Saturday, August 08, 2020

Croissant Dough Named Charlotte

Picture Perfect Croissants
Picture Perfect Croissants. (I didn't make these.) 

I've become a fan of the British Baking Show, which I learned about from my sister-in-law Laurie and have been watching on and off for a few years. It's a lot of fun, putting amateur bakers to the test making new and challenging recipes.

My friend Deb and I were chatting recently and said how much we both would like to try to make some of the more challenging recipes they attempted. One of the most challenging ones was croissants. There is a lot of rolling, turning and folding, and tons of butter, followed by chilling, more folding and turning, etc. So we decided to try our hand at it.

Deb looked up a bunch of recipes and we ended up going with one that came out of a 1961 New York Times cookbook. We started on Thursday at her house, making the initial dough, rolling it out and adding in all the butter. Then it chilled overnight in her frig, and we picked it up again at my house the following night. 

Deb arrived at our home and announced that the folded, flat bit of dough had been dubbed Charlotte. Charlotte was about to get a working over now that she was at my house. Deb continued the process of rolling, turning and folding, which is supposed to incorporate the butter through all of the layers so that when it bakes it puffs up into all those delicious flaky layers.

My favorite part of the recipe is when it says "cut into triangles," which I have determined is the most passive-aggressive direction ever written in a recipe. Do you have any idea how to cut 18 triangles out of a square piece of dough?I do, but only because I've purchased Pillsbury croissant dough in the past and saw how it had been scored and rolled so carefully into that little tube. 

We managed to get 19 little tiny croissants out of the dough, which was supposed to make 18 croissants, so we considered that a success. We put it into the oven with the temp sent to "proof" and waited for them to rise. And waited. And waited. And they rose...a little bit. You could tell by the seams that they were indeed attempting to rise, but alas, they were not doubling in size.
Ready to start rising! Aren't they cute?! 

Do these look like they're rising? 

After a couple of hours we heated up the oven to 425 and popped them in at their current diminutive size. Oh well.

They came out like little bread knots. No flaky layers, no puffiness. Just a solid, dense chunk of bread. They were good if you were expecting bread knots.

Later on I read some other recipes for croissants, all of which called for perhaps a teaspoon or tablespoon of sugar. I realized that the sugar was the "food" for the yeast. Poor Charlotte, we starved her!

I have a new appreciation every time I casually pick up a croissant from a bakery. I'm going to try a different recipe and see if I can succeed at this. It was too much fun not to do it again.

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