We had a chance to take a cooking class at Sur La Table this past week and it was fun, and challenging at the same time. We thought it would be something fun for us to do and to get some sister time in! We went online and found “French Croissants 101” and knew that’s the one I wanted us to take! We both have a sweet tooth and one of the items on the menu to make was Pain au Chocolate (Chocolate-Filled Croissants)….yes please!
The class was scheduled to run from 9:00am-12:00pm. It was just enough time to keep your attention and make a few really tasty items.
We started off using dough that was already prepared for us (from the last French Croissant 101 class). This was a great way to start as we got to work with dough that was already rolled and prepped. (It takes about 3 hours to actually make croissant dough before it’s ready to bake!)
We started out by rolling out croissant dough, cutting it and shaping it into typical classic croissant shapes. The instructor showed us how to make small appetizer-sized croissants. We would cut larger sizes if we wanted larger croissants. The silicone mats used in the class were the best! A must have in a bakers kitchen. It will be next on my shopping list, as I have a kitchen island and usually just lay down parchment paper on it.
What is great about these classes are that you learn the science of why the certain ingredients are used and how the prepping and cooking methods effect the final outcome of the product. The preparation work in making croissants is pretty time consuming. It involves a lot of rolling of dough and making sure that the butter is incorporated into it well and in the correct way. The thing that separates croissants from any other baked good is the way that layers of dough and butter are blended. The right temperatures and consistency of the dough are imperative in creating the perfect product.
We made a total of 3 different croissant items: plain croissants, chocolate filled croissants and ham and cheese croissants. I’ve never worked with chocolate sticks before, so those were neat to see how those were incorporated into a chocolate croissant that you would buy at a pastry shop.
Tips to making the perfect Croissant Dough:
- Don’t overwork the dough block, or else too much gluten development will cause it to be difficult to roll
- Brush off any excess flour on the surfaces that you are rolling the dough on so that the dough doesn’t get too tough and it also prevents the layers of dough and butter from adhering to one another
- Keep the butter cold at all times or else when you’re handling it or rolling it, the butter gets warm and oozes out of the dough and sticks to everything
- Wrap your prepared dough in plastic when in the refrigerator to prevent a hard “skin” from forming
- Keep track of how many times you “turn” your dough and what side you started on
Our finished products turned out delicious and we were easily filled up on all of our goodies.