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My Big Fat Flat Croissant Disaster

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Joined: Dec 12, 2005


Posted to Thread #30150 at 5:26 pm on Mar 4, 2018

So...Day Three of the SaraBeth Levine Croissant Event dawned early. Early as in before dawn: Four AM to be precise. The laminated dough was finished two days prior and placed in freezer per instruction. However, the dough can ONLY be held in the freezer for four days maximum so the clock was ticking

Following MORE instructions, I pulled out the dough 8 hours (but not more than 12 hours) before I planned to bake it. It was supposed to thaw in the refrigerator, but it was FOUR AM IN THE FRIGGING MORNING and I left it on the cold granite counter instead. It was only 66 degrees in the house so I didn't think that would matter.

Apparently it did.

By 9 AM the dough had started to rise again (I don't think it was supposed to do that), so I decided to roll and bake. But you can't just roll and bake. Oh No. You roll, then cut that dough in half, then chill again for another 15 minutes. Then you can roll each croissant.

Around this time I was thinking "you know, this isn't that hard." I've done laminating before with biscuits and scones, I've done rolling before with crescent rolls and rugalach, I've done a boatload of rolled yeasty doughs with walnut, poppy seed and cinnamon rolls.

This is the point where hubris kicked me in the butt.

Per SaraBeth's meticulous instructions, you roll and place the croissants on a half sheet with a cup of very hot water in the middle, encase the entire tray inside a large plastic kitchen bag and seal, then proof for 1.5 to 2 HOURS in a warm spot, after which point the "croissants will look puffy, but not doubled."

Let's go back a second to where I mentioned my house was 66 degrees. And it was 29 degrees outside. So I did my usual hack: "heat oven to 170 degree for 10 minutes, shut oven off and then use it to proof" step. Only that concept combined with (okay, I used not just hot but) BOILING water combined with excessive trapped steam from (yep, I screwed up) BOILING water plus opaque white bag which totally hid the action meant that 1.5 hours later....

I had two trays of completely flat croissants.

Damn. Damn. Double damn damn.

I baked the suckers anyway and you know what, they are the TASTIEST, CRUNCHIEST, BUTTERY-EST pieces of non-croissant toast I've ever had. I ate four in the space of 3 minutes, possibly from hunger, possibly from frustration because I couldn't gnaw off my arm.

Anyway, I still have another half of croissant dough to process and only one more day to do that, so I'll have to figure out how to proof this batch.

What would I change to improve the process next time so I won't have to worry about what kind of butter to use, avoid running around to three stores looking for unbleached pastry flour and not have to drive to Pittsburgh to obtain fresh yeast? Next time I'll go online, purchase a plane ticket and buy a damn croissant in Paris.

Jesus saves. Buddha recycles.

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