The other day Chef asked me what I did on my days off.
When I told him that I made croissants and macarons, he looked a little bemused.
"Dont you bake enough at work?"
"I guess I am just really lucky to have my hobby as my job!"
As any professional bakers would agree, baking at home is very different from professional baking. The portion is smaller and the pace is slower. The downside of baking at home however, is the dirty dishes one has to clean. But on the other hand, you get to decide what and when you want to make!
It has almost become my second nature to make croissants on my days off. I make a small batch, enough to last us a week. I like to shape and proof my dough then freeze them in the freezer. They are ready to bake on the days we want to eat them. That way, we can always have fresh croissants.
Making croissants at home may seem a little time consuming and daunting at first, but after a few practices, it gets easier. The key to a good croissant in my opinion is good butter. By that, I mean Plugra butter. It's the European butter with a higher fat content. While the usual butter in market has fat content of 70-73% ( and we are talking about the better brands), Plugra has 83% fat. I used Plugra butter liberally in my bakes when I could find it cheap at my local farmers market. But lately, the market has decided to discontinue the product, so I restraint the use of Plugra butter in croissants and danishes only.
Usually, making croissants is a 2 days event. After the dough is made, it benefits from the overnight rest in the fridge before rolling out and shaping for the final proof. One time I tried to rush it and made everything in a day. The croissants were lacking in flavor. Apparently, there wasn't enough time for the yeast fermentation, which contribute to the flavor development. After the first failure, I treated my dough with more patience and let it rest overnight before the final proof.
I find it really therapeutic to play with croissant dough. I told the chef. To which he said: "Mandy, you are something else."
note: I will include the recipe with a step by step pictures instruction when I make croissants again next week. Stay tune! Read more...