French Coissants

Croissant dough:

1/4 cup warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, at room temperature

1 cup cold milk


_________


1 1/2 cups (12 oz) cold unsalted butter


Egg glaze:

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk



Day 1:

Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and let sit undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir to fully dissolve


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pinch of small pieces of the 1/4 cup of butter, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients, then rub them into the flour by hand until they are almost fully dissolved.  Stir the yeast mixture and add it to the flour mixture.  Add the cold milk.


With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix wet and dry ingredients just until evenly combined and all the dry spots have disappeared.  The dough will be of a medium stiffness.  The dough may be mixed in a an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook; just be careful not to over mix or it will be too elastic to roll out.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.  Place dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic food storage bag.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours; preferably overnight.


Day 2:


Remove the 12 ounces of butter from the refrigerator .  Allow to soften.  Line a baking pan with plastic wrap, add softened butter and press into a 7 x 7 inch square.  Refrigerate until firm but not hard.  


Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured table, and roll it into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle.  Place the cold butter on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the butter.  Pinch the edges to seal.


With the folded edge on your left, roll the dough out lengthwise so that it measures 22 x 10 inches. Next fold the bottom third up and the top third down.  This is the beurrage.


Cover the dough, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 45 minutes.


For the turns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Position the dough so that the fold edge running the length of the dough is on the left.  Make sure the pinched edges are still sealed.  roll the dough out lengthwise so it measures approximately 22 x 10 x 1/2 inches.  Fold the dough in thirds, beginning with the lower third as before.  (You have completed one turn.)


Place the dough on a baking sheet.  With your finger, make one small indentation on an edge of the dough to indicate one turn has been made. (Keeping track of how many turns have been made is critical.)  Cover and refrigerate  for 45 minutes.  Remove dough from the refrigerator, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, and repeat the process to complete the second turn.  After another 45 minutes, repeat the process to complete the third turn, always making sure the dough remains cold but not too cold.  Cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours, but overnight is preferred.


Day 3:


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  To form the croissants, roll the dough out to exactly 25 x 16 x 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 7-inch-wide strips.  using a pastry wheel , cut the strips into triangles, each with a base of 4 to 5 inches.


Starting with the base of one triangle, fold 1/4-inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point.  Gently stretch the dough by pulling on the strip as your roll it ; this will result in more rolls and make a prettier croissant.


Repeat with remaining triangles.  If this process takes more than 10 minutes, return half of the triangles to the refrigerator and remove them a few at a time.


Place the croissants at least 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Turn each end toward the center (the tip of the rolled-up triangle should be tucked under) and pinch them firmly together to form the croissant shape.


Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.  Lightly brush each croissant with the glaze and let rise, uncovered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The croissants will be slightly puffing and have almost doubled in size and have the feel of a soft marshmallow when they are ready to be baked.


Brush the croissants with a second coat of egg wash.  Place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.


Note:

Croissants can be formed, proofed and baked the same day, or they can be formed and stored in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day.  If you wish to bake the croissants the next day, place the formed but unrisen croissants on the bake sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and store overnight in the refrigerator.  The next morning, remove them from the refrigerator, uncover, and let rise, then bake as directed.  Croissants formed and baked the same day a a bold appearance and flaky crust. Next-day croissants are less yeast tasting, more buttery, and have the nuances of a richly fermented dough.


Recipe from The Village Baker's Wife , but I made a few changes.




Recipe by SimplySoGood.com