Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Croissants - Daring Bakers' Challenge September 2011

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!

Ah, whoops. I was so excited about this challenge that I didn't realise we were required to make croissants to a specific recipe. 500 grams of butter later, there was no way I was going to make a second batch, so I hope I will be forgiven.

I recently acquired the Bourke St Bakery cookbook, which I have wanted for ages. I got it at the newly opened Sydney Costco for only $30 and was excited to try the croissant recipe. The book includes a basic croissant dough which can be used to make traditional croissants, pan au chocolat, raisin scrolls and danishes.

The basic recipe calls for 900 grams of flour, 500 grams of butter and fresh yeast, and at one point the instructions say to roll the dough out to 90 cm, which is wider than our kitchen bench. So the recipe is not wonderfully suited to the home baker. But I forged ahead. The results were not perfect. The taste was too buttery - I know croissants are meant to be buttery, but these were extreme. In terms of texture, the outside was crisp and somewhat flakey, but the inside was a little too doughy.

The interior honeycomb - not perfect but not a disaster either.

The money shot! Despite my misgivings, I must say that when I was eating this for breakfast the next day, with butter, strawberry jam and a coffee, I was feeling extremely smug.

I divided the huge amount of dough into three and also made some almond croissants and cinnamon nut scrolls.

Almond croissants are my personal all-time favorite pastry and there are lots of different versions. I made mine by spreading some frangipane over the cut croissant dough before rolling and then sprinkling flaked almonds on the top before baking.

I made the scrolls using the cinnamon bun roll and cut technique with chopped walnuts added. All three versions were tasty but I liked the basic croissant best. I froze some of each version and I am hoping I can lure some friends around for brunch soon and impress them with my handmade pastry.

Thank you to our host Sarah and I am awfully sorry I didn't make the Julia Child recipe. I promise I will try it out next time I make croissants.