Friday, April 30, 2010

Update: Buttermilk Seed Bread, Available for Order!

NEWS We5Apr: Buttermilk seed bread is now available for order! Please place orders 5 days in advance to ensure availability. Email me here.
1 loaf $18, 2 loaves $30
prices shown in SGD

Freshly baked buttermilk seed bread waiting for friends to arrive.

Some people think making bread is a ridiculous, arduous task. "Why don't you just buy it from the store?" This pains me. Why wouldn't I just buy every baked good from the store?

Some nerds tear electronics apart and put them back together because they like knowing how things work. This nerd likes knowing what goes into her food, how to make it better, and derives pleasure not only from the end result but from the process as well. I also like the challenge of throwing things in the oven I've never tried and seeing what comes out. That is why.

I wanted a hearty bread that was sort of healthy, and since I'd already drenched my life in butter with my last bread effort, I thought I'd give buttermilk seed bread from a try.

Buttermilk Seed Bread
Submitted by Kathleen Loyd to and loosely interpreted by me

Yields 2 loafy sized loaves

1 (1/4 ounce) packet  active dry yeast
1 tsp  sugar
3/4 C  warm water (110 F or 45 C)*
scant 1 1/2 C  whole milk (+ lemon juice = buttermilk substitute)
1 1/2 T  lemon juice
2 T  butter, melted
3 T  honey
2 tsp  salt
2 T  sesame seeds
2 T  flax seeds
2 T  sunflower seeds
2 T  pumpkin seeds**
2 C  whole wheat flour
4 C  bread flour
olive oil

Clockwise from the top right: flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.

*warm to the touch but not too warm for a baby I'd say
**the original recipe calls for poppy seeds, but the store didn't have any, so I used what I had on hand

Buttermilk seed dough after a good night's rest.
  1. Place warm water in a tall mug and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes (it gets super frothy and foamy!).
  2. Mix milk and lemon juice and let stand 10 minutes (it curdles a bit, totally normal, don't you worry).
  3. Mix curdled milk, butter, honey, and yeast mix in a large bowl.
  4. Add salt and whole wheat flour and mix well.
  5. Add bread flour a 1/2 C at a time and mix well with a large spoon after each addition. Sprinkle about half the seeds with the first 1/2 C of bread flour and the rest with the second 1/2 C to ensure even distribution.
  6. Once it becomes difficult to mix with a spoon, knead the remaining bread flour into the dough.
  7. Knead about 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and homogeneous.
  8. Form the dough into a ball and lightly coat it with olive oil before placing it in a bowl.
  9. Seal the dough with plastic wrap (make sure there are no gaps, otherwise you'll get a dry skin on it) and let it sleep in the fridge through the night.
  10. Uncover the dough and punch it down so no fluffy air remains.
  11. Divide into two pieces and shape into loaves as desired (you can throw them in greased loaf tins or on baking sheets lined with silicone mats) and let rise until they've doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
  12. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaves; if it sounds hollow and the tops are nicely browned, you have just made bread!
  13. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes (preferably an hour) before slicing.
Buttermilk Seed Bread Reflections

I took a chunk of the bread fresh from the oven and gave it a taste test; to my horror, it was BITTER. No! Where did I go wrong?! Well, friends, don't worry about a thing; once the bread had cooled and had a nice rest, it tasted lovely.

The bread wasn't as dense as I thought it would be, but it was no fluffy affair either. It was this happy medium of soft, slightly chewy bread rife with seeds. The crust wasn't very... crusty as they say; this loaf was a far cry from your fresh baguette you merrily squeeze on the way home from the bakery. This could be remedied, perhaps, with an egg wash, but I think it was fine just the way it was.

Make sure you own a proper bread knife before making bread; any other knife pretty much fails. The serrated edge of the bread knife allows you to saw through both the thicker crust and the soft insides without ripping everything to pieces.

