Croissants are easy, but Cruffins are easier (BBB July 2021)

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BBB: Let's Keep Baking summary: recipe for Cruffins; it’s warm in the kitchen; the butter is soft; fooling around with measurements; rolling pins are wonderful; remembering and forgetting; late again; information about Bread Baking Babes;

We just keep rollin’, we keep on rollin’ along!

BBB Cruffins

It’s hot! Poisonously hot. (But not as hot as west of here where wildfires are raging – many out of control – from BC to western Ontario.) And here I am, late again. I don’t have any excuse at all. Neither unviable or viable.

But thank goodness I made the BBBs’ July project! For this month’s project, Aparna chose cruffins, which are the perfect comfort food for sitting on the porch in the morning before the day’s heat really hits.

Have you ever heard of cruffins? Before Aparna mentioned them, I hadn’t. Apparently, they’re all the rage. And I think I know why.

Eva (Bake Street) says, “Cruffin is a hybrid of croissant and muffin, that is, a dough that would be used to make a croissant, but that is rolled up on itself and placed on a muffin tray to be baked.

You can’t really fail with butter, can you?

When a croissant meets a muffin amazing things happen!
 
– Manuela, Cooking with Manuela | How to Make Cruffins from Scratch
I don’t remember when I first laid eyes on a cruffin, but it was intrigue at first sight. Tall, sugared, flaky pastries often filled and garnished to the max, cruffins are a feast for the eyes and Instagram feeds. These laminated darlings are relatively young in the pastry world (they were invented by the famed by Kate Reid of Lune Croissanterie in 2013)
 
– Ruth, Cook Til Delicious | Sourdough Enriched Cruffins
There’s a reason croissant-other pastry hybrids are so popular: so many baked goods can benefit from the light, buttery, flaky dough that croissants are made from. One such pastry is this spiced cruffin—or croissant muffin. It’s somewhere between croissant and cinnamon roll, with a generous interior of spiced sugar wrapped up in a sweet spiral and baked in a muffin pan.
 
Erin Jeanne McDowell, Food52 | Spiced Cruffins
[T]hese are my idea of baked bliss. Cruffins are a delicious marriage of croissants and muffins.
 
– Jennifer, Seasons & Suppers | Cinnamon Sugar Cruffins

Here’s what I did to the BBBabes’ July 2021 cruffins recipe:

BBB Cruffins diary:

1 June 2021, 11:32
This is exactly the kind of thing that we adore!! And they look to be so good for us too! :lalala:

Cruffins remind me of Kouign Amann we made in February 2015, and fan-tans from January 2013. And, of course, of croissants from January 2009 – a project very early on before I was officially a BBBabe (but I finally made croissants and pain au chocolat in 2011, and we were so glad I did…).

12 July 2021, 14:51 Yes, I’m a freak. I’ve translated Aparna’s recipe into grams. Except where it was in grams, and then I’ve put it into cups and spoons. (I hope I did it correctly!)

The amount of salt (just 1.5 grams for 281 grams of flour) seems rather low to me. I’m inclined to add close to 4 times the amount: 5.5 grams.

I’ll probably use less sugar too… maybe 12 grams (about a Tablespoon rather than a quarter cup or “more for a sweeter cruffin”)

And zero butter in the dough because that always gives me so much grief.

And maybe a little less yeast too.

15 July 2021, 18:10 I’ll be baking these tomorrow and hope to post on Saturday. I WAS going to bake today but, well, I don’t really have a good excuse, do I? :lalala:

16 July 2021, 10:17 Mixing the dough was a breeze. At the last minute, I decided I would add some butter to the dough after all. But hardly any. Because so much is going into the lamination part.

13:37 Ooops!!! Once again, I’ve lost track of time. I clearly have way too much of it on my hands right now. It was only T asking if I was supposed to be doing something with the bread.

Why, yes, I WAS supposed to be doing something to the bread. I was supposed to be adding the salt!
Handling dough, whether a pastry dough, a bread dough, or a croissant dough, is a lesson in understanding the effects of time and the need for patience. You can’t rush dough. When water is added to flour, gluten forms, giving dough its elasticity. It’s what allows us to roll out a tart dough; it’s what allows bread doughs to trap gas bubbles without breaking and thereby leaven bread. You can’t speed gluten development, or force gluten to relax. A dough needs to be mixed for a specific amount of time to develop this gluten. The more you develop the gluten, the more it needs to relax, which means leaving it alone. When you’re rolling out a dough, it may want to pull back or contract; sometimes you’ve got to let it sit, and allow the gluten to relax to avoid stressing the dough. It’s a matter of time.
      Often a dough must be chilled before being rolled, especially if it contains butter. You need to chill the dough for an adequate time, which means learning patience. Patience, practice, time, care, and touch are never more important than in baking.
 
