The Low-Down on Lamination

Lamination, its not just what you can do to paper to make it last longer.Laminated breads and pastries is dough and fat layered to make a fluffy and flaky bread.

Now that my Production of Breads and Rolls class is nearing the end, it is time to move on to the difficult breads.This week we started laminated doughs and sweet breads.Our first day of this rotation we made danishes and croissants.

Both of these doughs are made the same way.First you mix up the dough, and chill.You than flatten the dough out and place butter in the middle to form something similar to an empanada.You than flatten down the pillow and fold it three times, similar to folding a letter.Flatten again and repeat, than place it in the refrigerator for about an hour or until firm.

In our classroom, we are lucky enough to have a sheeter for the next step.You could use a rolling pin but I don’t think I have the arm strength for that!Once the dough is cold and firm you use the sheeter to flatten in out to about an inch thick.Fold the dough in three again and than do the final flattening.The dough should be about a third of an inch think in the end.Cut down the dough to fit onto the sheet pan and place it in the freezer for at least 3 hours.

My classmate Darcie working the sheeter.

When made properly you can see the layers of fat and dough.

As you read this, the whole process may seem really easy but don’t be fooled.If the dough and butter are not at the right temperature or consistency you dough can be ruined.Our class got a first hand look at what can go wrong when one team did not cool their dough before adding the butter.Although the dough looked the same, when it baked in the oven large pools of butter leaked out.The dough that was left over was dense and overcooked, having a similar consistency of pie crust.Thankfully our class made so much other danishes, that one ruined batch was not missed.

When the dough was to the right temperature it was now time to assemble your danishes and croissants.We prepared several different fillings.Blueberry, Apple, and Peach fruit fillings.A sweetened cream cheese filling and an almond marzipan for making bear claws.

Once the fillings are ready we took the frozen dough out to thaw slightly.Accurately cutting four inch by four inch squares for the danishes we were ready to assemble the pastries.Placing fillings into the dough and finishing them with egg wash and streusel the danishes were ready for the over.We also made copious amounts of bear claws, turnovers, and croissants.

Cutting the croissant dough into triangles to be rolled into a finished product.

Assembling the pastries.

Cutting the danish dough to make a bearclaw.

Egg washing croissants to give them a good shine.

Once all of the pastries are finished being assembled, they are put in the proof box for about an hour to double in size.Once the proofing process is complete the pastries are put in the oven and baked until golden brown.

While the danishes were still hot, we put two different types of glazes on them for a finishing touch.First an apri-gel to seal in the moisture in the dough and second a powdered sugar glaze for an added sweetness.

Ericka brushing on apri-gel while the danishes are still hot.

Everyone took turns glazing the pastries.

The next step is to enjoy!

Cream Cheese danish.

Peach turnover.

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