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Bertinet's Croissants

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dolfs's picture
dolfs

Bertinet's Croissants

I haven't produced much published baking material in the last few months, so here is something new for me.

Bertinet's Croissants & Pain au Chocolat
Bertinet's Croissants & Pain au Chocolat

Since my last post I have been baking plenty, but essentially nothing new. I was baking well rehearsed products (baquette, Tom Leonard's Country French, pizza, sandwich loaf, Challah) for the family and a few parties. Virtually no baking in January: my family and I were in Tanzania on Safari (anybody should be willing to forego baking for a few weeks to see that), and now we're in Montana for our annual winter vacation. Out here I have virtually no tools (no stand mixer, dough scraper or bench knife, no thermometer, limited flour selection), but I needed to bake. I made some bread from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. I made some 50/50 white and white whole wheat dough and produced some rolls one day, and a sandwich loaf yesterday. I'd say both were OK, but not as good as other breads I've made in the past using more traditional approaches. So, it was time for a little more of a challenge.

I had Amazon deliver several bread books to Montana so I had something to read. One of them was Bertinet's "Crust" and I liked the croissant recipe in it. It also comes with lots of description and pictures. So far I had resisted making croissants, despite the fact that my family loves them, because it seemed to involved, and perhaps difficult. Since I am on vacation, and was not skiing yesterday and today (avoiding the President's Day crowds) I decided it was time for croissants. Here is the recipe from the book, scaled and converted through my Dough Calculator. I also converted from fresh yeast to instant dry yeast.

Bertinet's Croissant Recipe
Bertinet's Croissant Recipe

I didn't have whole milk so I substituted 1/3 cream (which is probably too much) and the rest skim milk. I also used 4T of Splenda rather than sugar (Splenda converts on a 1:1 volume basis). I used one large egg for the 50.8 g of egg. The butter listed on the bottom is not part of the dough, but is rolled in later. The egg below it is for an egg wash. Since I had no stand mixer I mixed and kneaded by hand, which is easier for this recipe because no full gluten development is needed.

Directions (very abbreviated - the book has 18 pictures illustrating the steps):

  1. Mix dry ingredients well
  2. Add liquids and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Full gluten development is not needed, nor desired. It will happen during the rolling process.
  4. Form dough into a ball and cut cross on top.  Chill in refrigerator for 2-12 hours. The dough will ferment and swell.
  5. Take 2 sticks of butter (which is slight more than needed) out of the fridge about 1 hour before you take the dough out.
  6. Take dough out and roll out in 4 directions (use the cross as a guide) into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Rotate so it looks like a diamond.
  7. Put butter between two sheets of plastic and pound gently with a rolling pin or other heavy object until a rectangle about 1/3" thick is created. Remove top plastic and pick up bottom plastic and butter to turn over on top of middle of square dough (you should have the side triangles of the diamond still uncovered). Try to not touch (and warm up) the butter. Remove final sheet of plastic.
  8. Fold over rest of dough and seal, completely enclosing the butter. Repeat following step three times.
  9. Place dough with short side facing you. Roll out, gently and evenly, in the long direction only, until about 3 times as long. Fold in thirds and press to seal. Place in plastic bag and chill in fridge for 30 minutes (place on flat surface!). Mark with indentations in dough, or a note, so you don't forget whether you are on cycle 1, 2 or 3. Roll gently and evenly to prevent cracks and rips and butter leaking out. If it does, cover with flower and continue. The open spot will be on the inside once folded.
  10. Just before the next step, prepare an egg wash by beating one egg with a pinch of salt. 
  11. After the final chill, after the third cycle, have short side facing you and roll out into a rectangle approximately 3-4 mm (1/5" - 1/8") thick. Keep the rectangle about 12" wide (you may mav to toll sideways as well now) and put the rest in the other dimension. You should end up with approximately 12"x36".
  12. Using a knife, trim edges to make a nice rectangle. Cut rectangle into two strips approximately 6" wide. Cut each strip into triangles with a base  of about 9 cm (3 1/2").
  13. Make a small cut (1.5 cm or 1/2") into the middle of the base of each triangle and then, holding the outside corners of the triangle, stretch a little and roll up towards the top of the triangle. Roll tight, but not excessively so.
  14. Bend the corners of the rolled croissant to create the traditional crescent shape and place on greased cookie sheet, or parchment paper, with the tip of the rolled triangle on the bottom (to avoid unrolling). Leave ample space for expansion during proof and baking.
  15. Brush each croissant with egg wash, from the middle to the outsides to prevent egg wash pooling in the creases. Cover with some non-stick cover, or put in a draft free place, to proof for approximately 2 hours. Do not do this in too warm a place, as the butter may start oozing out. Apply egg wash a second time just before baking.
  16. Preheat at 425F and bake for 17-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly on racks and eat warm!

