Have you ever squished a giant glob of cold butter through your hands? I can now say that I have. My new baking book has inspired me to make new and exciting things; things I never even thought of making before. Well, maybe I thought of making them, but the task seemed to great for me to comprehend. All that changed yesterday when I decided to make croissants. Delicious, flakey, buttery croissants. They were a lot easier than I thought, however very time consuming. About 24 hours to be exact, possibly more. I prepped the dough yesterday and kept it in the fridge for 12 hours (because I read the dough is better when it rests, though you can let it rest for 3 hours and still have great results). This morning, while enjoying my coffee, eggs with cheese, and toast with almond butter, I waited for the dough to proof (rise).
Then I popped them in the oven, and magically my apartment filled with the sweet aroma of baked goods. My apartment smelled like a bakery. In fact, my roommate said she could smell the croissants baking from outside of our apartment and down the hallway. If only this could be my lifestyle everyday. Baking all day long sounds like the perfect job...
if only I knew that before I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a degree!
makes 12 croissants
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup barely warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon sugar (my own addition)
1 3/4 cups cold butter
Combine 1 cup of flour with the water and yeast just long enough to break up the lumps of flour, and let rise for 1 hour.
Stir in the remaining flour, the cream, salt, sugar, and knead for 1 minute. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead the mixture by hand for about 10 minutes or with a stand mixture with a dough hook for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Work the butter with the heel of your hand or the paddle attachment until there are no lumps. Shape and roll the butter into a 8 x 8 inch square, using plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 9 x 17 inch rectangle and place the square of butter on one end. (see picture)
Fold over the dough so the butter is encased in a square. Press together the edges of the square to seal in the butter. Press gently on the square with one hand while firming up the other sides to even out the square. Gently hammer the square of dough with a rolling pin to stretch the dough and the butter in it.
Now roll the dough into a 9 by 18 inch rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds as though it were a letter. Starting with a narrow end, fold the bottom thrid up and fold the opposite end down. If the dough is difficult to roll, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When the dough is ready to work, turn it so that the large single fold, like the spine of a book, is on your left, roll it out into another rectangle again, and fold it in the same way. Your dough has now had two "turns", and it needs four in total.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for AT LEAST 1 hour. Continue in this way until you have given the dough 4 turns total.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour again (I did 12 hours). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into two 6 1/2 by 20 inch rectangles from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Trim any uneven edges and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
For each rectangle, cut the dough in triangles, like pictured below (I forgot to take pictures of my own!). Then make a small 1 1/2 inch long slit in the middle of the triangles.
As you begin to roll up the croissants, curl the two sides of the triangle on each side of the cut, away from each other. Continue rolling with both hands, each one on half of the triangle. Point your hands away from each other as you roll.
Arrange the croissants on the sheet pans and cover them with plastic wrap to proof (again, I know!) for 3 hours in a cool place, or 1 hour in a warm place. They should double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, brush the proofed croissants with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt), and bake for about 35 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
I took the liberty of making some chocolate croissants and a cinnamon sugar "croissant" with the leftover dough. Hopefully they will be good! I'm making my boyfriend taste them tonight.