For my friends far away, I promised I would download my recipe for croissants…My class was great fun and I received some good feedback. I may do it again “on demand”. Please visit…give me a few days warning and
I’ll demonstrate for you.
I posted a pic on Facebook a few weeks ago of the 3rd batch I baked in a week (this class is making me fatter by the day). I must say, this one was near it’s turning point of not being a viable candidate to bake..the yeast had survived a few punching downs since last Friday and was going to go south if I didn’t bake it immediately. I had gotten up early (5:30), to roll it out. It had a slow rise and the taste was tremendous because of that…I may start my Sunday morning croissants more frequently on Thursday…the taste is so much better with such a slow rise and the yeast developed beautifully.
Yeast was an interesting topic of this class. I’ve used my favorite SAF Instant yeast for some time. It is so much cheaper than the stuff in the grocery store (only $2.99 @ Gordon Foods for a big shrink wrapped block) After a little research, I noted that it is the most commonly used type of yeast for commercial bakers and it is a derivative/dry version of the soft cake yeast usually found in the refrigerator section of grocery stores. It also does not need to be dissolved before putting in the recipe (although I still do). It can be added directly to flour. And I prefer the flavor. Check out the King Arthur Flour‘s website for more info.
I had made sample dough for each class participant and they also made their own. The demonstrations resulted in us making 20 batches of dough. I had some fantastic help from my enlightened and gifted neighbor, who is also my wine-making mentor. He now knows thoroughly how to make croissant dough and
was a huge help. I couldn’t have done it without him! Luigi vous-ete magnifique!
So here it is…and best wishes with your own croissant endeavors:
Day One: (Friday evening)
Step 1: Initial dough
• 1 cup milk, warmed slightly
• 2 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
• 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10.25 oz)
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp salt
The sponge: Heat 1 cup of milk to lukewarm, about 30-40 seconds in microwave. In small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of the lukewarm milk. Add 2 Tbsp of flour (from the 2 ¼ cups) and whisk until there are no lumps.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for about 20 minutes until bubbly and doubled in volume.
The détrempe: Mix the sugar and salt into the 2 1/8 cups of flour. Transfer the sponge to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in remaining milk. With the mixer on high, start adding the flour mixture gradually reducing the speed to medium-low.
Mix the dough for 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth, sticky and soft. Turn off mixer and scrape the dough into a rough ball into the middle of the bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Day Two (Saturday morning)
Step 2: The paton
• 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, slightly cold (1 ½ sticks of butter, halved lengthwise)
• 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and sprinkle with 1 ½ Tbsp of flour. Halve each stick of butter lengthwise and lay side by side on top of the flour (try not to get flour between the halves).
2. Sprinkle the butter with the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp of flour and cover the butter and flour with plastic wrap. Using a rolling-pin or the heel of your hand, press the flour into the butter and work the butter into a rectangle about 6” x 9”. The butter should be cool but not too oily.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle pastry cloth or marble surface with flour. Roll the dough into a 6” x 15” rectangle. Place the butter mixture on top of the upper 2/3rds of the dough, leaving about ½” border around the sides and top.
4. Fold the dough like a letter by folding the bottom 1/3rd of dough over the center third, then fold the top third onto the center 1/3rd. Turn the dough counterclockwise (It will look like a book with the spine on your left and the open flap on your right), and then, roll the dough again into a 6” x 15” rectangle as before.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Wrap in pastry cloth and refrigerate for about 4 hours.
Step 3: Third & Fourth Turn, (Saturday afternoon)
Roll & fold the dough 1 more time as before; for the 4th turn, this time, roll the dough and bring the ends into the center and fold, like a book (the French call this a double turn). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Note: you may freeze the dough for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator, then roll.
Day 3: (Sunday Morning)
Step 4: Roll & Fill
Lightly flour pastry cloth or marble. Remove dough from refrigerator and begin rolling into a rectangle about 19-20” x 15” with the long side facing you. This will take a lot of rolling. If you find that the dough is too springy, allow the dough to rest until you can work it again without it springing back at you. Keep the work surface and the dough well floured and have patience. If necessary, turn the dough so that a long side runs from left to right along the counter. Prepare fillings.
The dough is now ready for cutting.
For 6 croissant almond or plain and 6 chocolate:
Working with a pizza cutter or a large, very sharp knife, trim the 15” ends of the dough so the rectangle is even. Save the end scraps, and cut into small chunks to use later for extra filling. Then cut the dough horizontally down the middle lengthwise. You now have two long rectangles 18” x 7.5” in front of you.
Using a long ruler, measure, mark and cut the rectangles vertically into thirds. You will have 6 squares approx 6” x 6”.
For 6 pain au chocolat, cut 3 of the squares in half to form rectangles. Then for 6 croissants, cut 3 of the squares diagonally.
Shaping & filling the croissants
Where necessary, add a small portion of scrap trimmed dough to pieces that may seem to have less dough.
Chocolate: (using high quality chocolate squares, bits of chocolate or batons)
Fill the narrow cut strips on the portion of the dough nearest to the outer edge with a portion of semisweet chocolate (I use 1 to 1 ½ squares of Dove chocolate that I cut in half, for semisweet morsels, use about 1-2 Tbsp). Stretch the base and roll the dough into a rectangle pillow. Place each on baking sheet, seam side down.
Almond or plain
Fill the triangle croissants with approx 1 Tbsp almond filling shaped into a little “football”. Fold the dough over the filling and while rolling the dough, pull the “ears” of the triangle corners and the tip. The dough is surprisingly resilient…don’t be afraid to stretch it. Traditionally, croissant dough can rolled 5+ layers around the filling. Finish by tucking the triangle tip under. Place on baking sheet (leave at least 2” between croissants).
Separate 1 egg. Mix egg yolk with 2 Tbsp milk or cream and set aside for using later. Using the egg white, add a tsp water and mix. Brush egg wash over the tops of the croissants.
Allow all croissants to rise until double in size until you poke the dough and it is not met with springy resistance. This can take about 1 ½ -2 hours in a warm place (not too warm or butter will melt). Remember a slow rise brings better taste results…. be patient!
Techniques for proofing
Warm your oven just slightly when you begin rolling, turn the oven off after 5 minutes and open the door. When done rolling, make sure the oven is only slightly warm, place the baking sheets, and then put in the oven for rising.
Place 2 glasses on your baking sheets and place baking sheets in 2 kitchen trash bags or large clear plastic bags big enough to hold the baking sheets. The glasses will prevent the plastic from touching the dough and will make a nice humid environment for the dough to proof.
Final Egg wash & Bake
Heat oven for 20 minutes on 375°. Brush croissants with egg yolk mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown and golden.
Cool for a few minutes and enjoy! Bon Appetit!
Almond Filling (prepare on night before prepping croissants)
½ pound of almond paste
¾ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
*if doubling, use 1 whole egg to 1 lb of almond paste and 1 ½ cups sugar
Whisk sugar into egg yolk until creamy and sugar is slightly dissolved (add a small amount of egg white if sugar is not fully blended in). Grate almond paste and stir into sugar/egg yolk until smooth; allow to sit overnight.