Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Double DB Challenge - Croissants!

It's time again for the Double DB Challenge, with your fabulous hosts Chriesi and Amy J.! This time we did croissants, which the then-fledgling Daring Bakers did in January 2007 (check it here). We were both a little leery of this one, because it seemed like it was a really involved process plagued by issues with several of the DB's. But I think it made us more determined to DO IT!

First off, I've been doing this little by little after work for I think a week and a half, which isn't my optimal time to cook but hey, you do what you gotta, right? Right! Needless to say, this has been a LONG time coming.

I made the preferment,

a mixture of flour, warm milk, and yeast, on a Monday night and let it sit until I was able to get back to it on Tuesday evening. It was supposed to double; it rose a little but I definitely wouldn't call it "doubled".

I hoped it was enough; I started having fears that my milk was too hot when making the preferment, and I killed all of the yeast; you'll have to read further to see if my suspicions were right or not! On Tuesday, I did the "Make the Dough" step.

It wasn't too bad:

About 40 minutes after the dough began to sit, I took a peek. The recipe said to let the dough rise "until the volume increases by half". Heck, I don't know, but it seemed to be doing all right when I looked. I'm still leery about using yeast, as I haven't worked with it a lot, but I'm thinking, What really could go wrong, as long as I follow the recipe and directions? Right? Right! this point I did a little deviation from the recipe. Instead of letting the dough rise in the fridge for 4-6 hours it sat for about 4-5 DAYS. I seriously had zero time; we were getting the house ready for company on Saturday, and Sweet Pea had a dance recital on Sunday. So I picked back up Sunday afternoon and began laminating (folding the butter in with the dough).

I have to say that the dough was just fine after being in the fridge that long, and I had no problem with the laminating. It was fun! So after my 4th turn of the plaque, I allowed myself to indulge some impatience I was feeling. I put most of the dough into the fridge until tomorrow, and I cut a little off for myself. I made four small croissants - two with aged gouda in side and two with Nutella inside - did NOT let them rise (please - 2 to 3 freaking hours?!), and put them in the freaking oven.

I'm sorry, I guess I'm just an example of our modern age (ah, the humanity!), because I just couldn't STAND to let this stuff sit another day and not do SOMEthing where I could taste it. They were kinda flat...and lumpy....but tasted out of this world. Definitely not light and flaky, but still a good dough, I could tell. It reminded me of the dough that you make sausage pinwheels with. I'm not complaining - but I swore to be good and finish by the rules the next day.

So this past Monday after work, I got to working on the last stage of my challenge. I only used half of the dough because even with the long work island in my kitchen, I was wondering where I was gonna get the room to roll all this out like the recipe says. I'm gonna say, I had FUN, though I'll admit that the dough was really hard to roll out because I took it right out of the fridge. It just took a little elbow grease, though, and I made some original ones without "stuffing".

As my grandmother used to say, good heavenly days! These were THE best croissants I have ever put in my mouth! They were full of tender layers, and the outside flaked off...gah! I tried raspberry jam:

and I had to have my favorite, Nutella:

Hubby had a couple and said they were awesome, so I packed the remainder up and sent them and the Nutella to work with him. We laughed about the guys he works with "having tea" with croissants and Nutella -- but he didn't bring any back home! I only used half of the dough, so I still have some that I'm going to use sometime soon.

The only negative thing I have with this was, DANG!!!!!!!!!!! This recipe is NOT for patience-challenged persons! I mean, crap! Mix and let rise. More mixing and rise. Shape and rise. Laminate and rise. Form croissants and rise. Rise, rise rise! I was thinking, 'These things had better be good, after all this darned waiting.' And most certainly, they exceeded my expectations. I was also pretty impressed with myself because in the past I'd have looked at this big long recipe and totally lose interest.

I actually do plan on sucking up any impatience I might have and making these again!


chriesi said...

Rise, rise rise oh yeah, it was so hard to wait. Beautiful croissants! Yummy!

MJ said...

Those look AMAZING. And I love Nutella!!

HoneyB said...

Kudos to you! That was a lot of work! I guess I can't use the excuse that I don't have time...not after reading your post!

Amy J. said...

Thanks, y'all! Seriously, they were WORTH all the complaining that I did....and then some!!


Anna Kline said...

wow! i'm so impressed...and they look DIVINE.

Gabi said...

Your croissants are drool-worthy!!!

toontz said...

Those are GORGEOUS! (I am screaming this word right now) I am definitely going to try this now. Thanks for the inspiration!

Amy J. said...

*bowing* Nonni, Gabi, and Toontz, thank you!

They sure ended up looking better than the Opera Cake! LOL

bonnie said...

those croissants look spot on.