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Butter Croissants

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gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Butter Croissants

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 11/25/2009 here


Ready for something a tad more advanced?  It takes time to make, but it is SO worth it.


Butter Croissants


I fell in love with croissant making a few semesters ago in my Laminated Dough class.  Bread making is among my favorite things to do in the kitchen, but making laminated doughs (doughs with butter sandwiched between the layers) tops that.  It takes time to make laminated dough and the process has taught me a lot about being patient in the kitchen.  Some things can't be rushed.


Butter Croissants


Making croissants at home is not a hard thing to do.  Yes, it will seem intimidating the first time when you see all the steps all at once, but  it is really just three stages, which makes the whole process less intimidating for me.


Stage 1 - Mixing the dough and making the butter block


Stage 2 - Marrying the butter with the dough and doing your three turns (folding the dough into thirds, like a letter, and turning 90 degrees)


Stage 3 - Make-up and baking


Butter Croissants


A few things to note:


I proof these croissants in the refrigerator overnight then allow them to set, at room temperature, for an hour before baking. The long, cold proof gives the dough more flavor and allows the butter to chill completely before the final proof at room temperature.


The oven gets a spritz of water from a spray bottle before the croissants go in, and another when I put them in the oven.  The steam helps the croissants get nice and big.  You want that.


Give yourself two or three days to make these.  If I do not have a full day to make the dough and do the turns, about 6 hours for stage one and two,  I make the dough and make the butter block the first day, do the turns and make up the croissants the second and bake the third.


Cook the croissants until they are well past golden brown. The edges should be quite dark and the tops a robust brown color.  This does two things, it gives the croissants more flavor and it ensures they are done all the way through.


Once made up into croissants you can freeze the dough and store it for as long as two months.  Just put the frozen croissants in the refrigerator overnight to defrost and let stand for an hour and a half before baking.


This dough can also be used for some pretty awesome danish!


Butter Croissants


Roll your sleeves up, get out your butter and remember, no fear!  You CAN do this!!


Butter Croissants   Yield 5 pounds of dough (about 48 croissants)
Adapted from Professional Baking, 4th Edition by Wayne Glisslen


For the pre-ferment:
7 ounces water, warmed to 110F
1/2 ounce dry active yeast
5 ounces bread flour


For the dough:
2.5 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces whole milk
1 1/2 ounces water
2 pounds bread flour


For the butter block:
1 pound 4 ounces butter (I use salted for croissants, but unsalted is also good)


Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream
2 teaspoons water


 


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Begin by preparing the pre-ferment.  In the bowl of a mixer, or in a large bowl, mix the water, yeast, and bread flour.  Mix until it forms a very wet dough.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.


While the pre-ferment sits prepare the butter block.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Between two sheets of parchment paper arrange 5 sticks of cold butter into a rough square.  Using a rolling pin press and pound the butter until it forms a rectangle about 1/4″ thick.  Place this in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Once the pre-ferment is rested add the ingredients for the dough and mix on low speed for three minutes.  Increase the speed to medium for two minutes.  You do not want to form gluten, you are just trying to form a rough ball of dough.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until it forms a relatively smooth ball.


Butter Croissants Butter CroissantsButter Croissants


Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover until it is double in bulk, about 50 minutes.  Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and, using the palm of your hand, press out the air bubbles.  Form another ball and return to the bowl.  Refrigerate for an hour.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Once the dough has rested for an hour remove it and the butter block from the refrigerator.  Turn the dough out on a a lightly floured surface and press out the air.  Using a rolling pin form a large rectangle roughly  12″ x 24″.


Butter Croissants


Take the butter block still wrapped in parchment and see if it covers 2/3 of the rolled out dough.  If it is too small roll it out until it fits, leaving a 1/2″ border around the edges.  You can use your fingers to spread the butter if needed, just make sure that the butter does not develop any holes.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Fold the dough with out butter over the center of the dough.  Fold the buttered side in.   At this point check to see of the butter is getting soft.  You want the butter cool and firm, but if it is starting to melt let the dough chill, covered, for twenty minutes before you make the first turn. ( If you work quickly you can incorporate the butter and do your first turn before you have to chill.  Your first time you may not be able to.  That is completely ok.)


Butter CroissantsButter Croissants Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Turn the dough 90 degrees, or with the long seam facing horizontal to you.  Dust the board and the dough well with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle that is about 12″ by 20″.  Dust all the flour from the dough and fold one third of the dough in.  Dust the top of the dough again to remove any flour and then fold the other third over the top.  Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.


Repeat this process two more times.


