Friday, November 10, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
I just couldn't allow the croissant to be my very last bread. The very idea of actually baking a croissant on my own was causing me far too much consternation. I got the day off today, and, while a French roll is perhaps not the most appropriate thing to make for Veterans' Day, the French were, after all, our allies in two world wars, so it wasn't completely off the wall.
I mixed up the dough last night. That part was easy. This morning, after a big mug of strong coffee, I was ready to tackle the butter package and to start the process of rolling the butter into the dough. You know what? It really wasn't that hard. As I rolled, folded, refrigerated, rolled..., I forgot my fear and just concentrated on the project at hand. In that respect, it was a little like labor, where you become so focused on what you're doing, you have no time to worry. (Lest the labor analogy scare anyone, I want to assure you that in no other way is making croissants like labor, except the finished product makes it all worthwhile).
My big worry was that the butter would break through the dough and make the whole thing a big mess. That didn't happen. I also wasn't quite sure that I could follow all the detailed instructions, but I did--and it would be much easier next time.
The only problem was that I didn't let the rolls rise enough. My friend Teddie planned to drop by today with her daughter, Clea, and I promised her a fresh-from-the-oven croissant at 4:30. I started the rising process at 1:30, so I thought they should be ready to go into the oven at 3:30, making the timing just about perfect. At 3:30, they hadn't doubled in size yet, so I put them in a warmer place for another 20 minutes. They still hadn't doubled, but I put them in the oven anyway. And I ended up making 14 instead of 12 because that's the way the triangles turned out. Consequently, the croissants were a little smaller than I'd envisioned.
I took them out of the oven just as Teddie and Clea walked in the front door and Jim walked in the back door. The house smelled heavenly, and I doled out the croissants like Lady Bountiful herself.
Teddie, Clea, and Jim ate theirs plain, and I put orange marmalade on mine.
Perhaps they were not quite perfect, but they were delicious, with a crusty exterior and an inside that was all flaky tenderness.
I don't know what French cook got the idea to take a big chunk of butter and work it into buttery layers, but whoever it was deserves a Medal of Honor. Or the Croix de Guerre. Or the Croix de Croissants.
Jim said, "Don't you feel proud of yourself?" Well, yes I do. But what I really want to do is to make them again in my new oven that will have a bread proofing setting and that will, I hope, not be anywhere from 25 to 75 degrees off. If only I had had the foresight to include baking croissants on my list of life goals, I could now cross it off!
Posted by Marie at 5:51 PM