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.

The end.

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 ;)


28 Comments

  1. So sorry to hear that the croissant didn’t work out because of the incorrect flour amount, but still I’m impressed that they turned out so well in the end it shows that you are very talented baker to get this result. So I hope you try again soon they are worth it in the end. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Hey, you are brave for even trying croissants. The idea of making them is totally overwhelming to me for if they didn’t turn out I would be so disappointed. Rather than experience the pain I keep buying them from my favorite French bakery that seems to have the technique down!

    • Hi Lulu! My fiance’s mom buys these frozen ones from William Sonomo. You take them out of the freezer the night before and they defrost and rise all night and you bake them in the morning…they’re amazing and waaaay less effort ;)

  3. Oh, so sad! That’s so frustrating to spend so much time on something that doesn’t even taste good in the end. If you ever think you might suck at baking again, e-mail me and I’ll set you right. I’ve seen to many delicious foods on here to let you think that for even a minute. :)

  4. Oh no, they make it look so easy in it’s complicated.

  5. oh man! Those lil’ pastry devils! That was a satisfying ending to your story though! I can almost feel your relief all the way up here in Canada! :D

  6. you so cute. i love how you wrote this post. hehehee.

  7. The ‘croissant dreams’ just about killed me… too funny! I’m sorry that they didn’t taste light and fluffy, they sure look great! (deceptively delicious :)) I can’t help but smile when I read posts like this because, as a food blogger, there is a huge amount of relatability – the desire, the determination, the time (the time…) and the frustration! Tomorrow is another day :)

    • :) Thanks…I know, they were totally deceptively delicious! I had high hopes biting into one since they were so darn prettty. Oh well, maybe next time.

  8. I am bummed for you! Do give them another try, the difference in bad dough versus good dough is amazing! The butter stays in nicely too!

  9. So sorry that you had that experience! It is such a bummer when you take a lot of time and ingredients to make something that doesn’t turn out. At least you persevered. Nice job!

    • Thanks, Kim. I think I only persevered because I still thought I might be doing it right…if I’d found out the flour was wrong from the beginning I def woulda thrown in the towel ;)

  10. A sad, yet brilliant/humorously told story. :-)

    BTW- I presented you with the Versatile Blogger Award:http://sports-glutton.com/2011/09/28/a-surprising-award/

    Cheers!

    • Thanks, Jed! Aw, that’s so sweet of you. I better get my butt in gear regarding posts…i’ve been slacking since I’m now in full wedding-planning mode!

  11. Even if they did not turn out the way they wanted, I am sure they tasted just right…
    Loved reading your post …

  12. Hey, at least they still look delicious! It’s always a bummer when you spend so much time making something, and then it doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped. I think you did a great job for it being a bad recipe! :)

  13. Whether or not they turned out “perfectly”, I think you did a stunning job! And I truly loved your post!

  14. Pingback: Sans Rival – October 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge «

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