Sorry folks, I’m alive. Just that the day job leeches so much energy out that most of my free time is spent drinking Chinese herbs for strength/receiving acupuncture and general recovery. Last week, though, I was able to actually actualize an idea of making brown butter croissants because for the first time in a couple of weeks I had two days off in a row. The result, however, was not what I imagined. And it was all entirely my doing.
I sometimes think people make too much of the belief that you can’t substitute anything in baking, and that you have to measure everything to two decimal points by weight, and you can only do it using glass cups and wooden spoons (kidding, kidding). There is leeway, but you just have to be smart about it, and sometimes you can just settle for something less than what you originally imagined. Perfect is not the enemy of the good, as it goes. Even if it’s not something that might be photo’d for the Fauchon website, you can still eat it and enjoy it.
So, I had forgotten that in the recipe we used in school that croissant dough requires bread flour, and not all-purpose flour, and hadn’t picked any up at the market. In my laziness, I thought, “Hey, you can use all-purpose flour for profiteroles or cream puffs without consequence, maybe I can get away with using it for croissants!” And therein was the fatal error. It matters. It matters a LOT. That’s because for all the rolling you need to do—and with finesse and speed, because the more you roll, the tougher the croissants become—you need the high gluten content in bread flour that can provide structure for all the layers of butter you’re folding.
With some careful rolling and pinching and patchwork, I was able to make some semblance of croissants out of the dough.
The scrap pieces(not pictured) had exposed pieces of brown butter, so when the tray came out of the oven, some of them were sitting in a pool of fat, which is surprisingly not appetizing. The end results were actually more like good ole crescent rolls: surely tougher than your average croissant made by a skilled baker, but still good. The brown butter didn’t have enough of a presence, though, but it may have something to do with the fact that a third of it wasn’t incorporated correctly into the dough.
I’ve already bought some bread flour for trial no 2. I will post the recipe next time if it will be worth your while.