Oh boy, I’ve been looking forward to making these since I started the second part of my Puff the Bakery course months ago. I’ve had to fast-forward a few weeks to get to the this but don’t worry, I’ll be picking things back up next year again. This year I’ve really developed my baking skills, and especially working with dough. I love baking bread, my sourdough has improved no end, and I’ve even managed to make a few batches of puff pastry myself –something that seemed so far beyond my level even a few months earlier. One of the big things I wanted to complete before the end of the year was nailing one of the hardest doughs to make at home, the viennoiserie a.k.a croissant dough.
The difficulty with making this dough at home is making sure the dough is evenly laminated whilst allowing for all the proofing time that comes with a yeasted dough. It’s similar to the puff pastry dough in that it takes a long, long time (three days!) and you have to make sure everything is cold, but not too cold so that the butter doesn’t start to bleed through your carefully made layers. There’s a lot going on, and something I pretty much accepted I wasn’t going to get right the first time. Still, every rest and turn, shape and fold, came with its own set of high stakes, trying to work as quickly and carefully as possible to ensure these buttery beauties stayed as cold as possible. I wasn’t always successful.
After an overnight prove in the freezer, I shaped them into the cute little rolls above, ready for a long old rest so they can rise and develop those layers I’d lovingly created. They looked so much better than I anticipated at this point, I had high hopes but had to wait another 3 hours before I could actually put them in the oven. They hadn’t risen up as high as I was hoping, but they were puffy and jiggly – exactly how they should be. Unfortunately, as I thought might happen, they came out a little bit flat.
I’m fairly certain that this was due to my butter being too soft at some points, causing the layers to blend together. I wasn’t too concerned though because I could tell from the warm buttery smell they were going to taste fantastic, and I wasn’t wrong. I made four normal size ones and I’m not ashamed to say they were devoured within minutes. I still have enough dough to try again so I know what I’ll be doing between Christmas and New Year!