The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Croissants & Pains au Chocolat

DonD's picture
DonD

Croissants & Pains au Chocolat

Does the taste of a favorite food evoke in you indelible memories of time and places where the pleasure it has given you has put a mark on you for life?


For me, a bite into a buttery and flaky croissant and my taste memory takes me back to my childhood in Saigon where every morning, I would look forward to the familiar sound of the horn announcing the arrival of the "Bread Man" riding on his scooter with twin canvas trunks full of goodies straddling the rear seat to deliver fresh baguettes and croissants to the neighborhood houses.


The sweet smell of baking croissants always reminds me of the time when I was a student in Geneva, walking by a bakery at 6:00 am, suddenly being overwhelmed by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked croissants, summoning enough nerve to knock on the door to convince the owner to sell me a couple before the store was open and walking home in the snowy winter dawn, enjoying the best croissants I ever had in my life.


A croissant with cafe au lait for breakfast always transports me back to my first visit to Paris in the spring, sitting at a sidewalk table at the Cafe "La Rotonde" in the Montparnasse area, sipping a cafe creme and eating a croissant with confiture, watching the morning bustle and hustle of Parisian life just like Hemingway, Picasso, Nijinsky, Gershwin and other luminaries had done at the same spot so many years ago.


I have been baking Croissants and Pains au Chocolat on and off for over 20 years and until recently, my favorite recipe was from Jacques Pepin's "The Art of Cooking". It is a foolproof recipe where you can follow the instructions verbatim and end up with great results.


Last year I discovered the Esther McManus recipe from the PBS "Baking with Julia" TV Series. I have tried this recipe about half a dozen times, tweaking it along the way to suit my taste and baking techniques. It has become my favorite recipe as I find that it comes closest to the Croissants and Pains au Lait that you can only find in Europe.


This past weekend, I made a batch of Croissants and Pain au Chocolat and following are my notes and recommendations:


1- I basically followed the step by step instructions in the video which are excellent. The link is www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/mcmanus.html


2- It is not mandatory to have the companion book " Baking with Julia" but it is nice to have as a back-up.


3- I use pretty much the same formulation except for the following variations:


    A- I use 1 1/4 cup of milk. I find the little extra milk makes the dough more pliable and easier to work with.


    B- I use 2 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast. I converted the amount into Instant Yeast because I prefer it over Cake or Dry Yeast.


    C- I use only 3-1/2 sticks of butter. More butter would only leak out during baking. I have tried different unsalted butters including imported "Le President", "Plugra"European Style and found that old "Land o' Lakes" works just as well.


    D- I use two 3 inch long "Valrhona" Chocolate Batons for each Pain of Chocolat. I splurge on a box of 350 pieces and they are disappearing fast as they are good to snack on as well.


4- I do not put a hot water pan in the turned off oven while proofing as recommended. I found out the hard way that it melts the butter in the dough.


5- I bake the Croissants in a preheated 425 degrees F oven with steam for 5 mins , then without steam at 400 degrees for 5 more mins and  finally at 375 degrees for 5 mins. I find it gives me better oven spring and a flakier crust than a longer bake with dry heat at 350 degrees.


6- The recipe should yield a dozen each Croissants and Pains au Chocolat.



Dough cut into triangles with a Croissant Cutter, not an essential tool but a nice gadget.



Shaped, proofed and egg washed Croissants ready for the oven.



Baked Croissants cooling on the rack.



The ultimate Continental Breakfast with Croissant and Pain au Chocolat



The mandatory crumb shot.


Happy Baking!


Don

Comments

gcook17's picture
gcook17

Thank you for all the detail you provided, Don.  Your croissants look great!  I've never used this recipe but I'd like to try it.  I have two questions, though:


1)  I watched the videos and after the first turn, Esther said she was going to give the dough 1 more single turn and 1 double turn (for a total of 2 single and 1 double turn).  But she only gave it 1 single and 1 double turn in the video.  How many turns to you do when you make them?


2) Whenever I make croissants I find the dough becomes so so elastic that when rolling it out the last time before cutting I can hardly roll it out at all.  Has this been your experience?  Any advice?

DonD's picture
DonD

Thanks gcook17,


1- I follow her verbal instructions and  did the 2 singles and 1 double folds.


2- I usually do the whole process over 2 days i.e. mix the dough in the evening, incorporate the butter the next morning and then do the foldings over the course of the whole day with plenty of rest in between. I then shape, proof and bake the following day. I found the dough somewhat elastic but not terribly difficult to roll out.


