 cup water to steam pan, bake for 15 minutes at 450F with steam, rotate, bake for another 30 minutes, then leave in off oven for 5 more minutes.  Loaf should be done when internal temp reaches 210F.  Cool completely (overnight) before cutting.


Pop N Fresh's picture
Pop N Fresh

Does anyone have recipes for Chappati Flour.  I have a bag that I need to use.



turosdolci's picture

Making homemade pasta is easy with a few kitchen tools. The flavor surpasses anything you can buy.

Step by step instructions and recipe for garganelle along with pictures for other pasta that require rolling out the dough in sheets.



jennyloh's picture

I'm back from more than 2 weeks business trip and couldn't wait to start on the Jeffrey Hamelman's challenge.  Well,  it didn't quite happen.  With my failed attempt of the Jeffrey Hamelman's Baguette with Poolish,  and failed attempt to make my own malt flour,  still looking for high gluten flour for my Jeffrey Hamelman's bagel,  well,  I adhered to my son's appeal for Olive Bread.  He simply loves olives.  

At least my Olive Bread turns out as expected, although I thought for a moment, that I lost my touch on shaping the dough as the olive started spilling out,  making it difficult to fold the dough without affecting bubbles.  

It turns out surprisingly soft and chewy on the inside.


See recipe - click here. Olive Bread




SylviaH's picture

This is what I baked today!  I started out this morning making some sourdough waffles for the freezer.  Mike likes to have a ready snack of frozen waffles.  While I was making some of J.H. Vermont sourdough bread I spotted a couple of pears that were just perfect for poaching, aahhh a pear tart for dessert tonight.  Since I was going to busy baking, I saved one portion of the bread dough for a pizza dinner tonight..the oven and the stone all would be nice and hot and it would be an easy dinner so I could tend to my baking.


                                                                         Pear Tart with Amaretto Liqueur 





                                                              J. H. Vermont Sourdough 

                    One very large Pepperoni Pizza made from some saved bread dough!







Jonathankane's picture

I made Don's Baguettes a l'Ancienne with Cold Retardation. I used fresh yeast and and Sel Gris de Guerande salt. The flavor is excellent! I baked these the same amount of time as other baguettes using Dmsnyder's  Anis Bouabsa's baguettes formula, but didn't get the darker crust -my crust has never been as dark as David's, but still excellent. I was concerned about over baking them, the internal temp was 200+ degrees. I want to thank Don and David for their great recipes. I just started baking recently and your posts have been very informative.




Pop N Fresh's picture
Pop N Fresh

I find this to be rather funny!


What do all of you think about this?  I think it's Hilarous!



Mebake's picture

This is a sourdough batard i baked using a TEFAL small grill oven that i found in my friend's house.



65g Starter (85% Hydration)

50g "Sifted" white Whole wheat flour (25%)

50g Whole Barley Flour (25%)

50g Whole Spelt flour (25%)

50g All Purpose Flour (25%)

140g Water (70%)

After mixing and kneading for 5 minutes, rest and knead again after 5 minutes for another 5 minutes utill smooth and tacky, not sticky. Round, and store in a refrigerator for 24 hours and upto 3 days.


10g Fine sea salt

50g "Sifted" white Whole wheat flour (25%)

50g Whole Barley Flour (25%)

50g Whole Spelt flour (25%)

50g All Purpose Flour (25%)

140g Water (70%)

After mixing and kneading for 5 minutes, rest and knead again after 5 minutes for another 5 minutes utill smooth and tacky, not sticky. Round, and store at room temperature for 24 hours. If more, store in refrigerator for upto 3 days.


I cut both BIGA and SOAKER into pieces and joined them together in a large bowl. As the BIGA dough is acidified from the levain, it held shape properly. I added 5 gram salt, and gently kneaded for 10 minutes until smooth, rounded into a ball and left to ferment.


Gentel stretch and fold in the bowl every 1/2 hour for 2 hours, followed by stretch and fold on a floured bench after another 1/2 hour.


GEntly Spread the dough into a square (do not deflate). Preshape into a batard, leave for 5 minutes, and shape into a batard, and placing the dough seam side up in a Proofing basket for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven for 35 minutes with a stone, and River pebbles in an iron sheet as a steaming source.


After 45 min. Invert the Dough on a peel and transfer the dough into the Oven, and pour hot water on the pebbles to create steam (mind your oven glass), reduce temperature from 500F to 450F.

Remove sheet containg pebbles after 15min. and continue to bake for another 30 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack, and cut after 2 hours.

Taste: I liked the tangy sour flavor of wholegrains. It made an excellent toast, with sliced emmental cheese as a topping. I could have had a fluffier more open crumb by using 10g commercial yeast in the final dough , but opted not to.

Will I Duplicate it another time? I may, but then i would like to include commercial yeast to boost it, as the starter was sluggish and more acidic due to only 1 refreshment from the fridge.



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