The croissants are in the oven, and I have a terrible feeling about them. They hardly rose during proofing, even though I painstakingly tried to recreate the conditions Chef Claude taught us last week.
So now they’re baking, and I confess that a lovely smell is starting to emanate from the oven. But my little croissants are scrawny and underdeveloped, and I fear they are going to be hard as rocks.
What did I do wrong?
One theory: It wasn’t me, but the dough. I took home leftover croissant dough that I and my fellow students made in pastry class at L’Academie de Cuisine last Monday. Some folks gathered their things and left without remembering to take their leftover dough; Chef Claude told the rest of us that this dough would be thrown out if we didn’t take it. So I took a few clumps, thinking it would be great practice to make more croissants. So my theory is that perhaps it was overworked. Having been rolled out once already and re-clumped, maybe it was just too worn out to rise again for me.
Another theory: That I didn’t roll out or shape the dough properly. Entirely possible, since I’m brand new at making croissants. I tried hard to do it just as we did in class last week. First I rolled the dough out into a big rectangle:
I set up a proofing box, as close as I could get to what we did in class (see here for a reminder). I turned on my oven to its lowest temperature (170) and shut it off before it got very far. My oven thermometer said it was about 100 in there. I poured boiling water into a big saucepan and set it on the floor of the oven. Then I put my two trays of egg-washed croissants in.
You can see the pot of hot water in there:
Then I took the trays out and preheated the oven to 400 while I gave my little babies a second egg wash.
That said, while I’ve been writing to you, they came out of the oven looking pretty glorious:
Tomorrow I will take one in to class and ask Chef for his analysis.
In the meantime, even the scrawniest croissant will make a lovely bedtime snack.