Big strides in the world of croissants (remember, this is my electronic kitchen notebook of sorts, this is a horrible post if you're looking for something fancy and bloglike)

I found a piece on the KAF blog recently called capturing butter heaven: making baker’s croissants which changed my life.  Some time ago, I took a class at @LaChatColumbus with the infamous Tad.  One particular instruction he provided was NOT to use too much flour between layers while turning (a turn is when the rolled out dough is folded into thirds, a lamination step).

Based on Tad's ethereal croissants, I can't argue with anything he says, but, from my own experience in long multi-step processes where the effect of each step is nearly impossible to isolate, such specific precautions are often derived from critical parameters.  And, in any experimental design, boundary conditions of critical parameters are everything!

The problem with my croissants has been a heavy and dense and my hypothesis was layers may have run together, broken due to something in the lamination process (too many layers, bleeding of butter between layers, etc).  I couldn't help think of Tad's precaution NOT to flour excessively between layers.  Having scrupulously eliminated flour dusting during lamination and seeing my results get worse with each try, I started to search on this phenomena and this KAF piece came up.

In this preparation flour is incorporated into the butter pat that gets folded into the dough to stabilize it, keep it from running out during baking.  The author makes a point of differentiating home baking from a bakery where a sheeter would be used.  Carrying this further, why not butter between layers (makes rolling MUCH easier) and maybe this would help keep layers separated until the final oven blast.  There are other things discussed in this piece, but that's what I latched onto.  Not sure if that's the *trick* but things are going well. Croissants are the result of a zillion steps, but there are so many rests, it's actually a great dough for a busy morning.  It's made the night before, final roll and makeup in the morning, quick bake, boom!  Up at 5:15, out the door by 7(ish).

I'm babbling because I'm excited.  I posted this to validate a great croissant tutorial.  My prep is pretty close to this with a few small things left to work out, if you want to make croissants, read this piece, it's well done.  Here's some action shots of the past couple mornings.

 Baking ham and cheese, nutella and even marshmallow fluff filled (Scoops got the marshmallow one, ick)

 Final ham and cheese, nice blistered surfaces, pretty light.

This morning's 400 gram run, rolled into 8 x 12", cut into 8 x 50 g traditional croissants.  To me, they were an 7-8/10, I only sampled 1 and was so excited, I ran around C'ville and gave the rest away.