The one bread I’ve always been intimidated to make are Croissants. The flaky crust that results from the lamination of butter and dough is heavenly, when done right. I’ve read many recipes on how to do it and usually ended up in the corner, curled up in the fetal position. So many layers…such a delicate dough…so easy to screw it all up. So, after all the baking I’ve been doing lately, I decided it was time to try it. Especially since the dough is so useful – you’re making a puff pastry dough that can be used for Croissants, danish pastries, or even to make more savory dishes such as beef wellington. Edit: I was incorrect, this is not a true puff pastry (puff pastries use no yeast).
This is a bit more time and labor intensive than other breads, the lamination process takes some time (roughly an hour and a half with resting time included) before you perform the final rise. Technically, it’s not a true puff pastry/croissant as it only has 81 laminations instead of the traditional 243. I may try that extra folding step later on, but this is a good start. However, it’s fun to make and the results, when good, are well worth the work that goes into it.
Okay, onto the recipe – as with my other breads lately, this came from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day.
- 595 g bread flour
- 11 g salt
- 56.5 g sugar
- 9 g instant yeast
- 198 g cold whole milk
- 227 g cool water
- 28.5 g unsalted butter, melted
To make the detrempe
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pulse the mixer a few times to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
- On the lowest speed, add in the liquids and mix for 1.5 minutes (dough should be shaggy and wet)
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 10-15 seconds. The dough should be smoothed out.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container and refrigerate overnight.
- 340 g cold unsalted butter
- 16 g bread flour
- Cut up the butter and put it along with the flour into the bowl of a mixer.
- Mix on low until the big chunks of butter are broken up (~1 minute)
- Increase speed and beat until you have a smooth paste.
- Turn the butter block out onto a lightly oiled silicone mat and mist the block with oil.
- Place plastic wrap over the butter block and form the block into a 6″x6″ square. If you think the butter is starting to melt or get too warm, place the block into the refrigerator for a minute or two.
Incorporation of butter block and lamination
- Flour a large surface to roll the detrempe out on (you’ll need about 33 inches wide by 12 inches tall)
- Turn out the detrempe onto the surface and dust it with flour.
- Gently roll out the dough to a rectangle of 12.5 x 6.5 inches.
- With the plastic wrap still around the butter block, place it on one half of the dough. There should be 1/4 an inch of dough showing. Adjust the dough as necessary to get the proper dimensions.
- When ready to start lamination, place the butter on the dough, remove the plastic wrap, and gently pull one end of the dough over the butter and pinch the edges together. You now have 3 layers (dough, butter, dough)
- Gently start rolling out the dough. Start from the center and go to each corner. You want a final dimension of 16 x 9 inches.
- Fold the dough in thirds (like a letter) and gently tap the dough to make sure there are no air bubbles. You now have 9 layers of lamination.
- Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes on a floured sheet. This allows the gluten to relax. You can also refrigerate the dough for the resting period if the butter seems too soft.
- Perform steps 6-9 two more times. You will end up with a total of 81 layers when finished.
- After the last lamination step (and resting period), carefully roll the dough out to a rectangle of 24 x 9 inches. Be very careful here, too much pressure can result in breaking of the laminations. Dust with flour as needed.
- To make the Croissants, mark one (long) edge of the dough every 4 inches and the other side, start at 2 inches and then again every 4 inches. You will be making long triangles to roll up.
- Once you have cut all the triangles, make a 1 inch long cut in the center of the base of the triangle – then pull the flaps apart and start rolling the dough like a carpet.*
- Place the croissants on a silicone lined sheet pan, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. They will rise, but not double in bulk.
- Heat the oven to 450, place the sheets, reduce the temp to 375 in and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the sheets and finish baking for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. It’s important to do this with rimmed baking sheets otherwise you’ll smoke yourself out of your kitchen.
- When done, let the croissants cool for 45 minutes to an hour. This is important because it will allow the remaining butter to soak into the dough.
* You can freeze the croissants at this point for later. To bake them, remove the frozen croissants from the freezer at least 3 hours before you want to bake them. Once thawed, you can bake them.
Voila. It’s really not as bad as you think. Once you master this recipe, it’s easy to start thinking about fillings for the croissants…which will be coming later.
This post was Yeast Spotted!