I’m learning how to make breads at the George Brown culinary school. Last week’s class was French croissants. It was my introduction to laminated breads i.e. breads made with layers and layers of butter.
Through a series of missteps and happenstance I ended up making over six kilos of dough.
If you’re familiar with the lamination process, you will appreciate the magnitude of that effort. Suffice to say it took twelve hours of kneading, rolling and folding to produce these three batches of dough.
I cut and baked the first batch at school. This first set I called my ‘learning batch’. They were less than perfect. I’d cut them too big, shaped them wrong and had not left enough time for proofing. While they tasted ok, there was obvious room for improvement. I took the remaining batches home for practice.
Two batches (4 kg) of dough make a lot croissants. The good news is that raw croissant dough can be frozen. The bad news? I didn’t have enough freezer space.
What to do with all that dough?
Have a Croissant party!
After spending all day Saturday prepping the dough, I spent all day Sunday making pastries. I’d learned a lesson or two in school. My pastries there had been large and under-proofed. At home, I was extra careful in cutting and shaping, aiming for smaller and consistent sizing. Altogether I made about seven or eight dozen croissants. Pain au chocolats, Croissants Almondine. Cinnamon Raisin. Croissant Beurre. Baking trays lined up around my kitchen and everything smelled wonderful.
Croissants must be eaten on the day they’re made. Preferably within two hours from the oven when they’re warm, flaky crisp, soft and redolent with the smell and taste of butter.
Even with seven hungry friends and take-home party bags, I had left over croissant dough. These were the rolling bits and ends that couldn’t be re-rolled into pastry (a big NO-No with laminated dough.)
What to do with all this dough?
Improvise and make Crois-Bits!
I slashed the remnants into to smaller pieces, tossed them with sugar and leftover frangipane and baked them up into into crunchy little bites. They were light and crisp and perfect with my morning coffee.
But still there was more. All the coffee in the world, couldn’t make me finish two dozen Crois-Bits.
What to do with all these croissants?
Make Bread Pudding, of course!
And because these are croissants and not plain old bread, they’re called Diplomate au Bavarois.
Finally, after a week of croissants, I am out of dough. At least, I’m done with the batch that wasn’t frozen.
This Saturday though, is another class. We are making Danishes!
Toronto, Canada. June 2018