Tuesday, September 27, 2011

THE DARING BAKERS’ SEPTEMBER, 2011 CHALLENGE: FRESH, FLUFFY, FRENCH CROISSANTS!


 The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

Croissants are not something I make regularly actually I've only made them twice! The recipe I have used (and blog about here ) is very similar to the challenge recipe. However the challenge recipe had double the amount of salt and only a small amount of sugar. These croissants I found were salty when eaten on their own or with strawberry jam but fill with ham or cheese and they were sublime!
I doubled the recipe because it didn't seem worth all the trouble to only make 12 small croissants. By doubling the dough I ended up with 15 nice size croissants and 4 pain au chocolate.

Croissants

Servings: 12 croissants
Ingredients¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
1 3/4 cups (225 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil ½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:
1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only.  It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag.
I just covered the bowl with cling wrap. 10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips.
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag.
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle.
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.



25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up.
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)



37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants

39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm).
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm))
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles. I cut a little slit in the triangle which helps with the rolling and shaping of the croissant.



49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total
.


52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9


54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants.


56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely. I think they need a few extra minutes.
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.




With ham, they made a delicious lunch!


The chocolatey/salty combination was quite irresistible.

Thank you Sarah for hosting this months challenge. I enjoyed making croissants again and my family enjoyed reaping the rewards!

28 comments:

MissCakeBaker said...

Wow I'm in awe - they look perfect!

EliFla said...

Ciao MArcella, I love croissants and this recipe is really very good, hugs, Flavia

juliana said...

ciao marcellina! amazing croissants!
i try to make them in a couple of hours, but they didnt turn out very well, of course!

Teresa said...

Ben ritrovata,questi croissant sono una delizia,bravissima un bacio cara a presto!!!

Pavithra said...

Gorgeous thats all i can say.. yumm yumm ..

mykitchentrials said...

Oh I am hungry now :)

rajani

Ciao Chow Linda said...

They are so professional looking - and I'll bet they taste divine.

Renata said...

Marcellina, your croissants are sooo beatiful! Love the multiple swirls! Next time I want to make pain au chocolat, I wish I had doubled the recipe like you and tried a few variations... Fantastic job on the challenge!

shelley c. said...

Your croissants look stunning! Absolutely beautiful job. I love the photos, too - they really do a great job of showing the process!

la vita è bella (life is beautiful) said...

I love these! I used to eat them at my local bookstore!!

Renata said...

Hi again, Marcellina! Regarding your question, yes, you are right, I reduced the salt and oven temperature and also omitted the oil from the dough. I kneaded the dough longer than required by the recipe, too. Hope that helps :o)

Audax said...

WOW they looks so perfect I'm glad they worked out so well and the colour you got on the crust is stunning. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Laura said...

Bravissima! Great job with the croissants. It seems that you rolled them thicker than I did, mine were tiny!

Cakelaw said...

Doubling the dough was a great idea - I did find the size of the croissants to be rather small, and I think the results would have been better had they been larger. Swooning at the inside of your paine chocolate.

Not Quite Nigella said...

Your croissants are just perfect and great idea to double the size of the dough (and filling them with chocolate) as they were a bit small otherwise! :)

procrastinatingbaker said...

Thank you very much for your comment on my blog. The shot of the inside of your croissants is what I was aiming for, but didn't achieve! Incentive to practice more ;). They were quite salty weren't they? I should have thought of putting ham with them!

Heather said...

Your croissants look just perfect, well done ! from Heather in Auckland New Zealand

lisamichele said...

Gorgeous croissants, Marcellina (I love typing your name for some reason..so pretty :)) The crust, interior and crumb is perfect! Love your step by step photos too, the roll is perfect...7 or more points really made them beautiful!

prerrnamirchi said...

Love the chocolate filled ones, I bet they were a perfect pair!

Faery said...

Beautiful Marcelina they look so soft and delicious

chef_d said...

Your croissants look great! The one with ham looks so delicious, great job on this month's challenge!

Catalina said...

Marcellina, your croissants look amazing! I love the deep golde brown color and the perfect shape you managed to make, fabulous!

Stephanie said...

Your croissant look sooooooo good. Congrats! ;-)

shaz said...

Yum! Great work on the challenge Marcellina. I really wish I'd doubled the recipe like you did. After all that work, the croissants vanished in a blink of an eye.

thelittleloaf said...

Making croissants is very time consuming but it's soo worth it - they taste so incredible and yours look like they turned out perfectly. Loving the chocolate versions too!

dkshopgirl said...

Hi Marcella! Wasn't sure how to contact you so just leaving a comment here. You don't know how long it took me to find an image of a peach blossom! My blog is www.dkshopgirl.blogspot.com - hope you don't mind - I used your peach blossom picture and have linked back to here. I LOVE your blog! Are you near Ingham or further north???
x Deborah .

dkshopgirl said...

Hi Marcella! Wasn't sure how to contact you so just leaving a comment here. You don't know how long it took me to find an image of a peach blossom! My blog is www.dkshopgirl.blogspot.com - hope you don't mind - I used your peach blossom picture and have linked back to here. I LOVE your blog! Are you near Ingham or further north???
x Deborah .

dkshopgirl said...

yummo... i want to try these with chocolate! maybe in the next set of school holidays ... will let you know how they go :-)