– Sebastien Rouxel, ‘Sebastien On Laminated Doughs | Patience and Practice’, Bouchon Bakery

Ha!! M. Rouxel forgot to remind me for the need to pay attention to how much time has passed…. In the same book, Thomas Keller did mention the timer though. So I don’t really have any excuse for forgetting, do I?
Set a timer for 1 hour. […] Pat, stretch, and fold the dough […] Cover and set aside.
     Set the timer for 1 hour again. Repeat the pat, stretch, and fold, place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and set aside.
     Set the timer for 1 hour again. Repeat the pat, stretch, and fold, place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and set aside.
 
– Thomas Keller, several times throughout, Bouchon Bakery

While it’s true that I’m a slow learner, I’m happy to report that I’ve set the timer now to continue with rolling, laminating, coiling, shaping, etc.

14:38 I’m staring at the instructions. My brain hurts. I know it’s probably insanely easy when you know how.

5. […] Divide into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a 60x20cm sized piece. The dough sheet will be very thin. […]
6. Spread about 30 to 38 gm butter (depending on whether you’re using 120 gm or 150 gm of butter) of soft butter over each rolled out piece of dough. Cut each piece into half, lengthwise, creating two thin strips.
7. Roll one thin strip into a tight roll. Place this at the edge of the second strip and continue rolling till you have one thick roll. This will give your cruffins more layers. […]
8. Cut roll in half lengthwise. Roll each half, like a circle (cinnamon roll style)with the cut layers side showing the outside. Make sure to tuck both ends under so it doesn’t open up on baking. Place the roll in the prepared muffin or popover pan.
– BBB July 2021 recipe

Perhaps I should look at one of the videos that Aparna pointed to. Both are good, but I really like the second one – simply because the baker uses a rolling pin rather than a pasta machine. We HAVE one of those hand-crank pasta machines, but I’m too lazy to get it out. The rolling pin should work just fine. Shouldn’t it?

14:52 Oh!! It IS easy when you know how… It’s a similar rolling and cutting in half technique as we used for the BBBs’ October 2012 and January 2014 projects of Russian Roses, except there’s no twisting. I think….

17:19 They actually were pretty easy to shape. Next time, they’ll be even easier. The most difficult part for me was cutting the jelly-rolled ropes in half. Because they were quite warm, they closed up. I wanted them to look like Eva’s on Bake-street:

Bake-street Shape Cruffins

18:07 30 minutes to bake, eh? I had to add an extra 10 minutes.

But, of course, that’s not surprising, is it? Everybody’s oven is different.

18:18 They’re done! And they’re beautiful. The best thing is they slipped right out of the pan. Yay!

BBB Cruffins
BBB Cruffins

I baked mine with just butter as I personally prefer a more savoury Cruffin. I have baked them with chocolate and cinnamon sugar fillings and they’re all good. Otherwise don’t use any filling with the butter but just dust them with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. […] I’m a bit of a purist here and prefer to keep things simple.
– Aparna, message to BBBabes

T and I talked about it earlier, and we agreed with Aparna – to keep things simple. As attractive as jam, chocolate, fruit curd sound, I decided not to use any filling at all. And I completely forgot about dusting them with sugar when I took them out of the oven. Oops!!

I cannot wait for tomorrow morning when we sit on the porch to savour at least one cruffin with coffee. Shall we have black currant jam with them too?

This morning, we re-heated two of the cruffins. Just as we were trying to decide whether to get slightly inferior black currant jam, or really inferior, ridiculously expensive, famous French name wild blueberry jam out of the fridge, I remembered that we have one last jar of our apricot jam from 2019 in the basement.

BBB Cruffins
BBB cruffins

I also realized as I was tasting the shatteringly crisp crust that I forgot to put sugar into the dough!! How did I manage that?! Even so, our cruffins were delicious. But next time, I’ll remember the sugar.

(Isn’t “shatteringly” a great description? I wish I could say I invented it! I’ve just finished reading Thomas Keller’s and Sebastien Rouxel’s book “Bouchon Bakery”. In their description for croissants, they write, “There’s only one word for it: shatter. It’s what a good croissant does when you bite into it—and an indication that you’ve succeeded in making one of the most special doughs in the baker’s repertoire. You’ve created layers of dough so exquisitely thin, brittle, and browned that they shatter into sweet, delicate shards that all but melt in your mouth“.)

