The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Spring Croissants

wally's picture
wally

Spring Croissants


I've been out of the loop for sometime now, and indeed, this may be a brief 'coming up for air.'  I have a new job baking at a restaurant which provides the breads for itself, its sister restaurant, and another adjacent restaurant.  Right now we mix and bake about 600 - 800 lbs of dough per day, but that will increase as summer nears.  In addition, our restaurant group is planning on opening two new locations in the area between now and September, so our production requirements will increase substantially in the coming months.


Our major doughs are ciabatta (we'll bake 250- 300 lbs of 1 lb loaves per day, plus a couple hundred small 'ciabattinis'); pain au lait which is used for hamburger, slider and lobster rolls; English muffins; loaf breads (rye, white, multigrain), and a line of hearth breads we're just in the process of rolling out for retail sale at the restaurant.  And then there's homemade biscuits and cinnamon buns for Sunday brunch.


So I'm finding myself both overjoyed at the opportunity (we may be getting our own bakery built toward year's end) and overwhelmed by all that's happening.


Today, on my day off I practiced a bake of a new biscuit recipe.  And then decided to keep some long-neglected promises to provide croissants and pain au chocolat to my doctor's office (which has, over many years, provided 'no charge' treatment and advice on occasion) and the head chef at my local pub who provided my last 50# of KA Sir Galahad gratis.  It is a good thing to repay debts - particularly debts of kindness.


The recipe I used can be found here.  It's an adaptation of Dan DiMuzio's in his excellent textbook (as opposed to cookbook), Bread Baking. My only deviation was to up the butter content by 5% (it was convenience, not conviction).


The dough I made last night, and this morning I incorporated the butter block.  I gave the dough two series of single-folds, followed by a double-fold.  It was refrigerated for 20 minutes between the butter block incorporation, two-single folds and double (book) fold.  I then placed it in the refrigerator for 3 hours to chill well, before my final manipulation.


After 3 hours I removed the dough, which measured about 7"x 16" and cut it in two unequal parts, leaving me with one piece 7" x 10" long and one 7" x 6" approximately.  One I returned the the fridge and the other I proceeded to roll out to a rectangle about 14" high by 21" long.  After lightly flouring the surface I folded the dough top to bottom, to form a rectangle 7" x 21".  From this I cut out triangles of 4 1/2" width. 



The first batch of dough yielded 14 croissants.  The second piece I rolled out to a height of 8" and a length of 18".  I again folded it width-wise and cut in into 3 1/2" lengths, yielding 10 rectangles for the pain au chocolat.


    


Proofing was 3 1/2 hours, which is fairly lengthy, but my house temperature was at about 70 degrees F, so I allowed it to proceed at its own pace.  I covered the croissants and pain au chocolats with plastic wrap during final proof, but did not apply eggwash until just before placing them in the oven.


Bake was, following DonD's recommendation, 15 minutes: 5 min at 425F, 5 min at 400F, and 5 min at 375F.


         


In future bakes, I want to up the recipe amount: I think my current dough yields croissants that are a wee bit smaller than I'd like them to be.


Ok, bedtime at 8pm for risetime at 3am.


Best to all-


Larry


 

Comments

proth5's picture
proth5

Ah! The old equation:


Hard Work + Skill = Opportunity


Seems like it's workin' for you!


Best wishes with your upcoming endeavors!

wally's picture
wally

Thanks so much Pat!


Larry

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Larry,


Congrats on the new job! It sounds like a terrific and exciting opportunity for you to dive into. The most fun I've ever had in professional baking was early on in my career working as a pastry cook at a popular Vancouver restaurant, so hopefully it will be a similar experience for you as well. From my own experience and other bakers I've talked to who've worked in restaurants, there seems to be a little more room for creativity in these settings, which is a huge plus for me as I'm sure it is for you too, judging by many of your posts on TFL.


The croissants look really good Larry.  The shaping is looking much more uniform than the last bake of them you posted on, not that they weren't fine croissants by any means, but these are better still. Beautiful crumb and lamination as well.


It's a pleasure to see a new post from you and looking forward to the next one, but it sounds like your going to be a pretty busy guy over the coming months. 


All the very best to you Larry in the new job and much success. I think your new employer made a brilliant decision when they hired you to bake for them.


Franko

wally's picture
wally

I think you're right on about the creativity restaurants offer.  We're constantly looking for new breads that can help set us apart.  I think the entree of some nice hearth breads that will be sold on premise may be a lot of fun (and some more work!)


