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flaky, buttery, magical... CROISSANTS

51 comments /
Sun streams through the trees
Highlighting golden croissants
Pure morning magic.

Really.  A haiku is about all I can produce in this state of bliss.  

Happy chewing sounds
Tender buttery layers
Crisp flaky crumbs fall.

Okay, two haikus.  It's true.  To me, the only thing better than a freshly baked croissant is a freshly baked almond croissant.  But that's for another day.  Until then, I'm off to bask in the glory of one of the most perfect breads on earth.
Croissants
yield: 24 croissants (or 3 lbs. 5 oz. of dough)

1¼ c. whole milk, lukewarm
1 Tbs. + ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
~4 - 4½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
12 oz.  butter, chilled

Pour milk in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit until it begins to get a bit foamy, ~5 minutes.  Add salt, sugar, and 4 cups of the flour and mix on low, using the dough hook, until dough is smooth, ~7 minutes.  Add in a bit more of the flour at a time if the dough is too sticky to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Dough should be soft, but not too sticky.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes.  Shape dough into a rectangle, ~1½" thick.  Wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.
Meanwhile, place the cold butter between 2 linen towels and beat it with a rolling pin into a rectangle that is approximately 5 x 8 inches.  If you can, buy your butter in a one pound block and cut off a quarter of the block (lengthwise) in order to get the twelve ounces that you need.  Now take your twelve ounce block of butter and cut it into thirds lengthwise.  Set each "slice" next to the next on top of a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap.  Now set another sheet on top of the butter and roll out a couple of inches each way.  This is a SUPER easy way to get your sheet of butter ready.

On a work surface, using as little flour as possible, roll the dough into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle, ~½" thick, lifting and stretching the corners to help maintain a rectangular shape and even thickness.  Working with the long side of the dough parallel to the edge of the work surface, place the sheet of butter in the middle of the dough.  Fold the dough on the left over the dough and then fold the dough on the right over that, just as you would fold a letter.
Roll the dough out into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle, ~½" thick.  If any of the butter oozes out, just sprinkle it with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.  Again working with the long side of the dough parallel to the edge of the work surface, fold the left side over two-thirds and then fold the right side over to meet the left edge, stretching the corners and squaring off the sides so the edges line up evenly.  This is your first fold.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour.
On a lightly floured surface place the seam up and to the bottom.  Roll the dough out into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle, ½" thick.  Fold in the same letter-fold manner, left over two-thirds and then right to meet left edge, stretching and squaring.  This is your second fold.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour.

Repeat rolling, folding, stretching, and squaring process as above.  This is your third fold.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour.  Repeat process one more time for your fourth fold.  After this fourth fold, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to overnight.
**At this point, you can either move on to shaping and baking croissants or you can wrap the dough and slide it into a large freezer bag and freeze it or you can use it for another recipe.**
To shape croissants:  Divide dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle, ¼" thick, flouring surface as necessary, lifting dough and stretching corners to help maintain a rectangular shape and even thickness.  Trim edges straight and brush off any excess flour.
Working with the long side parallel to the edge of the surface, cut the dough down the center vertically and set one half aside.  Place the longer side parallel to the edge of the surface and cut the dough vertically into thirds.  Cut each third diagonally in half to make 2 triangles.  You should have a total of 6 triangles, each with about a 4-5" base.  Holding the base of one triangle in one hand and the top of the triangle in the other, stretch the dough to almost half again its length.  Return the enlarged triangle to the work surface, keeping the widest end toward you.  With your fingertips, tuck in the wide end of the dough to begin the roll.  Continue rolling loosely toward the tip, using the heel of your hand to roll and creating tension by using your other hand to stretch the top of the triangle away from you.
The dough should overlap three times with the tip sticking out from underneath.
Place the croissants 2" apart on a lined baking sheet and curve the ends of the croissant inward to form a crescent shape.  Repeat with other half of dough, using a second sheet, if needed.  Set aside in a warm place to rise until slightly puffy and spongy to the touch, 2-2½ hours.

Adjust oven racks to the lower and upper positions and preheat oven to 425° F during last 15 minutes of rise time.
Open the oven door and spritz heavily with water from a spray bottle, and quickly close the door.  Open the oven door again and slide the baking sheets onto the racks.  Spritz the oven heavily with water again and quickly close the door.  Reduce oven temperature to 400° F.  After 10 minutes (don't be tempted to open the oven door before that), rotate the baking sheets, for even baking.  Reduce the oven to 375° F and continue baking until croissants are golden brown, ~8 minutes longer.
 Oh, and by the way...

I am sharing this post with:
Yeastspotting (guest host Tartine Bread Experiment)
BYOB-badge Miz- Helen-Badge-ALT5 foodfriday weekend cookingmade with love mondays

51 comments

  1. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could make croissants! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this beautiful tutorial!!

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  2. These look amazing. You can't go wrong with Nancy Silverton. I'll put a marker in my copy of the cookbook. I may add these to my Christmas breakfast menu

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  3. This looks all kinds of awesome. Much cheaper than buying 24 croissants too. I am not sure if I could make them myself because it does take a LOT of time. (Mostly waiting). But I think it is awesome! I never knew how croissants were made. Maybe I will try it some day, but I do feel a bit intimidated by it ;) 

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  4. Gorgeous croissants! They look so good, very impressive, better than the bakery!

