It always amazes me that you can put 3 to 4 ingredients together and what comes out can be so flaky, buttery, and delicious. Who was the first person to make a croissant? I don't know, but to that person, "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart, "Thank you"!
I started out just making a dozen or so croissants each week for the market (along with other things), now I make about 8 dozen and sell out every Saturday. that may not seem like a lot for most bakeries, but when you have a little table at a Farmers Market for 4 hours a week, it's pretty good!
Croissant dough is a "Laminated" dough. Which means that it is created by rolling together alternating layers of butter and dough. These layers are what give puff pastry and croissant doughs their flakiness and crunch. It's a pastry staple.
Now this recipe makes between 12 and 14 croissants depending on how you cut them.
1 cup cold whole milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound unsalted butter, roomtemp.
Make a base dough. I the bowl of an electric mixer, place the milk, and yeast, let proof for 5 minutes. Add the flours, salt, and 1/4 of the butter. Mix with the dough hook until the dough forms a ball. Do not mix to much as this might make the dough tough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least six hours to over night.
Form a block with the remaining 3/4 of the butter.(must be softened, but not too soft. you want it to be easy to roll.
Roll a the starter dough into a 6x6 square.
Now, place the butter blocks in the center of the dough.
|(this is a photo of a double recipe)|
Now fold the sides of the dough over the butter like an envelope. Dusting the excess flour off.
Now roll the dough into a rectangle (6x18 inch)and fold the ends of the long side into the center. And then fold the sides in again to form a rectangle.
After 25 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and roll into another triangle. Repeat the fold from above. Fold each end to the center from the long side and than in half again. Refrigerate for another 25 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and repeat the fold one more time. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
All this rolling is what gives the dough it's layers.
Now that you have made the dough, it's time to cut some croissants!
On a lightly floured table, roll the croissant dough into a 20x 18 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and springs back when you roll it, let it rest 5 minutes. than roll again.
Using a ruler and a pastry wheel, cut the rectangle in half horizonally, making two smaller rectangles, one on top of the other.
Using a ruler and a paring knife, make very thin score marks every 5 inches along the top ad bottom edges of the large rectangle.
Using the straight edge of the ruler, connect the bottom left corner of the large rectangle with the first top score mark. Cut a diagonally along this line. Next, move the straight edge one mark to the right and connect the first bottom score mark to the second top score mark and cut along this line. Repeat this diagonal cut from the second bottom score mark to the third top and the shird bottom to right top corner. When complete, you will have 6 perfect parallelograms and 4 partial ones.
Net reverse the diagonal cut pattern from the top left corner to the first bottom score mark. Repeat the lines, moving across from left to right. This step cut the parallelograms in half, leaving 14 triangles.
CONFUSED YET??? Just look at the pic below.
Now line two baking sheets with parchment. To form each croissant, take a triangle of the dough and make a short slit in the middle of the short side. Strech that short side a bit than begin to roll the triangle up toward the point. Be sure the dip is tucked under. Place on the prepared pan and repeat. Leave about 2 inches between each croissant.
If you are making chocolate or almond croissants. Place chocolate or almond paste on the end of the croissant before you start to roll.
Now cover with oiled plastic wrap. Proof for 1 1/2 hours is fresh or 2 1/2 if out of the refrigerator. You can also freeze at this point. And just defrost slowly in the refrigerator when you want to use them.
Toward the end of the proofing time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the croissants with egg wash and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.