Croissants Are Easier Than You Think!

Cooler weather will be here soon and with it the “need” to bake.  I love to make croissants from scratch.  The flavor is amazing and the house smells delicious.  Granted, this recipe looks daunting but the first day (making the dough) only takes about 30 minutes.  The second day takes a bit more time because of the you will be laminating the dough with butter but it is well worth it.  What’s even better is making the dough, rolling it into the croissant, then freezing it for baking at a later date.  What could be better than pulling that buttery deliciousness out of the oven on a chilly morning and serving these fresh-baked morsels to friends and family?

Croissant 9

Croissants

7 ounces of hot water (110 degrees)

1/2 ounce dry yeast

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the hot water and cover with a clean dishtowel.  Allow the yeast to proof for about 10 minutes.  It should look creamy and bubbly when it is ready.

1 lb., 3 ounces AP flour

1 lb., 3 ounces bread flour

3 ounces granulated sugar

1/2 ounce salt

17 ounces whole milk

3 ounces butter, room temp.  (for the best results, use a high quality butter that has a lower percentage of water in it)

After the yeast has proofed, mix in the milk.  Add the flours, sugar, and salt and continue mixing (you may need to add a little more milk if the dough feels too dry but only add 1 T at a time). Mix until you have a smooth, pliable dough.  Add the butter, 1 T at a time, mixing until incorporated.  Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest overnight.

1 lb. butter

Roll each stick of slightly softened butter between a two pieces of parchment paper to form a “slab” about 8 inches long by 8 inches wide.  Place the four slabs of butter into the refrigerator to keep solid.

Croissant Butter

NEXT DAY:

Pull the dough out of the mixing bowl and place on a well floured counter.  Roll into a square with four “wings” (one at each corner).

Croissant 1

Place the four butter slabs into the center and fold each wing over the butter to totally encase the butter in dough.

Croissant 3

Roll (don’t push the rolling-pin or you will tear it and the butter will leak out when the croissants are baked) the dough into a rectangle.  Fold the dough in a letter fold and roll and fold again repeating until the dough starts fighting.

Croissant 4         Croissant 5

When this happens, cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes then repeat the rolling and folding until the dough needs to rest again.  Do the rolling and folding for approximately 8 times ( you can do as few as 4 rolling and folding moves but the more you do, the flakier the croissant – I have found that 8 is what I prefer).

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 24 inches long by 18 inch wide.  Here is where you need to know what you are going to do with the croissants.  Butter croissants are unfilled and as such are cut into triangles while filled croissants are cut into rectangles.  I like to do a variety so I cut my large rectangle as follows:  6 inch wide by the length of the dough.  Now I have three strips, one I will cut into triangles, the other two will be rectangles about three inches wide by 6 inch long.  These I will fill with a variety of fillings (see suggestions at the bottom).

Croissant 6

Roll the croissants and place on a baking sheet.

Croissant 7

Make and egg wash using one egg beaten with 1 T cold water.  Brush on the exposed surfaces of the croissant.  I do this three times letting each wash dry a bit before doing the next.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the croissant is uniformly browned (if it looks to be browning too fast, turn the heat down and continue to bake).

Croissant 8

Filling Suggestions:  Chocolate, lemon curd, pumpkin and chocolate, almond paste, apple slices with cinnamon, etc.

If you are using chocolate, use a high quality brand.  You will want one that stands up to heat and won’t breakdown.  I prefer dark chocolate batons from Callebaut.  Here is the website I order them from.  https://www.chocosphere.com/default/batons.html

 

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