A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at making gougères, a French pastry that the ever-helpful 101cookbooks.com describes as “golden pom-poms of cheese-crusted magic.” They use a dough similar to the choux pastry dough used to make éclairs and cream puffs but are supposed to be easier to make. Here’s what the finished product looks like, according to 101cookbooks.com’s recipe:
Beautiful, right? So I decided to make some for a brunch I was hosting. The recipe wasn’t too hard to follow: bring a mixture of beer (or water, if you prefer), milk, butter, and salt just to a boil. Add a mixture of all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, stirring until smooth and slightly toasted. Cool slightly then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Finally, mix in grated cheddar cheese and portion onto a baking tray, cooking immediately.
Following the recipe, I made my dough, measuring carefully and mixing in the eggs as indicated. The mixture seemed a little loose, though. Instead of following my instincts and trying to thicken it by adding more flour (which would have given it a taste of raw flour since it hadn’t been toasted along with the rest of the mixture), I proceeded with the dough as it was.
Portioned onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, the dough confirmed my fears. It started spreading too much. Undaunted, I sprinkled a little more cheese and some anise seeds on top and put them into the oven.
The end results were decidedly flatter than the ones in the recipe’s picture. The taste was okay, but they didn’t have the “poof” I was looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t know what I did wrong but I would like to try again.
The end result still looks good – flatter, but still appetising. I have no idea how to make it puffy. And, this is random, but I can’t imagine you making something as simple as margarine spread on sliced bread – way too simple for you.
I’m not a cook, but I have a feeling you forgot to add the lifter or however you call it. Which helps to give rise to the bun. Same thing happened to me once when I baked blueberry muffins and if you don’t add that lifter, it remains flat like yours. Still good, but that tecture is missing
I’m sure that your guests didn’t mind – they come for the company. Being the perfectionist I’m sure you will try until you get it right! (Maybe a smaller egg or fewer?)
They still look great to me…
OK if you don’t like them send then to me – in time for afternoon tea lolol. Check the recipe again maybe you measured something just a little incorrectly. I doubt it but you never know.
I definitely am making samosas….
Chris.. you’re so talented. How would the taste/texture be different if you used water instead of beer?
@stepaside_loser – I can spread margarine on bread! Although I wouldn’t use margarine, because butter is better.@catstemplar2 – That would be an obvious thing to look for, but there isn’t any chemical leavening agent in choux dough (the base dough used for gougeres, cream puffs, eclairs, etc.). The steam is what puffs it up. Cakes, muffins, biscuits, etc. rely on baking soda or baking powder (or both)…@murisopsis – @Fatcat723 – I initially thought that perhaps the recipe is mistaken and I should use only egg yolks and discard the whites – that’s the case for another gougeres recipe I saw online. But as I looked at more gougeres and choux recipes, it seems that whole eggs is common. In this case, the eggs are actually a bit on the small size! Don’t know – I’ll have to try again and see if I mis-measured anything.@SistahWarhol – Samosas, huh? Tasty.. .but I don’t like to deep fry in the house.@Passionflwr86 – Well, thanks. They could be better, though.@Devilzgaysianboi – The texture wouldn’t change but the flavor with the beer is just a little richer/yeastier than with only the water. Most of the time when I bake bread, too, I use beer in place of some or all of the water.
You will become the president of the Baker Republic with your baking art !!Thanks for your birthday greetings.In friendshipMichel
Choux is finicky. Maybe it was too humid outside. Maybe you didn’t say “please?” Who knows. I think this is one I will try. My grandmother always (and perfectly) made cream puffs, stuffed with pistachio pudding. The one time I tried to make them… let’s just say I didn’t. Try, try, again?
May be add less of the beer or water? They look just fine to me, and as long as they taste good, who cares. I am sure your guests loved them.
reminds me a bit of the recipe to make cream puff shells. mine always puff up magically (much to my surprise!), although i have to say, the batter i use is much thicker than what it looks like you ended up with. but it’s the same idea, heat the fat and liquid, add in the flour, and then beat in the eggs. maybe you didn’t beat the eggs in hard enough? i can send you my cream puff recipe if you want to compare.
wonder why… temperature?!
Just realized I had not responded to comments on this entry! Sorry!@fauquet – Don’t know if the Baker Republic is an autocracy or a meritocracy… @slccole – Humidity could be a problem. I’ll just have to keep trying.@ZSA_MD – That would be my guess, too. The thing is, the recipe comes from a pretty authoritative site so I’d think the measurements should already be accurate. Maybe I made a mistake, though.@yang1815 – I’d guess operator error! LOL@kunhuo42 – Aaron, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your recipe I would be interested in comparing. One gougeres recipe I found used only egg yolks which would explain where I got the extra liquid. That said, most other recipes I found for choux pastry use whole eggs, too. Who knows?
@christao408 – humidity?!