Double Chocolate Croissant with Sourdough Starter - can bread be mysterious and sexy?
Sending this to Yeastspotting .
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:
- Poolish Croissant (includes detailed tips) - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection 
- Croissant with Sourdough Starter - http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23342/croissant-sourdough-starter-txfarmer-vs-tx-summer 
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
100% starter, 35g
bread flour, 105g
1. mix and let mature for 12 hours.
bread flour (KAF), 422g
dutch processed cocoa, 20g
osmotolerant instant yeast (SAF gold), 4g, 1tsp+1/4tsp
butter, 21g, softened
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!