Saturday, May 28, 2011

Le fabuleux destin d'Croissant

"These are hard times for dreamers."

I made 2 breads today!  Well, I started making them yesterday, but they were baked today.

#44 Croissant

#45 Cheese and Ham Croissant

"Life's funny. To a kid, time always drags. Suddenly you're fifty. All that's left of your childhood... fits in a rusty little box."

These guys took forever!  Mon dieu!  First the dough was mixed without the butter.  Then it went into the fridge for 1 hour.  Then I was to roll it into a 24 x 12 in. rectangle.  (2 feet by 1 foot!  Seriously ridiculous)  For that, I used a piece of parchment paper and marked the rectangle to aim for (looking back, I should have used wax paper).

I did not reach 24 x 12 but I did my best so I moved on.  I had previously attempted to flatten 4 1/2 sticks of butter into a rectangle about 1/2 in. thick which really ended up with me mashing butter with my hands and shaping into a blob thing and putting it in the refrigerator to chill (yes, it needed to be chilled).  The next step was to place the butter rectangle on 2/3 of the dough rectangle.  You'd think this would be an easy step but the butter stuck horribly to the pan it was on in the fridge and had to be scraped off with a knife in chunks.  Once I got the chunks all together on the dough I had to fold the uncovered 1/3 of dough over the middle 1/3 and then the remaining third over that.  Like a trifolded letter, only not as easy.  Then it needed chilling, again.  Trying to pick it up to put it on the pan for the fridge was no fun, because the parchment was all wet from the sweating dough.  Anyways, it chilled for an hour and then I had to roll it out to 24 x 12 again, fold it again and chill it for another hour.  And again.  And again.  

Up to now I've used about 5 hours.  Now, this dough is wrapped in plastic wrap and rests overnight.

"At least you'll never be a vegetable - even artichokes have hearts."

Now it's time to roll out and cut the dough.  Not that difficult once I got the hang of constantly dusting with flour to keep from sticking.  The recipe said it makes about 40.  I ended up with 16.  8 plain, 8 cheese and ham.

I cut them into not so perfect squares and triangles and moved on the the rolling into shape and the filling and rolling for the cheese and ham (recipe says make the croissant dough and fill with cheese and honey-glazed ham).


Cheese and Ham.

Then the plain had to rise for 1 1/2 hours and the cheese and ham had to be eggwashed and let rise for 2 hours.

About halfway into the cooking time for the plain I realized that they weren't browning at all and that I had forgotten to eggwash them (since it was supposed to be done immediately before baking) and I took them out and washed them and put them back in until they were all nice and golden brown.

Had to let the butter drip off onto a pan.

The eggwash mistake caused me to burn the bottoms a little.

"The fool looks at a finger that points at the sky."

Here's the lovely inside of the tasty, 1st eaten croissant.  All that folding and rolling made those pretty flaky layers.

The Cheese and Ham went a little better in the baking process.  Minus the part where a few of them started to unroll.  At least one was beautiful...see top left.

"It's better to help people than garden gnomes."

My mom's in town for the weekend and my family devoured the cheese and hams.  I'm actually feeling a little sick, what with all the butter and cheese, but they are just so yummy.

Au revoir mon petit pâte à choux!

All quotes are from Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain).

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