Monday, June 27, 2011

Bake time: Croissants

I am not entirly sure why, but today I decided to bake, of all things, croissants. Well, I have done it once with mild success before so I guess I figured it would be no problem. Croissants are made with a laminated dough-basically layers of dough between layers of butter. To start off the butter has to be prepared. it is beaten from its stick form into a rectangle with a bit of flour incroperated into the butter (my recipe called for 3 sticks of butter, and 3 tablespoons flour)
Today I was be careful and actually sifted the flour before I measured it out, then i spooned it into my measuring cup. I am glad i did, because though I sifted three cups (i think) there was a alot more flour left over.

Let's spoon
The dough required a very quick kneading then sat for a bit in the fridge 
Gotta roll out the dough into a BIG rectangle

after making a nice 18x8 inch rectangle I took my big butter rectangle and covered 2/3 of the dough. Now the layering starts. The 1/3 that is uncovered gets folded over part of the butter slab.

then the top 1/3 comees down on top butter side down creating three layers of dough and butter.

Turn the dough 90 degress, gotta pinch down the sides it says.

Then we roll it out to another 18x8 rectangle and fold it the same way again.

if you can see though my arm, you can see how its folded.
 After rolling it out and folding it twice it needs to go into the fridge to relax the gluten and chill the butter again. After folding a total of 4 times (and resting again) it is ready to be rolled out. I gotta roll it into a 24x12 inch rectangle.
It was too big for my board i was working on so i switched to the laminate countertop. I cut the rectangle in half, half for croissants half for pan au chocolat. I cut my lovely triangles

Now to rolling. Cut the back a little.

Start rolling from the inside corners out

Tee da! now dont forget to shape it

Look, I even made a video of how to roll a croissant!
 So look: the one on the left is my first one and the joy of cooking method, one of the right is one of my last ones after looking up how to on youtube and coppied the guy who i could not understand.
Now pan au chocolat is simpler with just being squares all rolled up with an egg  was at the end seam to seal things up.

 Chocolate on one side, roll over

 and make sure the seam is on the bottom or it will unravel
 I tried to do it with strawberry jam, but the jam is a bit runny. its still really really pretty.
 After rolling eveyone out have it sit at room temp for an hour and a half-dont stick it in the oven on the bread proofing setting or the butter will start to melt. Also, dont forget to give it a nice egg wash for a beautiful golden color.

Nom. It turned out quite good. I am saving them for breakfast, but boy do i want some now!

I saved a couple and put them raw in the frezzer for later. all i have to do is pull them a day before and left them defrost and ill have fresh croissants later.

Really not that hard, I used the Joy of Cooking recipe...anyone have a favorite croissant recipe? I'd love to hear how it goes if anyone is brave enough to try!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Erikas Design Process

I make no claims to be a trained artist. Infact, most of my sense of design is purely instinct. When I work on a new piece i have several days of designing: sometimes i draw out the idea, sometimes i just move around the stonest themselves. I had a nice turquoise i wanted to pair with an opal, but i hade a bit of trouble figuring out what to do and how to so it. I did a small sketch, but it wasnt enough to fill in all the design holes. So I played with the stones i had until i saw something I liked. Here are three possibilities:
 I still like this one....

Ever so slightly different
But I went with this one. 

Now the question: where to I put the chain?

Tippy top?

Middle of the top?
Through the accent stones? IF i went with this design I would have to have the opal stationary-and my problem was I couldn't see how to connect the opal to the turquoise.
Finally, I decided to go through the top and connect the two stones with a rod....this also created lots of design possibilities. Big rod? Small one? Beads on the end? Gold or Silver? Though I almost went with gold accents out of nowhere i decided to use two rhodocrosite garnets.

Here is the setting waiting for the stones.

Finished piece. Well, almost, still needs a final polish but its not to bad for an afternoons work.

BTW This is the original piece of opal I cut that one from. I actually got THREE different pieces of jewelry from this one stone.