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Daring Bakers: Croissants

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The pastries in the picture above may look edible but they are not. The are hard, yet undercooked; and there was butter in it when the croissants went into the oven, but they actually fried in their own fat.
    Here's what happened: Halfway through baking, I noticed an oily pool in the base of the pan – the butter in the dough had actually melted out and in effect, the croissants were frying! I had to remove the pan, drain off the melted butter and put the pan back in the oven for the croissants to finish baking. The inside didn't puff up and the whole batch was hard.
   This was my second attempt. I had made a batch of croissants a few days earlier from half the dough (pictured below) and those didn't turn out too bad taste-wise although the shaping leaves much to be desired.
First batch – not a total disaster – of croissants and pain au chocolat.
    Enough said about my failure. The Daring Kitchen site has a slide show of much better-looking, and undoubtedly better-tasting, croissants made by the other Daring Bakers. Here's what we had to do:
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!
    The recipe comes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, by Julia Child and Simone Beck.
   I liked Sarah's recipe for the yeast dough because it was for a quantity of dough that was easy to manage by hand (no need for heavy machinery for mixing and kneading). I referred to Ciril Hitz's book Baking Artisan Pastries & Bread and his accompanying DVD for the laminated dough technique, including how to make a butter block (he shows some of the techniques in his own video on YouTube). This link to a YouTube video of a baker guy making all sorts of pastries gives ideas on the uses for the laminated dough. His grin at the end of the video when he shows off what he spent the day making is priceless.
    I want to make all those pastries too. One day...


  1. Very brave of you to attempt making croissants:D I tried once and failed miserably too! I'll leave this very time consuming process of making flaky crossants to the professionals and save me some calories too!:P

  2. I'm impressed with your results even if they didn't "work" out as well as you wished the colour is great and I'm sure that you will get the process after a couple more tries. Also I have noticed if the butter leaks out of the baking croissant it is a sure sign that you have under-proofed your rolls maybe next time let them rise for about 3 hours they shouldn't give off some much butter. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. @Jeannie: I was so enthusiastic about the whole process and was disappointed that the result wasn't as good, but I'm not giving up!

    @Audax: Thanks for the tip. I won't let all that lovely butter get away next time!

  4. Wow! How flaky is that croissant! I'm impressed! And you think they weren't good? They look excellent to me!
    OMG! I love that video!!!

  5. Ah, I think I fried my first lot too. What you describe sounds very familiar! Anyway, your pastries look beautifully flaky, and that is a gorgeous wodge of chocolate in the pain au chocolat. I'm often disappointed by the faint traces you sometimes get, but yours is definitely more like it!

  6. Very informative post ... Thanks for sharing it ... Good job! Bakery Equipment


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