side bar…I am a pastry chef

So I am a pastry chef. I went to culinary school and got a degree in Baking and Pastry like…17 years ago (wtf !!??! 17??!) Since then I have worked in luxury hotels and small independent restaurants and bakeries. Currently I am general manager at a local bakery specializing in cupcakes, plated desserts and specialty cakes. Its not my dream job, but it definitely keeps me busy, although its a lot more administrative work than actual baking. My dream is to have my own bakery that does more European style desserts, no custom cakes no cupcakes. Serve coffee drinks and cocktails, maybe a small but delicious lunch menu.  All mis-matched vintage tables and plates and cups….and maybe on the weekends the basement turns into a speakeasy! We went to Barcelona in May for our honeymoon and there was a cafe bakery just like this across the square from our hotel (actually I am pretty sure it didn’t have the speakeasy feature, but it was still amazing!) At the counter they had a selection of cakes and tarts that changed daily, you can just point and they will slice you off a piece and bring it out to you with your cafe con leche. In 5 days we were there 3 times!!!!

but I digress…

My current position doesn’t allow for as much baking as I would like, so sometimes I will bake at home just for the hell of if. Today is one of those days, and I have decided to make croissants.  Now, in case you don’t know, Croissants are made from a laminated dough, which means that dough and butter have been layered together by repeatedly rolling and folding. Its a bit of a process, and has the potential to go wrong ( and considering how long it has been since I made them, I’m betting something goes wrong today!).  But even if something goes wrong, and they don’t look perfect, they will still taste delicious and are the perfect pairing for your morning coffee!!

 

here’s the recipe I am using today:

  • 113 g whole milk
  • 227 g water
  • 454 g AP flour
  • 113 g cake flour
  • 64 g sugar
  • 14 g salt
  • 14g active dry yeast
  • 1 # butter, cold
  • 42 g bread flour

1: combine milk and water together, warm to about 90-100 degree F (thats right about body temp), stir in yeast and let sit 5 minutes

2: stir together AP and cake flour, sugar and salt, add to liquid

3: mix with dough hook on low for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and firm, but still a bit soft in texture. Too much mixing will toughen the dough

4: Shape dough into a rectangle, place on floured parchment paper, cover with plastic and chill until cold and relaxed

5: while dough is chilling, make your butter roll-in; mix together cold butter and bread flour with dough hook until soft and smooth, about 20 minutes on low

6: roll out chilled dough to large rectangle (about 2x original size), spread butter roll-in over 2/3 of the dough, making sure it is very even and not going over the edges.

7: Lock in your butter by folding 1/3 dough over the butter ( the 1/3 of the dough that doesn’t have butter gets folded on top of the buttered side). You now have only some butter showing, fold that side over the non-buttered side.  Line the edges up and turn the dough so the lengthwise seams are facing you. Congratulations, your butter is now locked in!

8: Roll the dough out to about 3x larger rectangle, fold into thirds. Always fold the same way… I fold the left hand edge into the middle, then fold the right edge over that. Cover and chill about 30 minutes or until cool to touch. This is your first fold/turn.

9: Repeat step 8  four or five more times, making sure the dough rests in between each turn. Always fold the same way, always keep the lengthwise seams towards you

10: After the last fold/turn, chill the dough for at least an hour so it can completely relax.

11: cut relaxed dough into 4 equal blocks, wrap individually and chill overnight in the fridge.

12:take one block and roll to about 3x in length, cut into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half on the bias (upper left corner to lower right corner) so you have 8 triangles. Cut a 1 inch notch in the base/sort side.

13: pick up the triangle by the base and gently stretch the dough from base to tip, to lengthen the size of the triangle.

14: place stretched triangle on the counter, with the point towards you, with both hands roll from the base to the tip, making sure the everything stays centered.  Continue with remaining triangles

15: place all croissants on parchment lined sheetpan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to proof until doubled.  You want the croissants jiggle slightly when you tap the pan.

16: make an egg wash by beating 1 whole egg with a splash of water. Gently brush croissants with egg wash

17: bake @ 375f  until golden brown, cool, eat, repeat.

****instead of making all croissants, I took half the dough and made pain au chocolate… to do that you just cut smaller rectangles instead of triangles, and roll up some good chocolate pieces inside. Proof, egg wash and bake the same as croissants.

 

I tried Geo-Caching and all I found was poison ivy…

I had never heard of Geo-Caching until a few weeks ago. It sounds like something to do with rocks, but in fact it is, according to wiki an :

‘ outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.’

So its like a treasure hunt, you sign up  pull up an app (there are many, this is the one I used) and it tells you what caches are nearby, providing GPS coordinates, and you can use google maps to get directions to get there. Once you are at the GPS location you have a search around.

 Allegedly there will be a small waterproof container containing a log book and sometimes a trinket.  I say allegedly because I tried ‘caching’ 6 different times and found bupkus! nada! not a thing!!! It made me feel slightly better that the user previous to me also couldn’t find anything in all the same spots, so maybe they are gone? I’m not sure who maintains the caches, making sure they are in good shape, clearly all six of the ones I tried near my house need help.  The whole point is that they are hidden, they aren’t supposed to be found easily, they should be hidden well enough to add a bit of challenge, and also you don’t want the cache to be mistaken for trash and thrown away.  All that means is that all 6 caches took me off the walking paths in my neighborhood and into the fields and woods…you know, where poison ivy is! Which I unknowingly found. A few days after my adventure walking, as my husband likes to call it, I found a few bug bites (so I thought) on my lower legs. After a week of non stop, making me crazy, I want to chop my legs off itchiness, I finally went to the doctor because I thought a few of the bites had gotten infected…nope, not infected and also not bug bites but POISON IVY! YAY! I’ve never had poison ivy, and now I feel bad for everyone in the world who has gone through this….it sucks man, sorry! Calamine lotion is my new best friend (and epsom salt baths)!!

 

Anyhoo… geo-caching was a bit of a bust, but I think I may give it another shot, ya’ know, once the poison ivy clears up, maybe try a more urban area where the only dangers are cars, broken glass and hoodrats.

Aside

HI

My name is Holly and I need a hobby.  My husband has many hobbies, and it has been pointed out to me that I should have interests that are not just work, sleep and hanging out with my him. I need to have something just for myself, something that I enjoy and fills my free time.  So.  So follow me as a try a bunch of things that people consider hobbies and hope that I find one (or more!) that suits me.  There are a few activities that some would consider hobbies that I already do and are necessary for life and they are:

Reading (seriously, it needs to happen every day)

Cooking (I am a pastry chef, he is an accountant…but we BOTH love to cook)

Watching Movies (I probably watch too many movies if I’m being honest)

so I won’t be trying out those hobbies, I’m pretty ace at them already thank you very much!

 

So here’s how its going to work, I will pick a new hobby and give it a try for a couple of weeks. Then I will write about my experience here.  Some upcoming hobbies to try are:

GeoCaching

Paper Flowers

Trivia Night

Embroidery

Photography

Painting

and I’m open to suggestions so add them in the comments