Sunday, 21 October 2012

Croissants, yet again

I believe there are things that one can never quite get fed up with. One of which is a good croissant. Here I am, stranded in a small town that I'm currently placed in. Feeling sorry for myself I decided to bake something, although I practically had nothing to work with, not even a baking tray! That meant I needed to forget about anything to do with cakes and patisseries. It wasn't long before I thought of making a laminated dough, and croissants sprang to mind. Partly due to the fact that my mum has been churning batches after batches of croissants lately back home. Secondly bread/viennoiserie making in general don't require fancy equipments. I just had to get my hands on a baking tray, a rolling pin, parchment paper and cling film. Plus the ingredients are simple enough: flour, yeast, butter, sugar, salt and milk. And it just happened that my flatmate's got a weighing scale too.

The rolling and folding process was extremely therapeutic, it's been more than 2 months since I last made croissants after all. Unfortunately I did have to experiment a few times with the tiniest oven I've ever seen before I got it about right.

Things I've done differently this time:

1. I made these croissants in two days instead of 3. In fact I could have done it in one full day. I prepared the dough, chilled for 4 hours, did the first and second turn, chilled it for an hour and did the third turn. On the second day I simply rolled it out, shaped the croissants and proofed them.
2. I simply left the croissants to proof on the kitchen surface loosely covered with a carrier bag and they proved very well after 2 hours. There was no need to proof it at warmer temperature and the dry air didn't seem to affect it at all.
3. Tried proofing my croissants slowly overnight. Don't even try! It doesn't work, I ended up with saggy over-proofed croissants. 

While I was asking the supermarket assistant for instant yeast he unexpectedly brought with him a staff who works in the bakery and offered me fresh yeast! I have no idea for whatever reason it was so unexpected that I actually said no to that. Silly me. I could have just asked for some and do the conversion of instant yeast to fresh yeast later. But I'm never good at thinking on my feet so I turned down the offer and told him I wasn't familiar with fresh yeast so I'd rather go for the dried version.  Did I mention he offered the fresh yeast to me for free as well?

Anyway I've got over that. At least now that I know where to get hold of fresh yeast I can always go back to ask for some. Not sure what difference it'd make with the use of fresh yeast though?


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Red Velvet #2

So the medics society has organised a bake off to amass enough cakes to feed the first years. In return the medic bakers are in for a chance to win a top prize of 50 pounds. Frankly I have always wanted to take part in a baking competition of some sort and I have been shamefully spending hours thinking of how I was going to decorate my cake. I knew I wanted to bake a red velvet cake since that's the best cake I've ever made and is a family favourite. The issue was to decorate it in a way that's pleasing to the eye as well as to the taste buds.

In the end I decided to pipe some rose swirls using the cream cheese frosting on the sides and decorate the top with some macarons.