Monday, October 3, 2011

Croissants + Chocolate = Love, step by step

{Some photos updated 4/17/2013}
About a month ago, I decided I really wanted a croissant.  The only problem is, I am living in a new place that, for the most part, scares the tar out of me.  It's way bigger than I am used to and it stresses me out a little to go anywhere. (I will get better, I promise)  So, not only do I not like to go anywhere but I also don't know anything about this place, such as:  Where to go to get a good croissant.  Then, I realized, other people make them or they wouldn't be available, why can't I just make them?
The first thing I did was consult one of my cookbooks.  I started with one solely devoted to bread because it seemed like a good place to start.  I was excited that it did include a recipe for croissants.  I devoted some time and made them one afternoon.  I am not going to lie, the finished product was not that great.  I like the regular dinner rolls better than I liked them.  I gave the recipe the benefit of the doubt and decided that I had done something to mess it up, so I tried again a few days later.  Still the same mediocre result.  So I went to the Internet.  There really aren't that many croissant recipes out there, I was surprised!  I did find some great photos on Tracey's Culinary Adventures that I used.  I also watched a youtube video that was very helpful.  In the end I decided I would use the recipe from the youtube video, mainly because the bread doesn't require any kneading.  Yeah, you heard me, you don't even have to knead the freaking bread dough!  Not even with the mixer.  I am all for easy but good. 

Anyway, all you do for the dough is stick the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together with a SPATULA. (can you tell I think kneading is annoying?)  Then you put the bowl in the fridge for 8 hours.  The whole process takes a day/night and part of the next day, but it's mainly in the fridge.  I was probably actually working with the dough for 1-2 hours all together. And it was so worth it.  That was about 3 weeks ago and I made them again yesterday (with the excuse I could take photos) and I am ready to do it again today, they are indescribable. 

This recipe calls for measuring the ingredients with a scale.  I had never done that before so I was a little intimidated, but I decided I really liked it. I also halved the recipe but that might have been the stupidest decision I have ever made.  I would kill for one right now.

3/4 lb milk (90-100 degrees)
1 .5 tsp. yeast
1 lb flour
5 T sugar
1.5 tsp salt
10 oz butter
1 egg yolk
1 T milk
Extra flour for rolling out dough
Chocolate if you want the chocolate filled things-I just used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (LOVE THEM) because that's what I had.

Directions:  Add yeast to milk and let sit a couple minutes until foamy.  In another bowl, whisk dry ingredients together to combine.  Add yeast and milk and mix with a spatula until incorporated well.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours.  Just before removing dough from refrigerator, cut cold butter into 1 oz (2 T) cubes.

On a well floured surface, roll butter into thin pieces. (the youtube video was very helpful for this.)

Remove dough from fridge and dump onto well floured surface. (Don't skimp on the flour, you don't want it to stick)  Roll the dough into a rectangle.

Place thin pieces of butter on half of the rectangle

Fold dough over and seal the edges so butter is completely enclosed.

Roll into a rectangle.  (The video has some tips about this.  You kind of have to hit it with the rolling pin in the middle and ends and then roll a bit in the middle and then a bit on the ends and then roll it like normal).  Then fold into thirds, like this:
Repeat rolling and fold into thirds again. So in the above picture, you would want what is shown on the top to be on the outside when you fold it the next time.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, then repeat the rolling and folding 2 more times, so you do it a total of 4 times.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
 Remove from refrigerator and let sit for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes cut it half, following picture below, then roll out in to long rectangles in the direction of the arrows.
When rolled out, it will be approx 18-20 inches long and about 8 inches wide.  From here, you can either cut into triangles for croissants, or rectangles for those chocolate filled delicious things.

For the triangles, you want the thicker part to be 4-5 inches.  I just used my pizza cutter, but if you watch that youtube video, that guy has an awesome tool he uses. (jealous)  cut about a 1 inch slit in the middle of the wide end to help the croissant be the right shape when you roll it (optional).

Roll from wide end to small end
if you are doing rectangles, cut them about 3-4 inches wide.
put chocolate in the middle of one end and roll, pinching sides slightly.

Place on greased baking sheet.  Prepared egg wash with egg yolk and milk.  brush onto the tops.

Reserve egg wash (you need it again), cover with greased plastic wrap and let raise about 3-4 hours. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brush with egg wash again.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

I feel like the only reason I ever learned math was to figure out that there are 84 layers of butter in the dough.

  You probably times that by 4 with these rectangles after you roll them up.  That's 336 layers of butter in one bite.  

Then the chocolate in the middle.  (sigh) Why did I half the recipe?.....

Note 4/17/2013:  I made these again the other day and wanted them to be a bit bigger.  I halved the recipe and got 5 croissants and 4 pain au chocolat.  I liked this size and will do that again next time.  I also made the butter square with the method from this recipe.  Using the mixer to cream the butter and then forming it into a square/rectangle.  It's also better to make sure the croissants are a dark golden brown before taking them out of the oven.  After making this recipe yet again, I can only endorse it more!

1 comment:

  1. Love croissants!! look forward to trying out this recipe one day!! xx


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