The recipe made about 14 croissants for me (I rolled them a little tick, so your mileage may be better). I actually started this at night and left the third chill in the refrigerator overnight. Also, please note that all this was done at 6,800 feet altitude so things may be slightly different at sea level. I proofed and baked one half (see photo above) and froze the rest after one egg wash. I placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. We'll be baking these tomorrow after a 20 minute thaw (or so), and at a slightly lower temperature. Unless this doesn't work, I will not post about that.

I remembered to take two pictures in the middle of the family eating most of these croissants. Here is a picture of the inside:

Bertinet's Croissants & Crumb
Bertinet's Croissant Crumb

We eat these the way I was taught in Europe. Put some butter and jam on your plate and then, before each bite, apply some of the butter to the end you're going to bite, slather some jam on top, bite, savour, repeat! 

For my first time making croissants I was extremely pleased (and so was the family!). They were extremely light and fluffy, nice color, crisp but thin outside crust, flakey and not greasy on the inside. My son loves chocolate croissants, or pain au chocolat, so I used some of the dough to make three of those (that was all the good chocolate I had in the house as this was an afterthought, and the store is a 30 minute ride into town). That's what you see as the more rectangular shapes in the front of the picture. I took a strip of three chocolate squares and laid them on top of a rolled out rectangle approximately 4"x6". This left about 3/4" on each side. Roll the dough over the chocolate in the long direction and completely roll up and seal the sides. Rest of the treatment is the same as for the croissants.

Conclusion: This was nowhere near as difficult as I had anticipated and the results were fabulous (better than I've had from most stores). Well worth the try and, if my freezing experiment works out, you can make a bunch the day before and freeze them. Everytime you want them it should only take about 1 hour (thaw + bake) before you can have fresh croissants for breakfast! 

 




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures 

Comments

fleur-de-liz's picture
fleur-de-liz

Dolf:

Those are beautiful croissants! I also love croissants but hesitated to make them because they seemed like such a hassle. Now I will have to get it a try!

Liz

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Dolfs.

I saw these before but didnt comment and todayt I have a hankering for them. I am going to use your recipe but I dont understand the following instruction.

"

  1. Put butter between two sheets of plastic and pound gently with a rolling pin or other heavy object until a rectangle about 13" thick is created. Remove top plastic and pick up bottom plastic and butter to turn over on top of middle of square dough (you should have the side triangles of the diamond still uncovered). Try to not touch (and warm up) the butter. Remove final sheet of plastic.
  2. Fold over rest of dough and seal, completely enclosing the butter."

You said "Put butter between two sheets of plastic and pound gently with a rolling pin or other heavy object until a rectangle about 13" thick is created."

do you mean 13 inches long? I can imagine 13inches thick is pretty thick and even at its thickest 2 sticks of butter cant get high.

If I am correct you mean make a rectangle 13 inches long out of the butter and lay it on the dough? 

 

Thanks Dolfs!

 

TGB 


 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

Should be 1/3", not 13". Ha ha. That would be incredible. Just pound and flatten evenly until about 1/3" thick and you will have the right size and thickness to start rolling in the butter. The rolling and folding process makes it even thinner but in the end the dough that you roll up to make the croissants will have 9 layers of butter in it. I've fixed the original post. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Thanks Dolfs!

