The long-awaited croissant class at the FCI finally happened this morning! I took a chocolate desserts course (15 hours) there in the spring of 2008 and really enjoyed it. The chef-instructors are fantastic and the environment is lovely. Croissant is one of my favorite foods so I really wanted to try my hand at it.
This class (4 hours) was taught by Chef Karen, who used to work for Amy’s Bread. The dough was divided in half, half for the classic croissants and half for the “pain au chocolat.” The process of making croissants is lengthy and intricate. Croissants, along with Danish dough and puff pastry, are all “laminated products.” This means they are made of layers of dough and butter. Croissants and Danish dough have between 25 and 55 layers. The dough layer is called the “detrempe” or dough package. And the butter layer is referred to as the “beurrage” or butter package.
First, the yeast-based dough is mixed and fermented for one hour. It is then rolled out and refrigerated for a while. Then the beurrage is prepared by pounding out cold butter into a rectangle. Then the butter is “locked in” with the detrempe and refrigerated again. The finished dough is then divided, shaped and proofed (let rise) for two hours. A light egg-wash is the last step before these babies are baked for 12-15 minutes. Dough and butter temperatures are crucial throughout the entire process. According to Chef Karen, croissants taste the best 30 minutes after they’ve been out of the oven and should be eaten within 12 hours after baking.
I’m seriously considering dropping out of college and going to culinary school. Food fascinates me and I feel at home in the kitchen. Though I know it’s not an easy lifestyle. I’m confused. What do you think I should do?