Croissants

Croissants
Croissants

It’s been about five hours since these came out of the oven and I’m still basking in the glow of my success.

Seriously, for something I was so nervous about making I can’t believe how well they came out!

Big time kudos to Michel Suas and Joe Pastry who talked me through the process which was pretty confusing for a beginner.

In my opinion, there are two things you need to know when making croissant dough – basic steps and timings.

Basic steps

To me, it seems like making laminated dough is a bit of a dance between ensuring your dough is proofing/rising and making sure the butter is the right consistency.

For this reason, you seem to go from fermenting/proofing to retarding, back to fermenting and then retarding again.

Michael Suas says the six stages are:

  • Mixing – creating your dough
  • First fermentation – an hour or so to prove, then an hour to cool
  • Lamination – process of preparing the beurrage (aka flattening butter into a sheet), enclosing the butter into the dough, sheeting the dough (rolling out), folding the dough (as per puff pastry, different folds, some of which require you to return to the fridge to cool)
  • Make up – dividing and shaping the dough
  • Final proof
  • Baking

I’m not going to go into every step in detail, but highly recommend that you check out Joe Pastry’s brilliant posts about croissants – http://www.joepastry.com/category/bread/croissants-and-pain-au-chocolat/ and http://www.joepastry.com/2008/how-to-laminate-dough/

This may sound like a cop out, but seriously he knows his stuff and who am I to try to teach anyone else?

I also used Joe’s recipe which can be found – http://www.joepastry.com/2008/croissant-dough/

Timing

This took a fair bit of planning because nobody seemed to be able to tell me what to do when.

I plotted it all out based on serving croissants at 9am on a Sunday but you can re-work the timings as appropriate.

Saturday
3pm – mixing
3.30pm – first fermentation (2 hours)
5.30pm – lamination (first two folds) then return to fridge
6.00pm – lamination (final fold)
6.15pm – in fridge overnight

Sunday
7.00am – dividing and shaping the dough
7.30am – final proof
8.30am – bake

I was so chuffed by the result! If I’m super critical (which I always am on myself) I would say that the centre of the croissant maybe was a big doughy. I’m not sure if this was because I didn’t allow long enough for the final proof or if I should have baked a little bit longer. Any ideas?

I should also say that this quantity of dough made eight croissants so I’ve frozen the rest and plan to use it for future pain au chocolat and Danish making.

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