Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ham and cheese croissants -- in the back bakery at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop

Sunny spring morning outside Fire Island.

We were heading out the back door at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop recently when we spotted Rachel Saul (co-owner) busy at the sheeting machine. This machine gets used for croissant dough, shortbread cookies, and various other pastries for which flatness is essential.

Rachel and Astrid the pastry chef were working on a batch of  ham and cheese croissants. I fired off questions and Rachel lobbed back answers:

How many layers in this dough? "Several dozen layers of butter and flour."

What's the difference between this and puff pastry? "This is yeasted."

"What happens to the strips of dough left over when you cut out the croissant shapes? "They go to make our monkey-bread." (That inspired me to try the monkey bread -- delicious).

Once the dough has gone through the sheeting machine several times, and is the desired thickness, it's time to cut the shapes and assemble the croissants.

Next  - Rachel rolls the dough onto a cylinder, and unrolls it onto the stainless steel work table.

Everything is done with precision. Rachel is using a yardstick and a small knife to mark the exact length for each strip of dough.

She has a slick tool that cuts four pieces of dough at a time. Astrid is laying out slices of Swiss cheese.

After the cheese, rolls of ham go on.

Rachel finishes shaping each ham and cheese croissant.

The next morning I stopped back by to try one (Jim got the ham). They were as good as they look -- flaky, moist with butter, complex with the mix of whole wheat and white flour, and bit of egg that go into dough.

Fire Island has been offering classes this year, and just finished a croissant class (also known as "Viennoiserie" dough).  It was popular, and it's likely that they'll be offering it again -- check the website. [].

Ham and Swiss cheese croissant, usually available at the Bakeshop.

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