I think I'll add about 50% more salt next time; the bread could use a little more punch. Really though, all that effort is completely worth it. The Resident Taste Tester, a pack of friends over for Saturday dinner, a car design intern, a DJ/teacher, and myself can all attest to the wonders of homemade bread. It is an absolute dream when topped with butter, cream cheese, cold cuts and such and is excellent toasted. I even have an order for it! My very first order!!! That's how good homemade bread can be.

A happy loaf with even slices. Get a bread knife, folks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bumpin' Pumpkin Scones

A full plate of scones, ready for friends on a Saturday afternoon.

My mom and I both love scones. Their delicate, crumbly texture and softly sweet flavor make me think of tea time, weekend ladies brunch, or breakfast enjoyed on a warm, sunny day in the countryside. My go-to recipe at home was for white chocolate scones; my mom liked them with jam and butter while I preferred them straight from the oven.

Last winter in Tacoma, WA, the Resident Taste Tester (with his draw to coffee) and I had pumpkin scones from a corner cafe. These were large, much larger than scones I would make (which is the tendency of many coffee houses and their coffee accompanying treats). They were moist, a bit more dense, and covered with icing that dreamily poured down their sides. I knew that one day I would make them.

When I told a friend of my scone ambitions, he told me he'd never met a scone he liked. Crumbly. Dry. Tasteless. Ha! Undaunted and armed with this pumpkin scones recipe from, I  forged ahead with my plan to destroy his concept of scones as mediocre pastries.

After familiarizing myself with the recipe, I went to the store to buy canned pumpkin and a few more spices. Canned pumpkin is (as far as I've seen) a common item in US grocery stores and is available all year round; this is not the case in Singapore. I'm sure I could find it if I checked other places, but I couldn't be bothered. So, after some substitution confirmation from the internet, I bought half a butternut squash (labeled as butternut pumpkin in SG) to steam and mash on my own. This grocery store also lacked ground cloves, so I grumpily bought mixed spice, a combination of cassia, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. It would have to do.

Home made pumpkin mash, a fresh alternative to canned pumpkin puree.

I mashed out nearly 3 cups from the half a butternut squash. See how I did it here.

Pumpkin Scones
Originally submitted at, submitted by Rachel-Snachel to, and loosely interpreted by me

Yields 16 scones

2 C  all-purpose flour*
scant 1/2 C  sugar
1 T  baking powder
1/2 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp  ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp  mixed spice (substituted for cloves)
1/4 tsp  ground ginger
1/4 C + 2 T  cold butter
1/2 C  fresh mashed butternut squash
3 T  evaporated milk, buttermilk, or half and half
1  egg

*using 1 1/2 C plain and 1/2 C whole wheat turns out great if you want more nutritional value (a.k.a. fiiiber)

plain glaze
1/2 C + 1/2 T  powdered sugar
1 T  whole milk

spiced glaze
1/2 C + 1 1/2 T  powdered sugar
1 T  whole milk
1/4 tsp  ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp  ground nutmeg
1 pinch  ginger
1 pinch  mixed spice

Dry mix with butter cut in and a well formed (above). You can use a pastry blender or a butter knife in the palm of your hand to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks crumbly. Make a well in the ingredients (a bowl-shaped indent) and pour your wet mix inside (below, top right). Fold until dough just comes together (below, bottom right).
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C).
  2. Mix 1/2 C mashed squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, and ginger and refrigerate overnight (you don't really have to let it sit, but I like to think the spices infuse a bit).
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut butter into the dry mix until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Set aside (in the fridge or freezer if butter bits have warmed).
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk spiced pumpkin, milk, and egg until homogenous (remove any large chunks of pumpkin).
  6. Make a well in the dry mix and pour the wet mix inside. Fold one into the other until the dough just comes together (NO OVER MIXING!).
  7. Form the dough into a ball on a floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions.
  8. Pat each portion to rectangles approximately 3"x2"x1" and cut each into 2 triangles.
  9. Place scones 1" apart on a silicone mat lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake 8-12 minutes or until the tops are light brown and cool on wire racks.
  11. Whisk powdered sugar and milk together to make plain glaze.
  12. Dip tops of scones into glaze and place on wire racks (with silicone mat underneath to catch dripping glaze).
  13. As the plain glaze sets, whisk powdered sugar, milk, and spices together to make the spiced glaze.
  14. Once the plain glaze has set, drizzle the spiced glaze over the scones and allow to set.
  15. Enjoy!
Scones fresh from the oven, pre-glaze.

