Croissants de Boulanger: By Leigh Hall and The Joy of Cooking ;)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I was mindlessly checking out Facebook last week and a sweet Sorority Sister of mine from Florida (Go GATORS!) had posted this delicious pic of some croissants she had made...and my mouth started to water.  I asked her if she would send me the recipe to share with all you guys and she most graciously did.  She has a Lily too which makes me smile. 

She says the recipe is pretty intense but it was a fun challenge.  So here you go...


From the Joy of Cooking
Croissants de Boulanger
Place on a work surface:
3/4 pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Sprinkle the butter with a little of the flour and begin to beat it with a rolling pin.  Scrape the butter from the work surface and the rolling pin as needed and fold it over itself into a heap.  Continue to work the butter until it is a smooth and malleable mass (without any hard lumps).  Knead the remaining flour into the butter with your hands, working quickly to keep the butter cold.  Place the butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a 9 x 6 inch rectangle.  Wrap and refrigerate the butter while you are making the dough. 
Whisk together and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:
1 cup warm (105 to 115 degrees F) whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
Make a well and add the warm milk mixture.  Mix with a fork or your fingers to make a dough.  Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds until smooth.  Let the dough stand for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and roll into a 15 1/2 x 8 inch rectangle, sprinkling additional flour underneath as needed to prevent sticking.  Position the upper two-thirds of the dough with the rectangle of butter, leaving a 1 inch border of dough along the sides and at the top.  Fold the bottom third of the dough with the butter on it, down over the first third, as if you were folding a business letter.  Press the edges of the dough together on all 3 sides to seal in the butter.  Rotate the dough so that the folded edge is on the left and the sealed edge on the right to change the direction of the pastry for the next roll.
Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and press it gently with the rolling pin to flatten it slightly.  Roll into an 18 x 8 inch rectangle, keeping the short side of the rectangle facing you.  Fold the bottom third up and the top third down, as if folding a business letter.  This rolling and folding is called a single turn.  Rotate the dough so that the folded edge is on the left and the open edge is on the right (like a book about to be opened).  Give the dough one more single turn, rolling it an 18 x 8 inch rectangle and folding it in thirds.  (Sprinkle the work surface lightly with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.  If at any time the butter gets soft, refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes.)  Mark the dough with 2 imprints to remind yourself that you have given the dough 2 turns.  Wrap the dough loosely in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the dough so the folded edge is on the left and the open edge is on the right, and give it another turn.  Rotate and give the dough its final, fourth turn.  If at any time the butter gets soft, refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes.  When the 4 turns are completed, make 4 imprints to remind yourself that it is done, wrap the dough loosely in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.  (At this point the dough can also be frozen, wrapped in plastic, then aluminum foil, then in a plastic bag with the air removed.  If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
To Cut and Shape: Roll the dough into a 24 x 12 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Let stand for 5 minutes, to relax the gluten and prevent shrinkage when cut.  Cut the dough lengthwise into two 24 x 6 inch rectangular strips.  Refrigerate 1 rectangle.  Position the remaining rectangle with one long side in front of you, parallel to the edge of the counter.  Starting from the left, mark the bottom edge of the dough by nicking it with a knife at 4 1/2 inch intervals.  Mark the top edge of the dough once 2 1/4 inches from the left edge, then continue to mark it at 4 1/2 inch intervals.  To cut the dough into triangles, cut from the bottom left corner of the dough to the first mark at the top, then from the first mark at the top to the first mark at the bottom, and so forth until all 9 triangles are cut.  In the middle of the shortest side of each triangle, make a nick, 1/4 inch long.
To form a croissant, stretch the short side of a triangle by pulling the corners gently as you begin to roll the stretched edge tightly (but not too tightly) toward the opposite point of the triangle.  Finish rolling the croissant so that the point of the triangle is on the bottom of the roll.  Shape the other croissants in the same manner.  Repeat the cutter and shaping procedure with the second rectangle.
To bake the croissants:  Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Brush each croissant lightly with some of:
1 egg, lightly beaten
Bake on the unbuttered baking sheets until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer the croissants to the rack and let cool completely. Croissants are best served on the day they are baked.

Happy Baking!

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