Croissants are one of those classics. And a good croissants is perfection, but a homemade croissants is beyond that. It is whit this recipe that I am always amazed at how simple ingredients (and a lot of hard work) can turn into this.
Whenever we make these, we make some plain croissants and others filled with chocolate, like pain au chocolat, and they´re always a complete succes. Now you can totally fill them with whatever you want, and if you want to use chocolate make sure to use high quality chocolate, so it does not melt that easily while in the oven and end up with a mess.
I like making these on saturday afternoon, to then eat a bunch that same night, then for sunday´s brunch, and, if you can control yourself, maybe even have some left for the weekdays.
For the dough:
- 3 1/2 C all purpouse flour
- 1/4 C + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp powder milk
- 1 C water at room temperature
- 2 1/2 tsp dry instant yeast
- 80 gr (2.80 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
For the coating:
- 250 gr (8.80 oz) unsalted butter cold
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
For the dough:
- In a big bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and powder milk, and mix using a wooden spoon.
- In a small bowl combine the water with the yeast until well intergrated, and pour it into the flour bowl.
- Mix and knead the flour until an even dough forms and at the end add the butter and keep kneading until it fully incorporates.
- Change bowls to put the dough in a clean one with some butter, and cover the bowl with kitchen plastic paper, and a kitchen towel on top of that. Let it rest fot 1 hr and 30 minutes. After that, put it in the fridge for 1 hour at least, and 8 hours tops. This step is very important, the longer we let the dough rest in the cold for the yeast to grow, the better the taste we will get at the end.
- While the dough is in the fridge, to make the butter paste, place 8.8 oz (250gr) between two medium sized pieces of parchment paper or film kitchen wrap, and flatten it using a rolling pin to end up with a 7 inch (18 cm) square aproximately (picture 1). Put the butter in the fridge until the dough is ready.
- Once out of the fridge, place the dough on a clean working surface, previously floured, and rollit out using a rolling pin until you get a 10.60 inch (27 cm) square arpox. Remove the excess flour from the dough using a kitchen brush and then place the cold butter in the center in a way that the corners of it are aligned with the dough sides. Meaning the dough sholuld be place as a square and the butter rotated, as if it were a diamond (picture 2). Fold each dough corner inwards to cover the butter completely to finally get a square of dough with butter inside (picture 3 and 4).
- Roll out the dough again to form a big rectangle of about 7.80 inch (20 cm) tall x 23,60 inch (60 cm) long (picture 5). It is important to start rolling it out from the center out and not overwork it, otherwise the butter can come out. Now, it is time for the first fold (there will be four). To do this place the rectangle vertically, take the upper edge and and take it two thirds down (picture 6), then take the bottom edge of the dough and take it up to a third of itself, folding (picture 7), (up until here we have two layers of dough), then fold this in half to end up with four layers (picture 8 and 9). Place the dough in a rectangular mold lined with parchment paper, and cover with a kitchen towel so it does not dry out and put it in the fridge again; we can leave it for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
- For the second fold, which will consist of three layers, place the dough rectangle vertically on a clean floured surface and roll it out lengthwise and a little the other way, to end up again with a 7.80 inch (20 cm) tall x 23,60 inch (60 cm) long rectangle (picture 10). Remove the excess flour and fold the bottom edge until half and then the other edge on top, to get three layers (picture 11, 12 and 13). Place the dough again in a rectangular mold with parchment paper, cover it with a kitchen towel so it does not get dry and put it in the fridge; we can let it in there for at least an hour, and up to eight hours.
- For the third and fourth fold, repeat the previous step just the same.
- After the last fold and once the dough has rested as needed, place it on a clean and floured surface and cut it in half. Of each half you will get 6 or 7 croissants, but as we work with one half the other one has to stay in the fridge.
- To make the croissants, roll out the dough just the same as before to get a a 7.80 inch (20 cm) tall x 23,60 inch (60 cm) long rectangle (picture 14). If you wish, you can cut the edges on all sides of the rectangle to make it more exact and the layers formed in the dough can be easily seen. After this, mark the dough carefully lengthwise each 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) and cut using a sharp knife, or a pizza cutter triangles that have that measurement at their base (picture 15).
- To form the croissants, make a small cut at the base of each triangle and strech them a little (picture 16). Roll each triangle on itself starting on the base and ending at the tip (picture 17). Then place then on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure to place them with the tips hidden so they don´t unroll, and forming a moon shape (picture 18). It is important to place them separated by at least 1 1/2 inch (3cm) from each other, because they will raise quite a lot. Cover them with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let them rise at room temperature for three hours, or until they almost double their size.
- Repeat the previous step with the remaining half of the dough to get 12 croissants.
- Preheat the oven to 392° F (200°C). For the coat, in a small bowl, combine the egg, and cream. Once all the croissants have raised enough, glaze them with this mixture so they turn golden brown when baking.
- Bake the croissants at 392° F (200° C) for about 7 to 10 min. Then lower the temperature to 374° F (190° C) and bake for another 12 minutes, until golden brown and ready.
- Once ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool down in a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Now you can enjoy them!