Classic French Croissants
Buttery, Flaky, Crescent-shaped Pastry
2½ teaspoons active dry yeast [7 g]
¼ cup + ¾ cups whole milk [60 mL + 180 mL]
¼ cup granulated sugar [50 g]
2 cups all-purpose flour [240 g]
1 teaspoon fine sea salt [5.7 g]
1 cup cold butter [227 g]
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour [15.6 g]
1 egg [50 g without shell]
1 teaspoon water [5 mL]
Warm 1/4 cup of milk to about 100 F (38C). Transfer it to a large bowl and sprinkle 2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast into the milk. Stir together and rest for 5 minutes.
Add in 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup additional cold milk.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift in 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt. Add in the yeast mixture. Mix this together until it is a sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the dough has a smooth surface and forms a ball that flattens slightly as it stands.
Transfer the ball of dough to a plate dusted with flour, and cut a deep X into the dough to split it into four quadrants. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little bit of flour, and let rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Beat 1 cup of cold unsalted butter until it is smooth and then beat 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour.
Turn the butter onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a 4" by 4" square. Wrap the butter square in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for one hour to firm up.
Place the detrempe dough on a lightly floured work surface such that the tips of the X that were cut are at approximately the 2, 4, 7, and 10 o'clock positions, and the four quadrants of dough at the north, east, south, and west positions.
Using the heel of your hand press each quadrant away, flattening and stretching it about 2½ inches. Make sure that the center square is thicker than the sides being stretched out.
Roll each side with a rolling pin until it is about six inches long and five inches wide, still leaving a raised square in the middle. The goal is to roll the sides thin enough so that their combined thickness is equal to the thickness of the center square.
Place the beurrage onto the square you just made. Take the side flap of dough that is furthest away from you and fold it onto the butter. Take the flap that is nearest you and do the same. Continue with the other two flaps, until the butter is covered and you have a square piece of dough.
Roll the dough into a 17 by 9-inch rectangle and cut away a few millimeters from each side to reveal the butter. If you don’t see butter, cut away more until you do. Make sure to repeat cutting away a little bit of dough for every fold to ensure there aren’t areas of the dough where layers of butter are missing. Also, never put the cut away dough back into the main dough - either throw out the cut away dough, or twist it into breadsticks and bake it separately.
Do a "single turn" fold by folding the left third of the dough into the center, and then the right third of the dough onto the left. This way, you should end up with a rectangle that is about 6 inches wide by 9 inches high.
7.) After folding, take the rolling pin and lightly roll it over the dough to press the layers together and then refrigerate everything for one hour.
Roll out the dough into another 17 by 9-inch rectangle. Like before, cut away some dough. Do a "book turn" fold by folding the short right edge of the dough 2 inches to the left (this is the spine of the “book”). Then, fold the short-left edge of the dough to the right to meet (but not overlap) the right edge (this is the pages of the “book”). After that, fold the dough from left to right so that it lines up.
Using your rolling pin, gently roll over the layers to compress them together. Place the dough in the fridge to chill for one hour.
Roll the dough into another 17 by 9-inch rectangle, cut away some dough from edges, and do another "single turn" fold. Compress the layers slightly using your rolling pin.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, or overnight.
Forming the Croissants:
Roll the dough into a rectangle 9" high by the maximum width you can give the dough you have (depends on how much dough was cut away).
Use a knife to cut off any uneven parts so that the dough is perfectly rectangular. Mark points 4" apart on the bottom of the rectangle, and then 4" apart on the top of the rectangle starting 2" away from the edge. Cut along these points to create triangles. Your first and last triangle will be smaller than the others. Place all triangles in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Take one of the triangles that was not from the ends and hold it in your hands. Stretch the base of the triangle so that it is about 5" wide. Then, stretch the triangle until it is about 11 inches long. For the half triangles at the ends, combine them by overlapping them slightly and pressing together. Then, stretch them like the regular triangles.
Starting from the base of the triangle, roll it up to the tip. That’s all you need to do to make a regular French croissant. As you roll, try to stretch the dough slightly. Your goal is to have seven “steps”, caused by three full rolls of the dough.
Continue rolling the other triangles and place them about 2" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the tip of the croissant at the bottom so that it doesn’t unravel.
Baking the Croissants:
Prepare an egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 tsp water. Brush the croissants with the egg wash.
Leave the croissants at room temperature for a few hours to proof, until they are doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Lightly brush the croissants
again, with egg wash just before putting them in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the croissants are golden brown. Enjoy!