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A Sunday Carboholic Brunch

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wally's picture
wally

A Sunday Carboholic Brunch

I love fresh bagels and croissants, but being a household of one, these present a challenge: I can't (and more important, shouldn't) sit down and eat my way through a half dozen at a time.  The other side of the challenge is the impracticality of making up either dough for just a couple bagels or croissants.


The solution that sort of forced itself upon me, but which I like more and more, involves making each dough up and then freezing it and taking out what I need the night before, where I allow both to thaw in my refrigerator.  An early attempt at freezing fully proofed croissants and pains au chocolat that I wrote about failed because I tried baking them without allowing much thawing at all.  I found that fully proofed croissants will rise nicely if they're given a hour or two at room temperature after being thawed in the 'fridge, but this won't work for pains au chocolat which lack enough yeast power to rise around the chocolate batons. 


So I've taken to shaping croissants and pains au chocolat and then freezing them immediately.  The only drawback is that they need close to 3 hours at room temperature after being taken out of the refrigerator before they've risen sufficiently.


Bagels, on the other hand, are easy.  You simply shape them, allow them to fully proof, and then freeze.  The day before I want some, I just take a couple out of the freezer and put them into the refrigerator where I allow them to stay until I'm ready to boil them.


So, today I decided that a carboholic brunch was in order - why not some of each?


The bagels were boiled in water with some honey for their sheen and a little salt.  A 45 second boil on each side and then topped with sesame and poppy seeds and allowed to dry for about 5 minutes.  Then into a hot oven (about 480 F) for 15 minutes and voilà! 



The 3 hours the croissants needed were perfect for brunch-time.  As you can see, the shaping of the croissants is pug-ugly (apologies to pug owners), but the lamination looked pretty good to me.  And they are deliciously decadent - no need for butter!



Mimosas are my usual brunch drink of choice, but I picked up a wonderful bottle of a pear 'port' from a local vineyard (Fabbioli Vineyards) that they made blending their own pear wine with pear brandy that my friends at Catoctin Creek Distillery made for them using Fabbioli's pear wine. (I can't wait to try the brandy!).



Who says port has to be an après dîner affair? 


All in all a splendid brunch that has me carbo-loaded for the day.

Comments

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

The bagels look like the old fashioned bagels we used to buy. Did you use Hamelman's recipe? I didn't know you could boil them in honey and salt. About how much did you use?


Great job on your carbo-brunch. Yum.


weavershouse

wally's picture
wally

Thanks weavershouse!  At work we use a more complicated formula using levain, eggs and honey.  But you know what...I prefer Hamelman's and it's really easy.  I just eyeball both honey and salt to be honest, since I bake in such small amounts.  The honey's cheaper than malt and it produces IMHO just as good a result.  You want enough to get a little color into the water, but you don't need an overly generous amount.  (Ok, so I boiled the two bagels in about a quart and a little more water and probably added about 1/3 c honey I'm guessing).  The salt is to provide just a tad more flavor without upping the amount in the dough.


Glad you enjoyed!


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


I've been catching up and very much enjoying all your recent posts; especially the rye and rye!


Anyway, just wondering why you don't bake your croissants and pain au chocolats, then freeze them?


Andrew Whitley reckons he actually prefers to eat an already baked and frozen, then re-heated croissant rather than a freshly-baked one.


I'd always go with one straight from the oven myself.   But I think if I was in your situation and freezing them, I would definitely bake them all off first, then freeze them.


Reasoning? Well, dab with a little water and put straight into a pre-heated oven; your croissant are near to perfect in 15 minutes.   Seems a bit more straightforward than the 3 hours you had to wait for the raw items.


Of major importance: the lamination on your croissant is amazing; well done for that


Best wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Nice tip Andy!  Ok, next time around, I'll give that a spin.  The frozen, unbaked ones come out well, but you're dead right, you need to get up really early to have them for breakfast.  Thanks for the nod to the lamination.  I'm learning to just put the dough back in the 'fridge if I get resistance and wait another 20 minutes.  No tears, better results!


