The zen of croissant making

1) first attempt at croissants – not too bad

Croissants made the list of must-makes this past weekend; croissants made with fresh yeast to boot. Croissant making is both an art and a science and is, many would argue, the supreme “you`ve made it” as a baker testament. The premise is really so simple: laminate a half pound of butter inside a dough, cut, form, bake and voila; croissants.

But the space between simple premise and perfection is a gorge wider any any Grand Canyon and – like the perfect sushi rice – takes years to perfect.

And that, perhaps, is its riddle and driving force.

So, we took to making croissants – our benchmark being the utter marvel that is a Jules croissant in Toronto, which, in our humble opinion remains the best croissant in Toronto.

While I think we`re very, very happy with our result, we`ve some work to do yet to bridge the chasm between execution and perfection. Key: more folds, better forming, not proofing in the oven and more investigation into best temperatures and time to bake these at.

2) gather your ingredients for the dough (butter, yeast, flour, whole milk and sugar; 3) here is ‘real’ fresh yeast

4) I took to vacuum sealing the remaining yeast for the freezer; 5) mix the dough

6) ready to work the dough; 7) shape then let rest in the fridge overnight

8) ready for the fridge; 9) time to make your butter packet

10) pound – and roll – into a square; 11) we used parchment paper to help get a perfect square

12) time to start laminating the butter into the dough; 13) this takes time as you need to let the dough/butter rest in the fridge between each of the 4 turns you’ll make

14) ready to head into the fridge to get back to 60F; 15) after another rest – with the butter in it – you then form the croissants by rolling the square into a rectangle and dividing it

16) here I am trying hard not to cut the silpat; 17) once formed … they sit again to rise

18) here they are all risen; 19) brush with milk/egg mixture and into the oven then go in batches

20) yummy!

21) the inside – needs way more layering

Meanwhile, on other fronts, I prepared a couple of Araxi-inspired dinners a week or so ago which included these two winners.

22) scallop tartare with avocado-citrus salad

23) prosciutto-wrapped Halibut with quinoa 

And last week in London, here was my grandmother, Lady Kay – turning 100 years young – on the phone trying to understand anything I was saying to her. I’m not convinced she heard a word I said! So, to rectify that, I shall fly to London next week to pay a visit. I’m on my way GeGe.

24) she’s like ‘what?” … with thanks to Papa for the pictures

25) making quite the wish I bet

 And finally, with thanks to Blee, I was busy in the kitchen tonight and made homemade “Rain Forest Crisps”. I was tired of paying CAD$8.00/box. These are easy to make and – time aside – probably cheaper.

26) the batter is flour, buttermilk, brown sugar, baking soda and some salt; 27) add in rosemary; pecans; roasted sunflower seeds; sesame seeds and fax seeds

28) pour into greased tiny loaf pans; 29) and bake for about 35 minutes then let them cool in the fridge till cold before slicing as thin as you can make them

30) then bake in 150C oven for 15 minutes – or so – each side; 31) cool and store or freeze

32) damn fine!

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5 Responses to The zen of croissant making

  1. christao408 says:

    All look good!  I’ve tried croissants a few times and agree, they really are a challenge.  They also require a bit more space than I have in my kitchen.

  2. agmhkg says:

    Happy Birthday to ur grandma…….! and I love those croissants!!

  3. kunhuo42 says:

    wow, croissants! that’s impressive! the dinner you made looks delicious as well. happy birthday to your grandmother; 100 years old is quite an achievement!

  4. Fatcat723 says:

    Happy Birthday!to grandma. Yummy food as usual.

  5. CurryPuffy says:

    Wow….100 years!! Congrats to your grandma!! :D

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