Help Me, Rondo

So last night I settled in to watch “It’s Complicated,” which I had not seen. (I will watch Meryl Streep in just about anything except possibly that ABBA movie.) I liked it quite a bit, but that’s not why I’m here today. (Mild spoilers if you haven’t seen it.)

At one point, Meryl makes chocolate croissants for Steve. The great part about this scene is the two-way dough sheeter that makes a guest appearance. I worked one of these (the rondomat is probably closest to the model I used) every day for two years, and it was entertaining to see someone using one in a movie (okay, to see Meryl Streep using one in a movie!). You do, in fact, use that machine to laminate your croissant dough (you use it for many other things as well, but that’s its primary use).

Another thing that was awesome was when she showed him how to roll up the dough. It really does take a certain touch, and it takes more time to get that right than you would think, though I suspect I could still do it in my sleep, despite not having done it in five years (has it really been that long?).

But. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

Two quibbles. First, the whole process was WAY too short. She pops into the bakery and whips up some croissants? In order for that to happen, she would have had to have had some dough already fermented and ready for lamination–which is possible, of course; a high-production bakery likely would be making the dough nearly every day, so some would be around for the next day’s production. The lamination process would still take a considerable amount of time, however, because the dough needs to be cold enough when you start such that the butter doesn’t just melt into it (and the butter needs to be pounded out and shaped, and also cold enough for lamination), and the dough really needs to rest between folds. The whole process of lamination and folding would be several hours. It was already night when they got to the bakery, so we’re talking the wee hours of the morning just to get it laminated. Then it has to proof. To the movie makers’ credit, they did show her putting the croissants in a proof box, but that part also takes time. In short, what is portrayed as a kind of spur-of-the-moment maybe-hour-or-two process would, in actuality take more like four or five hours, with a bunch of that spent sitting around waiting for something to get cold or waiting for the yeast to do their thing.

The second quibble is that the chocolate croissants were made in a crescent shape. No.  Just no. The crescent shape is for plain croissants. Google “pain au chocolat” under images and see what you get. There are a few crescent shapes there, but by and large? No.  Or “non,” as the case may be.

All that said, I liked the movie and I particularly liked that the croissant scene was even in there, and even made nods to verisimilitude, even if there were mistakes (mistakes, I tell you!!).

At the moment, I am sitting around waiting for yeast to do its thing (the brioche for tomorrow), so I am perhaps a bit sensitive on this subject. What I would much prefer is baking the damn things and getting ready for bed, but that is not going to happen soon. The yeast will take as long as it takes.


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