Prep 16 hrs
Cook 20 mins
I adopted this recipe from the RecipeZaar account. These are the original chef's notes: "This recipe is much lighter in butter and very flavourful due to the preferment process."
For the Preferment
- 3⁄4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 9 ounces all-purpose flour (2-cups)
For the Final dough
- 1⁄4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 11 1⁄4 ounces all-purpose flour (2 1/2 cups)
- 1 3⁄4 ounces unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature (3 1/2 TBL)
- 10 ounces unsalted butter, chilled
for the egg wash
- 1 large egg, beaten with
- 1 pinch sugar, and
- 1 pinch salt
- Preferment: In a mixing bowl, stir the warm water and yeast together.
- Wait for it to foam, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add flour and mix on low speed for 3 minutes with a mixer (or 5 minutes by hand).
- Cover and let rest at room temperature (70-75 degrees) for 12 hours, until tripled in bulk.
- Dough: In the mixer bowl, combine the water and milk.
- Add 1 tsp of the sugar.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm mixture and let sit until it starts to foam, 2-4 minutes.
- Add flour, the remaining sugar and softened butter along with the preferment.
- Mix with the dough hook, stopping to push the dough down the dough hook.
- Knead until the dough pulls into a translucent sheet without tearing, about 12 minutes.
- The dough will be soft and supple.
- If working by hand, knead for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic.
- Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk- about 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 14 inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
- Transfer dough to a parchment lined baking sheet, brush off all excess flour and cover with plastic.
- Put into freezer until it is as firm as the chilled butter.
- 5 minutes before the dough is finished chilling, lay the butter between 2 sheets of plastic.
- With a rolling pin, pound butter into a 12 x 7 inch rectangle that is uniformly thick.
- Even out the rectangle with your hands and/or a dough scraper.
- Lay the dough on a lightly floured surface and position the butter on one side of the dough rectangle.
- Line it up parallel with the edges and leave a 1/4 inch margin.
- Fold the rest of the dough over the butter.
- Pinch the edges to seal in the butter.
- Fold the pinched edges over.
- Position the dough with the folded edge away from you.
- Roll the dough into a 10 x 20 inch rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick.
- Fold 1/3 of the dough toward the center, brushing off excess flour.
- Fold the other 1/3 of dough over the two layers- like a business letter.
- Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 10 x 20 inch rectangle, fold, rewrap and chill as before.
- Repeat this sequence one more time.
- After the final chill, roll dough into a 19 x 25 rectangle that is 1/8 inch thick.
- Trim ragged edges and slice dough in half.
- Leave the halves in place.
- On the upper half of the top strip, measuring from the left corner, cut small notches every 4 1/2 inches.
- On the lower edge of the bottom strip, do the same thing.
- With a pizza cutter and a ruler, connect the upper left CORNER of the top strip to the FIRST NOTCH of the bottom strip.
- Continue making parallel diagonal lines.
- Now connect the lower left corner of the bottom strip to the first notch on the top strip to cut a triangle.
- Continue until you end up with 20 triangles mand some scraps.
- Cut a small notch in the middle of the base of each triangle and dab the three corners with egg wash.
- Take each triangle and pull gently at the base so that the notch separates.
- Fold the edge of the base over twice- 1/2 inch at a time, pinching as you go.
- With one hand roll the base towards the tip while pulling gently on the tip with your other hand.
- Finish the roll so that the tip is underneath the croissant.
- Lay on a parchment lined sheetpan so that the lines of the roll converge toward you.
- Leave at least 1 inch between croissants.
- Gently curve the ends of each croissant together toward you, pich and brush the croissant with egg wash.
- (If you wish to freeze for later use, do it at this stage,) Let them rise uncovered at room temperature untli they double- about 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 375.
- Bake the croissants in the hot oven for 18-20 minutes or until deep golden brown.
- To check for doneness, push gently on the inner curve of the croissant.
- If it springs back they are thoroughly baked.
- If frozen, let thaw over night in the refrigerator and then let rise (it will take about 2 hours) before baking.
To be honest, for all of the effort I was really disappointed. I started 24 hours ago and stayed up late and got up early and they're just not amazing. Perhaps it was because i cut a few corners, like when I was supposed to leave it sit in the fridge 30mins etc (how about 10?) I also had trouble getting yeast to froth, so I put extra yeast in which unfortunately made them taste yeasty. I never know which corners you can cut and which steps are essential. I really can't see how anyone could do this regularly except a baker who is paid to do it profesionally. I'll keep buying mine.
I've noticed except for the egg wash, there's absolutely no salt in this recipe. Bake goods need salt. Otherwise, they have no flavor. With 4 1/2 cups flour total I would probably add at least 2 teaspoons of salt.
I was so happy to find a real croissant recipe! I had tried others previously and none turned out the way I wanted. The reason is they were all quick recipes and I know now that you just can't rush greatness. My only adjustment was to use salted butter and even with that I think it still could have used maybe a 1/2 tsp. more of salt. This requires quite a bit of time, but isn't difficult and I'm sure it will get even easier with practice. A truly excellent recipe!