I spent today laminating the dough. I mostly followed Thomas Keller’s method for the process. I liked the idea of freezing the dough between turns as it helps to really slow down the yeast’s activity. Tartine’s method of refrigerating the dough didn’t sufficiently retard the rising and it made my croissants bready.

I can see why so many commercial croissants suck. Laminating dough correctly is not an easy process, but if you’re doing it correctly, you can witness the layers taking shape within your dough. It’s pretty exciting.

It’s a long process. It’s many steps of “do this, freeze it and wait 20 minutes.” I entertained myself by watching my puppies roll in god knows what, and leafing through my newest cookbooks, “Dorie’s Cookies” by the one and only Dorie Greenspan and “Gjelina”by Travis Lett.

Poolish:

2 T. sourdough starter (method for getting your starter going will follow below)
100 grams of bread flour *King Arthur is my preferred brand
100 grams warm water

Mix together and allow to sit on the counter, wrapped in a kitchen towel to keep it warm, for about 12 hours. It will be bubbly and lively.

Dough: You’ll need your stand mixer for this. It’s a rich, sticky dough.

500 grams bread flour
75 grams sugar
10 grams (1 1/2 packets) of SAF instant yeast (preferably. I find SAF to be the most reliable)
200 grams of warm water (75 degrees)
Poolish
100 grams unsalted butter, cut into cubes *I use Kerrygold, but any other Euro style, high butterfat, cultured butter will work. Good old American sweet butter will also work fine.

Mix everything except the butter cubes in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix 2 minutes to bring everything together. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Mix another 2 minutes. Mix on low for 20-25 minutes until dough is silky and smooth.

Roll into a 10×7 1/2 inch rectangle. Freeze 20 minutes.

Butter block:

330 grams (2 1/2 sticks) COLD unsalted butter **see butter comments above.

Method:

Using a rolling pin, pound into a 6×7 1/2 inch rectangle. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until needed.

Fit the butter block in the center of the dough. Fold each side over the butter and pinch the ends together. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes.

The rolling and turning you can google, but what Keller does differently is to freeze the dough for 20 minutes between turns. This worked beautifully. I highly recommend following this method. The croissants will rise on the final proof before baking. Give them at least 2 hours to proof on a counter in a warm environment. Bake at 325 in a convection oven or 350 in a conventional oven for about 30 minutes. Give enough space between each, so they don’t touch each other.

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Your own sourdough starter:

This is based on Tartine Bread’s method.  There are wild yeasts on organic flour, so try to stick to organic.  You’ll have greater success.

Flour Blend:

2 lbs each:  organic white flour, organic wheat flour, organic rye flour
Mix together and store in a large jar.

To get your sourdough going:

1/4 cup flour blend
2-3 tablespoons warm water (I used filtered water from my ION dispenser)
Mix well and cover with a paper towel. Secure paper towel with a rubber band. I prefer a stiff starter because I find it to be more stable.

Feed daily with 2T flour blend and 2-3 t. water, until the starter is active and bubbly. Rose Levy Beranbaum recommends discarding half your starter and feeding. You can do that if you wish.

Once bubbly and active you can start making bread. I highly recommend Tartine Bread as a jumping off point. You will learn how to make a sourdough loaf to impress anyone, plus there is a recipe for homemade english muffins!

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