When thinking of French cuisine one usually thinks of the Croissant. No Parisian breakfast would be complete without one... or two! Over the years I have definitely ate my share of these bread-like pastries. I even took a class on how to make them from a French Chef at LeFoodist in Paris.
Perfecting the Croissant and other veinnoiseries is no small feat. Most would prefer to leave these labor intensive pastries to the professionals. I disagree! Our area does not currently have an artisan bakery and until you have a fresh, hot out of the oven, flaky, buttery, Croissant cross your lips and dances on your taste buds - you can not relate to this breakfast experience like our friends across the pond.
At this point if you are feeling left out - you don't have to be! With a little patience and some practice you can master the art of Croissant making. To begin - Croissant dough is laminated, which mean the dough has layers and layers of butter folded into it. First, you have to prepare the détrempe (pronounced "day-tromp"), which is a dough containing yeast and some butter, but not a lot. The real butter comes next – known as the beurrage (pronounce "buhr-rahge"). Here, butter is pounded and rolled out with a rolling pin so it is soft and pliable but still cold. The last step, known as the paton (rhymes with baton), involves placing the beurrage on top of the détrempe and then sealing up the butter within a dough envelope. The paton then gets rolled out and folded (known as a turn) a total of 3 times before it is ready to be used.
The trick with this dough is make sure the dough packet and butter packet are the same consistency. The working temp of butter should be approximately 60° F. If your butter begins to melt it will incorporate with your dough instead of remaining a solid sheet designed to sit between the layers of dough. On the flip side, if it is too cold it will crack and not roll out evenly within the dough. Allowing the paton to rest and chill appropriately between turns ensures that the butter stays cool and gluten has time to relax, thus giving you the perfect Croissant dough.
Croissant Recipe | Yield: approx 22
Détrempe (Dough Packet)
6 1/4 cups (750g) All-purpose Flour
2.5 tablespoons (38g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (75g) Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon (17g) Salt
4 1/2 teaspoons (14g) Instant Yeast
1/3 cup (38g) Milk Powder
1 cup (240g) Water
3/4 cup (180g) Milk
Beurrage (Butter Packet)
2 cups (454g) Unsalted Butter, cold & softened
In mixing bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, mix the dough packet ingredients on low until combines. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix 2-3 minutes, or until a smooth, slightly sticky dough comes together. Shape dough into a ball and place in a oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let bulk ferment for 1-1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
Using your hands or rolling pin, gently shape dough into a rectangle about 3/8" thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Soften the butter packet until it is pliable, but still cold. To do this you can place butter between two sheets of parchment paper or into a quart size plastic bag (unsealed) and gently beat with rolling pin. Then shape parchment into 7" square or seal plastic bag and roll butter into the corners of bag to form and even flat square. The butter packet should be similar consistency as the dough packet when assembling them together.
To assemble dough and butter packets begin by rolling the dough packet double the size of the butter packet in length which would be approximately 7"x14". Place butter packet in center of dough and fold each end over to meet in the middle. Press edges together to seal in butter and form a paton.
Give the paton it's first singe turn by rolling it into a rectangle 7"x 21". Dusting of any excess flour, fold it into thirds bringing one end in 14" and folding the other end over the top. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest 30 minutes up to 1 hour in the refrigerator. Repeat this process 2 more times.
Once you have completed your last turn and your dough has rested, roll the croissant dough into an 8" wide rectangle just less than 1/4" thick (length will be determined by the thickness). With a sharp knife or croissant cutter, cut 8" long by 4" wide triangles out of the dough. To shape: cut a small slit in middle of 4" wide edge. Holding corners on either side, give the dough a slight stretch causing your triangle to resemble the Eiffel Towler. Then begin rolling from the wide end. Place 3" apart on baking tray lined with parchment paper or silpat. Egg wash, cover with loose plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature until double in size.
Egg wash a second time and Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes then lower oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake until deep golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200-210°.
You can freeze croissants immediately after shaping (my preferred method). Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until hardened, then transfer to a freezer bag. To bake, remove desired amount and place on line sheet tray spaced approximately 3" apart. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and thaw/proof overnight or until doubled. Egg wash and bake per instructions. Croissants can be stored in freezer for up to 1 month.