Pumpkin Scones Reflections

Replacing 1/2 C of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour doesn't do much to affect the taste or texture of the scones. What is does do is add a tiny bit of fiber and make you feel a little better about having a sweet pastry. Next time I make these, I'm going to bump up the whole wheat to replace half the all-purpose flour and see how that goes. Whole wheat flour enthusiasts often recommend replacing half the called for plain flour with whole wheat, but I've had mixed results (sometimes the texture is too rough or dense and sometimes it imparts a slightly bitter flavor). I think it might be okay in the case of pumpkin scones because the texture and flavor of the squash should soften any undesired effects of adding whole wheat.

My friend that didn't like scones? He found these ones to be delicious; the same goes for a crowd of four friends over for a Saturday dinner and the ladies at the office. The Resident Taste Tester? Jonesing for a pumpkin scone fix midweek after we'd run out (luckily I had made round two with whole wheat flour that afternoon).

So there you have it; these scones are amazing and not difficult to make. The most important things to remember when making scones are 1. to keep your butter cold and 2. never over mix. Cold butter allows you to make a crumbly dough, a similar process to making pie crust, and keeps the scone texture lighter. Over mixing develops the glutton, not something you want in this case, and makes the scones tough. Warm butter and a thorough mixing ensures a scone that is less than desirable.

Try this recipe! Do it! You'll like it and so will all of your friends!

Finished scones, posing like ballerina shoes.

UPDATE [13JUN2010]

I tried these without the spiced glaze; I doubled all the spices in the pastries themselves and added just a sprinkle of mixed spice to the plain glaze, drizzling it lightly over the scones. I also just dropped the batter onto silicone mats and gently formed them into little hockey puck shapes. The Resident Taste Tester said the spice could be doubled yet again, which would be yummy, but I think this alteration works just fine in terms of flavor and sweetness.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Importance of Knives

Yesterday, I woke up from a nap and wanted a nibble. I wandered over to the fridge and grabbed an apple and some milk. Still a bit drowsy, I started to cut the apple and slip! Right in the finger! Ow.

My bandaged finger can attest to the importance of sharp knives and paying attention while you're using them. "Dull Is Dangerous." This is a catchphrase slung around food handler's permit courses and plastered on kitchen walls in the US. Sharp knives cut foods like vegetables and breads with ease; my brand new knife from Lau Choy Seng at 23,25 Temple Street made me squeal with joy when it sliced through a red bell pepper with the gentlest press. Dull knives require one to exert more force on the knife to do the work; the surface of the food resists the blunt knife edge and that makes things dangerous. You're pressing harder and are more likely to have your knife glance off the food or to have something slip, leading to blood and horror.

My knife is sharp, I however, was not. Because my knife is sharp, I have a clean, neat cut instead of a ragged, awful mess. This little incident was not a problem of poorly kept kitchen equipment, rather it was because I was still half asleep. Don't use knives, dull or sharp, when not particularly alert. Lesson learned.

If you're in the market to buy an ever-sharp knife, check out Rachael Ray's Sharp Store. I'll admit she terrifies me a bit too, particularly in this segment. Still, her Sharp Store is a pretty brilliant idea. Viewer discretion is advised.

Side note: I went to both Sia Huat Ptd Ltd and Lau Choy Seng again yesterday and bought a zester with two different zesting sizes, the softest pastry brush, sushi rolling mats, and a tall glass pitcher that doubles as a country-home-eclectic-sort-of flower vase. I also popped by another Temple Street store that sells Moderne brand dish ware. I've walked past their giant 20% OFF signs plenty of times, but yesterday, I wandered in and bought a giant round serving dish (perfect for cakes, aside from the slightly raised edges) and two dinner plates. Confession: I've spent more on kitchenware in Singapore than I have on anything else and I just don't give a damn. I just don't.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins

Steamed and smashed butternut squash; a fresh, from-scratch substitute for canned pumpkin puree.

