So did you guys watch the Super Bowl yesterday? I’ve gotta admit I wasn’t super interested since the Broncos weren’t playing… But I did catch a few commercials and some of the half time show. I thought Katy Perry sounded pretty good. No horrible squeaks or anything. Kinda strange costumes, but hey, what ya gonna do? More importantly Did you guys make some seriously awesome snacks? I hope so. Anyway, moving on to today’s recipe business.
You guys! I’m totally getting obsessed with laminated dough. First, there was 15 minute puff pastry (courtesy of Dessert for Two) which lead to a fabulous Tomato, Spinach, and Rosemary Tart. Then there were Kouign-Amann. I still hold to my opinion that they are the best breakfast pastry out there. Drool. Today another lovely recipe courtesy of the lamination technique: Croissants. Yep, these are also tasty my friends, very tasty. Layers and layers of butter and tender fluffy bread is the definition of winner. My new obsession with laminating has me wondering what else could be made even better with this technique. I wonder what would happen if I did this to a pan of cinnamon rolls? Or perhaps a pull apart bread? Who can say what crazy laminated desserts and breads will happen around here in the future…
But meanwhile, the Croissants. I grew up eating croissants. My Grandma is French speaking Haitian. While Haitian culture is certainly not identical to French culture, there is certainly some overlap. One such place of overlap is the Croissant. When I spent time with my grandparents we’d often have Croissants for breakfast (Of course, right?). But, Croissants also often acted as a stand in for dinner rolls or even sandwich bread at lunch. Or if worse comes to worse one can always eat a Croissant all by itself for an afternoon snack. Yeah, I can get next to croissants.
All that being said you can imagine croissants have been on my baking to do list for a long time. Though I often browsed recipes, I always kind of held off actually making them. I’ve gotta admitted they seemed a little intimidating and definitely really time consuming.
The truth is Croissants really are time consuming to make. The laminating process (i.e. all that rolling and turning you always see them talking about in recipes) takes a little while because you have to chill the dough for a minimum of 30 minutes between several steps. Fortunately, the process itself isn’t actually all that hard, and is totally not worth being intimidated by. In fact, after you get a handle on the rolling and turning you’ll realize you’re pretty much repeating the same step over and over again. Not so hard. Plus, as an added bonus the work can be split into three days to make the time part of things more manageable. I recommend starting on Friday and you’ll be pulling fresh baked croissants out of the oven on Sunday morning for breakfast. Come on, fresh baked Croissants and a hot cup of coffee for breakfast? SO worth it.
Michelle’s Croissants – Yields 15 croissants. Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman, Fine Cooking, Issue 97.
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour +additional for rolling out
- 2 and 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) salted butter
- 1 egg
- splash of water
Special tools: stand mixer, saran wrap or ziplock bag, parchment paper, rolling pin, sharp knife
DAY ONE- Dough
1. In the bowl of a large stand mixer add the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Mix gently and let stand for about 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
2. Add the cream, milk, 3 tablespoons butter, salt, and four cups of flour. Mix on low speed for about 3 minutes until well combined and a coarse dough begins to form. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Increase the speed to medium and mix for an additional 3 minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Shape into a thick square and wrap well with saran wrap, or place in a ziplock bag with all air removed. Refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of two hours and move on to DAY TWO’s steps.
DAY TWO- Laminating /Shaping
1. Cut the 2 and 1/2 sticks of butter in half lengthwise and arrange in a square on a sheet of parchment paper. Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the butter. Use a rolling pin to pound the butter until a fairly uniform close to flat square is formed, the square should be about 7X7 inches. Place in the refrigerator to chill while rolling out the dough.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour the counter and place the square of dough in the center. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Use the rolling pin to roll out a square about 10×10 inches.
3. Remove the butter from the fridge. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and place the butter square face down in the center of the square of dough, with points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough. (If you are looking at the dough straight on, the dough will look like a square, and the butter will look like a diamond.) Remove the second sheet of parchment paper. One at a time fold corners of the dough up over the square of butter. Press gently to seal the butter inside the dough.
4. Flour the top of the dough square. Use the rolling pin to roll out an aprox. 8X24 inch rectangle. Brush off the excess four then fold the bottom third of the rectangle up over the center third of the dough. Then fold the top third of the dough down. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with saran wrap, or return the dough to it’s ziplock and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
5. Remove the dough from the fridge. Again lightly flour the work surface and top of the dough. Orient the dough so that the open ends of the dough are facing your body. Rolling in the direction of the open ends of the dough make a aprox. 8X24 inch rectangle. Brushing off any excess flour and fold the dough into thirds again. If any stray edges come out during rolling tuck them in before folding in thirds. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with saran wrap, or return the dough to it’s ziplock and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
6. Repeat step five, and refrigerate an hour.
7. Lightly flour the work surface. Orient the dough so that the open ends of the dough are facing your body. Rolling in the direction of the open ends of the dough make a aprox. 8X44 inch rectangle. Sprinkle additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
8. Use a sharp knife to make a small mark about every five inches along the top side of the dough (on the long side). Along the bottom side of the dough make a mark every 2 and 1/2 inches. Use the ruler to diagonally connect one of the marks on the top and one of the marks on the bottom. Cut. Connect the same bottom mark you have just cut to, to the next top mark. Cut. You will have cut out a triangle. Repeat until 15 triangles have been cut out.
9. Starting on the wider side of one of the triangles roll the dough up towards the pointed end of the triangle. Secure the pointed end by pressing gently. Gently bend the two sides together to form the crescent shape. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other 14 triangles, spacing the croissants out at least 2 inches from each other on the baking sheet. (This will require two baking sheets.) Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate over night if desired or move on to DAY THREE’s steps.
DAY THREE- Proof/ Bake
1. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg with a splash (about 1 teaspoon) of water. Brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash. Refrigerate the rest of the egg wash. Cover the croissants loosely with saran wrap and place in a warm location (but not so warm the butter melts!) to proof. Allow the croissants to proof for 2 hours. They will puff up noticeably, but not double.
2. Preheat the oven to 425*with the racks in the two center positions. Brush the croissants with the egg wash a second time.
3. When the oven has preheated transfer the croissants on the baking sheets to the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 400.* After 10 minutes rotate the two trays to prevent burning on the bottoms of the croissants. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Cool on baking sheets.
Note: If you don’t want to bake all of the croissants at once they can be frozen after DAY TWO’s steps. Place the croissants flat in the freezer on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until totally frozen through, about two hours. Then wrap each croissant individually in saran wrap. Place all saran wrapped croissants in a ziplock bag with the air removed and return to the freezer. To bake: transfer to the fridge to defrost overnight the day before you want to bake them. Then follow DAY THREE’s instructions as normal.