Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Butter knots

We love to eat croissants. From time to time I bake them. I've baked them using different recipes, with and without sourdough. Some pretty good and some pretty bad. A good reason to keep on trying so one day I can bake that 'close to perfect' croissant. 

When I saw these butter knots on Levine’s page I knew I would bake them one day. She made them look absolutely delicious. They smell like croissants. They are easier than croissants because or their shape. You make a knot of the strip of dough instead of rolling them. It's difficult to adjust the temperature of my oven and this makes it mostly too hot. Sometimes the outside of the croissant will be crispy before the inside is well done. These butter knots don't have this problem. 
Levine had a good tip for the roll-in butter. As you might know it takes time and strength to pound the butter before it's thin enough to use it as roll-in butter. With temperatures of 30°C in the house I don’t have much time when I want cool dough. Levine cuts the butter into thin slices and suggests it’s also possible using a cheese slicer. This is what I did and it works great! I could work quicker than before and kept the dough cooler this way.

This is an easy recipe with great success. I loved playing with the knots. The only thing I changed is that I brushed some whisked egg on top of the knots.

These Butter Knots are dangerously delicious

I baked them in two batches. The first batch was cooling on wire rack when the next batch was in the oven. We couldn’t wait until they were cooled enough and we had  fresh strawberries in the fridge. Only a few weeks during winter time we find strawberries in the North of Thailand. We already made 2 jars of strawberry jam and last night we had a Dutch treat: vanilla vla (a thin custard dessert) with strawberries. And now we have all those great smelling butter knots waiting for us to put strawberries on.

Live can be a joy when you see it, don’t you agree! 

Name                                       Butter Knots
Adapted from 
                         Uit de keuken van Levine
Yields                                       20 knots
Dough temp.                            As cools as possible

Mixing                                      5 minutes (medium consistency)
Fermentation                           none
Shape                                      knots
Proof at roomtemp.                  90 - 120 minutes
Bake 210°C                              20 minutes

This is what I used:
Bakers formula                         %          grams
Flour                                        100       500
Water                                       45        225
Salt                                          1.8       9         

Unbleached all purpose flour                500      
Water, cold                                         225
Egg                                                      50
Butter, soft                                          25
Salt                                                      9                                                         
Yeast                                                   10

Roll-in butter, cold                             200

This is what I did:
The dough: I mixed all ingredients in the electric mixer for about 5 minutes.

: lightly sprinkle flour on your work counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it measures 20 x 40 cm. Make slices with a cheese slicer, use cold butter. Divide the slices on 2/3 of the dough.
Folding: fold the dough into 3 (the butter will be inside, not on top). Look at the dough as it were a book. The back of the book is on the left. Flour the work counter lightly and roll out the dough into 20 x 40 cm. If the dough resists during rolling let it rest for 5 minutes and continue to roll. Fold the dough into 3. Place in a plastic bag into the refrigerator to cool.
This is one fold. In total you need to fold the dough 4 times.
Shaping: The last time you finished with a piece of dough of 20 x 40 cm. Cut the 4 edges with the dough cutter, this gives nice open edges after baking. Cut the dough into strips of 1 ½ x 20 cm. Make knots with the strips and place them on parchment paper on peel. Keep the knots open enough to proof. 

: I proofed the knots for 120 minutes.

Pre heating: I pre heated the oven to 210°C .

Preparing and Baking: Just before baking brush the top of the knots with whisked egg. I baked the knots for 20 minutes until the tops were golden. 

Cooling: Let the knots cool completely on a wire rack, if you can!

I send this to Susan’s showcase YeastSpotting


  1. They are gorgeous! And I bet addictive indeed... I struggled with making croissants for years, until I used Peter Reinhart's recipe and it was a winner all the way

    But, as you know, it's pretty involved - I am going to pin these beauties so I keep them in mind for my future baking adventures

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Thanks Sally, they are cute aren't they. I like the recipe of Suaz with sourdough for my best result of croissants. But, I will try Reinhart's recipe soon.

  3. What a beautiful idea! A great variation of the croissant theme. I bookmarked them already for the next time I do croissants.
    At the moment I'm very much in making croissants. I realized that it helps to cut down the hydration to something around 56%, similar to the recipe you used. But I think it is not only the perfect recipe but a lot of practice as well. And so I practice, and practice ...

    1. I think you're right, it's all about practice. This helps the transfer from the head to the hands. Did you see the croissants TX Farmer makes, they are so beautiful. In those croissants you see a lot of practice too!

    2. The croissants of TX Farmer are a dream. And even there I see how she improves her technique in the last year. I have to make much more croissants :-)

    3. I have to make more croissants too. Let's evaluate our improvements in 6 months? Peter, my husband, won't mind. He love croissants, even the not so beautiful ones.

  4. Those are gorgeous! It's been a while since I've laminated dough, I guess I should take the plunge again. :)

    1. Thanks Hobby Baker, yes you should plunge in again because as you know it's fun and delicious.

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