It’s croissant day, everyone!
I finally tackled croissants. They have been on my baking bucket list for a while now.
A long, long while.
I have always loved croissants. I remember my family trying to entice me to try other bakery goodies when I was a kid, but I was always happiest biting into a crunchy croissant. Ecstatic even when there was time or the ability to toast them. Other than a bowl of mac and cheese on a stormy day, nothing is more comforting than a toasted cheese and tomato croissant…
Well, nothing was.
Biting into a homemade, fresh-from-the-oven croissant, where the outer crunch gives way to a still-warm, fluffy centre was quite a profound experience.
I recommend that every croissant lover makes them at least once in their lives.
Sure, you’ll be rolling and folding, and rolling and folding, and rolling and folding dough for a quite a while, maybe even days, but it’s worth the effort and the waiting.
For my first foray into the world of croissants, I chose to go with David Lebovitz’s Whole Wheat Croissants recipe, mainly because you could not have a better teacher when it comes to pastry techniques, and partly because the recipe make 6 croissants, which is plenty for just me. However, I didn’t want my first croissant baking experience to be whole wheat, and since David’s notes mentioned that the recipe would work using all white flour, that is the only time I deviated from the recipe. Croissants are not difficult to make, they are just time consuming, and David has some beautiful instructional photos on his website of the rolling and folding steps.
With the weekend fast approaching, why not extend croissant day and bake some fresh this weekend?
And we all know that croissants can be turned into delectable desserts, yes? We’re all nodding? If you need proof, just take a look at the caramel croissant pudding that’s up over at the New Recipe Night blog… You’re all in furious agreement now, aren’t you? Yes? I thought so…
So I humbly present these dessert-in-the-making offerings to Angie at The Novice Gardener and to all her co-hosts who help put together our Fiesta Friday parties.
Happy Fiesta Friday Anniversary Part 2 everyone!
David says: ‘Making croissants isn’t hard; one just needs to follow the steps, which are 1) Make the yeasted dough day in advance and let it sit overnight, 2) The next day, make 3 “turns” of the pastry at various intervals, then 3) Shape, proof, and bake the croissants. The most important thing is not to let the butter get too soft. So when rolling and folding the dough, work quickly to get it back in the refrigerator’.
- 280g white bread flour (preferably) or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 160ml whole or low-fat milk, very slightly warmed
- 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
- 160g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- In a small bowl, mix together the white and whole wheat flours. Prepare the dough by mixing the yeast with the milk and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or stir it together in a large bowl. Stir in about one-third of the flour mixture and let the mixture stand until it starts to bubble, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Mix in the rest of the flour and the salt, and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Knead the dough on a lightly floured countertop a few times, just enough to bring it together into a cohesive ball, but do not over-knead. 10-15 seconds should do it.
- Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight. (Or for at least 6 hours.)
- Put the cold butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until there are no lumps in the butter, about 15 seconds. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, whack the butter with a rolling pin, turning it a few times, until it’s a cold paste.) Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place the butter in the middle. Enclose the butter and shape it into a 10 by 8cm rectangle. Chill the butter for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough on a lightly floured countertop, so it forms a diamond shape with four flaps – two on top, two on the bottom, leaving the dough raised a bit in the centre.
- Unwrap the chilled rectangle of butter and place it in the centre. Fold the flaps over the butter, sealing the butter completely, and whack the dough with a rolling pin to flatten it out. Roll the dough into a 30 by 22cm rectangle.
- Lift up one-third of the left side of the dough and fold it over the centre. Then lift the right side of the dough over the centre, to create a rectangle. Take the rolling pin and press down on the dough two times, making an X across it. Mark the dough with one dimple with your finger to remind you that you’ve made one ‘turn’, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Do the next turn of the dough the same way, rolling and folding the dough again, making 2 dimples with your finger in the dough, then chill it for another 45 to 60 minutes.
(The resting period between steps #4 and #5 can be longer in case you have other things to do. Feel free to let it rest a couple of hours between each turn. It’ll be fine.)
- Do the last turn and folding of the dough and let it chill for an hour. (The dough can be chilled overnight at this point, or frozen.)
- To shape the croissants, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it’s a 30 by 22cm rectangle. Trim the edges off with a sharp chef’s knife and cut the dough into 3 rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally, making 6 triangles. Take one triangle and roll to lengthen it to 28cm long. Starting at the wide end, roll the croissant up toward the point, not too-tightly. Set it point-side-up on the baking sheet and roll the rest of the croissants the same way.
- Cover the baking sheet with a large plastic bag (such as a clean trash bag), close it, and let the croissants proof in a warm place until the croissants are nearly doubled and puffed up, which will take 1 ½ to 2 hours. (If you wish, you can chill the rolled croissants overnight. Take them out of the refrigerator and let them proof in a warm place, as indicated.)
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Mix the egg with a pinch of salt and brush each croissant with the glaze. Bake the croissants for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºC, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned. Some butter may seep out during baking, which is normal.
Recipe very, very slightly altered from David Lebovitz’s blog.