The last few years I have spent a lot of time on the road. I’m not a “road trip” fan, but have made a conscious decision to embrace them. As much as possible, I try to do a bit of pre-drive research and seek out a few interesting places along the way – or not too far out of the way.
One of my recent trips through the Berkshires gave me the chance to discover Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic, MA, just beside Great Barrington. What a delightful discovery! Run by Richard Bourdon – born in Quebec, trained in Europe, THIS PLACE GETS IT RIGHT. The fresh milled flour is right – the technique is right – and the “art” of bread…is right!
Their croissants are the best I have tasted in a very long time, on BOTH sides of the Atlantic. They are a perfect combo of flaky and elastic such that the layers pull apart beautifully! The bakery is really well known for their “bread and chocolate” a sourdough full of dark chocolate chunks. Saveur Magazine recently wrote a glowing review.Click the link to have a read.
Of course I had to try replicating Bread and Chocolate as soon as I got home….how could I resist? My reading told me I would have to increase hydration of my sourdough. A lot. So I did. I used 100% hydration, meaning that for 1000g of flour that I added to my levain, I added 1000g of water, rather than my usual 700 g. My dough was a goopy mess! I was sure it was going to be a disaster. When it finally flopped into the pan, I imagined myself throwing it into the garbage 40 minutes later. But wait, it was a little less “high” coming out of the oven than my regular loaves, but…it was amazing. The dough inside was glossy and stretchy. I don’t really understand why the chocolate dictates a higher hydration level, but hey, as long as it works, I’m ok with it!
Hmm. I wonder if I could get there by the time the next batch is out of the oven. Think I will fill up the car. I want a croissant. And a pizza. And….