I have never appreciated cold weather until the day I made croissants. When Aparna announced the bread for this month to be croissants, I was initially taken back at the amount of steps involved. When you have a demanding 4 year old, it becomes hard to cook things that need a lot of attention. That being said, although she gave an option to sit out this month I could not do that. I decided to try at least once. I read as many blogs and articles as possible for a day about croissants and what could go wrong and so on.
Since this was the first time I was making croissants, I wanted to give it undivided attention. That means I was working on it late at night the first two days. The key point to keep in mind is that the butter should not melt and the winter weather helped me with that and I had absolutely no butter leaking out. I read about some people having to do the lamination process over a day or 2 because the butter kept melting. They had to refrigerate the dough every now and then to let the butter harden.
Most of the sites also talked about a honeycomb texture for croissants. This is what I achieved with my first attempt. Some layers seem to be a little stuck and that was probably because the edges that did not have butter got folded in. I will pay more attention to maintaining the square edges next time. Of course, practice makes it perfect.
Even though the process was long, I still enjoyed the making of croissants thoroughly and the kids loved it. Check out the notes area below the recipe for my tips. Can you see the flaky layers below? Oh my, I was completely blown away when I took my first bite. Recipe adapted from finecooking. Off to the recipe.
Buttery, flaky, tasty croissants.
- For Dough
- all purpose flour - 4 cups
- sugar - 1/4 cup - granulated sugar
- salt - 2 tsp
- yeast - 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- butter - 3 tbsp
- water - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp COLD water (I had to use 5 tbsp more water)
- milk - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp COLD milk (I used 2% milk)
- For Butter Layer
- butter - 1 1/4 cup (2.5 sticks)
- For wash
- eggs - Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water (milk can also be used instead of eggs)
- milk - (optional)
Day 1 - Prepare the dough - 8 hours refrigeration needed
Mix all purpose flour, sugar and salt. Next add yeast and mix. Next add butter and form a crumbly dough. Using milk and water form a dough. DO NOT KNEAD. Stop when the dough comes together.
Place the dough on a floured pie plate and flatten a bit. Lightly dust the top with flour, cover and refrigerate the dough overnight or at least 8 hours.
Day 2 - Butter layer and lamination
Slice the butter and place them between wax paper forming a 5 - 6 inch square. Pound using a rolling pin starting slowly and then pound harder until the butter flattens to form a square 7.5 inches.
Trim uneven edges and place on top of the butter layer. Cover with wax paper and pound again. Trim again and place the edges on top of the butter layer. Cover with wax paper and roll lightly using the rolling pin to even out the butter. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is ready. The butter layer should be pliable and not break.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a 10.5 inch square. Place the butter layer diagonally over it and form an envelope by bringing the edges to the middle. Let the edges overlap a bit. Lightly press using a rolling pin over the edges to seal the butter.
Dust with flour and roll into a 8 x 24 rectangle. Keep the rectangle shape and straight edges and adjust using fingers if needed. Next mark the dough equally into 3 along the long edge.
Do a letter fold by folding the bottom 1/3rd over the dough and then bringing the top 1/3rd forming a three fold. Cover the dough and freeze for 20 minutes.
Repeat the rolling and folding again and freeze for 20 minutes. Do it again for the third time and cover with wrap and refrigerate it overnight.
Day 3 - Dividing, shaping, proofing and finally baking
Dividing the dough
Remove the folded dough from the fridge and slice into two along the long edge. Refrigerate one half. Roll the other half into a 8 x 22 rectangle. Dust with flour as needed and around half way through lift the dough to allow for any shrinkage. You should have atleast a 8 x 20 rectangle when done. Trim off the uneven edges of the rectangle.
Using a measuring tape or ruler, mark the dough at 5 inch intervals on the top side. On the bottom side mark at 2.5 inches first and then mark at 5 inches. There will be 3 marks on top and 4 at the bottom.
Make diagonal cuts starting at the top corner and the first bottom mark and cut upward to the second mark on top. Repeat the cutting from each top mark to the next bottom mark and back again to the next top mark. You will have 7 triangles and some scrap dough.
Shaping the croissant
Take each triangle and roll gently to stretch it a bit, say until it is 10 inches long. Next make a small notch about 1/2 inch on the center of the short side. Keep one hand on each side of the notch and roll towards the pointed edge. Flare your hands outward as you roll and stop when you reached the pointed edge that will be under the croissant. Repeat for all triangles.
Follow the rolling, cutting and shaping for the remaining dough that is in the fridge. You can also refrigerate the remaining dough for 2 days or freeze it for later.
Place the croissants on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash (beat one egg with 1 tsp of water). Cover loosely and allow the croissants to proof in a cold and draft free place.
Before proofing is done preheat the oven to 400F. Proofing is done when you can see the layers of the dough from the side and they will jiggle when moved. They will be bigger but not necessarily double in size.
Once proofed, brush with egg wash again and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the top is browned. Remove and enjoy the fruits of hard labor :).
1. Do not knead the dough. It just needs to come together.
2. Butter and dough needs to be COLD.
3. Before starting the lamination, make sure that the butter is pliable. If it is soft, keep in fridge to harden.
4. Try to keep the edges straight and the corners square as much as possible while rolling. Trim off uneven edges that would otherwise get folded in and affect the texture finally.
5. Try to use a longer rolling pin. I had trouble with a shorter one and had to roll twice since I was not able to cover the whole width with one roll.
