Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daring bakers challenge september: 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!
Well, do we have a fun daring bakers challenge in september: we made our croissants from scratch. A wish from me for a long time now. Sarah, a non-blogging member of the daring kitchen dared us this time. Thank you for this one.
It's not a recipe you can make in a whimp. Not that it takes a lot of work, but making croissants takes a lot of waiting time.
This recipe takes at least 12 hours, although you can split the recipe and make the croissants in a couple of days.
And the taste. They were delicious. I could save one for the photo, but as you can see, my youngest was haunting it already and before the table was cleaned the croissant was gone (the other eleven didn't even make it untill the photo was taken).

This is definitely something I'm going to make much more. However, the last rise that takes an hour is a long time before we can get a breakfast on sunday. I'm going to experiment with freezing them before the last rise and let them thaw and rise in the refrigerator during the night. Next day I'm going to bake them. If this works, I'm posting it. Otherwise I'm going to try something else.
I'll change the post if it works!!!

And now: the recipe. You can also look at: www.thedaringkitchen.com for a lot of photos that came with the recipe.
Recipe Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two. Julia Child and Simone Beck.

- 1⁄4 oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 11⁄4 teaspoon (61⁄4 ml/4 gm) of dry- active yeast (about 1⁄2 sachet)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml/41⁄2 gm) sugar
- 1 3⁄4 cups (225 gm/1⁄2 lb) of plain flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
- 11⁄2 teaspoon (71⁄2 ml/9 gm) salt
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml/1⁄4 pint) milk (I am not sure if the fat content matters. I used 2%)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/1⁄4 lb) chilled, unsalted butter
- 1 egg, for egg wash

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.
Measure out the other ingredients. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour.
Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl.
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. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag.
Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled.
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. 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). Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up).
Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. 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.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. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. 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. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (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). Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightlyfloured board or counter. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). Fold in three, as before Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm). 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).
It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready.Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board.
Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 121⁄2 cm).
Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (251⁄2 cm by 121⁄2 cm)). Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold.Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 121⁄2 cm). Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (121⁄2 cm by 121⁄2 cm)). Place two of the squares in the fridge. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it isnearly square.
Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.
Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet.
Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water. Spread the egg on top of the croissants. Put the croissants in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the tops brown nicely.
Take the croissants out of the oven and let them cool down on a rack for 10 minutes before serving.


Audax said...

I adore the picture with the girl eating the croissant too cute. I love what you have done and all of them were gone so quickly that says it all wonderful work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

abigail @nappytales said...

Beautiful! I'm also thinking of ways on serving this for early breakfast. maybe leaving them to rise overnight while the AC is on? Happy to be baking with you this month.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that photograph so much. It's like one of those perfect photographs you see in a film but never take in real life. Beautiful :D

Lisa said...

Your croissants and photos are gorgeous! I agree with Audax, the photo of your little girl biting into one, is a fantastic snap! Glad you enjoyed the challenge, it definitely shows :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww your youngest looks like they're having so much fun sinking their teeth into the croissant. Great job! :)