If things have been a little bit quiet on the blog, it's not that we don't care, we really do. It's just that baking bread is so much more interesting and important. But we will try and be better. Promise promise promise.
The last few weeks we have been gradually starting to make croissants and the response has been enthusiastic to say the least. So enthusiastic in fact that we've been selling out of them quick as a flash. They've been selling like the proverbial hot croissants in a city just craving a good 'un. All week the cries have been 'make more!' and so this seemed like a good time to explain how we go about introducing a new product.
First we start with a recipe, in this case, we got one from a book, but usually we just make one up from scratch. We start by following the recipe to the letter, then we stand around and make serious faces; sniff it, touch it, chew it, taste it. Work out what's right about it and what isn't. Too crispy? Too chewy? Not enough salt? Too sweet?
Then we tweak the recipe and try again: a little more salt and sugar, a fraction less water, a slight change to the procedure. Better? Yes, but now too much salt. So we change again, and again, all the time with small batches. We fiddle with the oven settings and try different things with the rolling pin and alter the temperature of butter and then eat the results - always eating the results.
So it's a long process just to get the perfect recipe, but we've nigh on cracked it now. So that's phase one done. Next we have to fit it into our day somewhere. When do we do them and in what order? What time do people want to buy them and when should we aim to have them ready? We try different combinations and thanks to some lateral thinking and nifty fridge use we can get them out first thing in the morning. Just right for your breakfast and ours.
But these are artisan croissants in their truest form - we mix them by hand, roll them out with a rolling pin, cut them with knife and roll them up with our hands. It's quite an involved process, and if we jump from making 40 a day to making a hundred in one step, things will probably not turn out right. So we'll be edging up our production in little steps until making 25 inevitably seems like childs play.
And then, when we've cracked it, we'll get some chocolate and move onto pain au chocolat. It's a slow process, like everything at the bakery, but patience yeilds great things. We're not so different, Guinness and us.