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We are unbelievably delighted with our bread baking. Finally, after many years, we have mastered the art of freshly baked bread every morning without getting up at 3am. We mastered this art not in the process of trying to accomplish what we thought was an unattainable feat, but in the process of trying to make great organic croissants.
Our latest breakfast experiment is organic croissants. So far, it has not been successful, but on our way to croissants, we’ve discovered other wonderful bread treats.
We are only willing to use organic stone ground whole wheat flour and everything else has to be real, whole, organic food. We’ve been given many “secrets” to a successful croissant, but they all have made us question even eating croissants. We’ve heard about using everything from a ‘starter,’ to very expensive kitchen equipment. The healthiest suggestion was a Yogurt starter, but when we read the ingredients we couldn’t pronounce some so we dropped that possibility. When we checked out the kitchen equipment there was aluminum in crucial places, so we will continue the effort without those suggestions – and you know we won’t give up.
Our ‘accidental discoveries’ on the way to a successful, organic, whole wheat croissant have been exciting and exceptionally delicious. Our latest discovery is a wonderful bun which can be used for hamburgers; a breakfast biscuit of any shape you desire; a wrap for ‘pigs in the blanket’ or beef hotdogs for those who won’t eat pork; cinnamon buns, which are a little bit of heaven; the best monkey bread you can find and more. Our ‘new’ dough discovery has many applications, however, if you want a great slice of very tasty, nutritious, substantial bread, the original Bettina Bread recipe can’t be beat – especially if you use organic apple juice for the liquid and molasses for a little sweetener.
As we experimented trying to make croissants we mixed half organic whole wheat flour with half organic whole wheat pastry flour. In addition we used one stick of organic butter for the fat in the Bettina Bread recipe. We used organic apple juice for liquid and organic maple syrup for a sweetener. Once we’ve been through the first steps of making bread and have reached the point where the dough is mixed and ready for its first rising, we roll out the bread dough with a rolling pin, cut a stick of organic butter into pats and put them on 1/2 the rolled out dough. We folded 1/2 dough without butter over the 1/2 dough with butter and continued to fold the dough in halves until it reached a small packet. We then rolled that out with a rolling pin – refolded the dough – rolled it out again, refolded it again and wrapped it tightly with a clean cotton towel and put the resulting packet in the refrigerator. We did this in the middle of the day. So at night, before bed, we re-rolled the dough, folded it into a small square packet again, covered it and put it in the refrigerator. If we were up to it we would re-roll and re-fold the dough a couple time before wrapping and putting it in the refrigerator. We found that the dough rises, even in the refrigerator, so it was always pushing hard against its cotton cover. Some people use Saran Wrap for this, but we weren’t happy with that.
The next morning, we unwrapped the dough and cut off the amount of dough we wanted to use for breakfast rolls, rolled out the remainder with the rolling pin, folded it into a small square and put it back into the refrigerator.
Keeping this going – we re-rolled the dough at night before going to bed and the next morning, took off the piece we wanted to use for breakfast rolls, re-rolled the rest, covered it, put it in the refrigerator, etc. You get the picture. There is always dough in the refrigerator if you would like freshly baked bread, pizza, etc. with very little work and time spent. It would take anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours for the dough to rise and that didn’t depend upon the dough, but upon our time once we shaped the dough into its final form. If we didn’t have much time, 1/2 hour gave us a beautifully risen sheet of breakfast biscuits which took about 15-20 minutes to bake. If we were busy and didn’t get back to the rising dough for an hour or more it was still in great shape.
We did find that organic yeast was the best to use if we didn’t want bread dough which would smell like ammonia if we let it rise too long. The other stuff we had to watch carefully or we would have to throw out the half-made bread and start over again. One day we will try keeping the dough going using some of the old dough to serve as the rising agent for the dough being newly made, but that’s another year and another blog. We are feeling good about all of this bread baking, but not that good!
As we saw that we would run out of dough the next morning, we started another recipe of dough so it would continue being available. We used the dough for three mornings before we ran out so we don’t know what would happen to the dough if you kept it in the refrigerator longer than that.
The pizza we made from the dough adding tomatoes, parmesan cheese and whatever else we had in the refrigerator which fit, was unbelievably fantastic! It was so good a couple bed and breakfast guests who saw us make the pizza the night before and tasted it, requested pizza for lunch and came home from their all-day business meeting to eat pizza. That isn’t something we normally do or encourage, but we loved every minute of preparing that pizza and enjoying lunch with guests.
That’s our story! Let us know what happens if you try this, or some of your experiences making croissants. We are seeking information to make great organic croissants with whole wheat flour. We clearly don’t know how to do that!
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