Now that I finally understand Aparna’s shaping instructions (after reading and re-reading several times after our cruffins were already in the oven), I’ll also remember to follow the one that says to cut each buttered rectangle in “half, lengthwise, creating two thin strips” and to roll one strip “into a tight roll” and put it onto the narrow “edge of the second strip and continue rolling till you have one thick roll“. More layers have to be good!

(I did say that I’m a slow learner, didn’t I?)

Just as planned, we ate cruffins and drank coffee as we sat outside on the porch, watching the rain fall, and marvelling that it felt just a little bit chilly. I love a summer rain.

BBB cruffin
BBB cruffin

Thank you, Aparna! I think… we’re definitely going to have to make these again. :-) :-) But I hope we don’t have to buy bigger clothes, as a result. :lalala: :lalala:

Here is the July 2021 BBB recipe that we were given. And here is what I did to it:

Cruffins
based on Aparna’s recipe for Cruffins

If the Cruffin is new to you, it is generally described as something between and a croissant and a muffin. […] Actually it’s neither. […] [I]t’s nothing like a muffin except the tin/ tray it is baked in!
– Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen | Cruffins

makes 8 plain cruffins

Equipment

  • rolling pin
  • muffin tin

Dough

  • flour (The BBB recipe calls for “2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour [281 grams]”)
       » 261 grams unbleached (no additives) all purpose flour
       » 10 grams 100% whole wheat (no additives) flour
       » 10 grams wheat germ
  • 4 grams instant yeast (The BBB recipe calls for “1 1/4 tsp dry yeast [5 grams]”)
  • Zero grams sugar (I WAS going to add 12 grams, but I forgot! The BBB recipe calls for “1/4 cup sugar (more for sweeter cruffin) [50 grams]”)
  • 50 grams water
  • 123 grams 2% milk
  • 5 grams unsalted butter, soft (The BBB recipe calls for “50 gm unsalted butter, chilled [3 1/2 Tbsp]”)
  • 5 grams seasalt + 10 grams water (The BBB recipe calls for “1/4 tsp salt [1 1/2 grams]”)

For Lamination

  • 125 grams unsalted butter, soft (The BBB recipe calls for “120 to 150 gm unsalted butter, at room temperature [1/2 to 2/3 cup]”)

To Decorate/ Serve

  • nothing (The BBB recipe calls for “Icing sugar/Cinnamon sugar/ Melted chocolate, etc”)
  1. mixing the dough: In the morning of the day of making the bread: Sift the all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in whole wheat flour, wheat germ, 12 grams sugar (do as I say, not as I did), and instant yeast. Pour in 50 grams water, milk and 5 grams of soft butter. Using a dough whisk (or your hands), mix everything together to make a rough dough. The dough may seem a little dry – don’t worry. Note that at this point the dough is quite stiff. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes on the counter, or in the oven making sure that only the light is turned on.
  2. Adding the salt and kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and 10 grams of water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl – this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it’s coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. The dough may still seem quite stiff.
  3. Stretching and folding Turn the bowl as fold and re-fold the dough into the center until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in the oven with only the light turned on for about 30 minutes.
  4. Stretching and folding again: Repeat the folding step at least one more time after 30 minutes or so.
  5. Prepare the muffin tin: Smear butter on the bottoms and sides of 8 muffin tins. Set aside.
  6. Pre-Shaping: When the dough has doubled,
    • turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Cut it into 4 equal pieces and shape them into rough rectangles. Cover with a clean tea towel and get out the rolling pin.
  7. Shaping:
  8. Roll one of the rectangles out into a long very thin rectangle.
    FLUFF YOUR DOUGH
    For doughs that we don’t roll between parchment—the laminated doughs for puff pastry and croissants, for instance—we like to “fluff” them, just as you would a cotton sheet. The gentle fluffing helps the gluten relax and so makes the dough easier to roll out. It will be less likely to tense up on you.
    – Thomas Keller and Simon Rouxel, ‘Puff Pastry and Croissants’, Bouchon Bakery

