The Fresh Loaf

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Double Chocolate Croissant with Sourdough Starter - can bread be mysterious and sexy?

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txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Double Chocolate Croissant with Sourdough Starter - can bread be mysterious and sexy?

Sending this to Yeastspotting.

Click here for my blog index.

Chocolate croissants, we all love them. When I saw in a Japanese baking book where they put cocoa in the dough as well, I knew I must make it. These are the bread equivalence of "a dark and mysterious stranger".

At first I thought it would be straightforward to adapt my previous croissant recipe: just add some cocoa powder and wrape in a chocolate baton right? Wrong. Nothing in croissant making has been straightforward for me. Before diving into the gory details of my 3 months struggle, you might want to check out the following two earlier entries for some tips and guildlines:

Lesson re-learned #1: Natural cocoa powder is acidic. I knew that before from caking making - you add baking soda to react with acidic cocoa powder to raise cakes, however, I didn't know it was THAT acidic. After adding cocoa powder, the dough was too weak to rise properly, they ended up like sad chocolate pancakes. I changed natural cocoa powder to dutch processed cocoa, immediately saw a difference. For the batch I am showing I used Herseys Special Dark Cocoa (hence the very dark color), which is a blend of dutch processed and natural cocoa, I imagin the volume would even be better if a pure dutch processed cocoa is used.

Lesson re-learned #2: Firm levain gives dough more strength then liquid starter/levain. Knew that one before as well, but the effect is really obvious here. I made a firm levain rather than adding 100% starter directly into the dough, the volume of croissants was further improved.

Lesson re-learned #3: Croissant dough needs to be cold. In my last croissant post, I wrote about how to make croissants in TX summer by rolling quickly and putting dough in fridge frequently. Well, since then, temperature has climed to 110F. Even at night/early morning, my kitchen (especially the counter top by the window) doesn't drop below 85. That's simply too hot, butter is melting into the dough as soon as it hits the counter top. To solve that, this is the setup I am using (a shoutout to my hubby who thought of and implemented the whole thing): frozen ice packs under a big baking tray, and a metal rolling pin which is filled with water then frozen.

The rolling pin and ice packs need to be put back into the freezer between rolling, which is a bit troublesome, but did I mention it's 110F outside?

Lesson re-learned #4: Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure. Knew that one before too, but not until my mother, who usually has high blood pressure, had two croisssants and started getting dizzy - her blood pressure was too low! We then tested with just the valrhona dark chocolate batons used for these croissants, apparently, just one was enough to lower her blood pressure to normal, any more would be too low! This is more effective (and yummier) then medicine!

Double Chocolate Croissant with Natural Starter

Note: makes 12 croissants

-Levain

100% starter, 35g

water, 59g

bread flour, 105g

1. mix and let mature for 12 hours.

-Final Dough

bread flour (KAF), 422g

dutch processed cocoa, 20g

water, 85g

milk, 128g

sugar, 73g

salt, 10g

osmotolerant instant yeast (SAF gold), 4g, 1tsp+1/4tsp

butter, 21g, softened

levain, all

roll-in butter, 287g

1. Mix everything but the roll-in butter, knead until gluten starts to form. In my KA mixer, 3min at first speed, 5 min at 3rd speed.

Then following the procedure illustrated here. Do remebmer to enclose a chocolate baton while shaping, just place it at the bottom of the triangle piece, and roll up as usual.

 Very very very delicious, it takes so much work to make, be sure to use the best chocolate to ge the maximum impact!

For this earlier batch, I rolled the dough out thinner, did more turns while shaping, to create more layers. Well, more layers alright, but I don't think it's airy enough.

Anyway, I am happy my 3 month chocolate croissant battle is near the end, still not perfect, but I think they are quite sexy!

 

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

omg! I'm in chocolate croissant heaven!  I don't see how you can improve on these, other than maybe some cooler weather : ) they look so tasty!  What a treat for this warm weather!  How about a scoop of ice-cream on the side of one of these special croissants...yummm!