 

I am looking forward to making them! (may not be tonight now as I have begun cinnamon buns, but I think Wednesday seems like a good day :D

 

Thanks again for clarifying that. I hope mine look as good as yours do!

 

TGB 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Dolf - Those are without a doubt beautiful croissants! I'm very impressed and must admit I also have dragged my feet on making these. I bought the chocolate sticks from KAF a few weeks ago to make Leader's sourdough pain au chocolate but just haven't taken the plunge yet. I must.

 

Again, those are just super looking and making me very hungry. Thanks for the inspiration.

 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

 Lovely croissants Dolf!

By some freaky coincidence I set myself the task of making croissants this weekend just past.  I made two batches.  One I rushed the proofing on and the exterior was v. nice, taste was good but the inside layers didn't turn out so well.

The second batch is in the fridge slowly proofing at the moment.  My reasoning for fridge rising is that the dough expands as much as it can with the butter layers still intact before going in the oven.  Unfortunately I mixed the dough with pretty cold milk which means it has not risen as quickly as I hoped. Still at least the long ferment should add flavour.

I didn't use the Bertinet recipe but kind of improvised one on the fly(only saw this post after I'd made the dough etc.).  Hopefully I'll get passable results.

 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

The way the Bertinet recipe works the dough gets to ferment, slowly, during the 2-12 hour chill in the fridge, before you started working the butter. I actually left the dough out for about 15 minutes before putting it away. All this serves to develop some taste (slow ferment > more taste), but also grows the yeast colony so you're better situated for the second proof, which comes after you've shaped and rolled the croissants.

I sort of had another proof because after my third trifold it was about midnight and the dough spent the night in the fridge before rolling out and shaping in the morning. There was a definite size increase there as well, but of course the rolling pushes all bubbles out (but does not reduce colony size!) 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

That makes sense.  Yes would explain the slow rise I'm getting.

I posted a couple of pics of my results.  I'm not entirely happy with my attempt but I think altering my dough (add egg) and an initial proof will make them better in the future.

 

dolfs's picture
dolfs

You say you are not entirely happy. From the pictures it is hard to determine what might be "wrong" with them. They look pretty decent to me.

I compared recipes a bit. The egg is one difference. The other is that you are at just under 70% hydration (milk solids!) and Bertinet's recipe is more like 62% (and that includes the egg). I did actually add a little water to compensate for altitude, and suspect my dough was more like 65%.

A third difference is that you had 1t yeast for 500g flour, and I had 2. That too may have been an explanation for the poor proof speed.

Please let us know what you didn't like so we can learn!

 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

While there were definite layers in my croissant - they basically just turned into a soft fluff right at the centre...a little too dense for my liking although I was cutting/eating fairly soon after removing from the oven....(should have waited perhaps)

I think in my case it's half an issue of technique (better proofing) and possibly the addition of egg and as you say a lower hydration. 

Anyway, I'm learning and I'm still fairly happy with the results (flavourwise they were fine!)

dolfs's picture
dolfs

I froze shaped and egg washed croissants from this batch right after shaping. I thawed them overnight in the fridge and let them proof this morning. Then I baked them.

The proofing was fairly slow as they were still pretty cold. I tried baking one early to see if oven spring would do the work. I advise against this. The butter in the dough starts melting before the rest of the dough warms up enough and starts leaking out. The result was surely edible and still better than many store bought ones, but still.

The rest proofed fully(and one more egg wash) before baking and worked out much better. They were nearly as good as the completely fresh ones. I think next time I will not freeze until fully proofed. I think that may be the best solution of all.




--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Thank you for a wonderful recipe - only second attempt ever, and they came out beautiful!! Made half the recipe, ended up with 2 pain au chocolats and 6 croissants (2 plain, 2 cheese and 2 green chilli).