    When the rectangle is paper thin, gently smear a quarter of the laminating butter all over the top. Roll up like a jelly roll. Using a bench scraper or a very sharp knife, cut it lengthwise in half. Keeping the cut side up, coil each of the two pieces into a sort of snail shape, tucking the end underneath. Place both coils into two of the prepared muffin tins.
    Spread […]soft butter over each rolled out piece of dough. Cut each piece into half, lengthwise, creating two thin strips. Roll one thin strip into a tight roll. Place this at the edge of the second strip and continue rolling till you have one thick roll. This will give your cruffins more layers. – BBB July 2021 recipe
  9. Repeat with the 3 other rectangles.
  10. Cover the muffin tin with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until about double. (It took about half an hour in our rather warm summer kitchen.)
  11. Preheat the oven: When the shaped cruffins have almost doubled, turn the oven to 400F.
    BBB Cruffins
  12. Baking: Make sure the oven is thoroughly preheated before proceeding. Put the cruffins onto the middle shelf of the oven Immediately turn the oven down to 375F and bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Continue to bake: Notice that the cruffins don’t look done yet. Continue to bake for 10 minutes more, or until they are golden brown.
  14. Cooling: Use a butter knife to gently release the cruffins. Place them on a footed rack to allow them to completely cool before serving; they are still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm cruffins (of course you do), reheat them after they have cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.
    Set the bread on a rack and (this is one of the hardest parts of bread baking) keep your hands off that beautiful crusty bread for at least an hour, or until it is completely cool. You will be dying to cut into that gorgeous warm bread, the crust crackling as it cools, but remember that it’s still cooking inside; the crumb is still jelling, and the crust still developing. The crust will soften partway through the cooling time, but it will crisp again as it cools completely.
     
    – Thomas Keller, ‘Breads: Cooling’, Bouchon Bakery

Notes:

Flour: The BBB recipe calls for all-purpose flour. I chose to add a little whole wheat flour and some wheat germ so that our all-purpose flour might resemble stone-ground flour.

Sugar: The BBB recipe calls “1/4 cup sugar (more for sweeter cruffin) [50 grams]” in the dough, plus a dusting of sugar on the outside after the cruffins come out of the oven. Next time, I will definitely add more sugar than the zero grams I added this time. However, I also think this shaping method would be perfect for cinnamon rolls, and that is probably how I’ll add more sugar by slathering butter on each layer then dusting it with cinnamon/sugar before rolling jelly-roll fashion.

Salt: The BBB recipe calls “1/4 tsp salt [1 1/2 grams]” in the dough. This seemed very low to me so I added almost 4 times the amount, with 5 grams. We like a nice balance of salt and sweet. If I had remembered to add the sugar, the new amount of salt probably would have been fine. But as it was, the cruffins tasted a little bit salty. Next time, I’ll add just 4 grams salt. I will also endeavour to remember to add the sugar to the dough.

Baking Temperature and Time: The BBB recipe suggests that it takes 30 minutes to bake the cruffins. If I had remembered to add the sugar, it might have been 30 minutes. But the most important thing is to bring the cruffins out of the oven when they are done, rather than to rely on an arbitrary time.

Most domestic ovens, whether gas, electric, fan assisted or solid fuel, will bake bread quite adequately. But, not surprisingly, some are better than others. […] [T]he temperature in the oven may have to fall by as much as 30°C before the thermostat calls for renewed heat, so the item being baked is subjected to a constantly oscillating temperature. […] The knobs and dials on domestic ovens are notoriously unreliable. Even where they indicate a precipe temperature rather than a rough guide or a regulo number, you should regard the setting as approximate. […] [A]ll that is really required is to know what setting gives a cool, moderate or hot oven. […] [I]f you understand roughly what heat a loaf requires (e.g. pretty hot for a big, wet, rye sourdough, moderate for an enriched sweet bread), you won’t go far wrong
 
– Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters, Chapter three: Taking Control

 

BBB Cruffins

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Let's Keep BakingCruffins

Aparna is hosting July 2021’s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

we’ve baked so much bread, it gets tougher every time to pick something new for us to make. After much indecision, I finally chose Cruffins for us to bake. […] If the Cruffin is new to you, it is generally described as somewhere between and a croissant and a muffin hence the name. Actually it’s neither. […] The Cruffin is more a cross between a croissant and cinnamon roll, with spiced sugar (or filling of your choice) wrapped in a sweet spiral and baked in a muffin tray. The outside is crisp and lightly caramelized and buttery and soft layers on the inside. […] The first Cruffin is said to have been made in 2013 by Kate Reid of Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne, Australia.
 
– Aparna, in messages to BBBabes

We know you’ll want to make cruffins too!

Just in case you’re nervous about them, take Thomas Keller’s and Sebastien Rouxel’s words to heart:

Don’t be afraid to make laminated doughs. While it does take some care, practice, and planning, it’s not as difficult as you might think. And it results in a very elegant, satisfying product that you can use in many, many ways. You should judge puff pastry by three main criteria:
 • Brittleness—it should shatter pleasantly when you eat it.
 • Lightness—it should feel light on the palate.
 • Butteriness—you should detect a melting sensation from the large quantity of butter.
 
excerpt from “Bouchon Bakery” by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

It really isn’t difficult at all. There isn’t even that much practice and planning required.

