how to: croissants

I received a request on my recipe for butter croissants to do a photo tutorial.  I have to admit, the recipe can look quite daunting when printed in black and white (almost as daunting as the history outline I should be writing now).  But I have made croissants numerous times using this technique and every batch has been golden, buttery, crunchy and delicious.  In fact, I think croissants are easier (there I said it) than making regular yeast bread.  The dough proofs overnight in the fridge, and I don’t have to worry about all the yeast-y terrors that come along with counter-top rises.

savory ham and swiss croissants — sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds

This is my very first photo tutorial, so bear with me. (I even used some gifs… ohhh so fancy)

bliss is dark coffee with freshly whipped cream and a homemade nutella croissant

I decided to do my tutorial in black and white because:
a) the light in my kitchen is horrendous at night
b) it looks kind of vintage-y and Parisian, you feel?

up close and personal with a nutella croissant

I hope this tutorial makes the joy of croissantery (is that a word? now it is.) more accessible. There is no satisfaction greater than biting into a perfect, crisp croissant that you baked yourself.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

Dough:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon + 1 scant teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Butter layer:
1 1/4 cups cold, unsalted butter

Egg Wash:
1 egg

Fillings (optional):
Chocolate
Ham and Cheese
Nutella
Cinnamon sugar
etc.

Day 1:

Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and medium speed for an additional 3 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured plate, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2:

Cut the cold butter
lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slabs (about 3 slabs per stick)

Arrange the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper to form a 6×6 inch
square.

Top with another sheet of parchment and pound the butter with even strokes with a rolling pin — or if you’re like me and lost your rolling pin, a bottle of balsamic vinegar :).
(how in the world did I manage to lose my rolling pin?!)

As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force and roll it into a 7.5×7.5 inch square.
Trim the edges off and pound them into the center of the square.
Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured surface.
Roll it into a 10.5 inch square.

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.  Fold the flaps of dough over the butter and press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

gif creator free

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, and roll it into an 8×24 inch rectangle, focusing on lengthening rather than widening. 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)
Freeze for 20 minutes.
Repeat this rolling and folding process 2 more times.

creator

After you’ve done that rolling and folding process a total of three times, roll the dough into a long and narrow strip (8×44 inches) *hang in there! its a great arm workout!

    Repeat the folding, freezing, and rolling process 2 more times.
    After, roll into a long, 8×24 inch rectangle!
    And cut into triangles:

    Add the fillings of your choice, and roll that baby up!

    free gif creator

    You could use Nutella,

    or cinnamon sugar,

    Brush each croissant with egg wash,

    creator

    And pop the baking sheet in the fridge overnight!

    In the morning, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Take the croissants out of the fridge and brush with a second egg wash.
    Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Enjoy! (and bask in the glory of having made your own croissants)

    Be sure to take lots of pictures so you can show off to your friends later!

    cinnamon sugar croissants

    In my opinion, the only thing better than fresh, flaky buttery croissants are cinnamon sugar croissants. You all know about my obsession cinnamon, and these croissants are my favorite pastry in the universe — and that sure is saying something if you know anything about my obsession with pastries! This is a variation on my classic croissant recipe (which you can find here). This recipe produces perfect croissants with a pillowy interior and a crisp, shattering crust. To take these already luxurious pastries to an amazing, cinnamon-sprinkled level, I added a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar before I rolled them into crescents, and another sprinkling on top after the second egg wash, right before popping them in the oven to bake. I know making croissants can be intimidating at first, but the result is so rewarding. My mom commented that the rich, buttery aroma accompanied by the intensified fragrance of cinnamon sugar was the best way to wake up early on the Saturday morning that I made these, and to this day these is one of my family’s all time favorite breakfast treats. I hope you enjoy my favorite breakfast pastry as much as I do!
    With love,
    Erica

    Recipe:
    Follow my Step-by-step croissant recipe,

    • Add a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before rolling into crescents
    • Add another generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before popping into the oven after the second egg wash

     

    Pillowy interior with cinnamon sugar rolled right into the pastry!

    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 6×6 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 7.5×7.5 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 8×24 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 (8×44 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