French Croissants

The croissant was created in Vienna (Austria) in 1863 after they defeated the Turks from seizing them. In celebration of their victory some bakers made a pastry called “Kipferl” which meant “crescent”. It wasn’t called croissant until 1770 when Austrian Princess married King Louis XVI of France. Croissants are enjoyed many different ways throughout Europe; filled with chocolate, covered in nuts, dipped in coffee or plain.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 tea. instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tea. salt
  • 9 oz. (2 1/4 sticks) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. heavy cream
Instructions
1. In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup of flour, yeast, and warm milk. Milk should be very warm, not hot. Let the bowl sit for 20 minutes for the yeast to bubble.2. Once the mixture has bubbled, “bloomed”, and you know the yeast is alive, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Stir until combined, dough will be sticky. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes by hand until dough is smooth and elastic, but still soft. Form into a disc and place on a flour-dusted plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.3. Once dough has rested in the refrigerator for a few hours, prepare the slab of butter. Using cold butter, cut the pieces length-wise, about 1/2 inch thick and lay them on parchment paper in a square about 7×7 inches. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to bang the pieces into a uniform slab. Uncover and cut edges as needed, placing scraps back onto the top. Bang, cut, roll, and measure until you get an even 7×7 inch square of butter. Place it back into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes while you roll out the dough.4. Remove dough from the refrigerator and on a flour dusted surface roll dough out to a square about 10×10 inches. Place the cold butter slab in the center, rotated 45° so the butter looks like a diamond in the middle of the square of dough. Carefully pull each corner of dough over the edge of the butter and to the center of the butter, pressing down so no air is trapped. Dust the excess flour off, and pinch the edges of dough together once the butter is fully covered, sealing the butter inside the dough.5. Press down with the rolling pin a few times to seal the layer a little more, and then roll out to a rectangle about 10×24 inches, trying to elongate the dough without widening it.6. Fold 1/3 of the dough from the short end over itself, and dust the excess flour off. Fold the upper third on top of the dough, creating a letter fold. Dust excess flour off again, and place the dough onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest in the freezer for 20 minutes, or in the refrigerator for 1 hour. *If the dough starts to shrink too much and fights rolling out any more, fold it into thirds and let it rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before unfolding and trying again.7. Repeat steps 5-6 two more times, so you have done a total of 3 “turns”, each time rolling from the short end out, so the dough is rotated each time.8. Remove dough from the refrigerator, and cut in half, from one long end to the other. Wrap one half up in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator while you roll and cut out the first half. Roll the other half out onto a floured surface, to a rectangle about 8×15 inches. Dough should be between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate if necessary, for about 10 minutes in this rolled out form, so dough is firm but still workable when you roll it out in the next steps9. Using a ruler on the long end of the dough, make a mark with a knife at 5 inches, and continue every 5 inches until you have 3 5-inch sections marked off.10. Turn dough so opposite long end is facing you. On this long end, make a mark 2 1/2 inches in from the edge, and then measure 5 inches from that notch, and every 5 inches after that.11. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut diagonal lines, starting from the top right corner, down to the left to the notch on the other end. The two end cuts of this rectangle will be scraps, so the first one cut will look very small. Continue all the way across, and then repeat going the other way, to create 4 large triangles, and two end pieces.12. Take one triangle and flip it over. Dust the excess flour off. Gently stretch it with your hands or a rollingpin, without putting too much pressure on it, to elongate it to about 10 inches long. With the wide end facing you and the point facing away, make a notch with a knife in the middle of the wide end, about an inch deep. Start rolling from the slit out, creating two “legs”. Keep rolling dough forward tightly, but gently, all the way to the end, leaving the tail end of dough under the croissant. Gently pull the edges of the dough toward you to create a crescent shape, and place the dough on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining triangles.13. Repeat steps 8-12 with the reserved half of dough, starting with rolling the dough into a rectangle. You should end up with 10-12 good sized croissants.14. Next step is to proof the croissants. You can do this 3 ways: (1) let the rolled croissants proof slowly in the refrigerator overnight, (2) let croissants proof out on the counter in a cool place for 3 hours, (3) let croissants proof in a slightly warm place for 1 hour. I prefer to let them proof slowly in the fridge overnight, because this helps develop the flavor more fully.15. If croissants proofed in the fridge, remove them and let them come to room temperature on the counter, about 2 hours. When dough is proofed, the croissants will be puffy, but not doubled in size. When the baking sheet is jiggled, the croissants will jiggle a little.16. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare eggwash by whisking 1 egg and 1 T. heavy cream. Gently apply a thin layer onto each croissant with a pastry brush. Bake sheets one at a time for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes. Croissants will turn a golden brown color and you will see the flakey layers when done.17. Let cool on a wire rack completely before serving. Enjoy!
Find the original recipe here:
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