Flaky, Buttery Croissants

I LOVE croissants.

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The flaky layers that just pull apart, the rich and buttery flavor… a good croissant never fails to seduce me.

For as long as I can remember, puff pastry has been the bane of my baking existence. This might be in part due to the fact that I always attempted to make puff pastry in the summer, when the temperatures are high and the butter melts into a goopy mess at the slightest touch. I knew I had to try making it in the winter, when the temperature of my house is low enough so that the butter can withstand a little bashing without turning into an oily mess.IMG_0357

These croissants were so good. They were crispier than I would have liked them to be (I like soft croissants) and they flaked apart beautifully, slightly reminiscent of phyllo pastry. Head on over to The Fresh Loaf for the recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and for great tips on the art of croissant-making!

Croissants (majorly adapted from Julia Child)
Note: Makes 8 small croissants

Bread Flour, 228g
Milk, 120g
Water, 13g
Sugar, 14g
Salt, 5g
Instant Yeast, 2.7g (a scant tsp)
Oil, 15g
Roll-in Butter, 125g

1. Mix everything together but the roll-in butter. Knead at low speed for 3 min, then at medium speed for 7 min. The dough should be very smooth, relatively strong, a relatively weak windowpane.

2. Bulk rise at room temp (24C) for 3 hours until doubled. Knead to get rid of air, press flat, put in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

3. Tap roll-in butter between two sheet s of plastic, roll into 5 inch square. Put in fridge for at least one hour.

4. Roll out dough into 7 inch square, enclose butter block as following, seal well

5. Roll out to 6 x 14 inch rectangle, do first bookfold along the longer side. Don’t forget to trim the edges.

6. Put in fridge and rest for 1 hour. Take out dough and repeat the rolling and folding 2 more times, which gives 3 folds in total.

7. Put in fridge and rest for at least 120 min. Roll out to 8 x 16 inch, 1/8 inch thickness. You may need to rest the dough in fridge several times.

8. For classic croissants: cut into 4 rectangles, each 8 x 4 inch. Then cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles. Trim edges, stretch lightly into skinny long triangles.

9. Roll up fairly tight, stretch out the tip with one hand when you roll the bottom with the other hand. Since they are smaller, you won’t get as many layers as the standard ones

10. At this point, you can proof right away, fridge overnight and proof next day, or freeze (defrost overnight in fridge before proofing). Brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP of water), then proof at about 80F until very soft and jiggly (about 3.5 hours). Brush another layer of egg wash after proofing.

11. Bake at 425F for 10 min, 375 for 15 min.

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