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Davi

DonD's picture
DonD

I find that with Viennoiserie, there are less variables to deal with than with bread making, once you get the right recipe.


Don

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

Makes me mouth water!


audra36274's picture
audra36274

    You outdid your self.


                     Audra

DonD's picture
DonD

Thanks to both Althetrainer and Audra for your kind words.

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Your croissants and pains au chocolat look wonderful! And I have never seen a croissant cutter before, an intriguing tool.


Your evocations of your croissant memories take me back to Paris (I got my M.A. degree there) and many street cafe settings just as you describe. Ahh, those good old times!


I sometimes buy the pains au chocolat at Trader Joe, in the frozen section (to be baked after leaving them out over night). My kids love those. But why not make them at home? I'll have to give this a try. Do you freeze the ones that are not eaten right away?


And one more question: where do you order/buy the Valrhona chocolate batons in such quantities? I should probably use Lindt (being Swiss...), but I do love Valrhona.

DonD's picture
DonD

There are very good frozen croissants that Williams Sonoma carries but only during the holiday I think. The dough is pre-shaped and frozen and you have to thaw and proof it before baking. I have had them a couple of times and they are delicious but quite pricy.


I do freeze my croissants and pains au chocolat. I reheat them in a preheated 300 degrees oven for about 8-10 mins and they taste great.


I get the Valrhona batons online at www.chocosphere.com


They carry all kinds of Lindt products also but not batons.


 

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Picture perfect croissants, Don!

DonD's picture
DonD

That's a nice compliment coming from an accomplished baker like yourself.


Don

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Don, great looking croissants!  You have shaped them beautifully.  I like your croissant roller.  I wouldn't even consider it a gadget if I had one...It sure helps to have the right tools!


  I love the plain and the chocolate.  You have rolled them very nicely!  I have to say my very favorite croissant is the 'Almond Croissant'.  A little bakery here called 'A Delight of France' sells out of them everyday!  They are made from the day old croissants, split in half, filled with the most incrediable paste and topped with powdered sugar and slivered almonds.  They melt in your mouth!  After seeing your great photos.   All of the above are definately moving up on the to do list!


Sylvia    

DonD's picture
DonD

If you look closely, you will notice that the cutter makes elongated triangles with a slit at the base. That couple with stretching the dough while rolling will give you multiple tight rolls which add layers to the crumb. I like the traditional crescent shape with the turned down ends (they don't call them croissants for nothing...) unlike the straight shape that some bakers prefer.


Don

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Beautiful work, Don! Re: the straight vs. crescent shape, thought you might be interested in the explanation I heard at a workshop with Ciril Hitz. He said the straight shape is used in Europe to indicate an all-butter croissant. The crescent shape is to indicate other fats have been used, whether alone or in combination with butter.

DonD's picture
DonD

Thanks for the info, Apprentice. I guess it makes sense if they are selling two different types of croissants, although most of the ones I see in France are all butter.


Don

SusanWozniak's picture
SusanWozniak

I love that book!  My daughter was married five years ago and wanted the wedding cake described in the book. . . the one that took both Martha Stewart and Julia Child on PBS to describe!  Well, we did a dry run, cutting down the ingredients to a standard, two layer 9 inch cake.  Exquisite!  


 


I warned my daughter that while my cakes taste delicious, I am a failure at frosting.  Just can not make it look pretty. And, I had to drive from Boston to Worcester with the cake in a 15-year old Volvo without air conditioning on August 1.  Bad idea!


 She knew of a wonderful bakery in Worcester, MA where she lives and they agreed to make the cake without the almond meringue layer for $125!  We went with the bakery but that cake . . . and the book it comes from . . . are both winners!

DonD's picture
DonD

Baking with Julia is a great book to complement the TV shows. Another of my favorite  is the Brioche recipe from Nancy Silverton.


Your experience about transporting a wedding cake in a car during the summer is one that I have experienced before except mine was 3 layers and 2 tiers with the top standing on 4 inverted champagne flutes. It was years ago when my wife and I were doing catering as a hobby. The cake was safe and sound but after an all nighter to finish it and the hearburns to transport and deliver it, I promptly retired!


