If you may recall I took a job in a kitchen store back in November. It’s not particularly a job I wanted, retail for the holidays, but the owners are such incredible people that I was sucked in. Honestly, I thought I’d tough it out for the Christmas season and be done with it. Boy was I wrong. I’m still there, with more authority and am loving every minute I spend with Dan and Julia. These two are not only the most knowledgeable people I have ever met when it comes to food, they are also incredibly kind and supportive.
When Julia and I first met it was in the shop. I was poking around and she wandered over to check on me. We got to talking and I mentioned that I ran a food blog. Well, that was that! She used to run one too and so the chatting and laughing began that day! Especially once we realize that she was already a follower of mine! (How cool is that?!) We talk bakers, bloggers, and food all day, every day! It’s amazing. Much fun is had on a daily basis.
All this to say, when Christmas rolled around and Dan and Julia gave me a copy of Duchess Bake Shop I very excited. Julia had already raved about Giselle Courteau and her culinary brilliance, and talked about how Giselle’s path was inspiring to us home bakers. Giselle began her baking career as a home baker! She is, or should be, and inspiration to all of us because she now runs a massive baking empire here in Canada! I don’t really plan on starting a giant baking empire, but it’s nice to think it’s possible for a home baker to do so. The next time (first time) I set foot in Edmonton you can bet I’ll be tracking down Duchess Bake Shop!
My best advice for making croissants: don’t wait until too late in the day to start! It is an overnight rise but everything leading up to that takes a bit of time, so don’t do as I did and start at 8pm. I was definitely rushing at the end so I could finish before falling asleep. Will start much earlier next time as they can sit in the fridge for up to 16hrs before the final proof and bake.
Duchess Croissants (barely adapted from Duchess Bake Shop pg.58)
(*I will put both measurements, as she does in the book, and recommend that you weight if you can. Also, she used fresh yeast and therefore twice the amount, but I had rapid rise so that’s what I used.)
3/4C (165g) unsalted butter, cold
2 1/4 tsp (8g) rapid rise yeast
1/4 C + 1 tbsp (74g) warm water
1/3 C (53g) bread flour
2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter, room temp
1 tbsp + 2 tsp (21g) granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp (6g) kosher salt
1/4 C + 2 tbsp (94g) whole milk, room temp
1 1/2 C (240g) all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 tbsp whole milk
Preparing the dough:
Pull the butter for the plaque out of the fridge and set aside while you start the dough.
In a large bowl stir together the yeast and warm water. Sift in the bread flour and mix until just combined. It should look like a lumpy, loose batter. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes or so (should double in volume).
Meanwhile place the butter, sugar, and salt into a small bowl and mush together with a spatula to create a buttery paste. (*Giselle notes that this will create a “fat buffer” to prevent the salt and sugar from shocking and killing your yeast.)
Once your starter has risen transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and sift in your remaining flour, and. add in the milk and butter mixture. Mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides once. Once everything is combined continue to mix on low for 5 minutes.
Remove the dough, shape into a ball, place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1.5-2hrs, until doubled in size.
Butter Plaque :
Place your butter in a medium Ziploc freezer bag. Using a rolling pin mush and spread the butter into the bottom of the bag and up the sides to the 5” mark (I measured it out and drew a line on the bag). You should now have a 7”x5” butter plaque. Once that’s done seal it up and place it in the fridge.
Back to the Dough:
When your dough has doubled in size dump it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 7.5”x 10.5” - just slightly larger than your plaque. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, wrap it in plastic and freeze for 30mins. After 30mins transfer it to the fridge and at same time pull your butter plaque out.
Carefully cut open the Ziploc bag so that the plaque is exposed but still sitting on a layer of bag. Every 5mins give your butter a gentle poke with your finger. We are looking for it to feel like modeling clay and for your finger to make a small indent with little pressure. Once you reach this point immediately proceed to the next step.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Make sure it’s 7.5” x 10.5” - adjust as needed. Using the bag to help, invert your butter plaque onto one end of the dough and peal away the bag. Cut the dough at the top edge of the plaque and place that half of the dough on top of the butter. Firmly press together the dough around the edges to create a seal. Gently press a rolling pin down on the top of the dough to press the dough and butter together (start at one end and work your way across). Flip the dough over and repeat the process. At this point your butter should feel pliable enough to move with the dough. If it feels too firm just allow it to rest at room temp for 5mins.
Roll the dough out into an 8” x 20” rectangle. Trim a small amount of each end to create straight edges. Fold each end into the centre of the dough and then fold one size across onto the other (like closing a book). Wrap in plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet in the fridge for 20mins.
Remove from the fridge and roll back out to an 8” x 20” rectangle (be sure to roll lengthwise with the seam). Trim the edges and fold into 3rds as you would a letter. Wrap again in plastic and place back in the fridge for 30-40mins.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to 9” x 18 “ (again, making sure you roll lengthwise with the seam). If it gets too warm, or hard to roll, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for 10-15mins before proceeding.
Cut the dough into 7 or 8 triangles and slice a 1/2” slit into the the base of each triangle. Pick up and gently stretch each triangle. Starting at the base of the triangle roll the slits away from each other and continue rolling towards the tip. Repeat with all triangles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge overnight.
Proof and Bake:
Unwrap the baking sheet and place in your oven along with a tray filled with the hottest tap water you can get. Allow to rest in the cold oven for 1.5-2hrs. The steam from the hot water will help the croissants puff up. The rolls should double in size, and you should begin to see the layers in the sides.
Once proofed, remove both from the oven and preheat to 425F.
Whisk together the egg, salt, and milk to create the egg wash. Gently brush over the croissants.
Bake on middle rack for 16mins, rotate and continue baking for 3-4mins. Looking for a deep golden brown colour.
Serve and enjoy!
*For detailed photos along with the instructions I highly recommend you get Giselle’s book!
As always, I want to know what you’ve been baking! Comment below or post to Instagram and tag @ragebake, #ragebake.