Challenge: Croissant

After my macaron madness.  Little Miss Sunshine demanded some payment for her time and expertise in taste testing all the macarons.  This came in the form of a challenge - light fluffy buttery croissants.  

Again I started with some research and collected several recipes from books to magazines to the online resources available.  The best website for recipe, method and troubleshooting is La Cerise.  This blog has pretty much done the experimenting for you. The resultant recipe I used:

            2g yeast
            10g granulated sugar
            2g salt
            30g water (warm to the touch)

Mix the above together to allow the yeast to activate.  Keep the mixture warm for at least 5 minutes or slight foaming occurs.

           150g all purpose flour
           150g pastry flour (reduced protein content)
           3g salt
           23g milk
           17g unsalted butter
           15g granulated sugar
           90g water

Sift the flours together and mix in the salt, milk, butter, sugar and the activated yeast mixture.  I should note that the use of the pastry flour is very important and definitely make a difference in  creating a much lighter fluffier croissant.  Add the water last.  Depending on your flour this may be plus or minus 5-10g of water.  Once everything is mixed the dough will be quite sticky.  Knead till the dough no longer sticks to your fingers.  Then place in a bowl and cover with a film wrap and keep in a warm area in the kitchen for 1.5 hours to allow the dough to rise.

           150g butter

While the dough is rising divide the butter into two blocks and while it is still hard roll it between two cling wrap sheets into long flat (less than 1/4 cm thick) slabs of butter.  Put the butter back into the fridge to keep it hard.

Once the dough has risen punch the dough down to almost the original size.  Tightly wrap and put the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.  If the dough still rises then punch it down some more otherwise just move it into the freezer for half hour.

Place on cold surface (a marble board is great for this).  Roll out the dough till you get a long flat rectangle shaped dough of less than 1/2 cm thick but wider and longer than the butter slabs.  Put one butter slab on the dough and fold in three so that you have a layer of:


Make sure there are no bubbles and seal the dough around the butter, do a quarter (90 degrees) turn then gently, very gently, start rolling the dough out again into a long flat rectangle again.  Repeat as above with the second slab of butter. Fold, quarter turn and roll out again.  Then fold, quarter turn and roll out for a third time but with no butter added this time.  The flattening of the dough is the most difficult as it is very easily to break the dough.  If the dough becomes too soft and starts breaking put the dough into the freezer for 10-15min before continuing.  Also lightly flour in between to prevent the dough sticking to the rolling pin or board.

Once you have rolled the dough out for the last time cut long thin triangles. If you want chocolate croissant this is a good time to add the chocolate, either a small cylindrical bar if you can find them or a small scattering of  chopped up chocolate, at the base of the triangle dough.  For both chocolate and classic croissant make sure you keep the triangle stretched out long while rolling it as the dough is quite stretchy and as it warms to room temperature it will contract.  As per tradition I made miniature croissants so the base is no more than 2 inches wide.  The resulting rolled croissant is 2 inch long and 1 inch thick.  At this stage you can freeze the croissants for later.

If you want to eat immediately, brush on some egg white/yolk mix (equal volume of egg white and egg yolk with a pinch of salt).  Place the croissant in the oven with the oven off and a pan of boiled water to maintain good moisture.  After 1 hour remove for oven and brush a second layer of egg white/yolk.  Turn oven on to 420oF.  Once oven is heated turn down to 370oF and place the croissants in to bake for 10-15 min or just as the croissants start to turn golden.  Once out of the oven let them rest on a rack for 15 min before serving with some jam or just by themselves.

This one is probably a little bit over baked so was a bit dry.  I would definitely remove the croissants from the oven before they are this browned.

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