Tag Archives: cookery courses

Cheat’s Croissants- Don’t tell Richard

I love pastries, especially croissants and pain aux raisin.  Mind you the last time I did a course with Richard Bertinet, I had the most amazing almond croissant.  And for someone who really doesn’t eat nuts, it’s quite an achievement to find something with that has nuts in it that I’ll quite happily walk through hot coals for.

Croissant

However the homemade variety of any of the above are labour intensive.  A true labour of love.  So I’ve tried to come up with a variation that doesn’t stray too far from the true path of viennoise.  And yes, it takes time, but is not work intensive.

Are they as good as Richards? No.  But then I’ve had croissants from the depth of France that aren’t as good as his.  It’s all about balance.

My Cheat’s Croissants

Makes 16 croissants

Ingredients:
500g strong bread flour
300g cold unsalted butter, cubed
240g lukewarm milk
90g sugar
30g fresh yeast (15g- active dry yeast)
½ teaspoon salt
Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Method
Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a mixer bowl. Warm the milk to a little under blood temperature and add the yeast. Leave to “sponge” for 5 minutes.

Croissant

It looks like a huge amount of butter, I know!


Add the milk/ yeast to the flour and mix on low speed until it looks almost like a bad cookie dough. Add the cubed cold butter in three goes, mixing slowly each time. When the butter cubes look evenly spaced through the dough, cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours.

Croissant

The weirdest looking dough you’ve EVER seen

 

Remove from the fridge and gently start to bash the dough into a square with a flour duster rolling pin. Then roll out to a large rectangle. Working quickly, fold the outer edges in to touch, a little like a book. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again, repeating the folding and turning once more. Keep your work surface well dusted with flour and also remember not to turn the dough over. Just keep in sliding!
Fold again like a book, wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
Next day roll out the dough as thin as you can on your floured surface. Using a very sharp knife, cut triangles out of strips. Roll up as demonstrated in the video clip.

Brush with egg wash (the egg yolk and milk, mixed well).
Leave to rise for about 1 1/5 hours before baking in a preheated 200oC oven for about 12 minutes.

Croissants
Enjoy with some strawberry jam and a hot cup of coffee. Or make the dough into pain aux raisin.  Double Divine.
Croissants

Staying and Eating in Bath

Bath is such a beautiful city.  Famous for it’s architecture, and it’s Roman Bath Experiences, we were visiting (again) to do a bread making course. On previous visits we have struggled to get accommodation that is reasonable, in a good location, with parking.  This quartet of requirements are next to near impossible.

Bath

The beautiful iconic stone bathed in evening sunlight

Leave the car at home you say? Where will I put my shopping I say! This time, as both of us were planning on staying, we thought we’d try to get a one bed apartment.  Hotels, probably due to Cheltenham being on, were very expensive. But in reality, it’s an expensive city to buy or rent a house in, and I think that hotel prices generally reflect this.  The house below I though looked a little like the one Anne Rice from New Orleans lives in… Especially when I saw the hearse across the road! Bread

Bread

Traffic wasn’t that bad!

In the end I found a very nicely put together site called Bath Holiday Rentals.  From the moment I emailed they couldn’t have been nicer.  I’ve had various disasters trying to book accommodation abroad over the years, and, to be honest, have struggled especially in the UK.  We booked a teeny one bed apartment in Alfred Street, which, as I found out, was literally one road up from the bakery- SCORE!!

It meant we could have a wander around Bath city in the morning, and then drop any purchases off before class.  The only downside to staying so close is that you don’t get as much exercise, so we “forced” ourselves to walk down through the shops each morning and evening.  And what an array of shops and restaurants there are!

Thursday 17 March Bath 094

I thought at first glance it was a cheese shop— it was SOAP!

Tuesday 22 March 006

Some beautiful crockery, I could have spent a fortune- but contented myself by just looking

My favourites are always going to be shops with any sort of crockery of cooking equipment, with bookshops a very close second.  All of which are plentiful in Bath. The view from the apartment made a me feel a little like Mary Poppins, and although we are complete country folk, and, to be honest, I was dreading the noise of staying in a city.  It was so peaceful, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to people watch out the window!

Bread

The view from the bedroom window

It was also really great to have a well stocked kitchen (the welcome pack was also a really nice touch). 

Monday 14 Mar BATH 071

The Very well furnished kitchen

It was lovely to have a dishwasher too, makes the holiday experience easier!

Monday 14 Mar BATH 072

“Cliff” looking out the window

Looking back. Moving Forward.

2015 was a complete whirlwind for me. I started with Ballymaloe in the first week in January. It finished in March, then it was straight back to the day job and the usual school routine.  I was really hoping to get some time cheffing in a kitchen to bed down the skills, but this didn’t materialise, and I made do with the home cooking practice.  Hopefully this year! (offers welcome!)

Thursday 05 March 021

Making Bisque in the Demo Kitchen

In July I started running demonstrations from our kitchen.  These have been so enjoyable for me, and I have had fantastic feedback.  Click here for the latest schedule-  What I enjoy most about them is meeting new people, helping them realise how important good food is, and how easy it is to cook!

Thursday 24 Jul 008

Table set, ready for Demo

My bespoke cake business has also taken off to my delight (and also to the relief of the collective family waistline).  I really love baking.  Of every kind, and this year hope to expand into new avenues and directions.  I regularly supply a cafe in Tramore and love making cakes for people for their special occasions. Here’s a selection- I won’t even say favourites, as every cake I make I love!!!    Monday 28 Sept 2015 031

This tiramisu cake is a favourite, and I know, going forward it will be a winner in 2016 too.

Sugar Plum Cake

This cake was such fun to make!

I just love how this Sugar Plum cake looks and tastes.

Who doesn't look forward in having a tiger to tea?

Who doesn’t look forward in having a tiger to tea?

Cupcakes featured heavily in December- I think I made over 500 one week.  Jords was questioning whether I was cupcaked out!!! But no, I just love baking. My father in law brought me back a mega cupcake baking tray from America.  It certainly makes my life a lot easier.

This year I am going to focus on further selling cakes, and hopefully desserts too.  And bread.  Good bread is very hard to come by, and really is the simplest meal.  My sourdough is going from strength to strength and I look forward to showing and sharing my recipe with others.  They can have some of Sabrina too!

Monday 23 November 2015 064

My beloved sourdough

So looking back I’ve done so much in 12 months.  Looking forward- who knows??? But hopefully much more of the same.  With maybe a small holiday??? Pretty please??

.