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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Iannelli-Rubin

Fresh Baked Croissants

With a real love for all things baked, I recently made my first batch of croissants. The scratch process was a fun labor of love, and I learned so much! Albeit, it was not easy, and it was time-consuming, but so worth it. Croissants are a true project. They require time, patience, and a lot of rolling! Golden brown, flaky, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, these croissants made a perfect breakfast sandwich on the reheat. One bite of these transported me to our Paris visit in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. We stayed in the 7th arrondissement, close to the Eiffel Tower and visited a quaint French bakery every morning. The air was fragrant with freshly baked croissants helping us to find our go to stop.


Croissants play a big part in French history, but did you know that this decadent pastry originated in Austria? While most people often think of France when they hear mention of the croissant, Austria is the true country of birth for this famous pastry. Its Viennese, not French!

The Process is long, in total, took me about 14 hours, and is briefly outlined here:

  1. make dough from butter, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and milk

  2. roll out dough into a large rectangle

  3. make butter layer

  4. enclose the butter layer inside the dough

  5. roll out dough into another large rectangle, then fold it back together (lament)

  6. roll out dough again, fold it back together again(fold 2)

  7. roll out dough one more time, fold it back together (fold 3)

  8. shape the croissants

  9. bake

Between most of these steps, there is a resting time. The resting time is what helps to develop all the layers. This recipe laminates the dough 3 times. The dough needs to rest in between each. Laminating the dough, we are rolling and folding the dough and butter to create layers within the pastry. This recipe will create 81 layers in our croissants. Here's what's happening:

  • Start with dough, butter layer, dough = 3 layers

  • Roll it out and fold it into thirds = 9 layers

  • Roll that out and fold it into thirds = 27 layers

  • Roll that out one last time and fold it into thirds = 81 layers

So what are you waiting for? Get started on your croissants today! I'd love to hear all about it. Tell me what you think of this recipe and experience. This specific recipe was crafted from experimenting with recipes by Joy of Baking, Fine Cooking, and Epicurious and other at home food bloggers. Let me know if you give them a try!

 

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for rolling/shaping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cold whole milk

Butter Layer

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (I used imported butter)

  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) whole milk

Instructions

  1. Before you begin: Read the recipe. Make room in the refrigerator for a baking sheet. In step 6 and again in step 13, you will need room for 2 baking sheets.

  2. Make the dough: Cut the butter in four 1-Tablespoon pieces and place in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low-medium speed to gently combine the ingredients for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the milk. Once all of the milk is added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the dough for at least 5 full minutes. (No mixer? knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough will be soft. It will (mostly) pull away from the sides of the bowl and should bounce back when you poke it. If after 5 minutes the dough is too sticky, keep the mixer running until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  3. Remove dough from bowl and, with floured hands, work it into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured parchment paper on a baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough out, and cover with plastic wrap. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  4. Shape the dough: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. I like to keep the dough on the silicone baking mat when I’m rolling it. Begin flattening out the dough with your hands. Roll it into a 14×10-inch rectangle. The dough should feel like soft play-doh. Be precise with the measurement. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working the edges with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle.

  5. Long rest: Place the rolled out dough back onto the baking sheet. Cover the rolled out dough with plastic wrap, place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. (Up to 24 hours is ok.)

  6. Butter layer (begin this 35 minutes before the next step so the butter can chill for 30 minutes): In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, and beat the butter and flour together until smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to parchment paper lined baking sheet. Using a spoon or small spatula, smooth out into a 7×10-inch rectangle. Be as precise as you can with this measurement. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the butter layer for 30 minutes. (No need to cover it for only 30 minutes.) You want the butter layer firm, but pliable. If it gets too firm, let it sit out to gently soften. The more firm the butter layer, the more difficult it will be to laminate the dough in the next step.

  7. Laminate the dough: In this next step, you will be rolling out the dough into a large rectangle. Do this on a lightly floured counter. Remove both the dough and butter layers from the refrigerator. Place the butter layer in the center of the dough and fold each end of the dough over it. If the butter wasn’t an exact 7×10-inch rectangle, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to even out the edges. Seal the dough edges over the butter layer as best you can with your fingers. On the lightly floured counter, roll the dough into a 10×20-inch rectangle. It’s best to roll back and forth with the shorter end of the dough facing you. Use your fingers if you need to. The dough will be very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. Again, the dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. This was the 1st turn. If the dough is now too warm to work with, place folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 2nd turn.

  8. 2nd turn: Turn the dough so the short end is facing you. Roll the dough out once again into a 10×20-inch rectangle, then fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. The dough must be refrigerated between the 2nd and 3rd turn because it has been worked with a lot by this point. Place the folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 3rd turn.

  9. 3rd turn: Roll the dough out once again into a 10×20-inch rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter.

  10. Long rest: Place the folded dough on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (Up to 24 hours is ok.)

  11. At the end of the next step, you’ll need 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The dough is currently on a lined baking sheet in the refrigerator, so you already have 1 prepared!

  12. Shape the croissants: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough out into an 8×20-inch rectangle. Use your fingers if you need to. Once again, the dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough in half vertically. Each skinny rectangle will be 4-inches wide. Then cut 3 even slices horizontally, yielding 8 4×5-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles. You have 16 triangles now.

  13. Egg wash: Whisk the egg wash ingredients together. Remove the croissants from the refrigerator. Brush each lightly with egg wash.

  14. Bake the croissants: Bake until croissants are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. If croissants show signs of darkening too quickly, reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C).

  15. Remove croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. They will slightly deflate as they cool.

I highly recommend nibbling on them the same day. You can cover any leftover croissants and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!

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