baking, butter, croissant, laminated dough, pains au chocolat
Pains au Chocolat and CroissantsFriday, December 18, 2015
Recipes adopted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. [Recipes make 20 pains au chocolat, 16 croissants, or 10 pains au chocolat and 8 croissants].
I think the first time I made legit laminated dough (Danish, croissant, and puff) was during my time working at a local bakery a couple years ago. Although the ingredients and procedures used were all by the book, it was different than making a batch at home due to the fact that we had a mammoth industrial sheeter to aid in the process. For those not familiar with a sheeter, think of it as a giant automated rolling pin that rolls out your dough to whatever thickness you'd like. So while it's not cheating to use one, it definitely helps out the process of making laminated doughs.
During my time at the bakery, I attempted to make my own puff dough at home two different times, and the results were far from satisfying to say the least. For my first attempt, I based my recipe off of an incorrectly scaled down version of a past (but famous) local bakery, which resulsted in a dough that quadrupled in size during its proofing period. The dough ended up being too soft and the block of butter was too cold, so the butter ended up cutting through the dough during the first lamination. It was a mess, and went straight to the trash bin. My second attempt involved making dough for morning buns, and although the end product tasted good, it wasn't a laminated dough. I knew that I had to tackle croissant dough again...but serious changes needed to be made.
Flash-forward roughly a year-and-a-half to last week. I had been paging through my newest cookbook, Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery (which I absolutely love and highly recommend), and saw that there was a recipe for pains au chocolat. This sparked my memory that I still had to cross croissant dough off of my life list, so I read the recipe a good five or six times and was ready to dominate. If Keller's recipe didn't work for me, there was no hope.
I made sure to buy the best European-style butter, make a special purchase so that I had diastatic malt powder on hand, have the thermapen ready so that I could make sure that my water was exactly 75° F, pull out the tape measure so that I could imitate specific dough sizes to the nearest half-inch, use a convection oven (as was recommended by Keller), and the list goes on. It may sound over the top, but I was in domination mode. This batch of croissants was going to turn out, period.
So what was the end result? Keller states that "there's only one word for it: shatter. It's what a good croissant does when you bite into it—and an indication that you've succeeded in making one of the most special doughs in the baker's repertoire. You've created layers of dough so exquisitely thin, brittle, and browned that they shatter into sweet, delicate shards that all but melt in your mouth."
The one thing I'm going to try different next time is either increase the humidity or temperature of the air while proofing the pastries, as I think the end products should have been larger based on pictures in the book. But since this was my only complaint, I'm considering this batch a total success.
100 grams (~3 1/2 ounces or 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
0.1 grams (~a pinch) instant dry yeast
100 grams (~3 1/2 ounces or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) water, 75° F
330 grams (~11.6 ounces or 23 1/3 tablespoons) European-style unsalted butter
500 grams (~1 pound 1.6 ounces or 3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
75 grams (~2.7 ounces or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon) sugar
10 grams (~1 tablespoon) instant dry yeast
3 grams (~1 teaspoon) diastatic malt powder
300 grams (~3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons) water, 75° F
100 grams (~3 1/2 ounces or 7 tablespoons) European-style unsalted butter, room temperature
15 grams (~1 tablespoon, depending on the brand) Kosher salt
40 (if making no croissants) chocolate baking sticks, 3-inches by 1/2-inches thick
The night before you plan on making your croissants, create the poolish by mixing together the flour, yeast, and water in a medium bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours.
The next day, shape your butter into a block that measures 6 3/4-inches by 7 1/2-inches using some parchment paper and a rolling pin. Refrigerate until needed.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch by 7 1/2-inch rectangle. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and freeze for 20 minutes. About halfway through, remove the sheet of butter from the refrigerator, with the hopes of it having the same consistency as the dough once the 20 minutes have passed.
Roll the dough out to a 16-inch by 7 1/2-inch rectangle. Lay the block of the butter in the middle of the dough so that the tops and bottoms of the dough and butter are flush. Wrap the dough over the butter, and pinch the seam together on the top. Roll out the dough in the direction of the seam until you have a rectangle that measures 22-inches by 9-inches. Lightly spray the top of the dough with water, and then fold the bottom third of the dough up, and then the top third down to cover the bottom third. Turn the block 90 degrees counterclockwise so that the dough "resembles a book, with the opening on the right". Transfer the dough back to the sheet pan and freeze for 20 minutes.
Repeat this rolling, folding, and freezing process two more times.
After the third freezing is complete, roll out the dough to a 24-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half so that you have two 24-inch by 9-inch rectangles. Freeze for 20 minutes. At this point, you're ready to make your 20 pains au chocolat, 16 croissants, or a combination of the two.
Pains au chocolat:
Remove one piece of dough and roll out to 19-inches by 9-inches. Trim up the rectangle with a pizza cutter so that you end up with a rectangle that's 17 1/2-inches by 8-inches. Cut lengthwise in half, and then crosswise into five, so that you end up with ten 4-inch by 3 1/2-inch rectangles. Set a piece of chocolate 1/2-inch up from the bottom of each rectangle, fold up to cover the dough, place a second piece of chocolate at the bottom, brush the top with egg wash, and roll the dough up, finishing seam-side down.
Remove one piece of dough and roll out to 19-inches by 9-inches. Trim up the rectangle with a pizza cutter so that you end up with a rectangle that's 18-inches long and has straight edges on the remaining sides. Starting on the left, measure 3 3/4-inches along the bottom edge. Cut from this point to the top left corner of the dough. From the top left corner, measure out 3 3/4-inches, and cut straight down. Continue this process until you have 8 triangles. Stretch each triangle out so that it's 12 inches long. Fold the bottom two corners in, mist the dough with water, and then roll up, finishing seam-side down.