After attempts #1, #2, and #3, I can safely say that I have finally figured out why the bread wasn’t as fluffy as I would like. One of the key ingredients in creating a good croissant is yeast and in order for the yeast to perform it like the way it is supposed to, you need to know how to activate it properly. In my previous attempts, I did not heat the milk warm enough before putting the yeast in it and that prevented the yeast to reach its full potential. In this latest attempt, I have noticed that the bread was definitely a lot more fluffy and I am now getting the croissant to look/feel the way I want so I am hoping that after a few more tries I will get it to the final state.
After attempt 1 and attempt 2, I have gotten a bit more comfortable with managing the croissant dough. I have noticed that the change in butter made a huge difference but I am still struggling on the lamination method which is where you incorporate the butter into the dough. If it’s not done correct, the buttery layers expand the way it is supposed to. Since I have only been making butter croissants, I decided that for this attempt I use some of the dough and make pain au raisin (raisin bread). I’ve managed to make the pastry cream and incorporated it along with the raisins into the dough. However, I have not been able to get the golden brown colour on the top of the bread despite using a lot of egg wash. It is a bit of a mystery to me but I am hoping to solve it on my next try.
My second attempt at making croissants on my own was a lot smoother and tastier than the first attempt. Aside from the croissants looking more aesthetically pleasing, one of the key changes that I have made was the butter. In my previous post, I had mentioned that I first learned how to make croissants during my trip to France last year and one of my key takeaways from the lesson was difference in butter.
After much researching, I was pleased to have found this butter from a little creamery located in Stirling, Ontario. They are the only creamery that I am aware of that makes European style butter. This was a great find especially when you can’t fly to France to get the butter you need. I must say that after trying their Stirling European Style Butter: Churn 84 un-salted, I have noticed that the bread became a lot softer and tastier. It was definitely a lot easier to roll the European styled butter into the dough as it did not break as easily which allowed the croissant dough to take its form.
Ever since I’ve taken a baking class during my visit to Paris last year, I’ve been wanting to try to make some on my own. However, one of the biggest challenges that I’ve encountered is sourcing the ingredients in order to produce similar results. One of the key ingredients in baking a croissant is butter and for those that aren’t aware, European butter has a higher percentage of fat content as oppose to butter found in North America. For butter to be considered butter in France, it needs to have a minimum of 84% fat content were as in Canada it is only 80%. Although the 4% difference does not seem significant, I can tell you otherwise because the less fat content there is the more water there will be in the overall recipe which makes it very difficult to reproduce the fluffy layers in a croissant.
What is a girl to do but to work with what she’s got? My first attempt to fly solo in this croissant making attempt did not look as sexy as I would like but the taste was probably as close as I could get it to be. However, while I was able to achieve some layers in the croissant, I did noticed that it was not as fluffy as I know it could have been. I have many more attempts to go but I do hope I can get it as close as the croissant from my baking class. While trying to make the croissant on my own, I had renewed respect for not only just pastry chefs but chefs everywhere who are dedicated to their art.