There's a famous story about bakers alerting the city of Vienna to Turkish attack years and years ago, using the Ottoman's crescent symbol as something worth a ferocious bite. Whatever its origins, I have wanted to master the croissant for a long time, as well. I look to my friend, Vincent Talleu, who seems to make it look easy.
My challenge has been the finesse of lamination, getting past the layers that lead to something delightfully ethearal yet tactile, crisp but light. Finally after so many years, I think it's come to me.
Here are the steps in making the croissants.
1. The dough (Detrempe ) and butter block, the cornerstones of making the layers. The detrempe is made with flour, milk/water, yeast, sugar and salt. Because of issues of enzymes in milk as well osmotolerant yeast, you have to work out how to introduce it into the dough, once the dough comes together add slowly in two cycles. It's the amount of sugar, usually levels over 5% in a dough can be troublesome in rising sweet dough.
2. Enveloping the dough around the butter block. Several factors weigh in; dough and butter should be at equal temperature to prevent smearing. You need to refrigerate the dough between rolling and folding dough, at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on ambient temperatures.
3. Once the butter (25 percent of the dough's total weight) is wrapped within, roll out the dough and give it one of three folds.
Rolled and ready for first fold….
The edges aren't perfectly uniform, but if you cut into the dough, you would notice the layer structure in the dough is progressing after each fold. Always dust off excess flour which can inhibit good rising and show up in the dough layers.
4. Here I have just made single folds, there is also a double fold which obviously gives more layers, but I opted for easy and quick, it was pretty humid when I was making this dough.
5. After the third and final fold and resting, you have the option of freezing the dough as a block, or shaping and freezing the croissants. Of course if you prefer go ahead, shape and bake.
Just rolled and egg washed….now the wait, about two hours….
Risen, brushed with egg wash, soon, patience….
Puffed and ready for the fire!
There's something about yeasty hot pastry….
I made a big batch of dough, my staff and I like coffee goodies….pain au chocolat, why not?