Tuesday, January 17, 2012
French cooking is wonderfully over involved. They are able create culinary masterpieces that leave us utterly enchanted. The croissant is no exception. Layer upon layer of crispy buttery delicate perfection. So daunting many home bakers never even bother to attempt it. However, if you just take the time to enjoy the process you will find it is not so difficult after all.
This is an old recipe I've been making for about ten years. It has all the elements I look for in a good bread recipe. It uses real, natural ingredients. No dough enhancers, dry milk, margarine etc. It takes a few days to make which means you wont be tied to the kitchen all day. And, it calls for a preferment so I know the flavor will be well developed. The best flour to use for croissants is a low gluten flour. Pastry, All Purpose flour, or a combination of those work well. I always use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast.
Makes 1 dozen
In a small bowl combine,
3 Tbsp lukewarm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast
1/2 cup flour
Set the preferment aside in a warm place for a few hours until it is light and fluffy
Finish the dough:
In a large bowl combine,
2 cups flour
1 tea salt
3/4 cup of room temp whole, fresh milk (I use goat milk)
Mix well then add the preferment and knead lightly for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes
While dough is resting dust two sheets of wax paper with flour. Put two sticks of butter side by side between them and flatten to into a 1/2 inch rectangle. Put it in the refrigerator to chill.
Roll the dough out on a floured board into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Remove the butter rectangle from the refrigerator and cut it in half. Place one half of the butter in the center of the dough (it should be about a third the size of the dough). Fold one end of the dough over the butter. Place the remaining half of the butter on top of the dough then fold the other end of the dough onto the top. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, fold in half and then in half again to make four layers. Roll it out and make four layers again. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
Make the layers,
About an hour and a half before you plan to bake remove the dough from the refrigerator. You will make two turns by rolling it out and folding it into four layers then roll it out again and fold into fourths and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out into two rectangles 4 1/2 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick.
Cut triangles and roll from the wide end with the point up, curve ends to form a crescent shape. Let rise 30 minutes. Combine 1 egg yolk with 2 Tbsp of fresh cream, brush the glaze onto the croissants. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes until golden brown and flaky. Enjoy!