June 23, 2008

Learning to Make Croissants (with video!)

When Anne, our fearless leader at Kitchen Conservatory, offered to teach the staff how to make croissants, I jumped at the chance. I mean, when else would I be able to learn first hand how to make those flaky, buttery morsels? Here's the recipe, with my notes and pics added:

1 cup milk
1 cup water
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons instant yeast (we used bread machine yeast)
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 pound unsalted butter, cold

  • Put the yeast & sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Warm the milk & water to 110 degrees (bath-water temp) and pour into the bowl with the yeast. Cover with a towel. When a foam appears, add the salt.

  • With the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer running, add the flour to the bowl a little bit at a time, until smooth & no longer sticky. The dough should pull away from the bowl.

  • Then, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour (overnight is okay, too).

  • With a rolling pin, smash the cold butter between layers of plastic wrap. Like this:

  • Roll out the chilled dough and put the butter into the middle.

  • Fold the dough over and seal very tightly (you don't want the butter oozing out!) with no air bubbles. Roll out the dough and fold into thirds. Then roll out the dough in the other direction and fold into fourths ("bookfold"). Roll out again (always roll the opposite way you folded!) and fold into thirds. Refridgerate the dough overnight.
All of the folding & rolling creates layers of butter and dough. This is called "laminating" the dough. It's what makes croissants butter & flaky!

  • To finalize the rolling process, roll out the dough and fold into fourths. Then, roll out the dough to a quarter-inch thick. Cut in half and chill one half while working with the other.
NOTE: When you are working with the dough, if it starts to feel too warm or the butter starts to ooze, put it back in the fridge to chill. Also, if it get sticky, sprinkle flour while rolling. You can brush off excess flour with a pastry brush.

  • Cut into triangles and tightly roll into crescents:

  • Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash (1 yolk with 1 tablespoon water). Let rise for about 10-15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash again and bake at 375 until well-browned, about 15 minutes. You want the finished croissants to be very browned; this helps to ensure that the inside is flaky and not doughy.

  • You can also cut the dough into rectangles and fill them with a few pieces of chocolate.
Thanks, Anne, for teaching us all how to make these wonderful treats!

1 comment:

Peabody said...

Great idea to add the video...very helpful.