The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The most challenging bread in your repertoire

hansjoakim's picture

The most challenging bread in your repertoire

Perhaps a silly question, but I'm just curious: What bread in your repertoire do you find to be the most challenging to make and why? By "repertoire", I'm thinking about breads that you make pretty often. And why is this particular bread such a challenge to make? Do you have any tailor made solutions to ease the process?

I guess I'm asking because I'm trying to shore up enough confidence to have another go at croissants this weekend. It's not something I make very often, but maybe once every two or three months. When I make a batch, I can put typically 10 - 12 croissants directly in the freezer, and they'll keep me going until it's time put the wheels in motion again :-)  Probably not surprisingly, what I find most difficult with croissants, is to roll the butter into the dough, and get it uniformly spread into thin layers. It seems to be a tricky balancing act, to get the right dough and butter temperature: Too warm, and the butter will start seeping out, and you'll end up with a sticky mess; too cold, and you'll have a hard time getting anything but huge lumps of butter unevenly distributed in the layers.

But enough about me and my croissant woes; I'd love to hear about your tricky/difficult/challenging breads!

ehanner's picture

I love a good croissant! I'd like to go to Kalispel Montana and have one of Marks croissants. I'd really like to go back to France to have one in Paris at a fine hotel with a cup of dark coffee. Maybe a little fruited preserves with the butter. Dreaming-dreaming-zzz.

I love croissants enough to wonder aloud if I have room for a sheeter (I don't). So sadly, I don't bother often to make this wonderful laminated treat. There are not any shortcuts or time saving secrets. As mentioned above, follow the procedure and keep track of the temps and things go well.


Janedo's picture

About croissants,, I think the butter has a lot to do with it. Our French butter is pliable even when cold, so the problems you're talking about don't really exist here. Try and get a hold of French style butter, then wack it around with the blunt edge of a rolling pin, keeping it cold, though. So, it's cold, but nice and pliable. Then croissants become very easy to make.

Challenge bread? Well, the baguettes took a while, but now it has become easy, like learning to ride a bike, I guess.



PaddyL's picture

I use Beth Hensperger's recipe, plus a bit of Julia Child's technique, with a bit of my own bread-sense thrown in for good measure.  There's a whole pound of butter rolled and folded into the dough, and when it's rested overnight, I love opening the fridge door in the morning and seeing the parcel of dough straining at the seams.  They're so good, they hardly need any extra butter, but of course we slather on the butter anyway and add a dollop of homemade jam or jelly.  Now that it's cool once again in the kitchen, I'll have to start a batch.  My mouth is watering!  Challenging?  I'm not really sure.  Maybe lavash, but the only challenge there is not to get myself coated with flour when I'm rolling them out.  I usually end up looking like Paddy-en-croute!

bread lover's picture
bread lover

The cresci version.  First there is hunting down the ingredients, I used to have to mail order high gluten flour.  Since I bought a dlx, gluten development has gone a lot bettter, my kitchenaid couldn't handle it.  I have to make sure my starter is very strong, and have to find a place that is warm enough so it doesn't take years to rise , but not too warm so the butter doesn't leach out, I am going try a water proofer this year.  Then there is baking it just long enough that it is done, but not dry.