With memories of croissant dough that never rose still fresh on my mind–even though months have passed since the mysterious dough failures had taken place–I set my mixing bowl down on Friday night for a little test batch. That day I had picked up 50 lbs of organic bread flour (at a price which totally sucked, btw…but that, apparently, is Florida). Hopes that the high gluten flour would give a good shatter effect to the croissants filled in my heart and I kneaded that dough with wanton abandon.
Setting it aside to rise, I heated the oven up for some cookie baking for Sunday. The kitchen got nice and toasty (oh, I so can stand the heat). Surely the dough would have risen with the warmth of the kitchen. Beguiled by the stainless steel bowl covered with a tea cloth, tucked high up on one of the top shelves (heat rises), I forced myself to be patient– letting a few hours pass before peaking in on my dough, somewhat uncertain of the success of the rise.
It was rising. Slowly. The dough held a finger poke but did not look much bigger than what I started with. “Fluffy” surely wasn’t an accurate descriptive. Vowing patience I checked back on it the next morning. I gave it until afternoon. It had risen adequately enough so I got to laminating the dough, which initially requires rolling a cold, hardened sheet of butter into the dough, chilling and then continual folding and rolling of the dough every few hours.
A little cutting, some shaping and one last rise. Finally the croissants were oven ready. Unable to find my recipe I popped them in the oven at a questionable heat for a questionable time. Upon their removal I knew the only question left was whether I could duplicate the wonderful results the next day while making a few slight corrections to the dough that I hoped would drastically improve upon the initial rise, which is a real croissant confidence maker (or breaker).
For Sunday’s batch I tripled it (the test batch was g-o-o-d) and subbed out half the organic hi-gluten bread flour for organic all purpose. The dough rose incredibly. I thought I was really on to something. I reduced the butter a bit because the test batch, while full of shatter, was a bit greasy.
Damn, am I stupid. Three batches tasted good. In the roll out stage they laminated beautifully. But I think the lower gluten and butter really killed these. And not in a good way. The for sale batch lacked the shatter factor. Flakes were few and far between. I sold them at a half price discount, complete with a disclaimer.
Next week I’m totally going to kill those croissants. In a good way.
Test Batch. Not to be beat.
Harriet’s Organic Spelt Cookies with Sabjimata Jam. These are the broken cookies set aside for my family. I break them on purpose just so we can have a little family tradition.
Sad sad cheesecakes. I let my cheesecakes cool in the oven so no splitting occurs. So, you may be wondering, what happened? After many hours of them cooling in the oven I forgot they were in there and turned the oven on to pre-heat for cookie baking. Duh.
New beginnings call for new jam. Valencia Orange Conserve and Cranberry Conserve cooked up Saturday night. More citrus jammies coming soon!
See the striations? I was so certain this was going to be the chosen batch. And it was. Chosen for a half price discount.
Did I mention the wind? No, I didn’t. The only thing so far I’ve really mentioned was the croissant dough. Today the high only reached 58 and the wind was 12 mph. My husband suggested, a few hours before I was finished cooking, that I not set up today because of the wind. Uhhh, not an option. But I did have to keep things covered at all times to keep foreign matter from blowing in my stuff. As you can see, the display was not very alluring.
Early on the sun was shining and the cold was not so bone chilling. Here Lila Suka, the Queen of Compostable Dinnerware, added a bright spot to the evening by purchasing some jam. Lila Suka is visiting from North Carolina and one of the things on her “to do” list while in Alachua is buy Sabjimata Jam. Awwww….
Roy! Here’s my daughter’s first real crush. Roy is super sweet, super tall and super about to hand me some money for some Sabjimata stuff. Thanks, Roy!
People were happy to see Sabjimata back on Sundays. Business was good. The eggplant rollatini was a smash hit. Fat slices of homemade organic bread topped with eggplant stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella and smothered in tomato sauce. More mozzarella…you know…the whole Italian thing.
You can see here how the cracks really effected the slicing of the cakes. Bummer. Top is a Madagascar Vanilla Bean/Valenica Orange Cheesecake topped with Sabjimata Strawberry Jam. Bottom is a Mocha (herbal coffee) Cheesecake topped with Homemade Caramel.
Nitai of 24 Hour Kitchen cooks for hundreds at Burning Man, Rainbow Gathering and some other sub-cultural events that I pray my daughter will never attend. Especially not naked.
All in all the night was a success. Lots of gluten kebabs sold to lots of happy people who have been jonesing for a bbq fix all these months I have been on hiatus. Sausage sold, including the newly perfected Vegan Turkey Sausage. Some jam sales rung, cheesecake sliced, cookies boxed and rollatini…rolled. Of course, I froze my butt off. At one point I lifted my shoulders towards my ears in an effort to conserve body heat and consequently cannot lower them now.
Off to bed. Clean-up and unloading the car to start early in the morning. I imagine I’ll be posting again sometime soon but if not, you can count on me again for next Sunday.