Once you have completed three turns, and the dough has rested for an hour, you are ready to roll out and make up your croissants.


Divide the dough in half.  Wrap the half you are not using and return to the refrigerator.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


On a well floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/8″ thick.  You may need to let the dough rest during this process if it starts to spring back.  If so, cover with plastic and return to the refrigerator for ten minutes.  Once rolled out cut the dough in half lengthwise with a pizza cutter.  Now, holding your cutter at an angle cut triangles from the strips of dough that are about 4″ wide at the base.  Cut one strip at a time.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Working with a few triangles at a time, chilling the rest, stretch the dough gently at the base until it is about 5″ to 6″ wide, then stretch the dough lengthwise so it forms a long triangle.  Working from the base, roll the dough onto itself, stopping to stretch the unrolled dough half way through.  Place the dough with the point on the bottom and tuck the edges in to form a crescent shape.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan.


Cover with plastic and chill for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.


Heat the oven to 400 F, prepare the egg wash, and fill a spray bottle with water.  Set the dough out to proof for an hour at room temperature while the oven heats.


When you are ready to bake spritz the inside of the oven with water.  Close the door and wait thirty seconds.  Brush the croissants with egg wash, then put the pan in the oven and spritz again and quickly close the door.


Butter Croissants


Bake for 18 to 22 minutes for medium sized croissants, or until the tops are very brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the side.  Rest on the pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool slightly.


Butter Croissants


Serve warm.


Butter Croissants


 

Comments

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Making croissants at home is not a very hard thing to do! Very nice write up and product, Gothicgirl.


I've been making these since the early 1980s. I tried a number of recipes--Jacques Pepin's, Julia Child's, etc., but finally settle on one published in a now defunct magazine called "Cuisine" until recently when I tried PR's as a tester for his new book. His recipe has some nice simplifications that sped up the process without compromising the final result.


Great posting.


--Pamela

Mumsie Leonie's picture
Mumsie Leonie

What a wonderful write up. Clear, concise and very organized.  I might even 


try this myself. Pictures are worth a thousand words and  Thank you for this


Sue

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Very nice write-up and photos.  Beautiful croissants!


Sylvia

Marni's picture
Marni

Your explanations and photos are wonderful.  The croissants look delectable!


Marni

Salome's picture
Salome

Wow!


I don't really like croissants, but I'd definitely enjoy yours! Such a beautiful write-up as well. I'd recommend Floydm to make this "sticky" (add to the recipe collection).


If I find a group of people hungry for croissants and worth the work I'll maybe try it one day.


Salome

dstroy's picture
dstroy

oh dear. I dont think I wanted to know how many sticks of butter are in my favorite treat! Those look delicious!


Fabulous post - thank you for sharing it here!

Reuben Morningchilde's picture
Reuben Morningchilde

Thanks for this thorough description, this really helped me finding enough confidence to try this once more. So far, I've been rather disappointed by my experiments...


Once question though - what temperature has the butter sheet when you combine it with the dough? Does it come right out of the fridge or do you leave it to warm up a little? What whould be your suggestion for ease of handling? Thanks!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Gothicgirl, that is the best write-up I've come across for quite some time - and that's saying something, because there are some beauties here and on the other forums I inhabit. Thanks a lot.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

The butter block should be firm and cool, but not cold.  Conversly, you do not want it room temperature, otherwise it will run out of the dough when you try to do the initial folds to enclose the butter.  It should feel decidedly cool, but still have some firmness. 


I let my butter block sit out while I roll out the dough.  That seems to work well for me.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Thank you all for your kind comments!  I am so glad you find the post helpful.  :)

ques2008's picture
ques2008

gothicgirl, it's been awhile since your last post.  always wondered what you were up to.  those are gorgeous croissants.  one day, i too, will make them.  oh my, so much butter, i better wait until they go on sale. :)


i still remember your steamed buns - would you believe your recipe is a keeper in my book?  it never fails!


thanks for sharing these.  they seem like a challenge but you've explained it with a lot of hand holding and...great pictures as usual!

homeschoolmom23's picture
homeschoolmom23

I would like to make these, however, I don't think we will eat 48 at a setting. How do you store those you do not eat?

dstroy's picture
dstroy

They freeze really well! Throw them in a freezer ziplock back, push most of the air out, and put em in the freezer and they do great!  Just leave them on the counter to defrost.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

You can freeze the dough once it is shaped and just bake what you need.  Just defrost on the fridge overnight, and proof for an hour and a half before baking.  This is the method I recommend. 


