Thursday, April 11, 2013


Ingredients for the Dough:
1/2 ounce active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl
2 1/3 cups unbleached bread flour
3 cups plus 3 tbsps. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups warm whole milk
Ingredients for the Butter Package:
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, just barely soft
Ingredients for the Brushing:
1 large egg

Directions for the dough:
Stir yeast, water and 1 tsp. sugar in a measuring cup. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Butter a large bowl and set aside. Place bread flour, all-purpose flour, remaining 3 tbsps. sugar, and the salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment on low speed until combined.  Add yeast mixture, milk and butter; mix until dough just comes together.

Step 1: Knead Dough; Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using lightly floured hands, knead dough until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Transfer to the buttered bowl, turning to coat.
Step 2: Let Dough Rise; Cover dough with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator.  Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours (dough should not spring back when you press it with your finger).
Step 3: Make the Butter Package; About 45 minutes after the dough begins rising, put flour and butter into the clean bowl of an electric mixer using the dough hook.  Mix on medium speed until well combined, 3-4 minutes.  Scrape butter mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper; shape into a rectangle. Top with parchment paper, and roll out to an 8x10 inch rectangle.  Transfer to a baking sheet, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Roll Out Dough; Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle.  Roll out to a 10.5x16 inch rectangle, about a half inch thick.

Step 5: Place the Butter Package; The butter package should be cook but pliable; your finger should leave an indentation but the putter should still hold its shape.  If too soft, continue to refrigerate; if to firm, let stand at room temperature briefly.  Place horizontally on bottom half of dough; remove parchment.

Step 6: Enclose Butter Package; Fold top half of dough over butter package, and pinch edges of dough to seal.

Step 7: Roll in Butter; Turn dough so that a short side is facing you and the seam is on the right.  Roll out to a 10x20 inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick (keep corners as square as possible).

Step 8: Fold Dough Into Thirds; Remove any excess flour with pastry brush. Starting at the far end, fold rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter (this completes the first of three turns).

Step 9: Mark Dough; Mark the dough with your knuckle (later, this will help you remember how many turns have been completed). Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Step 10: Repeat Process; Remove from refrigerator and press the dough; it should be pliable but have some resistance.  If too soft, return to refrigerator; if to firm, let stand at room temperature, 5 minutes.  Repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 to complete two more turns (make 2 marks for the second and third turn); always start with a short side facing you and the seam on the right, rolling lengthwise before crosswise. After the second turn, wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.  After the third and final turn, wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate 8 hours (or overnight).

Step 11: Roll Out and Chill Dough; Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to a 30x16 inch rectangle.  If dough becomes unmanageable, cut in half crosswise, and roll out to two 15x16 inch rectangles (refrigerate 1 piece as you work with the other).  Chill in freezer 15 minutes.  Remove dough, and re-measure: It should match original dimensions; if not, roll out again.  If dough becomes too warm or elastic, chill in freezer, 15 minutes.
Step 12: Cut Dough; Cut dough into two 30x8 inch rectangles (or 4 15x8 inch rectangles). Stack rectangles, lining up edges (if you have four smaller rectangles, make two stacks).

Step 13: Trim Dough and Cut Into Triangles; Using a large knife cut at a 20 degree angle, trim a small wedge from one short side. Cut dough into triangles, each with a 4.5 inch base.  You should have about 20 total. 

Step 14: Cut Slits; Cut a 1 inch slit in the middle of the base of each triangle.  Separate the stacks, transferring half the triangles to a parchment paper lined baking sheet; and refrigerate.

Step 15: Begin Shaping Croissants; Working with one triangle at a time and keeping remaining triangles covered with a clean kitchen towel, hold the two corners of the base, and stretch to lengthen it slightly.  Grasp inner corners formed by the slit in the base, and lift and stretch them toward the outer sides of the triangle; press to seal.
Step 16: Roll Croissants; Using your fingertips, roll the base of the triangles up and away from you, stretching the dough slightly outward as you roll to elongate the point (when finished, the point should be tucked under the croissant).

Step 17: Finish Shaping the Croissants; Bend the two ends toward you to form a crescent shape (the ends should almost touch). Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing croissants 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining triangles. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, let stand in a warm place until croissants have doubled in bulk and are very soft, 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.

Step 18: Brush with Egg; Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Brush tops of croissants with egg.  Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until croissants are puffed and golden brown, 22-27 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheets on wire racks.  Serve warm or at room temperature!

These are simply amazing and worth all of the hard work.  I found this recipe from an old copy of Martha Stewart Living and it is now a family staple at the Thanksgiving table :)

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