Was a bit worried about the size - they were so tiny when I shaped them, but after 2 hours of proofing and 17 min in the oven - they are perfect!!! I didn't use the egg - I prefer mine un-glazed, and the best comment i got - "just like the bought ones" - I shall take it as a compliment :)

 

Oh, and the title - is there a sourdough version of this recipe? is it worth trying it with natural yeast, or should i stick to commercial ones?

HP

P.S.: THE best croissant - in Barcelona, they roll a piece of ham and some cheese with the croissant - before baking - a must try!

dolfs's picture
dolfs

And, I think, traditionally, they are never made that way in France. It is a somewhat sweet dough, so sweet/sour? U dunno!

Yes the cool thing about croissants is all the fillings you can do. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Thank you again for a great recipe.

A day after, i heated my pin au chocolat (thats how i like them) and I found they were a tiny bit dry inside. Whats your crumb like the day after?

dolfs's picture
dolfs

This stuff doesn't last long enough in my family to know what its like the day after :-). I guess I am going to have to make larger batches! Chocolate is hygroscopic (attracts moisture) so one possibility is that it helped dry out your pain au chocolat. Did you have a regular croissant left over for comparison?

My solution to having it two days in a row was to freeze/refrigerate half the dough and bake fresh the next day. I have yet to try freezing fully proofed croissants to see if that can shorting the baking time on the final day and still give great results. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You croissants look inviting and your photo skills have really progressed to look professional! The picture of the open croissant really makes my mouth water .. and the color! I missed your post earlier, but I'm catching up. Inspiring!

Mini O

dolfs's picture
dolfs

One of my other hobbies is photography. When at home, I use my Nikon D200 to take the pictures so I can play nicely with depth of field etc. When I made the croissants I was on vacation in Montana and, how stupid, brought my D200, but accidentally left my memory cards at home. So, I was forced to use my wife's point and shoot Coolpix. Still worked out nicely!

The croissants are on the program for this weekend. I am going to attempt a large batch and will freeze them 70% into the proof. The idea is that if I want croissants, I'll take them from freezer to fridge at night and bake them in no time in the morning. Will report on the success/failure of that.

Just has a good croissant from Whole Foods, but at $2.19 a piece this freezing option looks quite attractive! 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

hokietoner's picture
hokietoner

  1. Put butter between two sheets of plastic and pound gently with a rolling pin or other heavy object until a rectangle about 1/3" thick is created. Remove top plastic and pick up bottom plastic and butter to turn over on top of middle of square dough (you should have the side triangles of the diamond still uncovered). Try to not touch (and warm up) the butter. Remove final sheet of plastic.
  2. Fold over rest of dough and seal, completely enclosing the butter. Repeat following step three times.

I don't understand the folding you've described.  I'm making these right now and I just put the butter on half and folded it over in half, sealing the edges all the way around.
dolfs's picture
dolfs

For the original instructions imagine you have the dough, roughly a square, standing on tip (when you are facing it), as a diamond. Imagine the butter as another rectangle that you will put on top, but leave this one with an edge facing you. Once placed on top, you will have a triangle of dough that is still uncovered in each of the four directions. You fold these triangles back over to end up with a layer of butter enclosed on all sides with an equal thickness dough.

Your description of what you've done sounds fine too. Now follow the other instructions for rolling, cooling and additional folding and you will have some lovely croissants. I made them several times since. 


--dolf


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

hokietoner's picture
hokietoner

Thanks, I kind of wondered if that's what it was.  My method worked fine except during the final rolling the layers were so thin that they ripped a bit on the bottom.  The croissants came out great still.  I also didn't know how to properly cut the triangles but after I did mine I saw a video about how to do them.  In case anyone is confused about the shape of the cut triangles, they should be fairly acute isosceles triangles, cut like this:

/\/\/\/\/\/\

on the long rectangle.  I cut mine into right triangles so the croissants were long and skinny. 

Blacktulip's picture
Blacktulip

Hi,


Thanks for the recipe. these croissants look gorgeous..


 question: Is the yeast mixed with the wet ingrdiants and then added to the dry or is it mixed with the dry first?


I have just finished mixing the dough and it is pretty hard. Is the supposed to be hard or soft?


Thanks again