Croissants and pretzels

The joys of making your own pastries and breads or getting them fresh out of the bakery’s oven can be illustrated in several ways. McMinnville Bakers Dozen+ have enjoyed making and sampling both over the past year.

There’s an excellent article here on croissants for those who haven’t made their own yet.

For years, Francophiles have been lamenting the alleged decline of food in France, and (loudly, of late) French coffee. But the morning croissant — at least the ones not made with margarine — accompanied by a cafe au lait, is still an object of national obsession there, and outside the country, jealous admiration. The quality of croissants in Boston varies wildly from catastrophic (doughy or otherwise) to pretender, to pleasant, to the rare exceptional one.

May we say that most (not mine) of our McMinnville croissants were exceptional?

Pretzels – the big, soft, salty warm ones – are a different story. The ones our members made were all different and all excellent. Not one used the traditional lye bath, instead substituting baking soda, but they still tasted good.

Now to the Portland Opera, where we went to the Sunday matinee. Having finally learned that we could avoid standing in line during intermission if we ordered our little snacks before the performance started, we were eagerly looking forward to our big, warm pretzel! Sigh! What a disappointment. If it hadn’t been for the salt there would have been no flavor at all. We suspect the pretzels had been frozen, then nuked. But a few of our members did the same for our Octoberfest taste test and those tasted delicious, too. Could it have been the quality of the flour?

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