It’s been a while since the last post and I know it’s taking time for me to add new entries in the blog. It’s not because I was super busy or anything like that, but it’s more because I’ve been trying to make the proper croissants for the last couple of weeks.
To tell you the truth, I failed 3 times out of 4 times trials (or is it 4 out of 5?? oh well ). I used the recipe from this book : Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads in the first 3 trials, and failed miserably. I’m not sure whether I was doing something wrong or was it the recipe that doesn’t work?
The first trial on their croissant recipe, the dough was just too sticky, even after almost 30 mins in the Kitchen aid, it was still sticky, I continued the work anyway and as what you could imagine, the result was just not good at all. The dough was dense, it was not like croissant (more like crescent roll, i think). Then I tried to use half of the recipe (from the same book), hoping that maybe i can get better result with smaller batch. But, again, it was just not right, this time the dough was too dry, too hard, and almost non pliable (even after 45 mins in the kitchen aid). I could hit a dog with it and the dog would bite me after (btw, it’s not that I want to hit a dog.. i love dogs!). So I tried the recipe 1 more time (still using half of the recipe) and resulting the same product..a very bad hard dough. And that was it, I gave up! I was so sad, and quite taken a back because I threw away so many dough and butter….
So I started browsing around look for some other things to cook (non croissant things), until I bumped into this website: www.weekendbakery.com. Their croissant recipe tickled me to give another try on croissant. This recipe is quite detailed, they even have the video on how you roll the butter and the dough. So I gave it a shot and it worked! Again, I used half of the recipe and this time I didn’t even use my kitchen aid to knead the dough, I hand-knead it for about 10 – 15 mins and it was almost fully develop. Based on the recipe, the gluten development should be between low to medium, so I stopped before it was fully developed. The dough was smooth, satiny and easy to work with. However, I still have a problem on handling the butter during lamination, the butter started leaking on the second fold. I’m not sure whether the butter was not cold enough or do I need to handle the dough more gently or do I need to do it faster to avoid the melted butter during the process or maybe the reason is all of the above. Anyway, the dough was still workable and I finally managed produce a more like croissant result :). The result is still far from perfect, still need lots of improvement, but it still tastes good. I guess I will need lots and lots more practices, so this shall not be the last trial!! ( I think I grew obsession over this croissant making process).
So here we go: Classic Croissants
(recipe from http://www.weekendbakery.com)
Things you need:
- 250 gr All purpose flour
- 70 gr cold water
- 70 gr milk
- 27.5 gr sugar
- 5.5 gr Instant yeast
- 20 gr unsalted butter
- 6 gr salt
- 140 gr unsalted butter
- 1 egg and 1 tsp water for egg wash
Things you need to do:
Day 1. Making the dough. Combine all ingredients together and knead using hand for about 10 -15 mins. You can also use your mixer (use hook attachment), for about 8-10 mins. You can check the texture of the dough once it is no longer sticky, smooth and pliable. Get a pinch of the dough then try to do the window testing. See this link for window testing detailed. You want to get low to medium gluten development – this will reduce the dough resistance (fighting back) during lamination.
Note: I haven’t really tried to make croissant with fully developed dough, so I don’t really know whether this steps is really true. Since I’m still far from expertise, I follow the instruction closely… :)
Shape the dough into disk and keep it in fridge for overnight.
Day 2. Making the block butter.Cut the cold butter (directly from the fridge) lengthwise into 1,25 cm thick block. Arrange the butter slices on parchment paper to form a square of about 12 cm x 12 cm. Cover the butter with a layer of cling wrap and with a rolling pin pound butter until it’s about 15 cm x 15 cm. Trim the edges and put the trimmings on top of the square. Pound lightly until you have a square of 13 cm x 13 cm. Refrigerate the butter slab until needed.
Laminating. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out the dough disc into a 20 cm x 20 cm square. Get the butter block from the fridge. Put the dough square so one of the sides of the square is facing you and place the butter slab on it so it is like a diamond card. Below is the illustration of how it looks like:
Note: The yellow box color is butter, the brown color box is the dough.
Wrap the butter with the dough. The edges of the dough flaps should be overlap to fully cover the butter. Lightly press the edges to seal the seams.
See below illustration:
After sealing the butter now roll the dough away. Lightly floured the rolling pin, start rolling out the dough on a lightly flour dusted surface. Shape the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 40 cm. Start rolling from the center of the dough towards the edges. This will help you to keep the dough at an even thickness. You can also rotate your dough 180 degrees to keep it more even. Try to roll the dough length wise instead of making it wider and try to keep all edges as straight as possible.
Fold the dough letter style, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times (ending up with 27 layers in total), each time rolling until the dough is about 20 cm x 50 cm. After each fold you should turn the dough 90 degrees before rolling again. The open ‘end’ of the dough should be towards you every time when rolling out the dough. Remember to rest the dough for about 30 mins after each folding. After the third turn you leave the dough in the fridge overnight.
Day 3. Baking the dough. Take the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface. Now very gently roll the dough into a long and narrow strip of 20 cm x 60 cm. Make an equal triangle shapes. Try to elongate the dough about 25 cm so you can roll the dough into a perfect croissant shape. Make a small cut on the middle of the short end of the triangle, and roll the two end of the triangle by moving your hands outwards from the center, creating the croissant with a thinner, longer point. Roll the dough very tightly at the beginning and put enough pressure on the dough to make the layers stick together. Put the croissant on a baking tray (covered with baking paper), and lightly brush the egg wash over the croissant top.
Proof the dough on a baking tray for about 2.5 hours on room temperature 24 – 27C. Check the proof, by gently shaking the tray. If the croissant slightly jiggle, then it is ready for baking.
Bake the croissant in oven 195 C for about 6 mins, then lower the temp to 165 C, continue to bake for another 10 mins.
Well, that is the story of the croissant! Happy trying and best of luck!
From the failures that I made, here is the list of DON’Ts that you probably want to take note:
- First of all, DON’T rush these babies. You have to be patient to make them as every steps counts! I rushed the proofing process (I only proof it for about 40 mins) and see what happened below:
The croissant is not as fluffy as we want it to be. It’ is a bit dense and not flaky. Croissant should have a fluffy volume, honey comb center, see below:
So wait for a while and let the croissant reach it’s full volume before you bake.
Note: The dense texture might also because of the result from the lamination process. As I mentioned above, my butter started leaking at the second fold. So in my case, I guess the dense result is because of the above 2 reasons, rushing the proof and lamination problem.
- Second, DON’T under estimate the temperature of your dough and kitchen. It is important to keep the dough cool, as you don’t want the butter to melt during the lamination process (trust me it is ugly). So when you laminate, you have to be quick. If the butter start to melt, put the dough back in the fridge for 20 mins and continue.
Note: It is hard for us who lives in tropical country to make a perfect croissant because it is always hot all year long. The heat and humidity kills the cold butter almost immediately. So I suggest to do it in air conditioned room and also try to do it at night time where the temperature is cooler. It really helps.
- Last but not least. DON’T rush the baking process, it is better to bake it longer in a lower temperature rather than baking it over high heat. If you are worried that it gets too brown, then just lightly brush the egg wash before baking. Once the croissant is almost done, you can take the croissant out and brush it a bit more with the egg wash and continue baking for a little longer to get that lovely golden brown color.
Well, anyway, I’m still an amateur when it comes to baking (and making croissant is not easy at all ), so I will still have to improve my self before i can tell you exactly what to do. But I can tell you now, I have done all of the above DON’Ts and I can assure you that the result is ain’t pretty. So, let’s give it a try together and maybe you might just get a better result :).
Photo by: arieandika.com