I am on to my third Double Challenge. What was our third back challenge? Croissants! I am so glad that I did the Danish Braid challenge in June because it gave me some experience working with laminated dough. I LOVE croissants, but they are full of butter, so I don’t each them much because of my lactose intolerance. I have always wanted to try making them, but never thought I could. Well, thank you Daring Bakers for making me suck it up and dig in! What a great challenge, although I wasn’t able to start it until last night!!! Can you say, staying up until midnight!?!
I made regular croissants and a few chocolate ones. I can’t wait to try them. The only substitutions I made was using soy milk instead of non-fat milk in the Preferment. For the dough, I subbed half soy creamer and half soy milk for the whole milk as well as Earth Balance and a little soy mayonnaise for the butter. For the egg wash, I used soy creamer instead. I did make the preferement on Monday. On Tuesday, I made the dough and Danish Braid, but didn’t have enough butter to start the dough, so that had to wait until Wednesday. On Wednesday, I finished making the croissants. For the chocolate croissants, I used the rest of the ganache I had from the Filbert Gateau, which was enough for about 5 croissants. For the remaining 3 chocolate croissants, I used my chili powder infused chocolate bar, I can’t wait to try that one!
The dough rolled out better this time than for the Danish Braid and the only real problem I ran into was my complete failure in geometry. I had to call my husband in to help me figure out the triangles. He was very helpful and I was able to figure it out (he always gives me hints, but makes me figure it out, which is nice, helps me to learn). I still need to work on my croissant rolling, but they were pretty good for my first attempt. The rising went well and they baked up just like they should have. Although, my a little too big one took a little longer to bake. My chocolate oozed out a bit, but they still tasted great! If you would like to be a little daring, here’s the recipe, try it out!
Verdict: I would totally make these again! I’m impressed with how flaky the layers are. I can’t wait until the morning to try one with some Apricot jam.
Croissants (from the Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt & Chad Robertson) DB Challenge #3: Jan 2007
Participants: Founders Lisa (La Mia Cucina), Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice). Alpha Class: Peabody (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody), Brilynn (Jumbo Empanadas), Helen (Tartlette) Beta Class: Quellia (All Things Edible), Veronica (Veronica’s Test Kitchen)
Servings: Approximately 16 – 18 croissants Time required for recipe: 1 to 2 days
1. High altitude modifications are allowed as long as you stay “true” to the recipe.
2. Conversion for certain dietary restrictions like gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan etc. is allowed.
3. Recipe ingredient exception allowed only if allergy or an ingredient not available or cost prohibitive in your region.
Additional Kitchen Notes: To maintain the correct consistency of the dough & butter components, work in a cool kitchen up until the final rising of the shaped pastries. The preferment, a mixture of milk, yeast, & flour with the consistency of a batter, is left to rise so that it will ferment slightly, developing flavor & aroma, before the dough is mixed. It can be made in the morning allowed to rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours to make the croissant dough the same day, or it can be made at night, put in the refrigerator to rise overnight, & used to make the croissant dough straightaway the next morning.
¾ cup non-fat milk (6 oz/150 ml)
1 tbsp active dry yeast (15ml)
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour(6 ¼ oz/175g)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp active dry yeast (20 ml)
1 ¾ cup whole milk (14 oz/425 ml)
6 cups all purpose flour(28 oz/800g)
1/3 cup sugar (2 ½ oz/70g)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp salt(20 ml)
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter (15 ml)
2 ¾ cup unsalted butter, cool but pliable (22 oz/625g)
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream (2 oz/60 ml)
To Make the Preferment: In a small saucepan, warm the milk to take the chill off (between 80° to 90 °F). Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir to dissolve the yeast with a wooden spoon, & then add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth & let the mixture rise until almost double in volume, 2 to 3 hours at moderate temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
To Make the Dough: First measure out all your ingredients & keep them near at hand. Transfer the preferment & then the yeast to the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until the yeast is incorporated into the preferment batter, which will take a minute or two. Stop the mixer as needed & use a spatula to clean the bottom & sides of the bowl, folding the loosened portion into the mixture to incorporate all the elements fully. When the mixture has come together into an even, well-mixed mass, increase the speed to medium, & mix for a couple of minutes. Slowly add half of the milk & continue to mix until the milk is fully incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low, add the flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, & the rest of the milk, & mix until the mass comes together in a loose dough, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer & let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes. This resting period helps to shorten the final mixing phase, which comes next.
Engage the mixer again on low speed & mix until the dough is smooth & elastic, a maximum of 4 minutes. If the dough is very firm, add a little milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Take care not to overmix the dough, which will result in a tough croissant that also turns stale more quickly. Remember, too, you will be rolling out the dough several times, which will further develop the gluten structure, so though you want a smooth dough, the less mixing you do to achieve that goal, the better. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth & let the dough rise in a cool place until the volume increases by half, about 1-½ hours.
Lightly flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface & press into a rectangle 2 inches thick. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap, or slip it into a plastic bag & seal closed. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 4 to 6 hours.
To Make the Roll-in butter: About 1 hour before you are ready to start laminating the dough, put the butter that you will be rolling into the dough in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until malleable but not warm or soft, about 3 minutes. Remove the butter from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, & place in the refrigerator to chill but not resolidify.