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Rest and work cold Larry


you got it!


All good wishes


Andy

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


Maybe you would be interested in this, in reply to Nico's Detmolder?


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17931/horst-bandel039s-black-pumpernickel


Loving Rye!


Andy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Not that I've ever made croissants (nor do I ever plan to) - but your brunch sure looks wonderful, Larry, and is a testament to your skills.


Now, I do make bagels quite often, and like you, am a household of one.  


I'm not the morning person you are, so I set aside a couple to eat that day, and one for the next morning, then wrap the rest individually and plunk them in the freezer.  


That allows me to take a fresh bagel to work each morning - I just pull one out of the freezer before I hit the sack, and by morning it's ready to be sliced and adorned with cream cheese.

wally's picture
wally

I must admit Lindy.  I think the only reason I don't just boil and bake the entire batch at once is that it's so much fun I'd rather do it each time.


And yes, I'm a morning person.


Larry

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Since a bagel is one of the few breads best eaten warm, your method guarantees that delight, Larry.  


I'm curious about your methodology - do you boil and bake a couple bagels the morning they're on your breakfast menu and keep the rest in the freezer?  

wally's picture
wally

I move what I want to bake to the refrigerator 12 or so hours in advance and leave them there until I'm ready to boil them.  My fridge temp is around 35 F and it will allow the frozen bagels to thaw, but not get so soft they're hard to handle. I usually put them on parchment that I spray with Pam flour in a pan covered with plastic wrap.


Larry

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

I knew croissant dough can be frozen before shaping, didn't know it could be frozen after, thank you for the info!

wally's picture
wally

I've been able to successfully resuscitate the frozen croissants - fully proofed and unproofed.  But both require about 12 hrs in the fridge followed by anywhere from 1 -3 hours at room temp depending on whether they've already proofed or not. I'm of a mind, though, to try Andy's suggestion and just bake them and then freeze them.


Larry

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

Maybe underbake them a tiny bit and baked them for another 5 to 10 minutes dreictly from the freezer when you need them?

wally's picture
wally

I par-bake rolls at work and that's all it takes the next day.  I shall try that my next bake.  Thanks for the suggestion!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


Sorry, but par baking is a mythical concept to me.


Essentially laminated pastries need a hot oven anyway, just to get the lift.


What is par baked?   To me, the structure of the croissant has to be set.   Otherwise it's a food safety nightmare, and, it will collapse if not stored very carefully in the freezer.   To me, that means they are already "baked".


I would bake the croissant in a hot oven til just baked.   Cool as quickly as possible, then freeze.   To bake off, simply sprinkle the croissants with a tiny amount of water, and bake in a pre-heated oven from frozen.   They will be ready in a matter of minutes.   This means you can re-heat them quick enough to avoid further colouration, and therefore avoid burning.


Industrial operators using these techniques employ some very advanced methods, especially with oven technology.   At the risk of being contraversial, I just find all this a crashing bore.   Give us genuine fresh bread please.   For all that; croissant re-heated as above are very fine indeed.


All good wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

I know that par baking works for rolls and breads.  If I read you correctly, however, you're saying it won't work for croissants because of the lamination structure (and probably amount of butter being incorporated I'm guessing).  Am I on track?


Fresh croissants, I agree, are preferable to all else.  But it makes no sense for me to do this as a home baking technique.  So, next question: given that the solution I'm seeking is for home baking only, is it better to do a full bake and freeze them, as you suggest above, or to go my route and freeze immediately after shaping, and subsequently go through an extended thawing/proofing procedure.  Again, since it's an at-home situation, I'm not looking for what's most convenient, but for what is likely to produce the best product.


As usual - thanks!


Larry

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Larry,


No I'm saying I don't really agree with you that par baking works.


To me, par baking is a whole mis nomer!


However, I think you will get the best product by doing as I suggest and re-heating the fully baked croissant.


You just have to make your mind up from ther which works best for you.


All good wishes


Andy