Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Homemade butter croissants

Buttery, flaky croissants taste even better than the ones at the bakery! Don't be intimidated - these are very easy to make, and most of the time is actually spent waiting for the dough to chill. If I can make these, you can too. Add your favorite filling for a bit of flair to these luscious croissants!

Note: This is a picture-heavy post. I felt that it was essential to show you each step since croissants tend to be one of those recipes that folks find intimidating. I wanted to document how I made these so you can follow along and see how easy these really are.

I did it. I finally made croissants. These things have been on my bucket list for who-knows-how-long, and now I can cross them off. And you know what? They weren't difficult to make at all. These croissants just require a lot of patience since the dough has to chill for 2 hours at a time. Other than that, it's just rolling and folding. Easy.

Many of you may know that I am part of a cooking group called What's Baking that posts recipes around a theme 6 times per year (it used to be monthly, but that was too difficult for many of us to keep up with). The "host" rotates around, and that person gets to choose the theme for the baking challenge.

Look at how flaky these turned out!
I wanted to really challenge myself this month, so I proposed 3 different options for the What's Baking girls - croissants, kouign amann, and homemade puff pastry. We put these to a vote, and croissants won. Finally, I had my opportunity to make croissants.

I made my croissants over the course of 2 days, but you can absolutely do it in 1. As I said before, most of the time is spent waiting for the dough to chill, so your hands-on time really isn't much at all. If you can roll dough and fold it in half, then you can make croissants.

I got overambitious and did 3 "turns" of my dough. I made the mistake of letting my dough rest too much before popping them in the oven so they were misshapen and a bit soft. But, once they baked up, they tasted extremely buttery and flaky. These were so incredible that I could hardly believe that I made these.

We gifted croissants to two sets of neighbors, and both of them raved about them and how they were "the real deal." Fill yours with Nutella, jam, honey or whatever you like. Or make them plain. Just don't wait around like I did and make them now. Trust me on this one.

Stay tuned to see how my What's Baking friends fared. I'll be posting a roundup of their croissants soon.

Homemade butter croissants
Dough
  • 3 cups (15 oz.) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • ¼ cup (1¾ oz.) sugar
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups whole milk, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Butter square
  • 24 Tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and kept cold
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Directions
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together 2 and 3/4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Slowly drizzle in the milk until a dough forms. Add in the butter and keep kneading/mixing until you achieve a smooth, pliable dough. The dough should not stick to the bowl or the hook. If it does, slowly add in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, but in small increments. Once the dough comes together, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. The dough can be made the day before if needed. Do not let it thaw before using.

Make the butter square: On a spotlessly clean and cool work surface, sprinkle the butter with the flour.
Using a bench scraper or any other flat-edged object, scrape the butter against the surface for a few minutes until it becomes into a beautiful buttery and velvety mixture.

Wrap the smeared butter in plastic wrap and use your fingers to squish the butter around until it becomes a 5-inch square.

Chill this in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (this can be made a day or two ahead of time if needed).

Combine the dough with the butter: Take the dough out of the refrigerator and gently and slowly roll it into an 11-inch square. Place the cooled butter diagonally in the middle so it looks like a diamond.


Fold up each side of the dough into the middle to cover up the butter.

Wrap this in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Be patient here and do not take the dough out early.

Generously flour your working surface with flour and gently press the dough down with  your rolling pin to flatten it a bit.

Gently roll out the dough into a 14-inch square. You should start with your rolling pin in the middle and alternating rolling forward to backward and then side to side so you get a square.


Fold your dough, vertically, in thirds.

Then fold the dough in thirds again, going from bottom to top (like a business letter). Once you're done this step, you have successfully made "2 turns" of the dough.

Wrap the dough again and place it in the refrigerator for at least another 2 hours. Repeat the process of completing 2 turns of the dough (rolling it out to a 14 inch square, folding it in thirds vertically, and then in thirds like a letter). Cover and place back in the refrigerator for another 2 hours or more.

We're finally done folding the dough! (You can complete 2 more turns if you'd like - I did, and my croissant were super flaky) Now, once your dough has chilled, generously flour your work surface again. This time, you will want to roll your dough out to a 20-inch by 20-inch square. Cut the square down the middle with a knife so you have two rectangles. Slice each rectangle on the diagonal so you have two triangles. You should end up with 12 total triangles.


Make a 1-inch slit at the base of each triangle.


Add filling, if desired. Then fold the slits toward the outside and start rolling the dough. Tuck the final edge of the triangle underneath and bring the two points of the croissants inwards towards each other.

Repeat with remaining dough and place on a parchment paper or silicone paper lined baking sheet. Allow the croissants to rise for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. If desired, brush the tops of the croissants with an egg wash. Then bake the croissants for 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. The croissants should be golden in color.

Allow the croissants to cool before serving. They should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the freezer) and will keep for about 2 days. They are best eaten the day they are baked. Leftover croissants can be reheated in a 300 degree F oven for about 5-10 minutes or for about 15 seconds in the microwave.



Yield: 12 croissants

Source: Annie's Eats

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