Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Croissants & Pain au Chocolate | Tuesdays with Dorie | Baking with Julia

Pain au chocolate Karen's Kitchen Stories
Pain au Chocolate

I've made croissants before. Successfully. How hard could this be? The last time I made croissants I had hunks of butter popping out everywhere and they still turned out. I can do this.
Croissants Karen's Kitchen Stories
Dough & butter 

I cannot tell you how "done" I was with this process. Making these croissants has been a three day adventure (ordeal). I'm sure it was fun for the other member of my household to watch me standing on a chair just to get leverage with my rolling pin. The palms of my hands are sore from rolling out this laminated dough over and over and over.
Croissants Karen's Kitchen Stories
Laminated dough before final roll out

And this dough did not easily roll out for me as it did for Esther McManus in this video of her demonstrating it with Julia Child.  Every time I turned a 20 by 24 inch piece of dough, it shrunk back up to to about a 10 by 12 inches (slight exaggeration).

Even though I had a lot of time and labor invested in this project, when the time came for the final roll out and shaping of the croissants, I was DONE. Three hour rise? Forget it. One hour will have to be enough. I need to go to bed. I don't really have to do this. It's a flipping hobby, not my JOB. I can skip this.

End of rant.
Pain au chocolate Karen's Kitchen Stories
Jumbo pain au chocolate

I haphazardly rolled up half of the dough into 12 semi-crescent shapes and the other half of the dough into four huge pain au chocolate shapes (when it's supposed to be ten to twelve), let them rise for an hour, threw them in the oven, set the timer, and used one of my least favorite expressions.. "whatever."

When the croissants were done baking, I decided to try the teeniest one. Oh. My. Goodness. Alrighty then. It was all I could do not to stuff the rest of the croissants into my mouth right then. Right there.

croissants Karen's Kitchen Stories
Croissants
These croissants are about as flaky as anything I will, could, should ever create. Ever.

This recipe is from Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers edited by Dorie Greenspan (of Tuesdays with Dorie fame).  Awesome book. To see the recipe and step-by-step photos, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie host Amanda's blog, Girl + Food = Love. To see how each baker did with this recipe, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie website and click on everyone's links.
Croissants Karen's Kitchen Stories


What did I do differently from the original recipe?

  • I let my croissants rise for just one hour at room temperature (about 65 degrees F) instead of the three hours in the warm environment that the book called for. Oven spring took over from there. 
  • To save time, I baked some of the croissants in the toaster oven (it worked!).
  • I shaped the second half of the dough into four large pain au chocolate instead of 10-12 rolls. 
  • I started the four large pain au chocolate at 450 degrees F to give them a boost and immediately lowered the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • I used instant yeast instead of the fresh yeast called for in the recipe at a 40 percent ratio by weight. 
These can be wrapped individually and frozen. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. Unwrap and re-crisp in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. 

Enjoy!

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30 comments:

  1. My dough was super tough too. But I think the key is waiting for it to get super cold. I found that when I waited overnight for that final fold, the dough was much more cooperative than after the two-hour period. Or maybe I was just that much stronger!

    Such a long, drawn out process, but as you said: Oh. My. Goodness.

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    1. Thanks for the tip! I froze mine and then thawed it. Next time I will try just the fridge.

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  2. This was the best post! Whatever. Ha!!!

    I've been there before, too. What a pain yeasted laminated dough is. Puff pastry behaves in a much more civilized fashion. :)

    So glad it was worth it--your mondo pain au chocolats are lovely!

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    1. Thanks Jenni! Love that term "mondo." I may steal it!

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  3. I loved reading about your... er... 'adventures'. This was quite a process wasn't it? Your croissants look beautiful and glad that they tasted so delicious!

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  4. I think they are gorgeous Karen! Very nicely golden and flaky. My dough didn´t roll as thin as I wanted either, but it happens sometimes.

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  5. Lovely ... you as always are amazing.They look lovely..wonderful job.

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  6. Haha, the process of baking is not always a pleasant one! I'm never as happy as when the bread is finally done :) And these croissants sure look like they were worth the trouble!

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    1. Hi Yvonne. Yes, thank goodness. I think I need a heavier rolling pin!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your tips! Just beautiful, Karen!

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    1. Thanks Liz. I'm so glad the shorter final rise worked. I was pooped!

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  8. Hello Karen,
    the croissants are beautiful and i bet the flavour is gorgeous as well....
    i was watching a baking program the other day,and the chef did the croissant
    dough and she suggested resting the dough 8 full hours between kneading and folding , and when she covered them she had a towel and a plastic paper on top of the resting dough, and i found it very interesting... if i find the video of her episode i will share, because after seeing her demonstration, i wanted to try my hands on her recipe soon...

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    1. If you find it, I definitely want to see that video, Arlette.

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  9. I am in awe that you baked a batch in the toaster oven! Awesome. They look perfect!

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  10. Yes - I let mine sit shaped in the refrigerator overnight (kind of) before letting them go through their last rise. At some point, we all need sleep and I function much better in the morning hours than the night hours.
    Love the toaster oven bake off - too cool!

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  11. Great pics and great post. Your dough looks wonderful. And your croissants turned out great. Good idea only proofing for an hour.

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  12. Loved reading your post, Karen. Your croissants look delicious.

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  13. Your croissants looks gorgeous!!! I love your pictures, the last one is wonderful and so yummy!!!
    Great job!!!

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  14. I was nodding and laughing all the way through this post. I also got to the "whatever" point, before the final rolling, and figured as long as the dough looks vaguely the right thickness / triangles are vaguely the right size. Ish.

    Your croissants look fantastic!! Very professional. And they sound totally delicious too!

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    1. Tell me about it! What a marathon! Thank you!

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  15. Your croissants do look delicious. It was a 3 day job for me too. Quite a task.

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  16. They look fabulous! I was extremely frustrated by the dough. I wonder if it would have been easier with a weighted rolling pin like Esther had. I had so much butter oozing out (dough was still cold!)and the dough ripping, it went to the garbage can last night. Smelled good this morning! LOL. I'm even more determined than ever to make these. Will try again.

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    1. That is so frustrating!!! After all of that work!

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  17. Yup, this was quite a LONG project. I learned lots from the experience and was also surprised by the end tasting results how well the croissants turned out...with all their problems. I might try Julia's recipe which I saw on a video some time ago...it might go a little better???

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  18. Great job! I really enjoy baking with the group and seeing everyone's prize croissants! Blessings, Catherine

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  19. They look marvelous! I can certainly relate to your grumblings. It is such a long process! But you ate right, they are delish.

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