Joe, my stepson, has always been a good baker… a skill that no one else in our household possesses. Lately, he has been on a croissant kick and we have been reaping the bennies. I asked him to write a guest blog documenting how on earth to make these beauties, so here you have it…
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear French Baking? Probably Croissants (or baguette), they are a staple in French baking and, baking in general. They can be found in any store or café. Usually they have some chocolate, or cheese, or are just plain. Unless you’re in the back country of France, the croissants are going to be pretty mediocre. Oh they may taste good, put enough butter in anything and it will taste good, but once you make your own, you will truly bask in the soleil.
Croissants aren’t hard make, it’s more form than anything. Ingredients are simple. The recipe which I will be referencing is this one. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
For the dough:
- 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
- 5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
- 5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
- 2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 2-1/4 tsp. table salt
For the butter layer:
- 10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter
For the egg wash:
The only notes I want to add for ingredients:
For the flour, I prefer to use King Arthur all-purpose, they came out great. Don’t use common butter like Land-o-lakes etc, get some high quality butter or make it yourself by putting heavy cream in a food processor and run it for 10 minutes or so.
In general for the other ingredients, get the highest possible quality available (organic, fresh, et cetera)
Follow the recipe CAREFULLY! One misstep and it’s all over now baby blue. I jest, but croissants are all about following the procedure correctly.
The dough should come out as a large clump easily, mine did, and you shouldn’t have to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. It should be easily malleable, but still tough. Make sure when you cover it and refrigerate it overnight it is sealed TIGHT. Dry dough=no
When folding the 1/3’s… brush off the flour and I moistened the inside a little to help them stick and hold. It’s not mandatory, I thought my dough was a little dry so I did this and it came out fabulous.
It’s all right if they get a little wide you want it to be about 8-10 inches wide.
You will probably not get the perfect amount that the recipe says it will yield. It’s alright, you can take the scraps and make little croissants or combine all together and make one giant one like I did.
400° on Convection, 425° normal, follow what the recipe says to do.
Chocolate and Toffee: Put shaved chocolate and toffee bits in the croissant before you roll them into their final shape.
Olive oil and Rosemary: Brush some olive oil and put some rosemary leaves in it before you roll them into their final form. Pesto could be good as well, French Remoulade would also be fantastic. Basically anything that tastes good on bread you can put in these, especially Sea Love Sea Salt!
Cheese: Shave some cheese and put it on them before you roll them into their final form.
There you have it! Enjoy.