Snowy Day Step-By-Step Croissants

23 Nov

Six inches of snow fell last night and school was cancelled this morning. While deciding how to start off my long holiday weekend, my sister came across some fig goat cheese which sounded too good to pass up. Croissants are a baking project best suited to those days where you don’t have much else going on (or the weather has decided you should abandon what plans you had), so I decided to whip some up to enjoy with our cheese tomorrow morning. This was my first attempt at croissants, and I must admit that I was a little intimidated before I started. Don’t be intimidated–they’re not tricky, they just have a lot of steps! After seeing (and tasting!) the finished product I have to say the amount of work was definitely worth it. They are crispy and flaky on the outside but the inside stays soft and buttery. These are a good special-occasion treat–go ahead, impress your family and friends!

Croissants

Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Printable Recipe

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

Mix  water, one cup of flour, and yeast together until the any lumps in the flour are gone. Cover and let rise for about an hour.

Add the remaining flour, cream, and salt to the risen mixture and knead for about a minute. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Knead the rested dough by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, place the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to pound it into a 7″ square.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly-floured work surface. Roll the dough out into an 11″ square, making sure the dough isn’t sticking as you roll. Place the butter square diagonally in the center of the dough.

Fold the four corners of the dough over the butter square. Pull the edges and pinch to seal the seams.

Very carefully, roll the dough out into a 14″ square. Start in the center and move toward the edges, tapping the dough with the rolling pin until the butter begins to soften. Flour your work surface and rolling pin to make sure the dough isn’t sticking.

Once your dough has reached the right dimensions, fold it into thirds, like you would a letter. In croissant terms, this is called a “turn” of the dough.

Complete the second turn of the dough by folding it in thirds again in the opposite direction.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for two hours.

Roll the dough out again into a 14″ square and complete two turns again. (Fold the dough in thirds length-wise and then again width-wise.) Wrap in plastic again and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll out the dough a third time and complete two more turns of the dough. At this point, the dough is ready to cut and shape.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each half out into a 6 1/2″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer each rectangle to a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 20 minutes, just until the dough is firm.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the dough in to triangles with bases roughly 3″ wide.

Make a slit in the center bottom of each triangle. Start rolling the base toward the point of the triangle, one hand on either side of the slit you just cut. Move your hands away from each other, starting to make the classic croissant shape.

Place the rolled-up croissants on your parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavor of the dough develop.

After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 375°. While the oven is heating, beat one egg with about a tablespoon of heavy cream and brush the mixture on the croissants. Bake for about 35 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown.  Remove the croissants from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Happy breakfast!

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One Response to “Snowy Day Step-By-Step Croissants”

  1. Ron Allen November 25, 2011 at 6:49 AM #

    Delicious!

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