I'd say that if you REALLY want to teach croissant (and other laminated doughs), the best way to teach it, and have the students actually retain what they've been taught, would be to have them make them from the ground up. From scaling out the ingredients, to mixing the dough, preparing the roll-in....the whole deal. I know that for me personally, watching a demo is helpful, but unless I'm actually DOING it, I retain pretty much nothing. You have to have a feel for laminated doughs and just watching the process doesn't quite cut it. Hands on, all the way is what I would suggest for a good, helpful class.
I agree with @chefpeon
Although, I have found from classes I've been involved in, sometimes demo is the best. If you are demonstrating to the homemaker, charity event, couples or just people interested in the technique, sometimes they will just observe and enjoy the fact that they get to take some product home.
Thanks you guys! I'm thinking to maybe do a mix of both? Do a demo but have people participate in the various steps too because I'm also trying to think what I can realistically do in terms of dough preparation for all the students...
I'm still open to all suggestions and opinions though so if anyone wants to chime in, I'm all ears! :) Thanks again!
You certainly seem to have set up the class well so far.
Having the dough ready for the students at each stage will add immeasurably to the quality of the presentation.
I would agree that as a student, I would want to see the entire process. Often the biggest problem everyone has with any unknown is getting started.
From what baking I know, I would think the proper measuring, weighing and a technique or two are important when making the initial dough. If you don't show them that first part, you may have several students coming back later to ask you what they did wrong.
I once had a neighbor ask me to help her bake a cake for her husband. I said I would do so after work the following day. By the time I arrived she had already finished the cake, which came out rather flat and dense. When reviewing the recipe, she admitted she used half the eggs because she and her husband were trying to cut down on the number of eggs they ate. It never occurred to her that using the correct number of eggs might have an important role to play in the success of the cake.
Breaking the class up into teams of 2 makes your job easier. If the class is for professionals, scale the ingredients ahead of time. If it's for home users, make them scale as they're probably not used to weighing ingredients. You demo each step first, then send them to their stations to reproduce what you showed them while you walk around and assist when necessary. Then you demo the next step, etc.