If you bake more than you need you can store in a zip top bag for one day on the counter.  Just pop them in a 350 oven for about ten minutes to refresh. 


You can also do as the other commenter said and freeze them.


Happy baking!

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Just the first picture had my mouth watering.


Great job with these!!


MommaT

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

Very nice writeup and pictures.  I have wanted to try to make croissants for a long time.  I think I will try making them this year-my New Year resolution early.


 


Bix

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

Pamela - Which PR book are you referring to?


gothicgirl - These look great!!


Thanks,


Nick

FaithHope's picture
FaithHope

Wow!  Thanks so much for all the work you put into this post!  The pictures, the directions!!!!  Can't wait to give it a try!  Just got your Flour Tortillas too! :)


Thanks again!

drdobg's picture
drdobg

I followed the recipe exactly but found the dough to be quite stiff.  Is this what I should expect?  It is rising right now and my butter block is made and in the frig.

glacial's picture
glacial

I've tried this recipe and a few others and I get the same problem all over again:


the croissants are not fluffy & flaky inside but more bread like and heavy. Can anyone help me? Any ideas what goes wrong?


 


I've always followed the recipes with precision, in no hurry with enough resting/cooling time. I don't have any problems during the turns, no butter comes out during proofing and backing. I work in a cold environment. What is it that goes wrong every single time? I've tried about 6 times with various recipes.


Any help is much appreciated.

drdobg's picture
drdobg

I also tried this recipe, following it to a "T" and my croissants also turned out dense without being flaky.  I prepared these in two batches, the second I gave an extended rise to, since both times, they didn't seem to rise appreciably after taking out of retard. I was extremely disappointed with the final result of this recipe. 


I have read by others that the recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. II is foolproof.  I hope to try that one soon; I'd also like to know other's experience with this recipe, and Julia's recipe.

drdobg's picture
drdobg

I did the calculation and believe the hydration is at 55%.  This seems quite low for a dough expected to be soft and slack.

glacial's picture
glacial

After a few experiments I've worked out that in my case the reason for getting dense croissants rather than flaky ones was the flour. You really need a flour with a high gluten content. The all purpose flour won't do (unless you add gluten to it, about 1% would be enough). I've managed to get hold of original French flour used in France for croissants and it worked wonders.


Drdobg, what type of flour did you use?


 


 

drdobg's picture
drdobg

I used Harvest King unbleached bread flour made by General Mills; protein in the 13-14% range.

LuckyOven's picture
LuckyOven

Thank you so much! Your recipe works very well. I used it to made my first bread and I realy like it. Your recipe has so many details, I follow it step by step, and the outcoming suprised me. Here is my croissants. I am so excited. Thanks again!

Jrljames4's picture
Jrljames4

I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I have been baking breads for about a year now, but I have always been timid.  But you made it sound so easy! So I took your advice and...


"Roll your sleeves up, get out your butter and remember, no fear!  You CAN do this!!"


And I did it! I halved the recipe since it is just my husband and I and our two small children to eat them. It also made it easier to justify using just 2.5 sticks of butter instead of 5 if I failed. It made 22 medium sized croissants and I am proud to say that there are only 6 left. This will definately be on our Thanksgiving and Christmas menus ( and just because sometimes too:).  So thank you again and here are mine...




I am soo proud!

Zsac's picture
Zsac

Gothicgirl, or anyone else:

Could you please point out to me why these croissaints are paler then then the one in the recepie? Is it just baking time?

Here are mine. The vanilla filled pastrie at the top is made from the scrap dough that is generated when the triangles are made.

 

Any comments for room for improvement would be more then welcome :)

 

Thank you

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

The dough was probably too soft or wet?

Here's a site that has a video and some tips for croissant making:

http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/wkb-2012-croissant-making-log/

I had better luck when the dough was not soft or wet. The dough should be firm as the cold malleable butter.

stoend's picture
stoend

Hi


 


How long do you let the pre-ferment sit? Room temp? fridge overnight? Couldnt find info.


 


thanks

Zsac's picture
Zsac

Thank you very much for taking the time and energy to put this together.

 

I shall try it soon.

 

Zsac

Dean_01's picture
Dean_01

very nice instructions and the pictures are a great bonus, also its much better to actualy see what each step is supposed to look like.  I shall try these over the next couple of days and post a picture.   Must admit i am a bit nervous about making these hehe.

 

Dean

 

sknorr's picture
sknorr

I find my croissants turn out better if I use the lower moisture European butter. I don't live near any major cities, so KerryGold Irish butter is often my only choice, but to me, it's worth the extra price.