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.