When I went food shopping the other day, I bought some croissant breakfast sandwiches that I could make in the oven. That got me thinking, what if I made my own croissants? They are wonderful by themselves, great with jam and even better with sausage and cheese…but what I didn’t know is how long they take to make. But if you are determined (as I am) to make them from scratch, you can make them the day before. Or if you’re feeling froggy, you can wake up before the crack of dawn to make them fresh for the day. Either way, you will be rewarded with buttery, yummy goodness!
What you need:
- 9½ ounces softened butter
- 8 ounces milk
- ½ ounce fresh yeast (or ¼ ounce active dry)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces bread flour
- 1 egg, mixed
- Split the butter into 2 sections: one 8-ounce (2 sticks) section and the other 1½ ounces (about 3 tablespoons). Place the larger section of butter in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and mash it into a thin, flat square (about 8 by 8 inches).
- Next, scald the milk and allow it to cool for several minutes, then pour it into a bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and stir with a whisk. Next, add the sugar, the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, and the salt. Sprinkle in the bread flour, a few ounces at a time. Switch to wooden spoon or silicone spatula as the mixture turns into a dough. Mix dough in the bowl until all the flour is incorporated and it is a smooth, soft dough. Shape it into a large rectangle (about the size of a half sheet pan) and allow it to rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
- After it has chilled, place the butter square (also known as butter block) over two-thirds of the large rectangle, remove the plastic wrap, then fold the dough like a business letter (unbuttered; one-third into the center, followed by the unbuttered one-third).
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough back to the thin, large rectangle shape and allow it to rest another 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Dust your workspace with bread flour, and repeat the letter fold-roll-and-rest process 3 more times. Finally, use a ruler to measure and cut 10 large triangles in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. Trim the center, removing an inch or two of dough between the endpoints. Stretch each triangle out a little, then roll it up starting at the base of the triangle. Then adjust each piece into the classic crescent shape.
- Allow to “proof” or risen a warm, moist spot. Brush each croissant with egg wash, the bake at 400 until all the shades of golden brown imaginable have developed (about 25 minutes).
I highly suggest that you read through the directions thoroughly and make your notes. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be in the end. Also, don’t be intimidated by it either…the reward of smelling them bake all throughout the house and biting into a warm and flaky croissant is well worth the effort!