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Thread: Croissants III

  1. #1
    Julia Altshuler Guest

    Default Croissants III

    We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven.
    The plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The
    almond ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way
    they look.


    We decided to go with Julia Child's recipe this time. We started with
    the recipe posted here. Then I got out an old paperback of _The French
    Chef Cookbook_ and realized that there were differences. It was hard
    getting started as Jim and I were arguing. I wanted to choose a recipe
    and follow it as closely as possible. Then, if we didn't like it, we
    could change one variable at a time. His idea is to change everything
    at once, but he doesn't put it in those terms. He insists that we are
    following the recipe except that we're just changing ...


    Anyway, trying to keep this about food and not my relationship, one big
    difference between Child's recipe and the Baking Illustrated one is that
    Child has you let the dough rise before rolling it out for the butter
    square and the 1st turn. She says it makes for a better tasting dough,
    and I agree. The slight bitterness from tries #1 and #2 is now gone.


    We're still trying to figure out how much butter to use. This is one of
    those things that will probably be a while before we get right. If you
    use too much, you run the risk of incorporating the butter into the
    dough when you want layers of flakiness. If you use too little, you
    don't get that wonderful buttery taste. Trouble is, in addition to your
    personal taste, how much is the right amount also depends on your skill
    in rolling out the dough and making the turns. How much the dough rises
    depends on how warm the kitchen is. How humid the day is affects the
    stickiness of the dough. You have to get good at gauging everything by
    look and feel.


    The good news is that no matter how much you screw up, you're still
    likely to end up with good tasting rolls. As long as you don't burn
    them to a crisp, everything is edible.


    The simplest way to make the almond croissants is with a simple tri-fold
    shape, but the first time we made them, we experimented with a braid,
    and they came out well. Then the 2nd time, Jim tried the braid (that
    was the night I was zonked on antihistamines), and it all mooshed
    together into one great tasting pan sized pastry. This time I was
    making them again, but I must have lost my touch. They didn't moosh
    together, but they don't have that pretty look about them either.


    _The French Chef_ recipe is pretty interesting. She doesn't assume you
    have a mixer and gives instructions on hand kneading. Since today was
    our first time of trying our new one, we were incorporating a bit of
    both recipes there. She doesn't assume you have parchment paper either.
    Her instructions are to butter the pan.


    Also, we're still using our original bag of King Arthur all-purpose
    flour despite instructions to use Gold Medal or exactly the right
    proportions of bread flour and cake flour. We'll stick with it until
    it's time to buy more. As it is, flour doesn't cost much, but we can't
    see having a cupboard full of 3 different kinds.


    Oh, and I also picked so many raspberries today that I had to run them
    through the blender, press through a sieve to remove the seeds, then
    pour them into ice cube trays. We're laying in stores for the winter.


    --Lia


  2. #2
    RegForte Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III

    Julia Altshuler wrote:

    > We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven.
    > The plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The
    > almond ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way
    > they look.


    Great story. You describe so well how much fun croissants are
    to make and what a juggling act it is to get them right.

    I heartily agree that a first rise before rolling works out to
    a better tasting dough. No matter what recipe I'm using, I always
    do a cool rise in the fridge for a day before rolling.

    Reg

  3. #3
    sf Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III

    On Sun, 13 Jul 2008 13:09:52 -0700, RegForte <[email protected]> wrote:

    > No matter what recipe I'm using, I always
    >do a cool rise in the fridge for a day before rolling.
    >

    A whole day? You're patient!



    --
    I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.

