I'm on the mission, a very hopeful one, to make good-looking and delicious croissants, the ones with crisp and flaky crust with buttery-layered interior.
Gaining more tips and tricks, my fourth-time making croissant was a charm. Literally, I was doing happy feet when this batch of croissants turned out nicely and well-browned with lots of flaky layers. It made a great weekend for me.
There could be many factors that contribute to better results this week. I used different type of butter, the Danish style cultured butter, which is more pliable and easier to work with when it came to rolling. The room temperature was not as high as last week’s. It was around 20C which was perfect for making laminated dough (in my opinion). The butter remains solid, not melting. I also laminated the dough carefully. I rested the croissant dough frequently when I felt that I had to use the force in rolling it. This has helped tremendously as butter didn’t get worked too hard and melted. It was the first time that I rested dough while laminating each turn.
I retarded the shaped croissants overnight. It took 2.5 hours at 24C to fully-proof the retarded croissants. It is critical that the croissants are fully-proof before baking. This will ensure that you’ll get the flaky croissant filled with buttery layers.
I also made half of the batch into bear claws. It's croissant pastry filled with frangipani (a mixture of ground almond with sugar, butter and egg). The pastry was shaped and scored to resemble a bear’s foot, which is really cute. It is also yummy. It got the moisture and pronounced almond flavour from frangipane filling. It made a great snack for afternoon tea.
I used the scrap pieces from the trimming of croissant dough to make a pesto baguette. The baguette turned out well and delicious. It even got flaky layers. The buttery baguette worked well with acidic tomato and rocket salad. It was a great and delicious way to use up the croissant scraps. Perfect! I didn't need to throw away food.
I used the croissant recipe from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook. The full recipe can be found here.
Bear Claws Recipe
adapted from Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook
1 quantity croissant dough, recipe is here
55 g caster sugar
55 g unsalted butter
1 large egg
95 g almond meal (ground almond)
egg wash1 egg
1 tablespoon full-cream milk
Cream the butter and sugar together until it is pale and creamy. Add egg and mix until combined. Add almond meal and mix until well-combined. Set aside.
Take the rested croissant dough from the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle, about 20 x 70 cm.
Cut the dough into ten 8 x 14 cm rectangles. Place the rectangles on trays lined with baking paper and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let the butter become solid after the rolling and let the gluten relax.
Remove the rectangles from the fridge and place 1 tablespoon of frangipane in the centre of each rectangle. Fold the dough in half, pressing the edge to seal. Make four 3-cm cuts on the wider sealed side to resemble the toes of a bear.
Place shaped bear claws on trays for proofing. Brushing the surface with egg-wash and cover the tray loosely with tea towel. Set aside in the warm room (about 25C) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours for proofing until it almost double in size.
The claws are proofed when you can see the layers or pastry and they are soft an jiggly when you slightly touch them.
Pre-heat the oven to 240C.
Remove the tea towel, lightly brush the dough surface with egg-wash and place them in the oven. Reduce temperature to 190c and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown. Cool on racks and dust the claws with icing sugar before serving.
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