I know what you mean about the acid chocolate...I've run into that problem before in baking too.  I now order some nice 'Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa' from King Arthur Flours, they also carry a nice Double Dutch Cocoa.

Sylvia

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I have been curious about the KAF cocoa powder, good to know that they work well, will get some next time.

aneesh's picture
aneesh

What a great post and great bake, txfarmer.  I love the "lessons re-learned" points, and the pictures are amazing, too.  I think the low light works really well with the chocolate dough, almost a "sepia-but-not-really" look, and the first shot reminds me of a pair of bloodshot "Halloween eyes."  I think you have a gift for working with laminated dough, even though you stated you want even more airy openings.  Also shout out to your husband for coming up with a creative solution to beat the Texas heat!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Halloween eyes, I love that, maybe I will make these again for our halloween party this year!

arlo's picture
arlo

Wow, another fantastic post TxFarmer, and very sexy as well. The pictures are 'baking book worthy'.

Can I say that about baked goods? Sexy? Course I can!

I am glad your croissant skills are improving with each try and you are learning through progress. What's life if we are not constantly learning :) And what's better than chocolate/butter fueled education?!?

As far as looking for a more 'airy' interior, I would be satisfied with such success you have achieved, but I understand the need to constantly improve upon oneself. If you feel you can do better, that is wonderful! Just do not forget to post the pictures for us :)

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks arlo!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Your timing couldn't be more perfect.....My daughter's birthday is Saturday and instead of a cake this year she requested that I bake  a loaf chocolate sourdough bread....

I had no clue about the properties of chocolate though I have baked the loaf before....I knew I could improve on it but didn't know exactly how.

I already use firm SD as my family prefers a less sour taste so I did have that right but I was using organic natural cocoa powder...I just checked my cupboard and I do have a container full of 'regular' dutch processed cocoa (It is even the exact same kind that you use!  No mad rush to the grocery store this time.) so I will use it rather than my organic cocoa.

Didn't know about the effect of lowering PB....pretty cool though I dare not share that info. with my kids or they will be demanding chocolate for medicinal purposes all the time :-)

I will bake my chocolate loaf and admire your croissants.....No way I can even begin to think about baking something that difficult.

I love your pictures, as always, and I love the set up you have for cooling things down.  Hot here too so I have been using my basement and refrigerator....but now you have me thinking :-) 

Thank you for sharing here.  I greatly appreciate all the effort and time that it takes.

Take Care,

Janet

 

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Hey Janet, I have posted a chocolate sourdough bread before: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17416/100-sourdough-chocolate-prune-bread

If you want to vary your current recipe, that one might give you some ideas. Happy Birthday to your daughter, asking for a SD loaf instead of cake, the girl's got taste! :P

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Txfarmer,

I printed a copy of your choc. prune SD. It looks really good too.  For her birthday she want chocolate chips - ie - loaded with choc!

Next loaf I will do prunes and see what she thinks of that.  I imagine they add a nice sweetness and moistness....kind of like figs or dates....so many things to add.....

Thanks for the birthday greeting for my daughter....yep, she has taste....for anything chocolate :-)  (She is giving one of her ballet teachers a chocolate ballerina and her old cello teacher - a chocolate cello......she has found the ultimate chocolate store :-) As a mom I am glad her addiction is to chocolate...that I can handle!

Take Care  in all the heat your are enduring in TX...

Janet

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I've looked at the photos. I need a chocolate croissante to bring my blood pressure back down ... right now!

David

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

A dozen chocolate crossaints coming up for David in CA! Hopefully they don't get "lost" on the way. :P

ww's picture
ww

hi Txfarmer,

mysterious indeed, and beautiful too. Love those photos. the spotlight and the dark background and the shape of the croissants somehow make me think of a grotto :)) It's interesting to see the outer layer enclosing the many layers inside is quite thick.

very useful post as usual. And does dark chocolate really lower blood pressure to the extent that someone can instantly feel the effect ??? maybe your mother was just dizzy from the sheer skill of your croissants, and swooning from the deliciousness of it!! I know i would!