    Mae West

  4. #4
    Hugh Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III


    "Julia Altshuler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven. The
    > plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The almond
    > ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way they look.
    >
    >
    > We decided to go with Julia Child's recipe this time. We started with the
    > recipe posted here. Then I got out an old paperback of _The French Chef
    > Cookbook_ and realized that there were differences. It was hard getting
    > started as Jim and I were arguing. I wanted to choose a recipe and follow
    > it as closely as possible. Then, if we didn't like it, we could change
    > one variable at a time. His idea is to change everything at once, but he
    > doesn't put it in those terms. He insists that we are following the
    > recipe except that we're just changing ...
    >
    >
    > Anyway, trying to keep this about food and not my relationship, one big
    > difference between Child's recipe and the Baking Illustrated one is that
    > Child has you let the dough rise before rolling it out for the butter
    > square and the 1st turn. She says it makes for a better tasting dough,
    > and I agree. The slight bitterness from tries #1 and #2 is now gone.
    >
    >
    > We're still trying to figure out how much butter to use. This is one of
    > those things that will probably be a while before we get right. If you
    > use too much, you run the risk of incorporating the butter into the dough
    > when you want layers of flakiness. If you use too little, you don't get
    > that wonderful buttery taste. Trouble is, in addition to your personal
    > taste, how much is the right amount also depends on your skill in rolling
    > out the dough and making the turns. How much the dough rises depends on
    > how warm the kitchen is. How humid the day is affects the stickiness of
    > the dough. You have to get good at gauging everything by look and feel.
    >
    >
    > The good news is that no matter how much you screw up, you're still likely
    > to end up with good tasting rolls. As long as you don't burn them to a
    > crisp, everything is edible.
    >
    >
    > The simplest way to make the almond croissants is with a simple tri-fold
    > shape, but the first time we made them, we experimented with a braid, and
    > they came out well. Then the 2nd time, Jim tried the braid (that was the
    > night I was zonked on antihistamines), and it all mooshed together into
    > one great tasting pan sized pastry. This time I was making them again,
    > but I must have lost my touch. They didn't moosh together, but they don't
    > have that pretty look about them either.
    >
    >
    > _The French Chef_ recipe is pretty interesting. She doesn't assume you
    > have a mixer and gives instructions on hand kneading. Since today was our
    > first time of trying our new one, we were incorporating a bit of both
    > recipes there. She doesn't assume you have parchment paper either. Her
    > instructions are to butter the pan.
    >
    >
    > Also, we're still using our original bag of King Arthur all-purpose flour
    > despite instructions to use Gold Medal or exactly the right proportions of
    > bread flour and cake flour. We'll stick with it until it's time to buy
    > more. As it is, flour doesn't cost much, but we can't see having a
    > cupboard full of 3 different kinds.
    >
    >
    > Oh, and I also picked so many raspberries today that I had to run them
    > through the blender, press through a sieve to remove the seeds, then pour
    > them into ice cube trays. We're laying in stores for the winter.
    >
    >
    > --Lia
    >

    I'm a Julia Child junkie. We have most of her books including the French
    Chef, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and on. My favorite of all is her
    books is "The Way to Cook" published in 1989. It's kind of a refined
    synthesis of all that preceeded it. It's still in print.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/...Cook&x=21&y=14
    Mastering the Art of French Cooking is also in print. I bought a new one
    after the original completely fell apart.
    Cheers,
    Hugh



  5. #5
    Janet Wilder Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III

    Julia Altshuler wrote:
    > We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven.
    > The plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The
    > almond ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way
    > they look.
    >


    <snipped>
    Lia,

    I'm really enjoying your sage.
    --
    Janet Wilder
    Bad spelling. Bad punctuation
    Good Friends. Good Life

  6. #6
    Julia Altshuler Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III- need expert help

    Hugh wrote:
    >
    > I'm a Julia Child junkie. We have most of her books including the French
    > Chef, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and on. My favorite of all is her
    > books is "The Way to Cook" published in 1989. It's kind of a refined
    > synthesis of all that preceeded it. It's still in print.
    > http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/...Cook&x=21&y=14
    > Mastering the Art of French Cooking is also in print. I bought a new one
    > after the original completely fell apart.



    Here's the recipe we started with for yesterday's croissants.
    http://www.recipesource.com/baked-go...1/rec0174.html


    It asks for 1 ounce of fresh yeast for 3.5 cups of flour. It seemed
    like way too much.