I'm getting more and more confident in my croissants: the big challenge is getting the batch size right so that I don't feel like I'm making minis.


Best-


Larry

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Larry,
I'm sure everyone was happy to see you coming through the door with those beautiful pastries!
What a superb 'thank you'.
Congratulations on your new job - and I bet the people at the restaurant are happy you walked through their door, too!
from breadsong

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Breadsong!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

So good to see you on TFL!  I've missed your wonderful posts.  Now I know you have been very busy, and all is going great for you!  Congratulations on the new job.  


Beautiful croissants and what a lovely crumb, they look so light and delicious!  


Looking forward to more, when you get a break!


Sylvia 


 


 

wally's picture
wally

The job is great, just exhausting at present.  I still peek at everyone's posts when I get a chance, but that's about it for now.


Larry

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Best of luck in your new Job, Larry! Its such a pleasure having professional bakers here at TFL, who continues to inspire the rest of us..


Thos croissants are extremely beautiful.. the Crumb indicates a well laminated and proofed dough.. only, if your oven had a convection fan, you'd have stunning colored croissants.... Did you steam your croissants.. did you use poolish... it would have made a difference..


Khalid


 

wally's picture
wally

Thanks for your comments.  I didn't use steam (I just forgot) and you know, that certainly would have made a difference.  So far I've just made straight dough croissants, but I may give poolish a go - I love the flavor it brings.  I have a conventional gas oven, so yes, a convection oven would have made a difference.


I've been peeking at your bakes, btw, and you certainly are producing consistently superb bakes!


Larry

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Congratulations on your new job and exciting prospects! You've already got a nice variety of breads and doughs going, but it sounds like you've got even more in store in the future. Best of luck :)


Great looking croissants as well! I'm sure your doctor will approve ;)

wally's picture
wally

My doc's a carb guy, bless his heart.  For my recent physical I brought a loaf of pain au levain (mixed starter), one of sourdough 5-grain, a cheddar cheese bread, a loaf of 72% rye with seeds, and a bunch of biscotti.  The staff was happy, which is a good thing!


Larry

arlo's picture
arlo

Grats on the job and best of luck!


I'll be thinking of you at 3 am while I am at work too : )

wally's picture
wally

Thanks Arlo.  One benefit is that I never have to drive in traffic coming or going from work.


Larry

ww's picture
ww

May i have a pain au chocolate please? :) I'm having my coffee break now and it occurs to me that this would be just the thing to go with it. what with you and tx farmer posting about croissants, it's enough to make one drool.


Happy to hear about your new opportunities. Baking on AND off the job - now that's dedication.

wally's picture
wally

You know, funny as it may sound, the baking at home is really relaxing and a good way to unwind from the demands of production at work.  Here I can take my time and really savor working with dough.


Larry

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Larry you never fail to amaze. Your new situation sounds like a great opportunity. You are a gifted baker and I know you love your work.  Your product list is impressive even now.


The laminated breads look great. The crumb on your croissant is beautiful. Good luck with the new bakery. Maybe you can show us what your ovens and shop look like some time.


Eric

wally's picture
wally

I think we get our own bakery in September (I can't wait!).  Right now we share all our space with the kitchen staff, so after about 8am it's just craziness with too many people trying to dance in too little space.  A real bakery, oh the thought!


Larry

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Those look gorgeous, Larry.  I can almost taste them.  But only almost.  Let me know what favor you need.  I'd love to be on your list.


Glenn

wally's picture
wally

and I suspect in the not-too-distant future I'll be looking at some delicious croissants coming out of your kitchen!


Larry

hanseata's picture
hanseata

As my juvenile facebook friends would gush! Your spring croissants would indeed help me getting over my winter blues here in Bar Harbor - It SNOWED again today!


And all best wishes for your baking job!  I always hear from my daughter about doing those large batches (she works as pastry chef in Colorado, and soon at Chebeague Island/ME).


Happy baking,


Karin


 

wally's picture
wally

And congrats on getting your daughter back closer to home!  At my last job the pastry bakers would make up hundreds of croissants a day.  That's a dauting amount of hand work.  I would go over and work with them during down time, and I think the experience really helped me get a good feel for what the dough should feel like and its desired thickness (as well as how to roll them).  But, I wouldn't turn down a sheeter if I could get my hands on a small one!


Larry