Never came across a hollow metal rolling pin, but doesn't filling it with water make it very heavy and potentially crushing for the dough? I guess you adjust your strength accordingly. Digressing a bit, but how would you rate a metal versus marble rolling pin, marble being quite a 'cool' element.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Marble's "cooling" effect is due to the fact it can retain heat well, in another word, it will take more heat for it to drop a degree AND to rise a degree. Therefore, if the environment is cool, the marble rolling pin/counter top would keep cool longer, however, in my case, the house is warm, the countertop is under direct sun for the whole day, so marble would keep being warm for a long time, which is not what croissant dough wants.

In my experience the metal rolling pin with cold ice/water inside is a much more effective cooling element. The heavy weight is actually a plus since we need the weight to roll out the dough, and we need the weight to be even. When I use a light rolling pin, I have to control my arm force to make sure the downward force is even, which is difficult for a weakling like me, the constant heavy weight of the rolling pin solved that problem. If the butter layer is cold (not melty), this much downward force is not going to "crushing" it into the dough.

lumos's picture
lumos

Beautiful croissants and beautiful photos, as usual, txfarmer!

It's particularly interesting to read about your finding on cocoa powder's effect on the dough. I've only used Dutch-processed cocoa powder (100%)  to breadmaking, never natural cocoa, but as I wrote in my blog earlier,  I find adding cocoa powder makes the dough much firmer and drier, much less extensible.   Do you find it, too? When I make cocoa flavoured dough, I increase the amount of water quite a lot, otherwise I end up with very closed and dense crumb.

Just as a curiosity, can I ask which Japanese baking book you used? 

Thanks.

best wishes,

lumos

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

When I use cocoa powder for other dough (eg. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17416/100-sourdough-chocolate-prune-bread), I do need to add more liquid, but only because there's more "dry ingredient" (i.e. cocoa powder) in the dough. I am not sure whether it's drier than other dry ingredients such as flour or grains. I keep my croissant dough fairly dry and firm to create crispier layers, so I don't add that much more liquid to my chocolate croissant dough.

I should rephrase my statement about the Japanese baking book to: a few scanned pictures from some unknown Japanese baking book which my Chinese baking friends forwarded me. In another word, I don't know what book that is, might as well, since I don't read Japanese at all. :P The pictures were pretty nice though...

 

foodslut's picture
foodslut

Great formula and post - thanks for sharing.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks for stopping by!

lumos's picture
lumos

 

Thanks, txfarmer.

I always find the cocoa powder-added dough feels and behave so different from the dough with just increased flour. It’s much drier and firmer and smoother (in a weird way) than the latter and much less stickier, too, often making sealing the seams when shaping more difficult, especially so when the dough has low-hydration like bagels, for example. It’s the same with higher hydration dough to some extent, though it is sometimes beneficial because it makes scoring much easier.

I didn’t know what causes it, so your mention about the effect of natural cocoa powder’s acid to the dough was really intriguing. Because Dutch-processing is basically alkalizing cocoa to improve the colour and flavour, so I’m starting to wonder if alkali in cocoa powder is behind all these changes I’ve find…..??? I don’t know…..

 

Anyway, if you’re so good as to be able to re-create such lovely breads from just a few photos, this blog is something you might find interesting to check occasionally; she’s probably the most famous and popular amateur bread blogger in Japan, became famous first for her baguettes (published 2 books) , but her other breads are as good as her baguettes and lately she seems to be rather interested in cake-making/decorating, too. It's one of very few Japanese bread blogs I religiously check almost everyday.