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  5. I'm sure these were wonderful! And you can probably tell that I'm playing catch-up on my blog reading today!

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  6. Perfectly done; the pictures, the pastry and the poetry. How alliterative - ok it’s not pastry, but it wouldn’t work otherwise :) 

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  7. So beautiful and so yummy. The process of making it looks like an art on itself. Those flaky bits are my favorite. Perfect with a cup of coffee too.

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  8. The LaBrea Baking book is one of my favorite backing cookbooks. Your croissants look fabulous.

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  9. I just love that little Budda sitting in all those Cheerios, it made me smile! All those wonderful layers of butter so carefully rolled into a flaky pastry a thing of beauty. I can almost taste them. Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and please come back soon.
    Miz Helen

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  10. Annie @ButteryBooksDecember 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Oh I can almost taste those beautiful, buttery croissants and your haiku is delightful!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    http://butterybooks.com/?p=44187

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  11. BEEEeautiful job Heather!  I'm impressed since I can't make anything at all with dough. 

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  12. Oh my!  I am so impressed, I don't think I could do that, lol.

    I can, however, eat croissants with the best of them :)

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  13. Your croissants are gorgeous Heather! I'm swooning just looking at them! You have mad bread baking skills and make it look so easy. These couldn't be more perfect. 

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  14. This takes talent and your croissants look divine.  Congratulations!

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  15. I've always wanted to learn how to make them. I've watch a few videos but your step by step was actually more helpful.Thanks for  the great tutorial heather.

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  16. I know Coleen- right!?  I've come a long way.  Not sure what I was ever scared of =)

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  17. I cannot BELIEVE you made these! They look amazing!

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  18. Even its time consuming, its definitely worth to try na..super flaky croissants..

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  19. And to think you were once afraid of yeast...you go girlie!!!

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  20. That looks really good! :)

    Happy Food Friday!

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  21. They're gorgeous, Heather - flaky, light, warming, inviting, buttery - and all that. They terrify me. Would you come to MN and bake some here? Free room and board.

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  22. The lamination on these babies is really obscene amounts of perfect.  Bravo!

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  23. Perfect croissants.. 

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  24. thumbs up! more than the croissants itself, love the way you put worlds together. interesting post here:)

    http://www.sibuyasrepublic.com

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  25. color me impressed! amazing job.

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  26. oh my....looks super delicious!!!! your photos reminded me so much of those days when my parents had a bakeshop...i can just imagine the aroma of freshly baked goodies.... :)

    thank you so much for sharing your magical croissants over at Food Friday, Heather!
    enjoy the rest of the week! 

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  27. Wow, look at all the air and flaky goodness in those things.  They make that little Pilsbury doughboy feel inadequate, lol.

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  28. The Café Sucré FarineDecember 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    These look UNBELIEVABLE! Wow, better than any bakery I've been to lately! I'm so wishing I had one right now with a cup of tea and some jam, mmm, mmm, mmm!

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  29. You musta read my mind. I've been wanting to look up recipes for these. You totally rocked it out chicky! thanks for the post, YUM!

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  30. HA!  Made me laugh...although, that's about all I can say about them, as well. They render me speechless ;)

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  31. Por supuesto que sí. ¡Ahora mismo! ja ja ja ja ja.... ;P

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  32. Yes indeed!  I "had" to make the croissant dough so that I could make the Prosciutto Parmesan Braids for tomorrow!  Oh, the price I had to pay.... ;P

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  33. Nope, they went so fast!  However, I'd be happy to bake another batch ;)

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  34. Heather - the croissants look sooooooooooo delicious!
    I've never made croissants, but you definitely make me want to.
    Thank you so much your tutorial 
    Do you still have one left for me ?:)

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  35. josé manuel martín fernándezDecember 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Te han quedado perfectos, que buenos.

    Saludos

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  36. I'm pretty sure croissants are the world's most difficult thing to make.  I love the shots of your folded dough with the bits of butter peeking out.    I want one of these so badly...

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  37. Love the photographic tutorial Heather. Looks like you have been bust baking this week with another recipe from this special Game Changer.

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  38. wow!! qué maravilla!! te quedaron excelentes , excelentes!! me mandas unos 5  por favor?? ;D
    saludos

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  39. Drool. 
    That is all.

    Except to say thanks for the step by steps--I need them!

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  40. I love croissants, they've been fantastic. a kiss

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  41. What an EXCELLENT tutorial. I would love to be enjoying one of these beauties. Aren't they the very best? Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I hope you have a lovely end to your week!

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  42. OMG  Heather these croissants look absolutely beaitiful, georgeous and perfect!! I would like eat someone! The nexxt time I make crfoisssants I will make you recipe, is amazing!!! gloria

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  43. That is buttery bliss right there. What a way to start the day!

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  44. I'm sooo going to make these.  Croissants are one of my favorite baked goods.  I haven't had the ones from La Brea Bakery yet!  I'll have to try them, I buy the bread from LBB sometimes at Ralph's...wonder if they carry those croissants there, too.

    -Lizzy

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  45. THANK YOU for sharing this recipe - you've taken all the scary out of making croissants which always is so intimidating... And I love the tip for creating the sheet of butter - this is a GREAT tip which really does help simplify the whole process...

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