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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Culinary School - Session 42: Brioche Craquelin & Rolls, Croissant Crescents, Pain au Chocolat, Musli, Bagels and Corn Bread

Culinary School: Session 42 (11.21.14)

Brioche Craquelin & Rolls, Croissant Crescents, Pain au Chocolat, Musli, Bagels and Corn Bread

Does anyone want my Croissants!? 

Rarely have their been so many open cries at the end of class, shouts offering excess pastry to anyone who may be listening. But when you turn out as many loaves, rolls and muffins as we did this session, there is bound to be excess. 

That said, I still hoarded my Pain au Chocolat!

Tower of Corn Muffins

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (11.21.14):

  • Flour: 18,115g
  • Eggs: 10,050g (201x)
  • Sugar: 10,460g
  • Butter: 11,600g
  • Milk/Cream: 11,050g

Baker's Board

- The Recipes -


Brioche Craquelin

A sweet and buttery (it is Brioche, after all), orange-sugar filled loaf topped with... well, more sugar. This bread is extremely tender, given the significant amount of butter that is enriching the dough. 

Orange-zest muddled with sugar is carefully folded and sealed into each loaf. The sugar remains crystalized throughout the baking process, providing a crunchy texture to the inside of the bread.

Focus Techniques:
- Keeping the Brioche dough cool while shaping the Craquelin. The final loaf should be formed before the dough is allowed to proof.
- Using large chunks of moderately hydrated sugar cubes for the bread filling. If the sugar is too moist, or if the cubes are broken into too small pieces, it will turn into a syrup in the heat of the oven rather than retain the desired crystalized sugar crunch.
- Using up to 1/3 of the total dough weight to create a second layer of bread that is used to encase and seal the loaf. To fully seal the sugar filling (or any other filling that may be used for a Brioche loaf), it is important to securely pinch the seams of the dough and then wrap the loaf in a second, rolled sheet of Brioche. Air pockets are removed as the outer layer is wrapped around the formed loaf to prevent bubbles from forming during baking. 

Laying Orange Sugar on Craquelin

Forming Craquelin

Sealing Craquelin

Craquelin in Mold

Bake Craquelin with Sugar Finish

Bake Craquelins with Sugar Finish


Brioche Rolls (Brioche a Tete Parisiennes)

The classic French Brioche roll: the Brioche "a Tete" refers to the small head of dough that is formed at the top of each roll. 

Focus Techniques:
- Forming a classic Brioche a Tete. The process begins by first forming a ball of dough and then rolling it into a lozenge shape (i.e. a tapered log). The lozenge is then rolled in a sawing motion while applying pressure 1/3 of the way along the dough. This forms a smaller head portion and a larger body portion. The dough is then pressed, body first, into a small Brioche mold. Using a floured pointer finger, the body dough is push down and towards the center of the mold, creating a distinct separation between the head and the body of the roll.

Formed Brioche a Tete


Croissant Crescents

The "perfect" Croissant is marked by a light and crispy texture achieved through the formation of 25 distinct layers of butter and dough (i.e. one Book or double turn followed by One Letter or single turn). When rolled into the hallmark crescent shape, three clear steps of dough should be formed.

Focus Techniques:
- Rolling the dough into a sheet of no greater than 1/4" thickness. If the dough is too thick, it will not be possible to create the three-stepped croissant shape.
- Rolling the dough into a sheet with a sufficiently large buffer at the edges. The dough at the edges of a rolled sheet is more likely to have uneven layers that will not rise properly. Plan to trim and discard approximately 1/2" of dough at the perimeter.
- When rolling the dough into the crescent shape, focusing on pushing the dough outward, not up. Rolling with pressure applied only in the upward direction creates loosely shaped Croissant.
- Chilling the dough before baking. Better layering is possible when the butter is firm before baking.

Formed Croissant

Baked Croissant


Pain au Chocolat

Chocolate, meet Croissant. Croissant... this is Chocolate. I think you two will get along nicely.

The flaky, buttery perfection of the Croissant has been enhanced by chocolate. Formed from square pieces of Croissant dough, batons of chocolate are rolled and sealed into the pastry. The chocolate remains soft even after the pastry has cooled.

Focus Techniques:
- Evenly distributing chocolate batons within the pastry and sealing them securely. The chocolate should be visible from both sides of the pastry but should not leak out during baking.



A whole-grain bread that remains surprisingly light and moist despite the heft of the whole-grain ingredients. Organic leavening with yeast provides a distinctly different texture than would be achieved using chemical leavening. 

Focus Techniques:
- Using a presoak. Whole grains, seeds and dried fruits absorb a significant amount of moisture. If they are mixed directly into a dough, they will pull moisture from that dough during the proofing and baking process. The dough will become overly dry and dense. By soaking such ingredients before adding them to the bread, the dough remains properly hydrated.
- Adding a presoak to a dough after a strong gluten structure has formed. If a presoak is added too early to a dough, the gluten structure will not develop properly. Once added, the large pieces in a presoak will begin to tear the existing gluten structure and will inhibit the development of additional gluten.

Musli Multi-Grain Soaker

Adding Soaker to Musli Dough



This version is classic New York: a dense crumb and a chewy exterior. Those features stand in stark contrast against the multitude of poorly made, freezer-aisle "bagels" that are little more than ring-shaped rolls (I'm talking to you, Lender's). 

Focus Techniques:
- Shaping the bagel without an initial bulk proof. By skipping the bulk proof, the final crumb remains tight and chewy. 
- Forming the ring shape. The dough is portioned and pre-shaped into logs. The logs are thinned and the dough is then wrapped around the hand - the tails overlapping under the palm. The overlapping tails are gently rolled until they are smoothly joined, forming a perfect ring.

Formed Bagel

Boiling Bagels

Baked Bagels

Baked Bagel


Corn Bread

A simple, slightly sweet bread made from corn meal. Some may argue that Corn Bread should not contain any sugar -- that such a product is a Corn Cake. However, Corn Bread is extremely versatile.  Adding sugar or honey makes for a sweet treat while cheese, peppers and onions can be added for a savory interpretation.

Focus Techniques:
- Creating a chemically leavened dough that can be frozen. Since the recipe uses baking powder rather than baking soda, the batter can be mixed and refrigerated overnight or frozen without losing the leavening power. Baking powder is double acting, so part of the chemical reaction that produces the leavening action occurs when the batter enters the heat of the oven. This is very different from baking soda, which reacts as soon as it is hydrated.

Corn Muffins

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