And just as yourself, she’s very artistic and good photographer, so just looking at her photos (she never share her recipe on her blog) may give you some more ideas….which maybe eventually we can gain even more from your blog entries in the future here……;)

 

Oh, btw, both links to other croissant entries in the top post are both hyperlinked to this thread.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Ah, the annoying url mistake happens everything I cut and paste an old url form another post to this one. Fixed now. BTW, did you include the url for the Japanese blog? Sounds like something I would love to see.

lumos's picture
lumos

Oops, sorry, no I didn't!

Here it is!  Coincidentally, her latest entry is on cocoa-based bagels!  I think that blog is calling you...:D

If you need any help in translating it, let me know...anytime! ;)

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Nice! I think my Chinese friends have indeed forwarded me this blog url before, but I lost it somehow, very glad that I "found it" again from you, thank you! It's very beautiful and she's very talented.

 

I think my friend has her baguette book, and made recipes form it before. The formulas are similar to the principles we TFLers follow for baguettes: long autolyse/rise, S&F instead of kneading, careful shaping, high temperature baking with steam, etc. Very nice formulas and results, the pictures are stunning.

 

I have done chocolate bagels before, but hers took it to another direction, hmmm, I haven't made bagels in a while indeed...

lumos's picture
lumos

Maybe the same book as I have. The one I have is her second one,  in which she explain about the shaping of her baguettes in much more details than her first book, with photo and instruction for every step.  She's completely self-taught, and her shaping method is quite different from anything I've seen. It's more of 'folding' as if she's almost doing Origami, and it's extremely maticulous about the length/width of pre-shaping and shaping.  You can see how incredible her baguette's crumb is, but it's not sort of the method you can follow if you want to make many baguettes at a time, isn't it?  Definitely not for professional who needs to churn out so many baguettes in a limited time. (Japanese home bakers tend to bake one baguette, or two at most, at a time because they want to eat it when it's really fresh....and their oven is very small, often just a table-top one) Also she usually uses imported French flour, and the way she de-gasses the dough seems to work very well only with a certain types of French flour (according to a pro-baker).

 

lumos's picture
lumos

I remember your cocoa bagels. It looked really good, too!  I've only made cocoa bagels twice or so, but as I told above, it was difficult to seal the seams properly and had to shape very quickly, too, because it got drier and drier so quickly. Didn't you find it, too?  Some homebakers in Japan even shape cocoa bagels into different shape because the seams sometimes come off while boiling.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I didn't find the cocoa bagels to be difficult to seal, at least not more so than other bagels... I wonder why.

lumos's picture
lumos

Could be your hydration was higher than mine?  I made them a long time ago when I wasn't very good at adjusting the formula depending upon the dough condition. I even can't remember what hydration I went for, but I don't think I upped the hydration much higher than regular bagels.  I might try making again to see if I can do it better.

Syd's picture
Syd

Would love it if my doctor prescribed my one of those.  Nice work and well presented.  A lot of useful lessons learned from this one. :)

Syd

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I too think these taste better than your standard blood pressure medicine. :P

ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

That's some really nice work with the camera!  How in the world did you get the dark background with light on the bread like that?  I guess you must have used some kind of lamp in a darkened room to light the croissant slices?

VERY artistic!  Looks yummy too, but would it be ethical to deprive the world of great art by gobbling it up? 

 

ph_kosel's picture
ph_kosel

Hmm.  After due consideration I think it is indeed ethical to eat pretty bread.  One should probably not eat pretty photographs, though.

Pardon, it's late and I get whimsical after midnight sometimes.

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

It would be unethical to NOT eat these yummy breads. :P

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Nice that eating those can lower BP, but looking at those pictures is RAISING mine!

Stunning. That's all. And sexy. That, too.

- Keith

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks! Now we just have to let our medical insurance company to cover our dark chocolate consumption...

moma's picture
moma

I looooove all things with chocolate. Theese look to die for!

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Thanks!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I was intriqued about the fact you mention that cocoa powder is acidic. So out of interest I added a little water to cocoa powder to make a paste. I then used my recently bought PH kit and it's showing a PH around 6. Which is barely acidic!