The scales had given the warning (a long long time ago), but I was in the denial mode. I am just pleasantly plump, not fat at all. But I couldn’t turn a blind eye when I was no longer fitting into old garments of mine. Forget old ones, I was not even fitting into some of my new ones!!
So there is no other go, but to accept that I may be a
teeny tiny bit overweight. Solution : Butter & Sugar Break (I still have lots of dresses in which I fit in, so exercise and diet are not in the current picture at all).
The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
Now comes the toughest decision of this month, to bake or not to bake Croissants. Making croissants is time consuming process, depends to some extend on the weather and is full of butter! BUTTER!
I am not great friends with butter now. Also, I am not a great baker, so I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull these off. What if, after completing all the 57 steps in the given recipe, my Croissants fail? Knowing my cooking skills, you cannot rule that possibility out!
I was wondering whether I should sit this one out. But then, as I was looking at the completed challenges, I knew I had to give this a try. It was really inspiring to see so much of enthusiasm and talent in there. You rock, Daring Bakers!
I am glad I tried this, because though the procedure seemed scary at first, the actual work wasn’t that difficult. Its just that you have to chill the dough many times in between. I was really proud of myself when I finally took these out of the oven. They are not perfect or really great, but for a first attempt, they are quite decent.
My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth and it takes a lot of bugging to get him eat a piece of cake or cookie I make. But he really loved these and polished off four of these in one sitting. Between him and my son, I could stick to my ‘butter break’ to a good extend(Ok – I cheated a bit, but only a tiny bit!).
- Dry-active yeast : 1 tsp
- Warm water : 3 tablespoons (45 ml) (less than 100°F/38°C)
- Sugar : 1 teaspoon
- Strong plain flour : 1 3/4 cups
- Sugar : 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm)
- Salt : 1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm)
- Milk : ½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint)
- Oil : 2 tablespoons
- Butter : ½ cup/115 gm chilled, unsalted
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
- Heat the milk until tepid and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour. Mix until all the flour is incorporated.
- Knead the dough eight to ten times. Place the dough in the bowl, and place the bowl in a plastic bag. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
- After the dough has tripled in size, place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches.
- Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up). Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge.
- Once the dough has doubled, place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
- Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
- Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches. Fold in three, as before. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising).
- Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into two equal rectangles. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches. Cut the rectangle into three squares. Place two of the squares in the fridge. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square.
- Cut the square diagonally into two triangles. Stretch the triangle out a little,into an isosceles triangle. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
- Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely.
- Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.