This post has little to do with front man Billy Corgan; if google has led you here for music, please hit the back button.

For those of you left in the room, welcome to pumpkin smashing 101! Whether you're desperate for a can of pureed pumpkin and your entire country seems to be in a canned pumpkin shortage (like me) or you just like doing things from scratch (also like me), you're in the right place.

Just how much smashed pumpkin do you need? I bought half a butternut squash (labelled butternut pumpkin in SG) and was able to smash out about 2.5 cups. Your standard 15 ounce can of Libby's pureed pumpkin contains 1.75 cups. I suggest you keep that in your notes for recipe time.

1/2 butternut squash ~ 2 1/2 C smashed
15 oz. canned pureed pumpkin = 1 3/4 C pureed

Excellent. Now, how do you pick a pumpkin/squash for your own mashing pleasure? Libby's uses "Dickinson" pumpkins, which are supposedly their very own Libby's breed. They look similar to butternut squash, just a lot longer. I've personally never met one of these genetically modified Libby zombie pumpkins, so I wouldn't know what their insides are like until they hit the can, but I've heard tell that using butternut squash = better pie!

Are you ready to smash?

Homemade Pumpkin Smash or Puree

Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree substitute, a.k.a. fresh smashed or pureed pumpkin

1/2 butternut squash (your one and only ingredient!)

Steamed butternut squash chunks, cooled and nearly ready for mashing.
Skins removed from steamed squash.
  1. Wash the skin of the squash and cut into chunks roughly 1"x3".
  2. Place skin side down in steamer basket and steam for 15-20 minutes or until tender enough to mash.
  3. Remove steamer baskets from heat and allow squash to cool completely.
  4. Remove and discard skin (you can scoop away the flesh using a spoon).
  5. Mash squash with a fork or puree in a blender/food processor until smooth (smooth-ish when mashing manually).
  6. Set aside what you need then cover and refrigerate or freeze remaining squash.
Smashed Pumpkin Reflections
Smashed butternut squash, ready for recipes.

The squash had a slight funk to it after it was steamed. There wasn't any funk to the delicious things I've made with the mash, but still, this pre-use funk bothers me.

If you're freezing the leftovers, I'd advise portioning it out into 1/2 cups so you can easily defrost a known quantity at a time.

I really like squash. They keep goods moist and tender, are full of flavor, have a terrific variety of textures, and add nutritional value (a high dose of vitamin A in butternut squash). Try using it in pancakes, scones, cupcakes, breads, soups... the list goes on and on. I think squash are neglected because people find them a bit spooky to prepare, but steaming and baking them - so easy. Don't be afraid to pick one up next time you're at the grocery store (or farmers market yeah!*); you won't be disappointed.

*If you're living in Singapore, check out the Loewen Gardens Farmers' Market this Saturday, the 1st of May. Admission is free and the market is full of divine goodies you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. See gorgeous pictures here (by Ivan Ng, a.k.a. NinjaHelloKitty at Flikr. You can see his food blog here).

1st Saturday of the month     9a-2p
75E Loewen Rd, Tanglin Village
6474 0441

Options for the folks back home in the Seattle-Tacoma area:

Thurdays  8:30a-2p     Opens May 20
Broadway Street, between 9th & 11th
see the website for the 6th Ave and South Tacoma info

Pike Place/1st Ave Level:  Mo-Sa 10a-6p     Su 11a-5p
DownUnder Stores: Mo-Su  11a-5p
85 Pike St

Auburn International Farmers Market
Sundays  11a-3p     Jun 13 - Sep 26
A St & 2nd St SW, easy access from Hwy 167/18
Lillie Brinker 253 266 2726

Saturdays  9a-2p     Jun 5 - Sep 25
2nd Ave N & W Smith St, next to library

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Molasses Cookies: Sugar or Chocolate on Top?

