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SFBI Week #9 Lamination For The Nation « Hand to Mouth | A Blog About Food

SFBI Week #9 Lamination For The Nation

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Croissants and Danish Pastries are the new baguettes. FACT. We made a shed load of them last week as we finally got stuck into laminated doughs.

Laminating doughs with butter is one of the key skills of Viennoiserie, and it can be pretty tricky. Get it right and you end up with beautiful, flaky, buttery pastry. Win. Get it wrong and you can end up with greasy products or a clogged up sheeter. Lose.

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As before, the doughs are yeasted and mixed in a very similar way, but the new techniques came into play after the initial proof. One of the most important things with lamination is to keep everything cold. You want your butter and dough to be almost frozen with a ‘plastic’ like consistency. This enables you to sheet the dough thin and ‘lock in’ the butter over a series of folds creating alternating layers of pastry and fat.

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It’s been pretty hot here in San Fran recently, so this has made the whole lamination process a lot tougher. We’ve been heavily relying on the blast freezer to quickly chill our doughs in between folds so we can work on them without the butter melting, or the dough getting too soft.

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I won’t bore you with all the details, but once you’ve got lamination down (not that I’m saying I’m quite there yet), you’ve got a whole host of tasty shizzle at your finger tips based around croissant and Danish pastry formulas.

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We made a range of different croissants both with and without pre-ferments. Plain ones, whole wheat ones, ham and cheese ones, almond ones, and pain au chocolat, all different kinds of Danish, lunettes, bear claws, snails, a CRAZY Breton pastry called koign-amann which contains enough butter and sugar to kill an army, and thats just the tip of the iceberg.

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In creating all this new sweet stuff, we’ve learned a bunch of new techniques. Using the sheeting machines, different types and styles of shaping, making fillings for the pastries. It felt a bit like we took in enough information for a month, let alone a week.

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Oh and it wasn’t all lamination, lamination, lamination. A special shout has to go out to an AMAZONGGG cake that we made at the end of the week. The mighty Bienenstich or ‘bee sting’ cake. It’s a brioche based dough, filled with diplomat cream and topped with a molten mixture of honey, sugar, butter and almonds that sets hard. Properly delicious stuff. If you ever see it on sale, buy it. You’ll thank me.

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Next week we’re finishing up Viennoiserie, finishing the week with a two day practical. Wish me luck.

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5 Responses to “SFBI Week #9 Lamination For The Nation”

  1. Ben says:

    Just to let you know, people are reading this and I’m loving it – keep it up and good luck!

  2. Charles says:

    Do you notice a difference using the sheeter vs. hand rolling the dough for danish? I read elsewhere that using a sheeter wasn’t a great idea – the dough doesn’t rise enough. I don’t know, just asking?

    • I’ve never heard of that. If your dough isn’t rising, it’s the dough not the sheeter. A sheeter should give you more consistent results too.

      • Charles says:

        That’s what I would think, too. Maybe what they really meant is that the butter was getting too warm so they didn’t have good separation – thus it may have looked like the dough wasn’t rising as much. I’ve never used a sheeter, but I would sure like to experience the difference between that and hand rolling. Right now I can keep up with demand, but I can see it’s going to get out of hand so I’m trying to decide if my dough will suffer if I make the investment. Thanks for your confirmation!

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