I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately, there are just SO many things that I want to bake (and post here of course!!). I have found myself wishing the weekend was longer just so I have more time to bake (and relax ;)) I don’t think any one would say no to a three day weekend, it sounds reasonable to me.
I read so many recipes and have a million things to try out, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of everything. I have started using a notebook to make a list of everything that I fancy, so next time I want to bake something, I just go over my (fast growing) list. Might not be the best idea, but I like making lists 🙂
Anyways, back to CROISSANTS. There is this amazing little bakery close to where I work and they have the BEST almond croissants. They are not the usual almond croissants that are just plastered with almonds on the top and are filled with a little bit of something that tastes of almonds but is dry and weird. These are filled with this delicious, gooey frangipane and every bite is a delight. So one day while trying to stop myself from buying these oh so good almond croissants (they are a little pricey and I need to stop myself from grabbing every delicious looking thing I see), I decided that as a reward for not giving in to my croissant desires, I get to bake my own croissants over the weekend.
Now, everyone knows the croissant making process is time consumption and requires some time and patience. But I was already dreaming of my whole house being filled with the smell of freshly baked croissants, and nothing could stop me from trying. Ohh and be ready to roll the dough multiple times, it helps to have some muscle power around.
I decided to make plain, chocolate and almond croissants. The plan was to use the left over plain ones to fill them with the frangipane and bake them again, which is how they use the previous day’s croissants in France. But my fiance was like- left over croissants, what is that??? None of the croissants made it to the next day, so I ended up not doing any almond ones.
Taste wise, these little babies were perfect!! They could definitely be better looking, but for a first attempt, they were quite pretty 🙂
I made the chocolate croissants in the traditional “square rolled” way, with some chocolate pieces in the first fold.
Now for the recipe
Croissants (adapted from the Tartine Bread book)
Makes 16 croissants
The Tartine bread book explains all the steps in great detail, I will not include all the details but you can also look at this video from “Baking with Julia” for more details on the folding, cutting and rolling techniques.
For the Preferment
- 200 grams (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 200 grams (⅔ cup) water, room temperature
- 3 grams (1 teaspoon) instant yeast
For the Leaven
- 1 tablespoon starter
- 220 grams (1⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
- 220 grams (¾ cup) water, room temperature
For the Dough
- 450 grams (1¾ cup) whole milk, room temperature
- 300 grams leaven
- 400 grams polish (this is all of the poolish)
- 1000 grams (7 cups) bread flour
- 28 grams (4½ teaspoons) salt
- 85 grams (7 tablespoons) sugar
- 10 grams (1 tablespoon) instant yeast
- 400 grams (28 tablespoons, although I used a full pound (32 tablespoons)) unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Egg wash
- Make the Preferment: In a small bowl, mix the flour, water, and yeast. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours or store overnight in the refrigerator.
- Make the leaven: In a small bowl, mix the starter, flour, and water. Cover and let rise overnight.
- Add the milk, leaven, and preferment to a large mixing bowl; stir to break up the dough.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast; mix thoroughly until there are no bits of dry flour. Cover and let rest for 25-40 minutes.
- Fold the dough a few times by using a dough scraper to scoop up one side of the dough and drape it over the rest of the dough.
- Allow the dough to ferment for 3 to 4 hours and give it another few turns every 30 minutes.
- This takes the place of kneading. Be more gentle with the turning toward the end of the rising time.
- The dough is ready when it’s slightly increased in volume and is full of air bubbles. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Just before rolling out the dough, cut the cold butter into cubes. Gradually adding the ½ cup flour, pound the butter with a rolling pin until it comes together into a cohesive mass.
- Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to mix the cold butter and flour. Mold the butter into a rectangle measuring 8 by 14 inches.
- You can also follow the procedure shown in the “Baking with Julia” video above, you just need to be careful to be careful while pounding the butter with the rolling pin and take extra care to make sure it does not come out from the sides.
- On a work surface dusted with flour, roll the dough out to a rectangle measuring 12 by 20 inches.
- Lay the butter block over the dough so that it covers about two-thirds of the dough.
- Fold the uncovered third of dough toward the center over the butter. Fold the other end of the dough, with the butter, over the center, as if you’re folding a letter.
- Turn the dough a quarter turn; roll it again into a 12 by 20-inch rectangle, then fold it in thirds.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (You can chill the dough longer, but you’ll need to let it warm up a few minutes before rolling so the butter isn’t too stiff.)
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out to a 12 by 20-inch rectangle, fold it in thirds, rotate it a quarter-turn, and repeat the rolling and folding. Chill for an hour.
- Repeat the rolling, folding, rotating, rolling and folding once more. Wrap the folded dough in plastic wrap and freeze it for 1-2 hours.
- If you don’t plant to finish the croissants until the next morning, transfer the dough to the refrigerator after a couple hours in the freezer. (You can store the dough in the freezer for several days at this point, letting it defrost overnight before using, which is what I did with half of the dough)
- Roll the dough into a rectangle that is 18 by 24 inches and is about ½-inch thick. If the dough becomes very elastic, let it rest (preferably in the refrigerator) for several minutes before continuing the rolling.
- Cut the dough in half to form two 9 by 24-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 8 triangles. Roll up each triangle, starting at the wide side.
- Transfer the croissants to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them at least an inch apart. Cover them loosely and let rise until they are about 50 percent larger than their original size, about 2 hours. They will be firm, but puffed. (You can also refrigerate them overnight at this point, which is what I did.)
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the croissants with the egg wash. Bake until they are deep golden brown, crisp, and flaky, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Wheeeeww!!! As you can see, the procedure involves a lot of turning, rolling and resting. But trust me, you will forget all that as soon as you bite into a fresh from your own oven croissant 🙂 Happy Baking!!