    That's what made us get out the paperback _The French Chef Cookbook_.
    In it, Child asks for 1 package (1/4 ounce) dry active yeast for 2 cups
    of flour.


    Since we were using packaged dry yeast, we switched to the 2nd recipe
    while trying to incorporate the techniques from the first. (The first
    recipe assumes you have a stand-up mixer, and since we have a new one,
    we wanted to use it.)


    Is there a difference between fresh yeast and active dry?
    That's where we ran into trouble yesterday. We were trying to combine
    the 2 Julia Child recipes when they're not quite the same.
    Does anyone with croissant experience recommend one sort of yeast over
    the other?
    Is it worth it to seek out fresh yeast? The active dry is convenient
    and available in the supermarkets around here.
    In order to use the first recipe with no substitutions except using
    active dry instead of fresh yeast, how much active dry would we use?


    --Lia


  7. #7
    Marcella Peek Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III- need expert help

    Here's what I know about yeast from some bread baking classes.

    Fresh yeast is more commonly used in commercial settings. Supply and
    ability to use it up quickly (as well as, "that's the way we've done it
    for 40 year") have much to do with the why of that. I am able to find
    fresh yeast at my local supermarket tucked in the butter section but
    often it is expired because not too many people must buy it. Some
    bakers like Nancy Silverton swear they can taste the difference. I am
    not so gifted.

    Dry now comes in more than one form. What Julia calls for is probably
    Active Dry yeast (because of when her book was written) while the hot
    yeast these days is the Instant Dry yeast because it doesn't have to be
    wet first.

    When subbing for fresh yeast in a recipe.... Active Dry can be used at
    50% of the weight of fresh yeast. Instant Dry can be used at 40% of the
    weight of fresh yeast.

    The recipes you have aren't so far in disagreement - 1 ounce of fresh
    for 3.5 cups v. 1/2 ounce active dry for 4 cups.

    hope this helps some
    marcella

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Julia Altshuler <[email protected]> wrote:

    > It asks for 1 ounce of fresh yeast for 3.5 cups of flour. It seemed
    > like way too much.
    >
    >
    > That's what made us get out the paperback _The French Chef Cookbook_.
    > In it, Child asks for 1 package (1/4 ounce) dry active yeast for 2 cups
    > of flour.
    >
    >
    > Since we were using packaged dry yeast, we switched to the 2nd recipe
    > while trying to incorporate the techniques from the first. (The first
    > recipe assumes you have a stand-up mixer, and since we have a new one,
    > we wanted to use it.)
    >
    >
    > Is there a difference between fresh yeast and active dry?
    > That's where we ran into trouble yesterday. We were trying to combine
    > the 2 Julia Child recipes when they're not quite the same.
    > Does anyone with croissant experience recommend one sort of yeast over
    > the other?
    > Is it worth it to seek out fresh yeast? The active dry is convenient
    > and available in the supermarkets around here.
    > In order to use the first recipe with no substitutions except using
    > active dry instead of fresh yeast, how much active dry would we use?
    >
    >
    > --Lia


  8. #8
    TammyM Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III


    "RegForte" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:fgtek.28311$[email protected]..
    > Julia Altshuler wrote:
    >
    >> We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven. The
    >> plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The almond
    >> ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way they look.

    >
    > Great story. You describe so well how much fun croissants are
    > to make and what a juggling act it is to get them right.
    >
    > I heartily agree that a first rise before rolling works out to
    > a better tasting dough. No matter what recipe I'm using, I always
    > do a cool rise in the fridge for a day before rolling.
    >
    > Reg


    Julia, listen to Reg's advice! I've had his croissants and they are to die
    for.

    TammyM



  9. #9
    ChattyCathy Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III

    Janet Wilder wrote:

    > Julia Altshuler wrote:
    >> We've just taken our 3rd try at home made croissants out of the oven.
    >> The plain ones are our best effort in both appearance and taste. The
    >> almond ones have actually been going downhill, especially in the way
    >> they look.
    >>

    >
    > <snipped>
    > Lia,
    >
    > I'm really enjoying your sage.


