I've never made croissants before, but I've made puff pastry before. The two doughs are very similar. The main difference is that croissant dough contains yeast, while puff pastry does not. So go ahead and make puff pastry instead. The difficulty is about the same for both. Today, I will give croissants a try!
Croissants are pretty easy to make. The ingredients are easy to find, and you probably already have them in your home. The only difficult part is the technique. Learning how to fold all those layers and keeping the dough and butter cold. Since I have made all sorts of pastries before, it has become second nature to me. I've included some pictures from my croissant adventure to help you along the way! =]
Just keep in mind, you probably won't finish in one day. It's a labor of love.
18 oz (4 cups) of all purpose flour
5 oz (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) warm water
5 oz (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) milk
2 oz (1/4 cup + 2 Tbs) sugar
3 Tbs butter, softened
1 Tbs + scant 1/2 tps active dry yeast
2 1/4 tps salt
10 oz (2 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg
1 tps water
1. Warm water should be between 105 to 108 degrees F. Add sugar and yeast. Let foam for 10 minutes. Discard if the yeast does not foam, and try again.
2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients. Using dough hook, mix on low for 3 minutes. Dough should come together. Scrape sides of bowl if necessary.
3. Switch mixer speed to medium, and mix for 3 more minutes.
4. Transfer dough to plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 6 to 8 hours.
5. The next day, cut your butter to form a 5 x 5 inch square. I cut the sticks in half, to form slabs. Arrange the butter pieces between two pieces of parchment paper. Begin to smash the butter gently with a rolling pin. After all the butter sticks together, you can gently roll on them. Shape into a 7 1/2 inch square. Cut and shape the butter to a perfect square, putting cut edge scrapes on top of block.
6. Refrigerate while you roll the dough.
7. Roll the dough into a 10 1/2 inch square. Place the butter in the center, so the corners of the butter point at the sides of the dough (see picture).
8. Wrap the butter up, by pulling the corners of the dough over the butter. (see picture). Seal all edges. You do not want the butter escaping. Try not to trap air bubbles.
10. Fold the dough into thirds (see picture), this is also known as the business letter fold.
12. Repeat the rolling and folding 2 more times, for a total of 3 times. Each time, roll in the direction of the open ends (see picture).
13. After the third rolling and folding, put the dough on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours. The dough needs to rest.
14.The next day, lightly flour your surface. Cut the dough in half, and put one half back in the refrigerator, covered. Look at all those layers you've made!
15. Roll out your dough to a 8 x 22 rectangle. If the dough sticks, add some flour to your surface. Trim the dough so the shape is a perfect rectangle.
16. Cut out triangles using a pizza cutter. If you want them to be uniform, use a ruler and measure out triangles.
17. Stretch each triangle a little bit to elongate it to 10 inches. Cut a tiny 1/2 inch notch in the center of the short side of each triangle (see picture).
18. Lay the croissant/triangle on your work surface, with the notched side closest to you. With one hand on each side of the notch, begin to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end. Bend the legs to form that croissant shape. Shape the remaining triangles.
20. Put the croissants in a draft free spot at 75 to 80 F, loosely covered in plastic wrap. Let them proof/rise. It will take about 2 hours.
22. Beat the egg wash ingredients together with a fork. Brush the croissants with the egg wash. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway during baking. If it gets too dark, lower the baking temperature to 410 F. Bake until golden brown.
23. Cool on racks, and enjoy slightly warm. Yum yum.
I even stuffed chocolate in the crescent shaped croissants. I love chocolate croissants that much. I couldn't bend them into that moon shape after stuffing them with chocolate, but that's ok!
Chocolate croissants can also be made instead.
Roll the dough (half) to an 8 x 22 inches rectangle. Cut the rolled dough into smaller rectangles, and add a little semi-sweet chocolate or any chocolate you like, and roll up.
Proof/rise and bake the same as the traditional croissants.