Lesson 13: Part Deux – Consummation!
Mass consumption often refers to the free market, capitalism and mass production.
In this case – today was the consummation of this incredible marriage of butter and flour. And the result of our hard labour comes close to mass consumption in my favourite form – the joy of eating delicious food and sharing it with friends in large quantities.
Today we jumped onto the train and started quickly and systematically. We were croissant machines!
No one should ever know how much butter goes into their croissant it is simply knowledge better left unknown! Life is to enjoy – and what is better than a warm croissant or pain au Chocolat from your favourite patisserie… Nothing!
Except that is if you make them yourself from scratch then each bite has pride and love in it!
Well I have already forced myself to forget how much butter is in one, except for the fact that I have to remember the recipe by heart for the written exam coming up!
So… getting down to the nitty gritty.
Step One: make the dough at least the day before and always allow your détrempe dough to rise over night and develop it’s best flavour characters and lightness!
Make sure you have a large space in your fridge ready for your dough to rest and chill in between each step!
Step Two: Roll out your dough just slightly larger than your chilled block of butter.
Enchâsser le beurre – literally encase or enwrap the butter in the dough, not overlapping the edges, just abutting them.
Then with your rolling pin hit the case in one direction only elongating your little present before rolling it out to 1.5 lengths of your rolling pin.
It takes a lot of work but this is what creates both the layers and the necessary elasticity in the dough.
Fold the dough into thirds and turn 90 degrees and roll out again perpendicular to the last folds till it is once again 1.5 lengths of your rolling pin. Remember to have your surface floured really well and brush off your dough before the folds.
Each one of these is called a turn! Croissants require three turns for optimal flakiness and according to the experts.
It was after the three turns that we divided our pastry into two portions and began preparing our individual croissants and pain au Chocolat!
It was a process of love!
We all made more than we were supposed to… when going through such a long process, no one could stop themselves from making just 1 more – I ended up making 11 Pain au Chocolat and 22 Croissants instead of 9 and 9… OOPS!
First, we made the Pain au Chocolat
Eggwashed and Proofed
Unfortunately, due to the unique time pressures of a pastry school, we didn’t allow enough time for them to rise and proof properly as you would in a bakery. As a result, they weren’t as large as we had hoped and some students’ pastries oozed out all their butter content like bleeding out their buttery goodness… or true calorific content – however you see it!
Second, we made the Croissant
Eggwashed and Proofed
Now for a peak at the final products of Boulangerie Horton
Pain Au Chocolat and Croissants fresh from the oven…
Mine, although a little dark, had survived our onslaught and were perfectly flaky with so many layers!
We all dug into the fresh pastries way too quickly and had the evidence of boiling hot chocolate melted over all our fingers and lips.
As per a previously devised plan, my amazing cousin drove past the school in her very Parisian Smart Car in between classes. It was for the simple transfer of goods, a drive by pastry pick up of her favourite warm fresh Pain au Chocolat and Croissants!
Next on the cards was yet another demo, it was going to be a long day!!
By the end of the day some people…huhumm … cough cough … had eaten 6 croissants and pain au Chocolat by themselves!
And so let us celebrate the culmination of a great battle in the kitchen!