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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Culinary School - Session 30: Stollen, Savoy Scones and Croissants

Culinary School: Session 30 (10.24.14)

Stollen, Savoy Scones and Croissants

Many a Scone, many a Milestone!

First off, thanks everyone! This marks the 100th Blog Post for Outside of the Breadbox! That's a lot a cooking in just a few short months! Hopefully it's just the beginning. And I'm all ears for any feedback. Tell me what you enjoy, and I hope to bring more of it!

As for Culinary School, Session 30 marks the end of the first quarter. 150 classroom hour completed. It's hard to believe how quickly it's flying by!

And last, but not least, as of today there are over 6,000 followers enjoying some visual snacking on Instagram. That just blows my mind!

It's only appropriate that this class brings one of my favorite pastries... the Croissant. Consider it a mini-celebration. But the real surprise hit from this session was the Stollen, a holiday fruit bread. Never before have you seen something so decadent. Any semblance of restraint or common decency have been abandoned... the recipe for this bread borders on obscenity... and that's awesome.

Plain Croissants and Croissant au Chocolat

Field trip!

Special breads sometimes call for special equipment, and that meant a field trip to the ICC Bread Kitchen. Just as the Pastry, Culinary, and Sommelier Programs have their own special classrooms, so too are the Professional Bread students outfitted with a custom designed workspace. 

To the uninitiated, the equipment has a soviet-era, utilitarian appearance. The primary reason for our visit was the Sheeter. A machine designed to roll out perfectly even sheets of dough, it was the ideal tool to flatten our Croissant dough in just a matter of seconds (consider this a rarely provided opportunity to take a shortcut... it's usually roll-by-hand in the Pastry classroom).

Bread Kitchen Mixers

Bread Kitchen Ovens

- Ingredients Running Tally -

In pastry, there are recipes that call for butter... sometimes a lot of butter... resulting in rich, flaky dough with sweet notes of creamy richness.

... and then there are recipes that call for BUTTER... huge, melted pots of liquid gold into which entire loaves of bread are set adrift.

You read that correctly. I'm not sure I can classify it as a formal technique, since I'm fairly confident that I'll never see it happen again. But our Stollen, a holiday fruit bread, received a full on butter-bath this class. And what better way to towel-off than to roll through a mix of vanilla and powdered sugar?

Ingredients used to date (10.24.14):
  • Flour: 13,385g
  • Eggs: 5,600g (112x)
  • Sugar: 6,235g
  • Butter: 8,360g
  • Milk/Cream: 6,305g

Ten Pounds of Melting Butter

- The Recipes -



As a holiday bread loaded with nuts and dried fruit, the Stollen is similar to a traditional fruitcake. However, this German version is more bread-like in consistency and contains considerably less sugar (on the inside, that is). Made from a sponge rather than as a quick bread (based on chemical leavening), the characteristic flavors and textures associated with fermentation are more pronounced. 

The standout characteristic of this bread, however, is how it is finished. The entire loaf, while still warm from the ovens, is submerged into a pot of melted butter where it sucks up that deliciousness like a sponge. The dripping loaf is then rolled in a mixture of vanilla and powdered sugar, making for one of the most over-the-top treats I have ever tasted. 

As one chef instructor warned, this is dangerous pastry. She wasn't speaking to the nutritional information -- it goes without saying that just a piece of this bread is a full on assault to any diet. She was speaking to the total lack of self-control brought on by even the smallest taste. You'll keep eating until there's nothing left.

Focus Techniques:
- Developing a rough gluten structure in a thick dough by using a sponge. Given the high fat content of the bread, the development of the gluten structure is inhibited. The eventual addition of a large amount of fruit and nuts also breaks up the would-be network of gluten bonds.
- Finishing the bread with a butter soak and a coating of vanilla and powdered sugar. 

Formed Stollen

Stollen in Butter Bath

Finished Stollen Rolled in Sugar


Savoy Scones

A scone is a single-serving quick bread usually containing some form of fruit, although savory versions are possible. Scones are only slightly sweet but may be finished with coarse sugar or a glaze.

Focus Techniques:
- Preparing a dough using the cut-in-butter method. Similar to how butter is incorporated into Pate Brisee, this method created a crumbly textured pastry. The dough comes together through the addition of eggs and cream. However, it is important to not over-hydrate or over-work the dough. 
- Cut triangle shaped Scones from a circular rolled piece of dough. This eliminate any product waste.

Cut Scones with Cream and Raw Sugar

Baked Scone

Baked Scones


Croissants (Forming)

Plain or chocolate, this King of Pastry is a hallmark of any French bakery. If you can't make a good Croissant, get out of the business.

Focus Techniques:
- Cutting individual Croissants by hand. The triangle of dough should be twice as tall as it is wide. The version pictured below is 3" wide by 6" tall. A 4" wide by 8" tall cut would yield a significantly larger product (78% larger by total dough volume, to be exact).
- Using egg wash on the tip of the Croissant to get a good seal on the pastry once it is rolled.
- Forming chocolate Croissants (Croissants au Chocolat) by folding 4" squares of dough over patons of chocolate.

Cut Croissant Dough

Rolled Croissant

Rolled Croissants on Speedrack

Baked Croissant

Baked Croissant au Chocolat

Take a look at the full syllabus

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