Love cookies fresh from the oven but don't have time to cook dinner and bake? Try prepping the dough beforehand and then throw it in the fridge. Toss them in the oven while you're having dinner and voilà! Soft, chewy, warm cookies ready for dessert nibbles when you are.

I felt like making something rich with spices and that was relatively quick to prep, something that would satiate my sweet tooth without being overpowering or too heavy. My first thought was something with cinnamon, but that wasn't quite right. Then I remembered I still had a full bottle of molasses from making croissants when it hit me: molasses cookies. Oh, molasses cookies. Soft and chewy and full of flavor, they were the perfect fit.

I decided to work with this molasses cookies recipe from I cut it in half, but it still gave me about 25 cookies (the original recipe yields 30).

Molasses Cookies
 Originally submitted by Brenda Hall to and loosely interpreted by me

Yields approximately 25 cookies

 6 T  butter, melted
1/2 C  white sugar
1  egg
2 T  molasses
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp  baking soda
1/4 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp  cinnamon
1/4 tsp  mixed spice (cassia, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger)
1/4 tsp  ginger
1/4 C  white sugar (for rolling)
1/4 C  dark chocolate, chopped to about chocolate chip size

 1 inch balls of molasses cookie dough rolled in chopped dark chocolate (foreground and right) and white sugar (background and left).
  1.  In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugar, and egg well.
  2. Mix in molasses and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and spices.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet mix and stir until combined.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 1+ hours.
  6. Remove from fridge and preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  7. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls, dip in sugar or chocolate, and place 2 inches apart (plain side down) on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the sugar has begun to melt together and crack.
  9. Cool on racks.
  10. Enjoy!
Molasses Cookies Reflections

These weren't as thick as I had hoped. I like a tall and chewy molasses cookie. Cookies with shortening tend to hold their shape a bit better but I do enjoy the way butter tastes. I think using half butter and half shortening would yield a thicker yet still flavorful cookie in the future. The Baking and Baking Science website also suggests that using a finer grain of sugar would stabilize the cookies further. I'd use caution with casually replacing write crystallized sugar with powdered sugar cup-for-cup; powdered sugar packs denser than crystallized sugar, which would sway the cookie to be sweeter. Try either measuring out your crystallized sugar and then powdering it yourself in a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor (tips and instructions here) or weigh out your crystallized sugar and then weigh out the same mass of powdered sugar.

I've noticed this before with sugar-dipped cookies; sometimes the sugar is, surprisingly, not sweet enough. I think I'd like this with a simple powdered sugar and milk icing (slightly heaped 1/2 C powdered sugar to 1 T milk) or a nice cream cheese frosting.

As for chocolate, I had wanted to dip them halfway and let it set, but I really couldn't be bothered after dinner. I think it's a nice cookie with bits of dark chocolate on top, but it would looks much nicer with a quick dip in a vat of the melted stuff and the proportion of cookie to chocolate would be lovely.

So what is it; sugar or chocolate on top? I vote no crystallized sugar on top and find the options of icing, cream cheese frosting, and chocolate-dipped equally delightful. If you get around to trying these variations, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Quick Note on Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding is much easier and faster to make than you might think. I grew up eating Jello pudding cups and never thought twice about them until now (just how, exactly, do they keep a skin from forming...).

Most of the ingredients can be found in your kitchen if you bake semi-regularly and if you don't have unsweetened chocolate squares on hand, you can substitute unsweetened cocoa powder with oil or butter.

