Croissants - well that word itself takes you on a beautiful buttery, flaky, aroma filled tasty journey into France. Well, atleast thats what it does for me and for my better half too.
We love croissants - but, then who doesn't???
I had never baked croissants before. You can say that the amount of butter thats goes into the preparation and then the consumption was what had scared me the most. Infact after getting to know how croissants are made, we had avoided these yummy treats - yup, its been over 5 years, we have savored these yummm treats only about twice a year, every year.
Ofcorse when Aparna mentioned in the facebook group that the bread we will be baking for the month of Feb is a buttery indulgence - somehow we all knew it was going to be a croissant. And yes indeed croissants it was.
After reading the recipe she posted and watching the amazing informative video - I was a bit intimidated with regards to the length of time needed to get the final crescent shaped pastry. She did mention we could give this month a pass if we did not want to use butter for health or any other reasons. I actually thought of letting it go this month. But, then the posts started pouring in and after looking at all the buttery and yummy goodness - I was tempted to make them too.
I am so glad I got over my fear of cooking with butter and making a pastry and flaky dough and made these beautiful looking treats. My almost 3 year old kiddo loved them the most - and thats like the most amazing appreciation anyone could ever ask for.
I adapted the recipe from girl vs dough. I just halved the recipe, as I was just trying it for the first time and was really not sure how it would turn out. Well, no complaints there - it turned out great. Do visit the site for all the steps - she has done a fabulous job.
I am taking the liberty to write the recipe kinda just like how Stephanie has written on her blog. However, the measurements are half as I used half of everything she mentioned.
3/4 cup warm whole or 2 percent milk (about 105-110 degrees F)
1/8 cup sugar
1 and 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled in the fridge
1 tablespoon milk for the wash over the croissants
In the bowl whisk together warm milk, sugar and yeast until yeast is dissolved. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes untill it becomes nice and foamy. This shows that the yeast is working and its now ready.
Add 1 and 1/2 cups flour and salt to this yeasty mixture and mix well till it forms a nice and sticky dough. It should take about 8 to 10 minutes to get there.
You can do this by hand or use your stand mixer with the dough attachment to do it for you.
Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for 2-3 minutes, adding more of the remaining flour as needed just until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Shape dough into a 1 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Cover it lightly with flour, so that it does not stick to the plastic wrap you are going to wrap it in. Place in fridge 1 hour to chill.
While the dough is chilling, make the butter packet. Place sticks of butter together on a sheet of plastic wrap. Top with another sheet of plastic wrap - using a rolling pin and your hands, thwack, beat, roll out and press the butter into an even, flat, 4-by-2 and 1/2-inch rectangle (be as precise as possible). Wrap the butter up in the plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill.
Remove dough from fridge and from plastic wrap. Place on a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a 8-by-5-inch rectangle (be sure the edges and the corners are as well-shaped as possible) - Do this with a rolling pin and shape it with your fingers. Remove butter packet from fridge and from plastic wrap and place in center of dough, short ends of butter packet parallel to long ends of dough. Fold top half of dough over butter packet, then fold bottom half of dough over it like a business letter. Rotate dough so the short end faces you.
With the short end facing you, flatten the dough evenly by pressing the rolling pin onto the surface (try not to roll it out right away). When the dough has flattened, roll it out to a precise 7-by-5-inch rectangle. Fold the dough again like a business letter, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
Repeat the above step (“With the short end facing you… chill for 1 hour”) three more times, chilling the dough for 1 hour between each fold, for a total of four folds. After the fourth fold, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight, or 8-12 hours.
The next morning, unwrap the dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 10-by-16-inches. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 triangles. Cut a small slit at the bottom of each triangle and roll up like a crescent roll. For chocolate croissants, place 1/2 to 1 ounce of dark chocolate in the bottom center of the triangle before rolling up.
Place croissants about 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Cover with tea towels and let rise until puffy, about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush each croissant with milkwash and bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on baking sheets before consuming.
Note: Croissants will keep fresh in a plastic bag or airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. For longer life, keep them in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge for 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 1 month. (These were notes from Stephanie)
I baked about 6 of those croissants. The balance I froze immediately after getting them into a crescent shape. When I want to bake them - I will just thaw them in the fridge for about 8 hours and then line them on a baking sheet and let them proof at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours or till they get fluffed up. Bake them at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes and savor them with jam, butter, tea or make a nice sandwich out of them.