Don

Laralou's picture
Laralou

Don, I had to sign up here so I could post a reply complimenting your beautiful croissants. I'm a novice home baker and the idea of trying to make croissants scares me senseless! But I, too, had stumbled on the videos of Esther McManus after reading this blog: http://cafefernando.com/the-croissant-challenge/


I'm very tempted to try to make my own and I'm slowly psyching myself up for the challenge and trying to glean little bits of info from talented bakers. I'm not sure whether to try Esther's recipe or try this one which I found on google from Bernard Clayton: http://www.ochef.com/r203.htm


The Clayton recipe is attractive because it doesn't call for pounding the dough itself with the rolling pin (I wonder if this wouldn't toughen it?) and it also allows for the final dough to be chilled overnight, which would make it easier for me to make, I feel. I think the timing of 22 minutes at 425 sounds like a recipe for incineration, though!


After seeing your wonderful results I think I may try Esther's recipe. Do you think I could half the quantities and just work with a smaller amount? Also, I'm in the UK and I'm not sure if the plain flour we have over here is similar to American all-purpose - I was wondering if I'd maybe get better results with a standard strong bread flour? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated, and many congratulations on your lovely creations!


 

DonD's picture
DonD

I think you should give it a go. You can certainly halve the recipe but as long as you are going to do it why not do a full recipe? I use half the recipe to make 12 croissants and the other half to make 12 pains au chocolat. I look at Bernard Clayton's recipe and it is similar to Jacques Pepin's recipe except that if you bake them at 425 degrees for 22 minutes you certainly will nuke them!


If you use the Esther McManus recipe, I would suggest you follow the deviations that I have outlined as I have learned through trials and errors.


I would recommend using the plain flour instead of the bread flour because you do not want a high gluten flour. It would make the dough too elastic instead of extensible. When you roll out the dough, you do not want it to be elastic and shrink back.


There is no problem keeping the chilled dough overnight. My routine is to mix the dough and the butter on Friday night, incorporate and fold the butter in on Saturday with long rest periods in between and do the final rolling, shaping and baking on Sunday.


Good luck and let me know how they turn out.


Don

Laralou's picture
Laralou

Thank you so much for the kind advice, Don. I think I will try Esther's recipe with your suggested modifications. It makes sense to me to cut the amount of butter listed in the original recipe - I tried making brioche with a 1:1 ratio of flour to butter and a fair bit seemed to leak out during baking. And I'm so pleased I can spread out the process over a couple of days, I was worried the dough would suffer, but if you do it, then it must be okay!


I've tried making brioche and challah with both strong bread flour and plain flour, and I seemed to get good results for them both with the stronger flour - when I tried challah with all-purpose plain flour, it was a pretty tragic result. But I think you're right that elasticity and gluten development maybe aren't as important in a flakier pastry like a croissant, I was just worried that a plain flour wouldn't stand up to the rigours of all the rolling and turning, but I'll give it a try. Maybe a mix of the two flours.


Many thanks again, I'll be making them this weekend and I'll let you know how it goes!

wally's picture
wally

Don - Your post inspired me to try my hand at these two delicacies.  I took your advice and visited Julia's PBS video, and then also consulted a piece here by gothicgirl on TFL that had really useful step-by-step photos of the process.


I tried something different to get to 72 layers: I began by rolling out the dough into a rectangle, and then rolled the butter into a rectangle 2/3'ds of the length of the dough.  Then I folded the 1/3 of the dough uncovered by butter over the butter, and then did a fold from the opposite end, giving me dough that initially has 2 layers of butter.  So on my first turn, with 1/3 folds from each end, the layers tripled to 6.  On my second turn, I did a wallet fold that turned 6 layers into 24, and on my final turn I again did 1/3 folds that brought 24 layers to 72.


The finished product looked ok for a first attempt (croissant shaping, like baguettes, takes practice I discovered).  Here's the Easter basket I made for my brother, his wife and 9 yr. old twins. 



No crumb shot, alas, as they didn't last long enough to record anything but crumbs -  literally!  But you've inspired me to work at this, and my relatives have volunteered to be the test kitchen!


Larry

DonD's picture
DonD

I just got back from a week of mushroom hunting in the mountains with hardly any connection to the outside world so I did not see your post until today. Those are good looking croissants and pains au chocolat. I bet they tasted great. I trust that you went full scale on the butter!


One tip that I think you will find useful is to dilute the egg wash with about a teaspoon of cold water and a little salt and brush it lightly twice on the shaped dough, once after shaping and then after proofing just before baking. The crust will be golden with blisters from the salt which gives it a pleasant little salty taste on the bite.


