I’ve put this off for far too long, I mumbled to myself eyeing the boxes of frozen butter. Eleventy-one hundred loaves of bread is plenty to make without having once tried the really-not-all-that-difficult laminated dough. To horribly mix my LOTR movie quotes, I’m going on an adventure! Here’s the deal: determined to make croissants on the same day we were hosting a Memorial Day barbecue I tried to get as much ready the night before. The poolish was mixed and active, the natural levain starter was practically leaping out of its container, butter was unfrozen, and I was ready for a nightmare of folding and rolling. But really, how hard could this be?
There it is, an enriched dough with a hidden layer of butter mixed with flour. Was this the third fold and chill or the second? Who remembers? I was rushing back and forth from the pool to the barbecue to the kitchen, also keeping an eye on a quadruple batch of naturally-leavened and very wet dough I was making for sandwich bread. Roll the croissant dough out, letter fold, roll again, letter fold, and chill. This isn’t rocket science but I found either my simian knuckles were too large or the rolling pin too small because I kept dragging furrows as I rolled. I used the Tartine croissant recipe which has a sock-it-to-me punch triple punch of poolish, natural starter, and straight-mixed yeast in the dough.
Let’s cut to the chase–what did Uncle F$#k-Up mess up? Well, I think you have to keep flipping and folding and rolling the same direction so you are always increasing the number of laminations: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128. At some point I must’ve reversed it because the croissant was not as flaky and interlayered with butter as I wanted. And I can now attest what it looks like to see your arteries clogging: imagine 18 croissants slathered with cream and egg yolk sizzling in a lake of molten butter on a cookie sheet. Holy Spetznaz are these things buttery good! Next time I’ll make them with some orange peel and a sugar crust so they are more like morning buns. And then I’ll be the fattest baker in all the land.