Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Homemade Croissants (A 3-day affair)

Who can't get enough of croissants? Because I can't! Sorry if I'm boring you with another croissant recipe! But this is definitely worth it. Finally succeeded in baking these flaky crispy croissants. Yay! Subsequent to the success of my Pain au Chocolat, I've decided to make some classic croissants out of the same dough recipe so as to be convinced that the recipe is a keeper. And indeed! In fact, I made these classic croissants concurrently with my Pain au Chocolat. I mean, it's a three-days wait before the actual baking after all...

Homemade Croissants

I am sharing this recipe with blog events Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily of A Mummy Too; CookBlogShare hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes; and Bake of the Week organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello.


Homemade Croissants (A 3-day affair)
Recipe referenced and modified from: Weekend Bakery
Makes about 12

Ingredients Required

Croissant Dough
250 grams unbleached all-purpose flour / plain flour, extra for dusting
70 grams water
70 grams whole milk (cold is fine)
30 grams sugar
20 grams unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
6 grams active dry yeast or instant yeast
6 grams salt

For laminating: 140 grams cold unsalted butter
For egg wash: 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water

Bakeware Used

Large baking sheets lined with parchment paper

Preparation Steps

DAY 1 - Making the dough
  1. Heat the water to about 115 degree F (or hand-hot temperature), stir in the active dry yeast and add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of sugar until dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. (Take note to measure the water volume again as it might get evaporated during the heating process. Skip this step if using instant yeast.)
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine the dough ingredients and yeast mixture using a wooden spatula until the dough comes together. 
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured working surface and knead using your hands to form a smooth dough, about 3 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough like a disc, not a ball so it will be easier to roll out the following day, and place on a plate covered with plastic cling wrap. Place in the fridge and refrigerate overnight.
DAY 2 - Laminating the dough
  1. Fold a large sheet of parchment paper into a square of approximately 10-cm x 10-cm dimension.
  2. Slice the cold butter into almost equal thickness and lay flat on the parchment paper within the folded lines of the square. 
  3. Cover with a large piece of plastic cling wrap and roll the butter to form an even layer within the folded lines of the parchment paper. Scrap the butter that spread over the folded lines and place over the rest of the butter and re-roll to form an even layer. Refrigerate the butter until needed.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out the dough into a square of approximately 18-cm x 18-cm dimension. Try to get the square as perfect as possible with even thickness.
  5. Remove the slab of butter from the fridge and place it in the centre diagonal to the edges of the square dough.
  6. Fold a flap of dough over the butter so the point of the dough reaches the centre of the butter. Do the same with the three other flaps. The edges of the dough flaps should slightly overlap to fully enclose the butter. With the palm of your hand lightly press the edges to seal the seams.
  7. With a lightly floured rolling pin, on a lightly flour dusted surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle of 12-cm x 24-cm. Start rolling from the centre of the dough towards the edges, and not from one side of the dough all the way to the other side. Rotate the dough 180-degrees between several rolling actions. This technique helps you to keep the dough at an even thickness.
  8. Fold the dough letter style (fold one third of the dough to the middle then fold the other side over it), cover with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remember to brush off any excess flour on the surface of the dough before folding.
  9. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times (ending up with 27 layers in total), each time rolling until the dough is about 12-cm x 24-cm and resting the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes between each fold. After the third fold, leave the dough covered with plastic cling wrap in the fridge overnight.
DAY 3 - Shaping and baking the rolls
  1. Take the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface. Gently roll the dough into a long and narrow strip of approximately 8" x 20". Note: If the dough starts to resist too much or shrink back during this process you can fold it in thirds and give it a rest in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes before continuing. Do not fight the dough, when the dough refuses to get any longer, rest it in the fridge! Don't ruin the two days work.
  2. When your dough has reached its intended dimension, carefully lift it up slightly to allow it to naturally shrink back from both sides. This way it will not shrink when you cut it. Your strip of dough should be long enough to allow you to trim the ends (width-wise) to make them straight and still be left with a length of about 18".
  3. On one side (length-wise), mark the dough at every 3". On the opposite side, mark the dough at every 3" starting at 1.5" away from the end. 
  4. Using a pizza wheel of sharp knife, make diagonal cuts from the 3" mark on the left to the 3" mark on the right. Technically you should end up with 12 triangles and a few end pieces of dough. (Note: My measurements and cutting was a bit off here and I realised I was having only 11 triangles. Oops!)
  5. Gently elongate each triangle to about 10" length, and cut a notch at the short end of the triangle and roll the dough up towards the skinny tip of the triangle.
  6. Arrange the shaped croissants on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and give the croissants their first thin coating of egg wash.  Do make sure to keep enough space between the croissants so they will not touch when proofing and baking. (Note: The small little rolls at the bottom of the picture on the right were from the strips that were trimmed initially. They can still be rolled and baked. Don't waste it.)
  7. Proof the croissants in a draft-free environment for about about 2 hours. The croissants are ready to bake when they wiggle slightly when you gently shake the baking sheet. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Give the croissants their second egg wash, be sure to get into every nooks and crannies. 
  10. Bake them in the preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown in colour. Start checking at the 10th minute, and shield them with a piece of foil if the edges threaten to burn.
  11. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve croissants when they are slightly warm.

If only these pictures do justice to the flakiness and crispiness of these homemade croissants.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used bleached all-purpose flour, 2% reduced fat milk, white granulated sugar and active dry yeast in my above experiment.
  2. My above recipe is half of the original source recipe. This makes a smaller dough so that it's more manageable since I do not have a very big working area. 
  3. During Day 2 of the rolling and folding, I did not follow the exact dimensions as per the original source recipe although I'd reduced the dimensions proportionately based on the area formula (I calculated the area of the rolled out dough in the original source recipe, then half the area to compute the dimensions for my dough since I'd halved the original source recipe). The muddle-headed me mistook the unit measurement on the fondant ruler I was using, and measured out the dough and butter in inches when the actual dimensions should be in centimetres (i.e. what should have been 18-cm became 18"). That explains why you may find my rolled out dough and butter in the pictures above appearing larger than yours. Anyway, the measurement is correct as per my above recipe. 
  4. On Day 3, I reduced the dimensions for the dough in my experiment proportionately based on the original source recipe. However, I made the units in inches for the sake of my fondant ruler. My apologies for the inconsistent usage of centimetres and inches in this recipe. Sorry!
  5. To warm up to a flaky and crispy croissant on the next morning, simply arrange them on a baking sheet and put them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes. 

Some things are just worth the wait!

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker

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