Don

wally's picture
wally

Ah, fresh mushrooms!  I'll be looking for a post that manages to incorporate some pictures of those! 


I followed your advice as far as butter and used a little less than Julia's guest.  Thanks for the tip on eggwash - I wasn't quite sure how many coats to give them, and I will incorporate some salt next time.


I'm awaiting a shipment of Callebaut chocolate batons (I decided to go w/ a cheaper product t and if I get good at this and do it frequently enough, then I'll step up to your Valrhona chocolate) from Chocosphere before mixing another batch up.


Larry

wally's picture
wally

Ah, fresh mushrooms!  I'll be looking for a post that manages to incorporate some pictures of those! 


I followed your advice as far as butter and used a little less than Julia's guest.  Thanks for the tip on eggwash - I wasn't quite sure how many coats to give them, and I will incorporate some salt next time.


I'm awaiting a shipment of Callebaut chocolate batons (I decided to go w/ a cheaper product t and if I get good at this and do it frequently enough, then I'll step up to your Valrhona chocolate) from Chocosphere before mixing another batch up.


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


You may want to look at the post I made on laminated dough here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction


There's quite a bit of detail, plus photos and a video.


Enjoy; they are such fun to make, and 75% fat free!!!!!!


Best wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Andy - just came across your post.  Very interesting!  I had seen the French method on some videos and wondered why sometimes the butter is incorporated that way, while other times it's done via the "British" method.  Personally, I think the latter is simpler and it was the one I followed.


Thanks for the tips! My chocolate batons are scheduled to be delivered this afternoon, so I suspect this weekend will bring Round 2 of croissants and pains au chocolat.


I'll keep you and Don posted.


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


I agree English is easier, and for croissants it is probably the best one to use.


BUT, for full puff paste where fat is at 100% of flour, and you have to use 6 x half turns, I would always go with the French method.


The reason is this, although it is not easy to explain.   Using the French "back of an envelope" technique allows you to spread the butter more evenly over the dough and not have any gaps around the edge.   This helps to incorporate the extra fat in the first place, and gives for more even distribution.


Butter in the croissant formula is anything from 40 to 50% of flour.   I don't understand why you want to go lower; they are not a healthy option, and they are a pastry, when all's said and done.   Four half turns is always what I teach, although other people have different ideas on this.   Sorry, I don't do the bookfolds thing.   I rest the dough as much as possible after mixing, butter incorporation, 2 half turns, 2 more half turns, then final roll out for processing.   An overnight rest at the last stage is just the best!


I've looked through Don's notes.   I agree it is definitely better to bake hot, also yes, proving too warm is a disaster.   Beyond that I cannot really advise, as I don't have the familiarity to deal with the measurements discussed.   If you move away from metric or percentages you lose me straightaway, sorry.   But, hey, there's loads of detail in the formula I posted, and in the prinnciples of just how puff pastes actually work: that's why I think reducing the fat is not a good idea, as successful lamination is the key to leavening.   Yeast really just helps to stabilise, and give some dough rheology over the longer time period.


Think STEAM = PRESSURE = LIFT.   The more layers, and the greater the fat levels, means more lift.   Your pastries look lovely, but I venture to suggest you could achieve more lift through more careful butter incorporation and laminating techniques.


Work COLD; REST aplenty...and have fun too!


Best wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Hi Andy - My chocolate batons have arrived, so this weekend will bring round 2. I'll keep you posted.


Best-


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

It's a Bank Holiday weekend over here; sadly I have an assignment to write, but the oven may get a good firing, you never know.


Anyway, Larry, I look forward to your post and wish you every success with round 2.


Best wishes


Andy

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Best of luck on your assignment, Andy! Is the topic of any interest to us TFL'ers, by the way?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Hans, and thanks for your message of good luck!


I'm researching the supply chain for milling wheat for bread manufacture in the UK right now.   Obviously, there's some historical background, and the need to look at the global commodity generally, but the main focus is UK right now.


Fairly interesting, as a couple of major players have moved over to using only UK wheat for their core bread products.   This is a very brave move in some respects.   I am aware many of the North American TFL clietele like to use "AP" flour for making bread at home.   Many of you have probably noticed my recipes and formulae all stipulate using "Strong flour".   Ok, the lowdown is that AP does not exist in the UK.   We have Plain Flour and that weighs in about 9% protein.   C'mon you guys, you all know about the British weather, cos we moan about it all the time!   Now can you get to understand why I can't get enthusiastic for ordinary grade flour?....you just don't know how lucky you are on that score!


