Croissants and a Playdate

Tomorrow my little jackals have a playdate with a woman I met on a mommy meet-up group. She’s actually fun! Her kid and my kids get along, not so sure it’s a good combo with her son and my daughter though…The movie Lord of the Flies comes to mind when I see them together. Maybe it’s just me. Anyhow, tomorrow they are coming to my house for the playdate so I thought I would whip up a batch of croissants. This recipe is a combo of two recipes that I tried. I took a little of one and a little of the other to suit my needs. Making croissants may seem a bit challenging, but if you read the directions and follow them they are pretty simple. It is a long process, so I warn you in advance. There’s a lot of fridge, freezer, resting time. So make them while you are doing other things, like cleaning your house for a playdate.

Along with the ingredients, you will also need a ruler of some type.  It’s very important to keep the measurements of the dough accurate.  Also, if you have one, a croissant cutter, this however is completely optional.  Cutting by hand works just as well, sometimes better.

Croissant Recipe:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 3/4 c. whole milk
4 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
4 1/4 c. flour (depending on the day, humidity, etc. you might need more)
12 oz. unsalted butter (I prefer the European butter for it’s higher fat content)
1 egg
1 tsp. water

In a saucepan put in the butter and milk.  Heat to a little warmer than 110 degrees (it will cool slightly when  you add the next items).  Take off the heat, add the salt and sugar.  Put the milk mixture in a standing mixer.  Check temperature to make sure it’s around 105 F, then add the yeast.  Make sure the yeast is mixed well.

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Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until you see the bubbles, like in the picture above.  If after a few minutes you don’t see any activity, start over.  Your liquid was either too hot or too cold and the yeast didn’t like it.

Using the dough hook, add the flour one cup at a time.  The dough should still be moist and a little tacky.  Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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After the 30 minutes the dough should have risen and look like this, still tacky.

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Put the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and shape into a 10″ x 7″ rectangle.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and put in the fridge for 2 hours then the freezer for 30 minutes.  I use small baking sheets that are the perfect size for this step.  Saves room in the fridge!

While the dough is rising in the fridge, prepare the butter.

Take the 12 oz. of butter and roll into an 8″ x 8″ square.

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I use a piece of parchment paper and ruler to draw an 8 x 8 square.  Flip the paper over so you don’t get the ink on your butter.  Place plastic wrap over the butter when you roll it out to make for easier control and clean-up.  For a different way to form the butter you could take a piece of parchment paper that is 24 inches long.  Fold it in half, leaving you with a 12 in rectangle.  Fold the three open sides so that you have an 8″ x 8″ square.  Take the 12 ounces of butter and cut it into 24 squares.  Unfold the parchment square, placing the 24 butter squares in the parameters of the 8″ x 8″ square.  Refold the sides under.  Using a rolling pin, roll the butter until it completely and evenly fills up the 8″ x 8″ square.  Whichever way you choose, it helps to let the butter warm a bit.  You don’t want room temperature, but coming right from the fridge it will be too hard to work with.

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Once you have your 8 x 8 square wrap up the butter in the parchment paper followed by some aluminum foil, place in the fridge and let set.

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After the two hours in the fridge and 30 minutes in the freezer, take the dough out to roll.  Also take the butter out of the fridge.  Roll the dough into a 17″ x 8″ rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  The butter should be about the same temperature of the dough for the next step.  This is very important.  If it is too cold it will not incorporate into the dough and you will not get the buttery layers, it will clump and just melt when you bake it leaving you with an oily mess.  If it’s too warm it will just spread all over and again, not incorporate. Place the butter in the center of the dough rectangle.

Fold the sides over the butter and seal by pressing the dough together where it meets in the middle.

Roll the dough into a 24″ x 8″ rectangle, fold like a letter.

Roll dough out again to 24″ x 8″ rectangle, fold like a letter.  This time, cover loosely with plastic wrap or damp tea towel and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes, roll out again to 24″ x 8″ rectangle.  Fold like a letter, wrap in plastic wrap or damp tea towel and return to fridge for 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Put dough into freezer for 30 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to an 18″ x 16″ rectangle with the long side parallel to the edge of the counter.  From this point, depending on if you are using a knife/pizza cutter or a croissant cutter, will vary.  If you are using a croissant cutter, line it up with the dough and slowly roll through the dough.  My croissant cutter does not fit this shape perfectly so most of the time I use a knife/pizza cutter, personal preference.

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Knife/pizza cutter users, fold top half of dough over bottom half.  Using your ruler, make little marks every 3 inches (you should have five marks).  On the top of dough, make your first mark 4 1/2 inches in, then every 3 inches after that ( you should have six marks).  You will have some that are diamond shaped and will need to be cut in half.

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Next, cut a 1/2 inch slit on the short end of the triangle.  Pull on the sides spreading the slit.  Using your fingers, start at the slit and start rolling upwards to the point.  As you do this, spread the slit apart a bit as you start to roll.  Tuck the tip under the croissant and shape into a crescent.  One of the recipes that I used part of was from a French Luxury Liner that would make two batches of the croissants, one in the crescent shape for the wealthier passengers and straight for the others.  They could get more of the non crescent shaped croissants on the baking sheet which made them cheaper to bake.

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Place on parchment lined baking sheet, 10-12 per sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Let the croissants rise for 2-2 1/2 hours, until they have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Mix the egg and water together, brush onto croissants.  Place the croissants in the oven on the 2nd and 4th rack.  Reduce heat to 400 F and let croissants cook for 12 minutes.  Switch the baking sheets and continue cooking for another 10-12 minutes.  When they are golden brown remove from oven and place on cooling racks.  Let sit for about 15-20 minutes, then serve.

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Enjoy!!

 

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