Thursday, May 17, 2007

55 Layers of Dough

One solution to insomnia is an all-night baking project. And making croissants is a solution to insomnia for a fundamentally lazy person (that'd be me): although it takes 12 hours or so of elapsed time, there are only 10 or 15 minutes of actual work involved. Croissants are made of a yeasted dough with layers of butter folded and refolded in to create very thin layers. In the recipe I use (Child & Beck, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, where else?), this ends with 55 layers, achieved through treble folding four times: 3, 7, 19, 55 (after the initial fold, two layers are lost in each additional treble fold because they are folded from the outside, and thus have no butter to separate themselves from their neighbors; this sequence, by the way, has some relevance to the theory of musical temperaments). (Photo: our breakfast table, this morning).

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