By Erin Allen
As mentioned in this post, Erin will be attempting to get through the recipes in Christina Tosi's "Milk Bar" cookbook. This post is one in a series.
With my previous bread-making attempt weighing heavily on me, I decided to try to redeem myself with another recipe using the mother dough. The kimchi and blue cheese croissants have intrigued me since I first got the "Milk Bar" cookbook. What a delightfully odd combination! A self-professed lover of weird food and food that many people turn their nose at, I love both kimchi and blue cheese. One of these days, I will try my hand at making kimchi myself, but I digress. I also happened to have both ingredients in my fridge, so it seemed the planets were aligned for me to make these croissants.
Because of the sticky nature of the mother dough, I decided to make the dough a day ahead of time to see if leaving it in the fridge would help it come together more and be less sticky.
Kimchi Compound Butter
I love the idea of compound butter – taking such a baking and cooking essential and elevating it with other ingredients. I would have never thought of using kimchi in such a way.
According to Tosi, blending the kimchi into the butter may result in the liquid trying to separate the butter. However, let the mixer do the work and it would be incorporated. I found that the butter was still really wet and crumbly. When I laid it out on the parchment, it was somewhat difficult to get it to spread into this nice sheet of butter.
When I took it out of the fridge the next day to incorporate into the dough, it was still really wet and leaky. I found it difficult to work with, as it made the dough wet and would leak out.
Making the Croissants
Naturally I decide to master this dough using one of the more strange recipes that also has a seemingly complicated baking technique that I had never attempted before – the "double book" technique that folds the butter into the dough. Basically, you put your sheet of butter onto your rolled out dough and fold it in the dough like you were making a book, with the center of your sheet of dough being the "spine."
As it turned out, it wasn't that hard. The only hindrances were lack of counter space and the fact that the kimchi compound butter was really wet and crumbly. According to the recipe, if the butter leaks out, just push it back in and pinch any holes closed. As mentioned above, the wet butter made my dough wet, so pushing the butter back in and closing holes was easier said than done.
Kimchi pretty much oozed every where when rolling out the dough for my first “book end.” So, needless to say, I didn’t get a perfect 8x12, as directed in the recipe. However, putting the technique into pratice wasn’t that bad. First round I ended up with a nice little sausage roll package to go rest in the fridge.
By the second time I had to fold the dough and butter, I admit I had a couple of drinks, which made things go a bit smoother ... or so it seemed.
When it was time to cut out my triangles, my dough looked a bit thicker than the pictures in the cookbook. At that point, I had it with the rolling pin and everything else. The kimchi butter was leaking out and making the dough soggy, it was after 8 p.m. and I was just ready to be done.
Despite those trials and tribulations, I think my croissants came out decent for my first attempt at making them. They were a bit fatter than the picture in the cookbook, but, keep in mind, they were also stuffed with blue cheese – of which I was liberal. So, my croissants were stocky. The bigger the better, right?
Regardless, much like my previous attempt with the brioche, these croissants may not look perfect but they were delish. And, the flakey, pull-apart texture of a croissant I did get right. So, maybe baby steps to getting a bit better at this baking thing each time?
The kimchi flavor was subtle; you get more of the spice than anything else. The blue cheese was definitely the star of the croissants.
Because I had half of the mother dough left, I went ahead and made the mustard butter for the turkey and swiss croissants. I figured I was on a roll. In addition to not following the mustard butter recipe exactly (I just chunked everything in with the butter and mixed), the dough exploded in my fridge. Listen folks, I’ve been baking/cooking almost every day. I am tired! This challenge makes my feet hurt! But I will persevere. And take a break on the bread making …