6. If the dough resists rolling and starts shrinking, place in the refrigerator and try after sometime.
7. Do not skip the proofing.
8. Use flour to prevent the dough from sticking while rolling. Dust off the excess flour.
9. If butter leaks out, use flour to seal open spots. If at anytime during rolling, you feel the butter becoming soft, place the dough in refrigerator for the butter to harden.
10. Do not skip the chilling in freezer or refrigerator. Follow what is mentioned in the recipe.
11. Milk can be used instead of egg wash. You will not get a dark brown color with milk though.
12. Allow lots of time on hand when attempting croissants.
13. If you feel the croissants are browning sooner, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.
14. You could refrigerate the second half for 2 days in the refrigerator or cover and freeze for later use.
15. You can also make Pain au Chocolat that is a chocolate stuffed croissant that is made like a roll.
16. You can also use a dinner plate instead of a pie plate.
1 year ago: Poritha Rasam
PLEASE CLICK ON COLLAGES TO VIEW BIGGER IMAGES.
1. Day 1: Mix all purpose flour, sugar and salt. Add yeast and mix. Next add the butter and mix to form a crumbly dough.2. Using water and milk form a dough that will be sticky. Do not knead. Place the dough on a floured pie plate, flatten it slightly, dust the top with flour and cover loosely with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.3. Day 2: We start the lamination. First we need to create the butter layer. For this slice the butter sticks and place them between wax paper forming a 5 - 6 inch square. Next pound with a rolling pin until it flattens out to form a square that is 7.5 inches.4. Trim the uneven edges and place them back on the square and cover with wax paper. Pound again to even out the butter.5. Trim edges again if needed and cover with wax paper. Slightly roll using the rolling pin to even it out. Wrap the butter with wax paper and refrigerate until the dough is rolled out.6. The butter layer should be pliable. I have placed it over the counter edge to show that. If it is hard and breaks, it means it is too cold. If it is too soft, it will melt into the dough and we will not get flaky layers. If you find the butter layer to be soft, keep in fridge until it hardens. (In my case it softened due to the extra pounding)7. Keeping the butter layer refrigerated, work on the dough that has risen a bit. Roll the dough into a 10.5 inch square. Place the butter layer in the middle as shown. We are beginning to laminate the dough.8. Form an envelope by folding the edges. Keep the edges overlapping. Pull the dough slightly if needed to overlap. Press across the joints using a rolling pin and make sure the butter is sealed properly.9. Lightly dust with flour and roll the square into a 8 x 24 inch rectangle. Try to keep the rectangle shape by adjusting with fingers if needed. Use flour for rolling and dust off the excess. Mark the rolled rectangle equally into 3 along the long edge. Starting at the short edge, fold 1/3rd of the dough over itself. You will see 1/3rd of the dough still exposed. Next fold the exposed dough from the top and form a three fold. (letter fold)10. Cover with wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.11. Out of the freezer getting ready for the second rolling. Note how the dough is placed for rolling. It is like a notebook and we will be rolling in the direction of the two open edges.12. Roll again into a 8 x 24 inch rectangle. Use flour as needed to help with rolling and dust off the excess flour. Try to keep the rectangle shape.13. Mark, fold, wrap and freeze for 20 minutes. 14. Do the rolling and folding again the 3rd time.15. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.16. Day 3: The dough has plumped up some more.17. Slice into two. Keep one half refrigerated.18. I was amazed at the layers of butter and dough. I had some edges that were stretched too much and had no butter layer. You can see that from the picture. The key is to keep the rectangle shape and keep the edges straight. Practice certainly will make this easy.19. Lightly dust with flour and roll into a 8 x 22 rectangle. Dust with flour as needed and around half way through rolling lift the dough to allow for any shrinkage and also to make sure that the dough does not stick. Try to have a rectangle that is at least 8 x 20 when done rolling. If there is too much resistance and you find it shrinking too much, fold and refrigerate for a few minutes. Then unfold and roll again.20. I had uneven edges that I trimmed off.21. Using a measuring tape or ruler, mark the dough at 5 inch intervals on the top side. On the bottom side mark at 2.5 inches first. Then mark at 5 inches. You will have 3 marks on top and 4 marks on the bottom.22. Make diagonal cuts starting at the top corner and the first bottom mark and cut upward to the second mark on top. Repeat the cutting from each top mark to the next bottom mark and back again to the next top mark. You will have 7 triangles and some scrap dough.23. Triangles are cut and ready.24. Now we shape the croissant. Take each triangle and lightly roll it to stretch it a bit, until it is say 10 inches long. Next make a small notch about 1/2 inch on the center of the short side. Keep one hand on each side of the notch and roll towards the pointed edge. Flare your hands outward as you roll and stop when you reach the pointed edge that will be under the croissant. Roll firmly, but do not press hard. Repeat for all triangles.
Follow the rolling, cutting and shaping for the remaining dough that is in the fridge. You can refrigerate this dough for 2 days or freeze it for later.25. Proofing: Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet for proofing.26. Egg wash ready. Beat one egg with 1 tsp of water.27. Brush the croissants with the egg wash. Cover loosely and place in a cool and draft-free place for proofing. Remember that the butter should not melt. Just before they are completely proofed, preheat the oven to 400F.28. Proofing is done when you can see the layers of dough from the side and they will jiggle. They most likely would not have doubled in size, but will certainly appear bigger.29. Brush again with egg wash and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the top is browned.30. Out of the oven. Whooo .. hoooo .. :).
Tasty buttery croissants ready.
Linking to Bake Fest #16 hosted by Surabhi, Yeastspotting and We Knead to Bake.