January 28, 2008

'Painfully' delicious Lamination.

Never did I imagine I'd be one day pulling out piping hot croissants fresh out of the oven.
They are my all time favourite breakfast pastries! I used to have at least, a croissant every week from Bourke St Bakery in Sydney. I'd pick them up....hold them close and absorb in the intoxicating aroma of baked buttery goodness! Looking at it's curls and puffed up layers lined up so perfectly delicate drives me INSANE! I don't know how they do it so deliciously PERFECT! You've never had breakfast in Sydney if you've not had a croissant or tart from this wonderful place. They have magnificent breads and loaves too.. *sigh* I miss Australia so..
Now that I'm here; I get to learn the painful process of making my OWN croissants! YAY?..Haha It's an experience and a half I tell you!We watched chef James conduct demonstrations before we dug in; and it looked..I guess pretty simple but time consuming. That was what I thought; before we actually were left to do it on our own! The amount of butter that went into each pastry strip was mindblowing! It hasn't stirred me away from eating croissants though; I just now understand where all that fat/oil comes from! *laughs* The flavour from butter is so worth it guys!The amount of stress Nicole and I went through was excruciating! Constantly worrying about the butter's temperature; worrying about it tearing through the sheeter machine....worrying about excessive dusting of flour, about lifting the cold dough and tearing it with our nails.. OH! ... It was not difficult.. it was just stressful! *laughs* We were to do 3 folds each for the pastry before we could roll them into croissants of make danishes from a different batch of dough. Even THAT was a worry on its own! Whether our table top was too warm; or if our dough is rolled out thin enough; or if we had our croissants proofed long enough to bake. It really wasn't a simple roll and bake. The results were so satisfying though. Me and Nicole were cheering and jumping around when we sliced through our dough and found thousands of layers between our folds! The beautiful layers made us feel all that work and stress was worth while. We filled our danishes with nut/cheeses/ fruit fillings! It was heaps of fun making different shapes from our laminated danish dough.

Each dough is also different. Puff pastry dough is made from just water and flour; croissant dough contains yeast and danish dough has extra eggs and emulsifiers. What does lamination mean? Well.. here's a fraction of the research paper I did for dough lamination last week; I hope it'll help give everyone an insight to what I've been going on about:

A dough is rolled out thinly, coated with butter, and then folded into numerous layers. If necessary, the dough is chilled to ease handling. The rolling, buttering, folding, and chilling is repeated several times to create a dough which is buttery and flaky.

The leavening in laminated doughs is derived mainly from the steam generated by the moisture in the butter during baking. As the steam expands in the oven it lifts and separates the individual layers.

I would consider laminated doughs the most difficult part of our entire breakfast pastry component in the course.
Lucky for us; chef James left that as the last bit in our subject though; next week; we're on to Artisan Breads with Chef Mary! I Can't WAIT! I love breads!
Whilst in between waiting for our doughs to rest and chill in the cooler; we slipped in a couple of biscuits and scones into our schedule.
Before we move forward with our other subjects in the course; we get examined on our hand skills and knowledge of the topic. On Thursday last week; both classes were given a practical and written test from 7am to 2pm. Brioches; laminated doughs; quick breads and the lot were done all over again. This time; with no instructions from Chef James.We were given a list of items we would be tested on and we worked individually to produce them by a specific time. Chef James observed us work throughout the day and took notes as we maneuvered ourselves around the kitchen. This was the spread Nicole and I came up with at midday. We were way ahead of schedule and pretty happy with ourselves! *laughs* we even had time to arrange and display our products in pretty stacks whilst everyone else in class were finishing up. I'm going to miss dear Nicole when we go over to breads... I know I won't be having her as a partner in the next couple of months.. *sigh* I hope I get Maggie!! *laughs* I don't think I get to choose who I 'want'.. we just get assigned a partner randomly.. I'm just going to have to pray hard I get someone I get along well with.
Here's a picture of Chef James cutting up my pastries for grading. The results and feedback was handed out today..and I must say; I'm pretty pleased with my grade. hehe...*blush*


linda said...

You are so cool, you bake and take pictures at the same time. I am wondering if you are the only person in class that take so many photos lol.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. You seem to really be enjoying your experience. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Su! This is Chiara. WOW...this post is absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!! I want those goody-goody goodies!!!Yummy! I can smell the sugar, the butter and all the rest. Yummy! I agree with Linda:are you the only one who takes all that photos???

Jenn said...

I think I just drooled on my computer...hehe

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

linda: haha they encourage it! we use the photos for our notebooks too~

anonymous: thanks :) I really am~ it's fun

Chiara: WOw! You're here again! haha thanks heaps..it's all so filled with butter! Most of us take lots of photos in class. I just take a million! hahaha

jenn: *wipes drool for jenn* careful with the keyboard dear :P

Carmen said...

wonderful post
your croissaint yesssssssssss
pleaseeeeeeeeeeee recipes?

mel said...

WoW!! Nice croissant!! Did you just use all-purpose flour? or did you add other types of flour??