Sunday, April 15, 2012

butter croissants


Rich, warm and buttery fresh from the oven
A luxurious, weekend breakfast
I have to be honest, the task of making my own croissants from scratch was intimidating at first; however, once I got immersed in the challenge, not only was it fun, but the process was much more fool-proof than I expected. Plus, the finished product was so worth it -- I've never experienced anything quite like pulling these flaky, light pastries out of a warm oven, with their luxurious buttery aroma wafting around my kitchen. And they tasted that much better knowing that I made them with my own hands. These croissants were magically delicious. They had a soft, delicate, pillowy interior with a crisp, buttery, outer layer that shattered upon being bitten into. So have no fear, I will walk you through step-by-step and on making these melt-in-your mouth croissants at home.
With love,
Erica

Croissants
Adapted from Best of Fine Cooking: Breads
Ingredients
For the dough:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (I ran out of milk, so I used almond milk)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
1 tablespoon + 1 scant teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter Layer:
1 1/4 cups cold, unsalted butter
Egg wash:
1 egg
Day 1
  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. 
  2. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and medium speed for an additional 3 minutes. 
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured plate, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate overnight
Day 2
  1.   Cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slabs (about 3 slabs per stick) and arrange the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper to form a 6x6 inch square. 
  2. Top with another sheet of parchment and pound the butter with even strokes with a rolling pin. 
  3. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force and roll it into a 7.5x7.5 inch square.
  4. Trim the edges off and pound them into the center of the square.
  5. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.
  6. Unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured surface. 
  7. Roll it into a 10.5 inch square.
  8. Take the butter square out of the fridge and unwrap and place it on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough square. 
  9. Fold the flaps of dough over the butter and press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.
  10. Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, and roll it into an 8x24 inch rectangle, focusing on lengthening rather than widening. 
  11. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it over the dough, leaving one third of the dough exposed, and roll it over once more (fold the dough into thirds)
  12. Freeze for 20 minutes. 
  13. Repeat the rolling and folding process (steps 10-12) 2 more times.
  14. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
Day 3
  1. Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.
  2. Roll the dough into a long and narrow strip (8x44 inches) *hang in there! its a great arm workout!
  3. After you have finished rolling, check to make sure that there is enough excess dough on both ends to allow you to trim the ends straight and allow for the remaining strip of dough to be 40 inches long.
  4. Lay a tape measure lengthwise along your dough. On one side, mark the dough in 5 inch intervals. On the other side, mark the dough at 2.5 inch intervals. Make diagonal cuts by positioning a ruler at the top corner and the first bottom mark (2.5" side). With a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough diagonally along these lines to form 15 triangles.
  5. Shape the croissants by making a 1/2 inch notch in the center of the short side of each triangle (this gives them a crescent shape). Hold the dough and gently elongate it without squeezing or compressing. Lay the croissant on the counter with the notched side closest to you and roll the dough away from you toward the pointed end. Flare your hands outward as you roll to make the "legs" longer. 
  6. Bend the two "legs" toward each other in a crescent shape and place on a baking sheet (I recommend around 5-7 croissants per sheet).
  7. Brush the croissants with egg wash (place leftover egg wash in the fridge to use later)
  8. Proof the croissants for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (Or proof them overnight in the fridge, and let them come to room temperature for about an hour before baking in the morning)
  9. Brush them once more with egg wash.
  10. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway, until they have a nice golden brown color and darkened edges. 
  12. Cool and enjoy!
Croissant

22 comments:

  1. It is absolutely unbelievable that this work of perfection has zero comments. I am in total awe of what you have achieved here. And I've a question for you: what was the feel/texture of your dough when you initially made it? Soft and slightly sticky? Not sticky at all? I'm thoroughly curious.

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    1. Thank you so much! The dough is usually pliable and soft, but not sticky -- it initially feels quite a bit like a brioche or challah dough.

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  2. These look amazing, very impressive. I'm hungry and would love to eat one right now ha ha.

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  3. Beautiful! I always thought making croissants sounded so labor intensive. These directions are so clear! Thank you. I can't wait to read more of your blog.

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    1. I thought the same thing until I made them myself! Please shoot me an email sometime and tell me how yours come out!

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  4. I would love to make these but I'm terrified it will take me forever.

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    1. You should try these out sometime when you have a bit of extra time on your hands! I had the same concern when I first attempted to make croissants, but the recipe is quite straightforward! Trust me, the smell of these baking in the oven is reason alone to make a little extra time to make these.

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  5. This sounds pretty difficult! As I did not understand very well the whole technique of making the dough (English is not my native language), is there any possibility to post the pictures of every step while preparing it?
    Best wishes from Serbia!
    Radmila

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation -- I will make a new version the next time that I make croissants!

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  6. Thank you so much!
    I'm looking forward to it!

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    1. Of course! I will try to let you know when I put it up!

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  7. hi! i really want to make this recipe, but as i was making it, the butter kept oozing out the sides of the dough, even though i sealed it! is this supposed to happen?

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    1. No, you need to make sure that your butter is COLD when you put it into the dough. Perhaps your countertop is too warm and melted the butter?

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  8. Thank you for the wonderful instructions! Can't wait to try when I have some time off!

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  9. Hi. I wish I'd read the comments before starting this, particularly about the one about the butter oozing out the dough. I would have kept it in the fridge longer. But I'm confused about that because the butter is going to get warm while you're working it in the dough regardless of how long you keep it in the fridge, right? Any advice? I'll see if I can rescue it...

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    1. Keeping it in the fridge makes the butter hard enough that it won't melt all the way while working with it. I wish you the best of luck! Remember, sometimes our kitchen "flops" can be the best learning experiences and will only make you a better home chef ;)

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  10. Hi There,

    Can you please let me know what brand of butter you use. I heard that the higher the fat the better - but unfortunately in canada, we home bakers don't have access to high quality butter that they use in the bakeries. Thanks in advance!

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    1. I love to use Kerrygold butter! I am not sure if it is available in Canada, but it is pretty common here in the states.

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  11. These were perfect and the directions easy to follow! I totally added chocolate chips when I rolled them, so they were perfect with hot cocoa!

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    1. Thanks so much! Adding chocolate chips is such a wonderful idea! :)

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