Anyway, more exciting is that several growers in the UK have come together with a domestic wheat crop suitable to use for industrial breadmaking.   Our domestic wheat used for bread is now 85%.   Go back 30 years and this was about 50%.   Pre 1960s it may have been below 30%!   Needless to say there is a lot to study here; not all good, but plenty  to get my head round.   I've travelled a 600 mile round trip on the train today to meet up with senior managers from one of these millers [clue; they do "Granary" flour] and had a 2hour full on meeting which was so helpful.


Well, that's the brief; just got to write the whole thing up now!!!


Best wishes


Andy

me.favorite's picture
me.favorite

I have tried to make them twice now. the first time I left the butter cold, as the recipe suggests, but when you start rolling them out, the butter breaks into pieces, and the dough at the end has this chunks of butter all over. They ooze out when they proof/bake. The second time I made the butter much softer, but I thiink it made it incorporate into the dough much more... So hpw do you achieve those smooth layers in the dough and then the final product???


thanks,


Dasha

gcook17's picture
gcook17

I believe the butter and dough have to be about the same consistency (maybe hardness is a better word).  Then, when you roll them out the butter doesn't crack and also doesn't get incorporated into the dough.    I often had a butter cracking problem when I made croissants but after seeing how Mark Sinclair makes croissants in his bakery I learned that I needed to use the freezer as well as the refrigerator for the dough to get it as stiff as the butter.  Also, it takes longer then one hour in the frig between folds for me.  I usually have the dough in the freezer for an hour between folds.  Before lamination I move the butter block and the dough between the frig and freezer until they feel right to me...then I laminate.


Also, tapping lightly on the butter block with the roller before laminating softens it up a bit.

me.favorite's picture
me.favorite

Thanks!


Hmmm... Yeah, but then all what they show on videos, including Julia Child, is kind of off... I've heard about the freezer for the regular puff pastry.


I also saw a video where a guy laminated the butter making it maybe 5 mm thickness, then started rolling.


Tomorrow I am starting a new batch :) More advice is welcome!


By the way, my BF who worked at a bakery said they used King Arthur 00 flour. Comments on that?


Thanks again,


dasha

DonD's picture
DonD

I think the consistency of the dough is very important. Different flours i.e. different gluten content absorb liquid at different rate so you have to add just enough liquid to make it pliable and not too dry because remember that you will be dusting on additional flour during the lamination process. Gcook17 is right about the importance of the butter and dough being at the same temperature. I do not cool my dough in the freezer but I give it plenty of rest (2-3 hours) in the refrigerator between rolls. Flattening the butter between a sheet of plastic wrap with the rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick before rolling it in the dough will help. The butter has to be cold but not too cold otherwise it will break into clumps and not be spread out evenly between layers. Too soft and it will run ooze out. I hope this helps.


Don

me.favorite's picture
me.favorite

OK, with your advice off I go! started the dough early morning with regular flour, it's going to sit for 8 hours and then folding :)


Will let you know how things come out.


Thank you guys again!

gemini180690's picture
gemini180690

Hey there Don! Your croissants look amazing, I just have a few - OK, make that several - questions.


1. Looking at the picture of the triangles of dough, how do you get your dough to be so smooth and silky? I've tried several recipes, and each time, my dough ends up rather 'hole-y' and 'scarred-looking', if you know what I mean i.e. my dough isn't completely smooth, it still has small lumps although all ingredients are incorporated well. Could it be that I need to knead the dough a bit more? (I knead by hand). Also, I can never roll out my dough as thin as yours, and both the top and bottom surfaces look rough, possibly from the flour I use to dust the surface. 


2. RE: resting the dough between turns, I've tried refrigerating as well as freezing, and in both cases, I find that the edges of the dough harden and crack, so that when I try to roll out the dough for subsequent turns, the hardened bits of butter pop out through the cracks. Also, I find that although the edges have hardened, the middle is still soft. This leads to the dough tearing and sticking to the surface - ARRGH!! Also, how do you wrap your dough when resting between turns?


3. Lastly, when baking the croissants, pools of butter form around the croissants, so that the bottoms are soggy and fried - not at all pleasant! I've tried baking them straight from the fridge, as well as baking them after proofing in the oven with a pan of hot water. Same result in both instances.


*I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, so thank you in advance!

