Lessons Learned: Croissants

Croissants!

This is the first a few after-the-fact posts I will be writing. These will show up when I don’t have time or ability to bake anything, and most will be from my summer baking explorations! Now, to the baking!

I woke up one rainy and grey Sunday with nothing to do but spend the whole day to myself. The only natural response to such a situation is to find something that will take hours to make. I don’t quite know how it came to mind, but the brilliant idea to try my hand at croissants came to my mind and could not be silenced. I looked around on the all-knowing Internet for a good recipe that seemed like it could guide me through the process just like my trusty friend in Cheryl Day.

Then, I saw a post from the blog Mamaliga entitled “Croissants A La Julia Child“. It was an excellent delineation of how to do things and what to expect as the process went on. That, and the adorable words on each picture to help illustrate the instructions were absolutely marvelous! Also, Julia Child is something of a master of pastry/dessert/delicious foods and I felt as though I was in safe hands with using her echoed words. And so I began at that Sunday morning on my quest to make my first twelve croissants.

The Results: Not-very-flaky croissants. They didn’t pull apart the same effortless way that croissants should, most likely because I didn’t spend enough time folding the croissants and was not successful at containing the butter in the dough.

Tips for the Future: Move quickly! Butter doesn’t like to be played with- it would much rather be a mushy unworkable mess. Just. Keep. Folding. Maybe refrigerate between each fold, not every other fold as taught in the blog, for 1 to 2 hours each time. If the dough is gaining too wide a girth as you are rolling it out, just fold the dough in half! That’s another fold there!

The biggest issue was butter oozing out the sides of the dough as I was rolling it out. When I first folded the butter into the dough, I did a very good job at introducing air pockets, which lead to pockets bursting and letting dollops of butter plop out onto the countertop. I ended up with the most fabulous mess of butter and much less butter than there should have been inside the dough. This is probably another cause for the less-than-perfect flakiness of the croissants.

And they don’t look ultra delectable because I didn’t have a pastry brush to add the egg wash at the end, so I just used my fingers. I figured I was already disgusting from the buttery mess that I might as well take all the damage possible in one fell swoop.

I will definitely be doing this again. I love the technique and the methodical motions of pastry-making. Too bad my dad stopped making puff pastries a long time ago. At least now I have his old pastry blender! The grip is really small, so it actually fits in my hand comfortably! Now that I have a rolling pin, pastry blender and pastry brush, my next personal investment (other than a camera) is going to be a nice pastry board.

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