Thursday, August 21, 2014

A lot of Dough for Croissants

If you are new to laminated dough, this recipe is quite large but well documented on their web page.

 You need a pretty good size work space for this recipe.  You need a large bowl, no, that is not right, you need a very large bowl to mix it in by hand.

If this is your first rodeo, you might want to use a smaller recipe then come back to this one.  The point of making a large recipe like this is if you are going to spend the time, get a good payoff.

What you find here is my experience in making this very large recipe.  It was a challenge but well worth the effort.

The key to making laminated dough is maintaining the butter layer integrity.  It is the water in the butter that will turn to steam and blow up the dough as if it were tiny flat balloons.  During this process, don't hesitate to pick up your dough after the butter layer is added and go back to the fridge for a few minutes.  Always check to see if the dough is sticking.  Too much flour can be brushed off.  As you gain experience you will see the warning signs.  Laminated dough needs a cool temperature in your house.  If you feel comfortable then your dough will too.

I use a very good home baking scale called a KD8000.  It has the capacity to handle these weights.  The bowl is about 14" across and about 4" deep.

Following their recipe I add the water.  A point here.  Next time I am switching to whole milk instead of using the dry milk powder.  If I use whole milk the crust will be a bit darker without an egg wash.  If you prefer an egg wash then by all means stick with the dry milk powder.

After you start mixing you are sure to have doubt in your mind ranging from, "Oh my!" to "Maybe this was not such a good idea."  Persevere. It will work out.  There will be bragging rights that goes with this.

If your dough looks something like this, you are done.  Shaggy they say and they be right.  Now another tip.  If you have a 9x13 cake pan, especially nonstick. you have a perfect storage place for the fridge.  Now the battle is getting it in the pan.  Its like picking up five pounds of pudding.
 It will grow in the fridge so allow room above the dough.  A piece of plastic wrap will help hold in the moisture.

Now for the butter layer.  I used stick butter so I had 5 sticks at a 1/4 pound each.  I cut those in half length wise so now I had 10 half's.  I keep on hand those cheap gallon bags from Walmart that come with the little twisty wires.  They are perfect for the butter size slab the recipe calls for

Put the butter eight half's from the top to the bottom with the last two on the side.  Now use your roller to fill the bag.  Chill as needed remembering their suggested 55F.

Take the dough from the fridge and put it on floured surface that is big enough and low enough so you can but a bit of muscle into the roller.  I use my kitchen table.

Roll it out per their instructions for size.  I use a pair of scissors to cut open the butter bag then lay it on the dough then fold and seal the edges with your fingers.  Now it is starting to look like something.  Use you hands to stretch the corners to maintain the rectangle.
Then make the first fold.
Notice the tea strainer in the picture I use as a flour duster.

After all the folds are done with chill times in the fridge, I divide the dough into thirds for easier handling.  I made the croissants, then place on a parchment sheet then into the freezer.  Once frozen, they are bagged for latter use.  I used some of the dough to make Danish shapes albeit this recipe is not a purest Danish dough.  That is another post.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Apple Pie Filling

Even though this is called apple pie filling, it is perfect for your fruit pastry like Danish or a braid. 
Equally as suited for an apple crisp.

 First prepare the apples.  About one quart of peeled and cutup apple chunks.  I have a hand crank peeler but this economical, hand press slicer is my favorite way of cutting them into wedges that are easy to peel and slice.  I add one oz lemon juice to the apples to help reduce browning.  Put them in a bowl large enough to mix in the apple stuff below or put the apple stuff below in a large enough pan to mix in the apples.

I weigh everything on my KD 8000 scale.  Really saves on clean up.  I just put the pan on scale and measure right into it with no mess and no bother.
To the pan I add:
6 oz of regular sugar or Raw sugar.
1 oz regular Clear Jel(I order mine from the internet)
1 teaspoon good cinamman
One twist on my nutmeg grinder 
4 0z water
6 oz bottled apple juice

Heat the mixture on medium-high heat stirring constantly.  After a while you will suddenly lumps of brown things.  This is the first of the thickening action.  With in just a minute or so, the whole thing starts to get thick.  Remove from the heat and pour over the apples or pour the apples in the pan and stir.  Your done.

I tried using all apple juice this time  instead of the listed apple juice water mixture but as you can see from the picture the filling is just a little darker than I would like.

If you like this then when apples are plentiful you can apple pie filling using the National canning center recipe.  Note follow their recipe.  My recipe is for immediate use only and not for canning.  My recipe is a simpler version of theirs but I follow their recipe when I can apple pie filling.  Note too they also have several other fruit pie fillings recipes.  I have tried the cherry and it is super.

National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia

Here is where I get my Clear Jel from.  I buy a couple of pounds at the time.

Barry Farms.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


This is my second attempt at making croissants.  I used a recipe by Fine Cooking.

Here is the Link.
Fine Cooking Croissants Recipe

The recipe went very smooth.  They are a super flavor held together with a crispy crust and a nice, pull apart center.

I made some and the rest were stored in the freezer before they rose.  The one in the picture was baked after several hours from the freezer.  Matter of a fact, one of the best ways is to put the unbaked, frozen croissants in your cold oven or microwave just before you go to bed,  Next morning they will be ready to bake.

Notice how light these are.

I did break with tradition.  These do not have an egg wash.