Let me tell you a little story…
Once upon a time there was a girl named Amy who was in the Daring Bakers. She saw that the challenge for this month was croissants. She was so excited. Who doesn’t love a hot, buttery, flakey pastry in the morning. She knew Nate and his family do, so she was looking forward to giving him a delicious breakfast on the weekend.
She was a little nervous but knew if she followed the recipe that it would all be ok. Sure, they may not be the best, or prettiest croissants in all the world (and most certainly not in France), but she was pretty confident in her ability to be good at most things the first time she tries them.
Things started to go awry when she added the flour and the recipe said it should all “come together”…but it was instead a big, flaky, dry mess. She added a little more water but ended up having to knead it way more than the 8-10 times it said in the recipe, just to get it to have some semblance of a dough ball shape to it.
Then when she went to roll it out with the butter inside, probably 1/4 of the butter squished out the side. Still, Amy was not deterred. No baking endeavor ever goes perfectly, right?
She thought of the time she left the eggs out of the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving only to remember when the pie had been in the oven for a few minutes. She remembered taking the hot pie out of the oven and pouring out the filling, adding eggs, reforming the melted dough and putting it back in the oven. And then she remembered with a smile how everyone told her it was the best pumpkin pie they’d ever eaten.
“It will all be ok,” she told herself. She wiped her sweaty brow and persevered.
Little did she know that she’d spend the next 10 hours of her life baking, and waiting, and baking and waiting, while the dough rose and slowly got formed into not such bad-looking little croissants.
“They look croissant-y enough, ” she told herelf. She stuck them in the fridge for their last rise overnight.
The next morning she couldn’t sleep. She had croissant dreams. She awoke with a start at 6:17 and knew she had to get up. She took the sheet of formed croissants out of the fridge to warm up and rise more, and preheated the oven. About an hour later she gave them a light egg wash, crossed her fingers, and shoved them in the oven.
She peeked at them through the oven window every few minutes, making sure they were puffing up and browning nicely. Everything looked ok, or so it seemed.
The timer went off and out they came. Evenly browned and awfully cute. She let them cool a bit, snapped some obligatory photos and then broke one in half. The inside was not light and fluffy. It was doughy and dry. She thought perhaps they were just deceptive-looking croissants, so she took a bite. Dry, tough, and generally not good.
Amy was so disappointed! What did she do wrong?? She followed the recipe to a T. She pouted, she fretted, she complained to Nate, and then she moped around for the next few hours, replaying the whole thing in her head. She was mad at herself. She was angry that she had wasted a whole day to make some dry, crescent rolls. Eventually she distracted herself enough to forget it and get on with her day.
Several days later she decided to log onto the Daring Bakers forum and see if anyone else had a problem with their croissants being tough. There before her very eyes were posts saying that the recipe must be incorrect because it seemed like too much flour, and then a confirmation that the flour amount was indeed 3 times more than it should have been.
She wasn’t sure if she should cry with relief that she didn’t suck at baking, curse that she ever doubted her croissant-making abilities, or be incredibly angry that she devoted 12 hours of her life (and an entire day of her weekend) to making an incorrect recipe. I think she did all three and felt much better.
And so, when her confidence, energy, and enthusiasm are restored, Amy will attempt these delectable pastries once again, and hopefully she will triumph.
Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
The recipe was long and detailed, but if you’d like to see a similar recipe/tutorial, visit here. I promise it has the correct amount of flour in it ;)