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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Out of My Comfort Zone

My two weeks following the Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Vols-au-Vent have been all about puff. Amazed that suddenly I became so into puff pastry. Flipping through my pastry books became desirable and my niece’s wish to have my sister cook Clam Chowder with Puff Crust abruptedly put me on alarm. Seemed like everything that I ever wanted to bake and wasn’t possible in the past had opened its gateway to enter and explore. The only factor left that matter in making it happen: time.

Then the opportunity arose. While I was reading Sue of Munchkin Munchies’s Vols-au-Vent’s post recently, I discovered that she had been thinking about baking croissant right after she successfully baked puff pastry. Oh, yes… you should see her beautiful puff pastry by clicking here.

So I, being out of my curious mode and happily sharing the same interest, invited her to join our own croissant challenge in the following week. She replied through an email saying she accepted it. Apparently we both had agreed that it was about time to kick ourselves out of our unsure-therefore-afraid-to-try comfort zone and this challenge would just do that effectively. The baking date was set on 7th October and the post would be up in a couple of days right after.

Only on the second badge, my croissants came through. I and Sue continuously updated each other about the baking and all. She has gone through two consecutive days of overnight dough refrigeration and is still making the effort to blog about it as soon as possible. As I had followed a local recipe that didn’t require such an extensive refrigeration and happened to be very straight forward, I became very curious about her time-consuming recipe. Maybe my simple recipe was the reason why my croissants didn’t grow big enough and weren’t flaky enough. Either way, I look forward to seeing Sue’s post and hoping to bake from a better recipe next time.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of next week's family bazaar confirmed that no table would be provided for my booth, no games or other attracting activities to drive in the crowds would go concurrently with the event, and selling time would be only from 11am to 2pm. I was left to think about where would I find a table – a presentable one, what to bake, and should I be printing name cards any sooner. On the other hand, T and I were invited by his friends for a camping trip on that particular weekend. I suggested T to go along with them without me but he confirmed he would stick with me and the bazaar thing. I was touched!

Regardless how much I want to find prospective customers in my neighborhood through this bazaar, which will meet my objective of convenient cake delivery in the future, my mind is still trying to justify whether the whole effort would be worthwhile at the end of the day. Or should we just go for camping?

Makes 10

- All purpose flour > 250 grams
- Milk powder > 25 grams
- Granulated sugar > ½ tablespoon
- Salt > ¼ teaspoon
- Dry instant yeast > 6 grams
- Water > 75 ml
- Milk > 75 ml
- Cold butter block > 120 grams
- Egg wash > 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water

- Combine all purpose flour, milk powder, granulated sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl.
- Run the mixer fitted with a hook at medium speed and gradually pour in water and milk.
- Stop the mixer as soon as the dough comes away from the bowl.
- Shape dough into a ball, cover with cling film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Dough would rise.
- Remove from refrigerator and knock back the dough by flipping it over with your hand to release the carbon gas, but do not overwork it.

- Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out the four sides to make flaps.
- Place butter block in the center. Fold the flaps over the butter to envelop it entirely.
- Lightly flour the dough surface, roll the dough into a 8x18 inches rectangle. Fold in three – bottom to the center and top to the center. This is the first turn. Chill for 30 minutes.

- Give the chilled dough a 90 degree turn, roll out into a rectangle, fold and chill again. This is the second turn.
- Repeat the step for the third turn.
- Wrap dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile do a cardboard template: 9cm on the base and 18cm high.
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the chilled dough into 12x15 inches rectangle with a thickness of 3mm.
- Use the template as a guide, cut the dough into triangles.
- Lay the triangular dough with the base towards you. Roll up the base to the top tip. Do until all is done.

- Lightly brush croissants with egg wash. Stay away from the thickness area cause it will prevent rising properly.
- Place croissants on a baking tray and leave it in a warm place (around 24 C) for 2 hours until they have almost doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 170 C.
- Lightly brush croissants with egg wash one more time. Stay away from the thickness area cause it will prevent rising.
- Bake for 15 minutes.


  1. They look beautiful! I really love laminated dough products.

    I've been learning to make croissants in school and I have a few troubleshooting ideas that might make a difference? I've used bread flour instead of AP for the higher gluten content. I wonder also if you allow your initial dough to rise in a warm place, rather than in the refrigerator?

    Just a couple ideas. I'm hoping to attempt croissants from home, but probably won't have time until December. Nice work!


  2. You always have such gorgeous photos! These croissants look flawless, and rose so beautifully =D. Good Luck with your booth! I'm sure it will all come together wonderfully!

  3. WOW! YOU DID IT! They are so golden and look so soft and buttery..I just want to pull one apart and start eating!!!:) (Mine turned out, but a little darker than I wanted them...should have watched the oven more closely!) Congrats on a superb job-they're BEAUTIFUL! I will post mine when I get home from work, hopefully at my lunch break in a few hours:)

  4. Your croissants look lovely.

  5. I have not baked croissant so not much help here.. Your photos are so beautiful though. And I love the look of the croissant!

  6. I think there is nothing better to bite in a really really homemade croissant. your pictures are wonderful.

  7. These look so lovely. There's nothing like a fresh croissant!