Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bacon and Cheese Scones ( Thomas Keller )

I usually prefer sweet or plain scones over savoury ones but these bacon and cheese scones are really very tasty.  I remember myself making ham and cheesy scones long ago but i didnt find them as good as this. Perhaps it's the bacon thing. These scones are light and incredibly tasty. I did not use cheddar cheese here as i have some dutch buffalo cheese in my fridge so i just use that before they get expired. There is also some creme fraiche which added to the ingredients list for making the dough. I'm glad that i can get the small pack of creme fraiche here, also my first time using this.. taste very similar to sour cream.

These scones  are a little different from all my previous scones whereby these scones were baked from frozen. After shaping the scones, we put that in the freezer until they are solid firm and bake them straight out of the freezer. Since i still have some creme fraiche left from making the first batch, i made them another few days later, just to quickly use up more of the creme fraiche, I do suggest to space the scones well apart for better heat circulation when baking them as the 2nd time i made them, i used a smaller tray, resulting them to place closer to one another and they took much longer to cook especially the sides. Do give this a try if you love savoury scones, get some nice bacon and some tasty cheese.

Recipe ( from here )
plain flour /rose flour 150gms
baking powder 4gm
baking soda 1/4tsp
sugar 1tbsp
kosher salt 3/4 tsp
unsalted butter 66gms, cut into cubes
dairy cream 35gms, plus 2 tbsps more for brushing
creme fraiche 45gm
bacon 100gm  ( 50gms cooked weight )
chives 1/8cup(i didnt put this)
cheddar cheese, grated 65gm for dough, ( i used dutch buffalo cheese )
cheddar cheese, grated  15gm for sprinkling on top
ground black pepper

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda in a mixing bowl and add in the sugar and salt. On the mixer  with paddle attachment with low speed to combine. Put in the butter and mx again to combine with the paddle still running on slow. Increase the speed and mix about 2-3 minutes to break up the butter to incorporate it into the dry mixture. You may use your hands to break up the lumps.

With the mixer still running pour in the dairy cream, creme fraiche and mix till all moistened and dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. Put in the bacon and 65gm of grated cheese and chives and mix till they are just well combined.

Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pat it into a rectangle block, about 6" by 4.5". You can use your hands to press the sides to straighten them. Wrap it up and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. After they become firm,, cut the block into 6 small rectangles. Arrange them in a lined pan, spaced well apart . Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze till frozen solid, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The scones can be kept in the freezer for a month.

Preheat oven to 155C fan forced or 177C. Arrange the frozen scones about 1 inch apart, brush the top with some cream and sprinkle the cheese and black pepper and bake for 33-35mins in a standard oven and till they are golden brown.  (I baked for 155C fan forced for about 30mins. )

If you are in for some savoury scones, come join me, Joyce and Zoe in our bake along event from today up till June27th 2015. Thank you!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Homemade Butter Croissants

Here i am with Joyce and Zoe at bake along event this week and we are making croissants. I know making croissants can be very challenging ..well indeed it was. Initial attempts were quite frustrating and sort of discouraging to be honest, it was not easy at all! Most of the pictures here in this post are from my 3rd and 4th attempts. I started doing my first attempt with a 350gm flour recipe and ended up throwing everything. Then i went on with a smaller recipe the 2nd time,  still it didnt make it to the oven. What makes it so difficult? It is the lamination part. It is the butter. Watching youtube videos helps a lot, it gives you an idea how to go about making the croissants and it all seems not as difficult as it looks ..well until i tried my hands on it.

The lamination part is where we get those layers and layers in the croissants and we also want them to be thin, so rolling the dough thin with the butter inside is quite a demanding task. My first two attempts all failed because the dough just tearing apart with butter leaking out. Just not able to proceed at all. By my 3rd attempt, i sort of getting the hang of it, i worked faster on everything, when the dough gets soft, i chilled it, i even chilled my rolling pin! The dough did torn a bit still but was able to dab a bit of flour on those parts to save it. I was happy that it made it to the oven. Though they turned out a bit smaller than normal size because of the rolling part that i was not able to roll it out as much as it should be, i was happy to see those layers in the croissants when i cut it and the layers were quite distinctive.
3rd attempt..

Now that i have the hang of it, i made another batch after several days using the same recipe but used a combination of bread flour 70% and plain flour 30%. I was trying to see if the dough was more stretchable to roll with a combination of both flours. Yes, it did. So it is okay to substitute a bit of bread flour with plain or all purpose flour for easier rolling.  The one made with all bread flour turned out to be lighter and my preferred texture but dont get me wrong, both were equally flaky and good and delicious.

4th attempt - with a combination of bread flour and plain flour. Less honeycomb structure. Gaps between the layers  are closer compared to the 3rd attempt. Dont think it's the flour, more due to the lamination part

another attempt.....

