Saturday, October 23, 2010
There are a lot of perks to working as a baker without a traditional culinary education. I don't have a pile of student loans to pay off (aside from those associated with my BA) and I started working without having to do slave labor as an unpaid intern. The biggest downside is is that I missed out on learning a lot of classic techniques from true experts. Well my friends, there is no time like the present so I consulted my current favorite bread book, Artisan Breads Every Day, decided today was a good day for croissants, and went for it. I was really pleasantly surprised with how these croissants turned out. They are flaky and crisp on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside, and the perfect vehicle for just about anything from strawberry jam to soft scrambled eggs. You can also use the same dough for danish or roll a bit of chocolate inside to make pain au chocolat. The recipe does require the dough to rest overnight and there is quite a bit of hands on time, but it is so worth the effort.
Here is a link to the recipe online, but if you have a few bucks to spare just buy the book. There are a ton of helpful process photos and the simple techniques will change the way you think about baking bread.
Some notes: The recipe calls for turning the dough three times, but next time I make these I will definitely add a fourth turn for even more flakiness. I will also be a bit more careful when forming the pastries, I could have rolled them a bit tighter pulled the ends into more of a crescent shape and they wouldn't have spread so much.