Laminating the dough: Lightly dust a cool work surface, & then remove the chilled dough & the butter from the refrigerator. Unwrap the dough & place it on the floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, & starting from the left side, spread & spot the butter over two-thirds of the length of the rectangle. Fold the uncovered third over the butter & then fold the left-hand third over the center, as if folding a business letter. The resulting rectangle is known as a plaque. With your fingers, push down along the seams on the top & the bottom to seal in the plaque.
Second turn: Give the plaque a quarter turn so the seams are to your right & left, rather than at the top & bottom. Again, roll out the dough into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches, & fold again in the same manner. Wrap in plastic wrap or slip into a plastic bag & place in the refrigerator for 1 ½ to 2 hours to relax the gluten in the dough before you make the third fold, or “turn”.
Third turn: Clean the work surface, dust again with flour, & remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap, place on the floured surface, & again roll out into a rectangle 28 by 12 inches. Fold into thirds in the same manner. You should have a plaque of dough measuring about 9 by 12 inches, about the size of a quarter sheet pan, & 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic wrap or slip into the plastic bag, place on a quarter sheet pan, & immediately place in the freezer to chill for at least 1 hour. If you intend to make the croissants the next morning, leave the dough in the freezer until the evening & then transfer it to the refrigerator before retiring. The next morning, the dough will be ready to roll out & form into croissants, proof, & bake. Or, you can leave the dough in the freezer for up to 1 week; just remember to transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before using.
shaped and rising
Making the croissant: When you are ready to roll out the dough, dust the work surface again. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 32 by 12 inches & 3/8 inches thick. Using a pizza wheel or chef’s knife, cut the dough into long triangles that measure 10 to 12 inches on each side & about 4 inches along the base.
Line a half sheet pan (about 13 by 18 inches) with parchment paper. To shape each croissant, position a triangle with the base facing you. Positioning your palms on the two outer points of the base, carefully rolling the base toward the point. To finish, grab the point with one hand, stretching it slightly, & continue to roll, tucking the point underneath the rolled dough so that the croissant will stand tall when you place it on the sheet pan. If you have properly shaped the croissant, it will have 6 or 7 ridges.
As you form the croissants, place them, well-spaced, on the prepared half-sheet pan. When all the croissants are on the pan, set the pan in a draft-free area with relatively high humidity, & let the pastries rise for 2 to 3 hours. The ideal temperature is 75 °F. A bit cooler or warmer is all right, as long as the temperature is not warm enough to melt the layers of butter in the dough, which would yield greasy pastries. Cooler is preferable & will increase the rising time & with it the flavor development. For example, the home oven (turned off) with a pan of steaming water placed in the bottom is a good place for proofing leavened baked items. To make sure that no skin forms on the pastries during this final rising, refresh the pan of water halfway through the rising.
During this final rising, the croissants should at least double in size & look noticeably puffy. If when you press a croissant lightly with a fingertip, the indentation fills in slowly, the croissants are almost ready to bake. At this point, the croissants should still be slightly “firm” & holding their shape & neither spongy nor starting to slouch. If you have put the croissants into the oven to proof, remove them now & set the oven to 425 °F to preheat for 20 to 30 minutes.
About 10 minutes before you are ready to bake the croissants, make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, & salt until you have a pale yellow mixture. Using a pastry brush, lightly & carefully brush the yolk mixture on the pastries, being careful not to allow the egg wash to drip onto the pan. Let the wash dry slightly, about 10 minutes, before baking.
Mimic Cream wash
Baking & storing the croissants: Place the croissants into the oven, immediately turn down the oven temperature to 400 °F, & leave the door shut for the first 10 minutes. Then working quickly, open the oven door, rotate the pan 180 degrees, & close the door. This rotation will help the pastries to bake evenly. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes longer, rotating the pan again during this time if the croissants do not appear to be baking evenly. The croissants should be done in 15 to 20 minutes total. They are ready when they are a deep golden brown on the top & bottom, crisp on the outside & light when they are picked up, indicating that the interior is cooked through.
Remove the croissants from the oven & place them on a wire rack to cool. As they cool, their moist interiors will set up. They are best if eaten while they are still slightly warm. If they have just cooled to room temperature, they are fine as well, or you can rewarm them in a 375°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes to recrisp them before serving. You can also store leftover croissants in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, & then afterward in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have stored them, recrisp them in the oven before serving.
Pain au Jambon Variation: After you cut the rolled-out dough into triangles, lay 1 ounce (30 g) thinly sliced smoked ham over tow-thirds of each triangle, leaving the pointed tip (the remaining one-third) uncovered. Place some matchstick-sized batons of Gruyere or similar cheese on top of the ham. Roll up carefully, encasing the ham & cheese, & then proceed as directed for plain croissants.
Pain au Chocolat Variation: Roll out the dough as directed, but cut it into 6 by 4 inch rectangles, rather than triangles. Place 1 ounce (30 g) bittersweet chocolate batons (or 2 ounces/55g for double chocolate) in the center of each rectangle. Starting from the long side, roll up each rectangle carefully, encasing the batons in the center, & proceed as directed for plain croissants.