To receive a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the filled bread in the next couple of weeks and post about them (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 July 2021. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to contact the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

Please note that it’s not enough to post about your bread in the Facebook group. Because of the ephemeral nature of Facebook’s posts, your FB post may be lost in the shuffle. Please make sure to directly contact the kitchen of the month if you want to be included in the BBBuddy roundup.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ July 2021 poviticas:

 

Lune Croissanterie Cruffins
“Lune is not a shop, nor is it a factory.
It is a celebration of the creation, complexity and ultimate enjoyment of a croissant.”

– lunecroissanterie.com

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6 responses to “Croissants are easy, but Cruffins are easier (BBB July 2021)

  1. Elle (Feeding My Enthusiasms)

    As always your post is the most fun to read. The directions really didn’t seem to be very clear about the dividing and shaping, but yours look so perfect that I think you intuited it some, right? Lovely post and lovely cruffins…and with apricot jam and summer rain just about the perfect way to start a morning.

    edit 18 July 2021, 16:53: Thank you, Elle! And yes, the written directions were a little tricky to understand, before actually doing the thing. The videos helped a lot. And if I were actually able to retain more than one sentence at a time of the written directions, I think I might have even managed to get the rolling right. (Duh….) – Elizabeth

    Reply
  2. Kelly (A Messy Kitchen)

    Ho, you think croissants are easy? LOL. I have never been able to do a full puff yet without my butter layer breaking and then bleeding oil all over my oven. *sigh* More practice needed. I want to try these again and get thinner layers. I have ideas about things to try. I reduced the sugar by half in mine and was happy. Would definitely keep it that way, especially to try sweet versions. Tanna is right, I want to try a brown sugar and cinnamon cruffin! I like these but think morning buns are easier and flakier. But hubby absolutely loved them and of his own volition has been eating them for breakfast. That’s a HUGE endorsement. This morning I reheated some for him and he poured marionberry syrup into the layers and loved it.

    edit 18 July 2021, 17:10: I do think croissants are easy, Kelly. But maybe I’m having selective memory. :lalala: I confess that it has been a while since I’ve made croissants. And I certainly didn’t make them when it was so hot and humid!
     
    I’m with you; a brown sugar and cinnamon cruffin sounds very good. Next time….
     
    – Elizabeth

    Reply
  3. Karen (Karen's Kitchen Stories)

    Hey, you ended up with 8 cruffins so you must be doing something right, right? I went with all of the butter and the dough was still amazingly easy. Buttery dough usually gives me fits too! Sounds like a lovely breakfast with the summer rain.

    edit 18 July 2021, 17:13: It was lovely indeed, Karen. It cooled things off nicely. Or at least it did while we were outside savouring cruffins, jam and coffee. – Elizabeth

    Reply
  4. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats)

    They turned out beautifully! And with the jam, I can only imagine how delicious they were.

    edit 18 July 2021, 17:17: Thank you, Judy! We were pretty pleased, especially with the crackly crust. And they were even more delicious this morning with goat’s cheese and honey. – Elizabeth

    Reply
  5. Katie (Thyme for Cooking)

    I keep hearing about your weather – well the weather west of you….I can’t imagine how awful it must be.
    But the cruffins look wonderful. And the lovely apricot jam. Who needs sugar!?!

    edit 18 July 2021, 17:25: Amazingly, I missed having that tiny bit of sweetness in the dough that a tablespoon of sugar would have added, particularly considering that our apricot jam is decidedly not sweet. But this morning when we had the cruffins with honey, I didn’t notice the missing sugar at all.
     
    With regards to the weather, I keep hearing from family and friends how smoky it is on top of the heat. And none of them even live particularly close to the wild fires raging. (None of them have been in the awful position of having to evacuate and then learn that their homes were destroyed completely.) But it’s nothing like the devastating floods in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland we are seeing on the news!
     
    – Elizabeth

    Reply
  6. Cathy (Bread Experience)

    I don’t think you could go wrong any way you make these. Love the crumb shots. I did add sugar in the dough but the cinnamon sugar I sprinkled over the rolled out dough on the second batch (of 4) really made a difference.

    edit 20 July 2021, 15:39: You’re probably right, Cathy, as long as you use plenty of butter. :-) :-) I still think adding just a tiny bit of sugar in the dough would be a good idea though. Next time I might replace some of the milk with yoghurt as well. – Elizabeth

    Reply

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