Many recipes online have their croissants done in 3 days..some to allow the flavours to develop.  But here i have picked one that is done within a day but i still have it leave overnight before baking so it's 2 days altogether. Until i can really make good croissants, i will go with a longer resting time and definately make a larger batch. Oh ya, you can of course subsitute butter with croissant margarine if you want. I guess they are much more easier to handle than butter since they have higher melting point. Which ever you choose to make it from, just keep in mind to always to keep the dough chilled, just put it back in the fridge for 20 mins or so.  Another thing to take note here is that for all these attempts, i only managed to roll it out to 15cmx34cm instead of 20cmx40cm. Do not attempt to roll further if you see the butter is going to leak out. You are not sitting for an examination so it's totally okay! Happy baking!

Recipe from here
makes 8 croissants
( if you plan to leave the dough overnight before baking, you can start doing this around late afternoon then do the shaping and baking the next morning )
150gm bread flour
1tbsp sugar
2gms salt
90ml water ( i used about 110ml )
15gm cold butter
3gms instant yeast
90gm unsalted butter ( for laminating )

1 egg for egg wash.

1) In a mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast using a fork or a dough hook running on low speed. Slowly add in water to form a rough dough. Let it knead for about a minute and then add in the butter, increase the speed of the mixer and knead till all butter incorporated in and to a smoother dough, less than 10 mins.  Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, shape it round and let it proof for 30mins.

2) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 20cmx20cm. After i did this, i realised it's easier to roll the dough on a plastic wrap cos we need to transfer the dough to the fridge. This way, you dont have to lift up the dough to wrap. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge for an hour. ( i left it for 2 hours )

not  perfect but it's okay, you still got to roll them to square again after refrigeration.

3) On a parchment paper, draw a 12cmx12cm, this will be the guide for the roll in butter. Then just overturn the paper cos we dont want to pound the butter on the pencil marks. Remove the butter from the fridge, cut into pieces to fit into the 12cmx12cm square. Put a parchment paper on top of the butter, pound the butter a little and roll it out to 12cmx12cm square. When the butter goes out of the line, just trim it and add that to the butter on top and continue with rolling until you get that square of butter. Wrap up with the same parchment paper and refrigerate till it hardens.

4) Remove the cold dough from fridge and roll out to 20cmx20cm again. Take the square butter out from the fridge and put it on the dough as in the pic shown. Fold all the flaps of the dough to enclose the butter. It is okay for the flaps to overlap.

after out from the fridge, roll it out to 20cmx20cm. Keep a ruler a the side, it's easier .

pinch the edges to ensure the dough is tight to seal in the butter

5) Then roll it out to 20cmx40cm. Try.

you can use your hands to straighten the sides. This is not straight enough :))

Fold the dough in letter style (Fold 2/3 of the dough on top of itself  and fold the bottom 1/3 over the dough). Refrigerate for 30 mins. This is your first fold

6) Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out to 20cmx40cm and fold in thirds again. Refrigerate for 30 mins. This is your 2nd fold.

after turning 90degrees like this, roll it out and fold in thirds again

7) Turn the dough 90degrees and repeat the rolling and folding steps. This is the 3rd fold. After this, wrap the dough in plastic and keep in the fridge overnight. If you do not want to leave it overnight, you can straight away proceed to shaping the croissants after the 3rd round of resting.

8) Next day, take out the dough and roll it out to 20cmx40cm again and cut into 8 triangles with a base of 8cm. Make a small slit in the middle of the base, stretch the slit a little and roll it up. Do the same for all croissants. Brush surface of the croissants with egg wash and let it proof for about 2 hours. The croissants will wiggle when you shake the pan. Preheat your oven to 210C. Brush the surface with egg wash the 2nd time. When the oven reaches the temperature, put the croissants in and bake them for about 15minutes. Remove from oven.

these croissants are very flaky and buttery!

Notes fr my experience:
1) when mixing the dough, there is no need to knead till window pane stage . Just knead till all well combined and formed a dough and need not beat till very smooth. Otherwise the gluten will be too strong and will find it difficult to roll later on.

2) If any point of time, if we find that the dough gets soft, put it back in the fridge or freezer for about 10 mins.   As it moves to the 2nd and 3rd fold, the dough will get more difficult to roll , if it resists to stretch, put  the dough back in the fridge to rest for 10-20mins for the gluten to relax.

3) Be gentle during the rolling process. Flour the counter and rolling pin. If we see there's any part of the dough gets torn, pat it with a little flour to save it.

4) when enclosing the butter in step 4, make sure the butter is cold and yet pliable to roll. otherwise the butter will break. But in our weather here the butter should get pliable within mins.

5) the next time i make this again, i will mix the dough until all the ingredients are just well combined , meaning a rough dough. See if this will makes it even more easier to roll...and also chill the dough again after i cut out the triangles. I think shaping will be easier too.

btw, the conditions of has changed and only registered users are able to grab the code for blog hop. However, you can still link your post with us, just like what you usually do. Our linky for croissants baking will be opened from today up till June13th, 2015. Thanks!