    Me three. But Lia is a more talented (and probably braver) woman than I. I'm
    no baker, so I just buy croissants for DH from a particular place that
    makes the ones he really likes; he loves them, I can take them or leave
    them. It keeps my (kitchen) frustration level manageable, and I think it
    keeps us out of the divorce courts too... <veg>.
    --
    Cheers
    Chatty Cathy

    Egg tastes better when it's not on your face...

  10. #10
    Julia Altshuler Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III- need expert help

    Marcella Peek wrote:

    > When subbing for fresh yeast in a recipe.... Active Dry can be used at
    > 50% of the weight of fresh yeast. Instant Dry can be used at 40% of the
    > weight of fresh yeast.
    >
    > The recipes you have aren't so far in disagreement - 1 ounce of fresh
    > for 3.5 cups v. 1/2 ounce active dry for 4 cups.



    Thanks. That's the information I was looking for. When it comes time
    for Croissants IV, we'll follow Child's recipe from RecipeSource using
    half the amount of active dry yeast instead of the fresh.


    I'm glad y'all are enjoying the write-ups. It helps me by giving me a
    place to remember what we've tried and how we liked it. There are an
    awful lot of variables to keep track of.


    As for following Reg's advice, I'd love to, but other than agreeing that
    an initial rise helps the flavor, he hasn't given any. Reg, if you're
    out there, I'm listening. Anything you have to say, I'll consider.


    --Lia


  11. #11
    Hugh Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III- need expert help


    "Julia Altshuler" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    > Marcella Peek wrote:
    >
    >> When subbing for fresh yeast in a recipe.... Active Dry can be used at
    >> 50% of the weight of fresh yeast. Instant Dry can be used at 40% of the
    >> weight of fresh yeast.
    >>
    >> The recipes you have aren't so far in disagreement - 1 ounce of fresh for
    >> 3.5 cups v. 1/2 ounce active dry for 4 cups.

    >
    >
    > Thanks. That's the information I was looking for. When it comes time
    > for Croissants IV, we'll follow Child's recipe from RecipeSource using
    > half the amount of active dry yeast instead of the fresh.
    >
    >
    > I'm glad y'all are enjoying the write-ups. It helps me by giving me a
    > place to remember what we've tried and how we liked it. There are an
    > awful lot of variables to keep track of.
    >
    >
    > As for following Reg's advice, I'd love to, but other than agreeing that
    > an initial rise helps the flavor, he hasn't given any. Reg, if you're out
    > there, I'm listening. Anything you have to say, I'll consider.
    >
    >
    > --Lia
    >

    Just an aside, The yeast bargain of the world is the 2lb package you can buy
    at costco for just a few bucks. I keep it frozen, and take out exactly what
    I want for any given recipe. You don't have to take out an envelope and
    either use the rest immediately or throw. It freezes a long, long time. My
    currenet bag has been in the freezer well over one year.

    Hugh




  12. #12
    sf Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III- need expert help

    On Mon, 14 Jul 2008 13:09:36 -0400, Julia Altshuler
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >for Croissants IV, we'll follow Child's recipe from RecipeSource


    Well, I'll be darned. James Beard turned up a lot at recipesource
    too. Live and learn!

    Off to google recipesource for The Frugal Gourmet, The Galloping
    Gourmet and Lidia Bastianich now....


    --
    I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.

    Mae West

  13. #13
    RegForte Guest

    Default Re: Croissants III

    sf wrote:

    > On Sun, 13 Jul 2008 13:09:52 -0700, RegForte <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>No matter what recipe I'm using, I always
    >>do a cool rise in the fridge for a day before rolling.
    >>

    >
    > A whole day? You're patient!
    >
    >
    >


    Well, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that croissants is French
    for 'patience'

    Reg

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