Rich and Creamy Chocolate Pudding
From and loosely interpreted by me

Yields 2 servings

2/3 C  low fat milk
4 tsp  cake or all-purpose flour (substitute for cornstarch)
1/6 C  sugar
1/8 tsp  salt
1  square unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped
1  egg yolk
2  tsp butter
1 tsp  vanilla
  1. Whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan until homogenous.
  2. Add sugar, salt, and chocolate and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until chocolate melts and the liquid thickens.
  3. In a small bowl, add a small amount of warm chocolate mix to the egg yolk and whisk. Repeat and then add back to saucepan.
  4. Return saucepan to medium-low heat and whisky constantly for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
  6. Divide between two ramekins and chill for 20 minutes or serve warm.
  7. Enjoy!
Chocolate Pudding Reflections

Really, just how do commercial pudding manufacturers keep a skin from forming? They must have traded a few dozen souls for the unholy ingredients that keep that skin away because the minute I stopped stirring, a skin started to form. It wasn't so bad, to be honest, but the longer you keep the pudding, the thicker the skin. I suppose this could be avoided by laying plastic wrap directly on the pudding, but I think that's an overly messy affair that's not worth it if you're eating the pudding the same day.

Sorry there aren't any pictures; this was really an it's-raining-and-I-got-splashed-by-two-buses-on-the-way-home quick cozy dessert.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Croissants: A Two Day Affair

My first attempt at making croissants. Not too shabby.

I have read in numerous blogs and recipe websites that croissants are the bane of any amateur baker's existence. A recipe that takes two days, several rounds of touching, rolling, and resting, and could possibly end in disaster for any number of missteps would have anyone shaking in their apron. Naturally I decided to throw myself in the deep end.

Sure, I've made a couple of yeast breads before, but never anything as unanimously daunting as croissants. Knowing I wasn't alone in my fear, I went to the blogs to consult my colleagues in the oven. I settled on the recipe at Not So Humble Pie and advice from Gabi on

It wasn't as heart-breaking a process as I thought it would be. The only minor oops was nearly forgetting to feed the yeast. Woooow. I used to make cinnamon rolls at my university every Saturday morning for nearly a year; how could I forget something as basic as giving the yeast sugar to feed on? Well, I didn't really forget to, I just added it later than the recipe said to. I had mixed the dough and thrown it in the fridge when I realized I hadn't added any sugar. "Odd recipe," I thought. I mused over how there could be anything to fuel the yeast for a moment and then reread the recipe. I simply glazed over the word sugar and went about making a yeast dough without it. Silly. I took the dough out, sprinkled sugar on it, and spun it in the mixer for another minute before sending it back to the fridge for a good sleep.

The croissants actually came out nicely! I halved the recipe because I know the Resident Taste Tester and I do not need eleven full size croissants lurking in the kitchen.

When I took half the dough and made four croissants, I thought they seemed rather large even before they had gone through the last rising phase. They were absolutely  massive by the time they came out of the oven. Unfortunately, the insides were a bit too moist (cooked, no doubt, but heavy with butter) while the outsides were beautiful. I decided to make eight croissants with the remaining dough and these proportions came out so wonderfully crisp and flaky on the outside while soft, fluffy, and buttery on the inside that several were consumed within minutes of hitting the rack to cool.


Originally from the CIA, adapted by Not So Humble Pie, and loosely interpreted by me*

Yields 16 croissants

358g (1.5 C)  whole milk, room temperature
14g (1/2oz or 4 1/2 tsp)  yeast
453g (4 C)  bread flour
56g (heaping 1/2 C)  sugar
10g (1 1/2 tsp)  salt (not in the original recipe, but I think it improves it)
40mL (2 T)  molasses (substituted for malt syrup)
71g (heaping 1/2 C) butter, cold but pliable

