My Yearly Battle with Croissants.

On cold, cloudy weekends I follow a usual pattern. I wake up ridiculously early, I run or do pilates, then I put together something or another quickly for brunch – all this before it hits 9AM. Once a year, I will break that pattern, and make croissants.

Croissants are not hard to make, but they are labour-intensive and time-consuming.  If you try to make them over a weekend, they are quite frankly taking up your entire weekend. My arms also literally feel like fish sometimes after all the rounds of laminating, so I need to develop stronger arms. This is only the second year I have made them. Last year they shrunk a bit in the oven. This year they were a bit dense. I figure, in ten years, I will make them about as perfect and fluffy as a Parisian bakery. My future kids will reap the benefits. We have time.

OR, I can just throw my hands in the air and go outside and buy one for $3.50-$5. Even Starbucks and McDonalds have croissants these days. It does however make you appreciate the labour that just more given it costs so little.

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Current:

  • Mood – Seeing the psychiatrist this week. Given I am in the middle of med trials again, I am crossing my fingers for one that will work. Please, please, please.
  • Focus – Baker focussed.
  • Craving – Reese peanut butter chocolate croissants. 
  • Feedback from the husband – He loves eating warm bread fresh. We both agreed they were too dense. I can even pinpoint where it probably got dense – the one laminating round, where I started screaming profanities and steam-rolled the dough because my arms were getting so tired from rolling. Croissant doughs (like most doughs) need quiet patience and love.

 

The Not-So-Secret Secrets:

CROISSANTS – ignore the feedback & try it yourself

Recipe – adapted from here

Necessities

Fumblings

4 cups AP flour, extra for rolling

Add the yeast to the cream, and allow the mixture to sit for five minutes until foamy.

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold water

Mix yeast mixture with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook for three minutes on low. Increase the speed to medium for another three minutes.

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cream

Gather the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp instant yeast

Butter Layer: On the same day, make the butter layer. Over a large sheet of plastic wrap, using a cheese grater, grate the frozen block of butter completely. Gather the grated butter into a flattened square. Wrap the butter with plastic wrap loosely. Using a rolling pin, flatten the butter as much as possible (I got mine to about a 1/2 inch). Cover and refrigerate.

3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Lamination Process: The next day, let both the dough and the butter block sit out at room temperature for a little so they are easier to work with. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 10-1/2 inch square. Brush off the excess flour.

2 tsp salt

The butter should be pliable but cold. If not, put back into the refrigerator for a few minutes. Centre the butter on the dough, as if it is sectioned in thirds. Fold one flap of the dough over the butter, and then the other as if folding a letter. Press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

Butter Layer: 1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter; I froze my block.

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. Roll the dough, lengthening the “letter”, trying to keep the edges as straight as possible, until it is an 8 x 24 inch rectangle. Once again, working with the rectangle like it is sectioned in thirds, fold one flap of the dough into the middle like a letter. Cover with plastic wrap tightly, and freeze for 20 minutes. Repeat this step twice. Then refrigerate the dough overnight.

Egg Wash: 2 large egg yolks

The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the dough and working surface. Roll into a long strip. Using a measuring stick (and you should be using one throughout the entire process), measure the strip to 8 x 40 inches. The original recipe goes super-detailed here, but I just eye-balled it and divided the dough to even squares, and subsequently triangles. I ended up with 12 croissants.

Measuring tape – for measuring even squares, rectangles, triangles (I eye-balled everything mostly)

Gently stretch out each triangle. Cut a small mark at the centre end of where you are rolling the strip. Brush the dough with egg wash. At this point, I added a small tsp of Reese peanut butter spread to about half of the croissants.

With the cut side closest to you, begin to roll the dough away from you into a curved crescent. Bend the two legs so it forms that tight crescent shape.

Random fillings – I used Reese Peanut Butter Spread

Proof the croissants at room temperature for 2 hours (or even more). Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Re-brush the croissants. Immediately lower oven to 425 degrees. Place in oven for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and swap their positions in the oven. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

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Notes:

  • As mentioned, the croissants were a bit dense, so you have to be fairly careful with working with the dough during the laminating and shaping processes.
  • I forgot the first spread of egg wash when rolling the triangles. This gave the croissants a patchy cow look. Remember egg wash before and after!
  • I think I could have proofed the rolled croissants for slightly longer, but we were in a rush to have lunch with JH’s parents, so I just shoved them in the oven with little time to spare.
  • The croissants were a bit underdone at 20 minutes, so I put them in for another 5-10 minutes. Know your oven.
  • I will try again next year.

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Author: Roro

Home baker. Sugar obsessed. Casual traveller. Fighting a fight. All photography and content are copyrighted by Roro @thechewishkitchen unless otherwise stated and referenced, and cannot be used without permission.

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