i swore after making croissants from scratch in pastry class that i’d rather shell out $3.50 for a single croissant from ceci-cela than make croissants from scratch again. but then, somehow in the past few months, i seem to have accumulated all the special ingredients for making really good chocolate and almond croissants — plugrá european style butter, bâtons boulangers, mandelin almond paste — and making croissants from scratch didn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore. plus, i had hubby around on the weekends to enlist as a human dough-rolling machine.
ps1. the resulting croissant from the scratch made dough below is a lot flakier and crunchier than the pillsbury pre-made croissant dough.
ps2. and yes, your home will smell like a french bakery afterwards.
(adapted from the french culinary institute; makes 20-24 croissants)
|Beurre en pomade||40g (take the butter and squish it between the palms of your hands until it feels like the consistence of hair pomade; lovely, no?)|
|Butter||300g (european-style highly recommended)|
- Dissolve the yeast in water. It is ready to use when the yeast starts to froth and foam.
- In the bowl of you stand mixer with the dough hook set at a medium speed, combine the flour, sugar, salt and beurre en pommade.
- Add the milk and yeast water. Mix the ingredients together until it forms a fairly cohesive piece of dough. (It will appear lumpy at first).
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick (roughly, 12 x 20 inches or so).
- Place the 300g of european-style butter between plastic wrap. Roll out the butter until it fits over 2/3 of the croissant dough (you’re aiming to make a 12 x 14 inch rectangle or so). [Note: it’s often times easier to roll out the butter if you press down or whack the butter block at first to flatten it slightly].
- Fold the unbuttered top 1/3 of dough down on the middle 1/3 of the buttered dough. Then fold the bottom 1/3 buttered dough on the top of the other 2 sections. Turn dough so that it is perpendicular to you. Gently, press down on the dough to press it together. You’ve just finished your first “turn” of the dough.
- Return the dough to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
- Fold and roll the dough while chilling in between turns 2 more times. Make sure when you’re folding the dough that you are tucking the seams of the prior turn inside the dough (i.e. the seam should be facing you as you make your new fold).
- When the turns have been completed, the croissant dough can either be frozen until ready for use or rolled out to make croissants.
Shaping and Baking Croissants
- Take the croissant dough from above and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 3/8 inch thick. [Yes, a dough rolling machine would be really useful for this step. It is laborious]
- Place the rolled out dough on a piece of parchment paper and chill it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Rectangular shaped chocolate croissants are quite a bit easier to make in my humble opinion than the crescent ones.
- I use chocolate batons (like these from cacao barry) that can be ordered from a specialty store in the US. I’ve seen them carried in well-stock supermarkets and gourmet stores in both europe and japan. Regular chocolate isn’t made for withstanding the high temperature of baking and will readily ooze out of the croissant when you bake it.
- To shape a chocolate croissant, cut out a piece of dough using a sharp knife that is as wide as the chocolate baton that you are using.
- Place the first baton near the edge of the dough and roll the dough over the baton to cover it. Next, place a second baton next to the dough covered first baton. Roll the dough over the first baton. Cut off the excess dough at the end. Use some egg wash to stick the tail end of the croissant to the body (make sure the tail end is tucked under the body). Set the croissant aside on parchment paper and let it rise until it has roughly doubled in size.
Crescent Shaped Croissants
- Cut your dough into long and narrow isosceles triangles with a base that is roughly 3 inches and a length of 7-8 inches.
- Make a one inch incision at the center of the base of the triangle.
- Lifting the edges closest to the incision, fold the 2 flaps upwards.
- At this point, you can stuff the croissant by placing a bit of almond paste, cheese or whatever, at the top of the incision and alongside the fold flaps. Then, continue to roll the dough upwards. The tip of the triangle should be securely tucked under the croissant. You can either leave the 2 ends of the croissant straight for curve them together for a more rounded croissant.
- Set the croissant aside on parchment paper and let it rise until it has roughly doubled in size.
Baking the Croissants
- When the croissants have doubled in size, brush them lightly with egg wash.
- Bake at 380ºF for 20 minutes until golden brown.