Roll in:
226g (2/3 C) butter, cold but pliable

Egg wash:
1 egg + 3 T whole milk, beaten

Flour, for rolling out dough

* Volume measurements in parentheses are approximate

1.  Mix the yeast and room temperature milk; set aside for 10 minutes.
2.  Pound the cold butter in a plastic bag (or between sheets of wax paper, etc.) with a rolling pin until pliable (you'll end up with a sheet of butter about a quarter inch thick). If butter becomes too warm, place in freezer until cold again.
3.  Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl (sift it if you like, but it's not necessary).
4.  Add molasses to the flour mix and cut in the cold but pliable butter coarsely by giving it a quick spin on low with the electric mixer.
5.  Pour the yeast-milk mix over everything and mix on low until the dough becomes unwieldy and begins to reach for the sky (it took about 30 seconds for my dough to start creeping up the beaters).
6.  Replace beaters with dough hooks and continue to mix on low for 3 minutes, then turn up to high and mix for 2 minutes.
7.  Line a baking sheet (that fits in your fridge comfortably) and spread out dough evenly.
8.  Cover with plastic wrap and press out all air bubbles (to prevent strange crusting) before placing it in the fridge for 5+ hours (over night is perfectly acceptable).
9.  Place the cold butter for the roll in between sheets of wax paper or in a plastic bag and beat with the rolling pin until it is a pliable sheet about 9"x13" (slightly larger or smaller is fine). Return it to the fridge to keep cold until you're dough has finished it's 5+ hours in the fridge (you can do this just before you roll out your dough in the next step, but make sure it's cold).
10.  Remove dough from the fridge (it will be less sticky and a bit more puffy than it was 5+ hours ago) and roll out with a pin to about 13"x18" on a well-floured surface (always have flour handy when rolling out the dough to prevent sticking).
11. Now begins the three-part folds and short rests section. Place your cold but pliable roll in butter on your dough and fold the sides of the dough over to cover the butter.

This is sort of what a four-fold looks like. Not perfect, but it will do.

This is a three-fold, and the Resident Taste Tester in the background.

11a.  Roll the dough out to about 13"x18" and fold the ends to the middle and fold again like you are closing a book (see four-fold above). Cover and seal with plastic wrap and return to fridge for 30 minutes.

11b.  Roll out dough again to about 13"x18" and do a three-fold like a business letter or men's wallet (see three-fold above). Cover and seal with plastic wrap and return to fridge for another 30 minutes.
11c.  Roll out dough yet again to about 13"x18", repeat the three-fold, and place in the fridge for the final time for two hours.
12.  Now you can begin to make pretty little crescent shapes. Roll out dough to about 9"x20" and cut into four equal size rectangles. Set three in the fridge (wrapped in plastic of course).

If Bob Ross was baking these, he would call them happy little triangles.

You can see all the layers we folded and rolled in. Happy little triangles indeed.

12a.  Roll out one rectangle to a square (a bit larger than 9"x9") and cut in half to make two rectangles. Cut diagonally across both rectangles to make four triangles.
12b.  Cut a 1" slit at the base of each triangle (the shorter side of the right angle) and roll tightly towards the far tip, stretching the dough as you roll.
12c.  Place rolled dough on a baking sheet (I always line with silicone baking mats), turn in corners slightly to make a crescent shape, and brush with an egg wash. Repeat 12a-c for the rest of the dough, placing 8 or so croissants on each baking sheet and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature (until nearly doubled in size).
13.  Preheat oven to 375 F (191 C), do one more egg wash, and bake for 16-20 minutes until nicely brown.
14. Remove to rack and cool (five minutes is generally enough time to cool them so you don't burn your tongue, but use your best judgement).
14. Enjoy!

Croissant Reflections

Croissants basking in the Singapore sun.

I found that the amount of butter originally to roll in was waaay too much for me; the croissants bled butter in the oven partway through and swam in it until they finished baking. Not a terrible thing, just sort of horrifying. The amount of roll in butter I list is reduced by one third.

The original recipe also didn't have any salt in it; I used about half salted and half unsalted butter when I made them and I think they could use a teaspoon or two of salt (while using unsalted butter) to punch things up a bit.

You really have to get the portions and timing right to get perfectly crisp, flaky, brown croissants on the outside and fluffy, soft, layers upon layers of yum on the inside. Experiment a bit and granted yours don't burn, you'll have delectable, rich croissants and an air of buttery bread throughout your home for a couple of days.

Lovely flaky layers glistening in the early afternoon light. Perhaps all the butter will deepen that tan.