DonD's picture
DonD

1- If you have lumps in your dough then I think that it is not kneaded enough. Croissant dough is easier to knead with a mixer and also if you let the dough rest overnight in the refrigerator befpre laminating it will be smoother. All purpose flour is less elastic than bread flour so it will be easier to roll out thinner without snapping back. When you sprinkle the flour on during rolling, use a brush to brush off the excess leaving only a light dusting and not clumps of flour.


2- If the edges are dry and cracking, my guess is that your dough is too dry. Try to use a little more liquid next time. If you have clumps of butter when rolling, it is because the butter is too cold. Ideally, the dough and butter should be at the same temperature, cold but not frozen. Again, sprinkling and brushing flour when laminating will keep the dough from sticking and tearing. Cold dough will not stick and tear as much.


3- Butter oozing out during baking could be because there is excess butter in your dough. I found that proofing in a turned off oven is enough, you do not need to use a pan of hot water as this tends to liquefy the butter and make it run out. Always proof the dough before baking. It will rise better and give you a lighter and flakier croissant.


Good luck,


Don 


 

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

Oh dear!   I love new cooking tools.  A croissant cutter?  Where did you purchase this from?  There are few things more tasty than a simple flaky croissant.  The kind of croissant that ends up putting flakes all over the table and the napkin on your lap.  You can't help it though ... it's just THAT flaky.  Yum.  :)


Jenny

DonD's picture
DonD

Jenny,


The croissant cutter is made in France by 'Matfer'. You can google it and shop around for the best price. It is a nice and quite expensive gadget, nice to have but not indispensable. Croissants rule!


Don

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

info.  I love gadgets.  Yes, I'll second that .... CROISSANTS RULE!!!  Oh dear.  I'm starving for one right now.  :)


Jenny

dantortorici's picture
dantortorici

I looked for the video online at the link above. It doesn't seem to be there. Anyone have a link to it?


thx


Dan


 

DonD's picture
DonD

Hi Dan,


Unfortunately, PBS has removed that video from their website. But you can get the instructions with good photos in the 'Baking with Julia' book.


Don

becs's picture
becs

Hi I just had to join to say thank you for the recipe and the tips, it inspired me to have a go! I was panicking at every stage and even when they went in the oven I was convinced they would be like paperweights and not rise. But they did, my only issue was they were a bit on the small size which was down to my cutting size but they tasted amazing!

By the way after much trawling of the internet I found the video comes up with this link:
http://vsx.onstreammedia.com/vsx/JuliaChild/search/search?query=croissant&query2=&query_field2=clabel_Category&query_op2=must_contain&query3=&query_fi...

LA Baker's picture
LA Baker

I went to the link posted by becs, but it won't play!  I've seen the video before so I know how good it is.  Any chance you want to recreate it DonD?? : )


 


 

fishguy83's picture
fishguy83

Your comments here really helped. I never attempted to make these before, and they were amazing. People on Easter couldn't believe these were homemade. In fact, I think they were better than my local bakery's croissants. (Damn, it's hard to find a good croissant anymore!) I actually used an amalgamation of your tips, Julia's recipe, and the America's Test Kitchen recipe. I used Julia's bread recipe with your suggestion of using instant yeast, which made things really easy.

I did, however, actually use close to 1 1/3 cups milk to maybe even 1 1/2. I've been baking for a while, and I know what kind of consistency I needed for this to work. If anybody's wondering, the day I made these was very arid and dry. I suspect that had something to do with needing more milk. (I constantly here morons telling novices that baking is a science. Well, it's actually not. You need to vary your recipes daily depending on the humidity in the air or lack thereof.)

As for the butter block, I really liked America's test kitchen recipe. The Julia recipe requires a much thicker block that you have to beat out when it's encased. I don't like this. I prefer a less thick butter block with a wider base. I used four sticks of butter, with a loss of about 2-4 tbsp, to create an 8x8 butter block. The integration process was not hard, and I suspect it would have more difficult had I followed Julia's exact directions.  I followed the turns in the Julia recipe exactly as the recipe called for, and SUCCESS!

I also let these things proof longer for at least 3 hours. They could have maybe even gone another hour. Also, I don't know if this was becuase I've had experience with laminating dough (I make puff pastry all the time), but I actually had absolutely no butter leakage either during proffing or baking. (I will say I had a little trouble rolling them out, but it was my first time.) They were the best things ever, and I still have half a batch in the freezer for whenever the mood strikes.

 

Thanks DON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Also, you can find the Julia video on YouTube.