Adoring all things French as I do, it has long been a goal to learn how to make croissants. I had the opportunity to participate in a class last weekend and couldn’t wait to try them at home on my own…and today was the day…or at least, day one.
Making the croissants is not difficult; rather, I think what people may find intimidating is the number of steps, as the dough is rolled, folded, and allowed to proof (rest and rise) several times. (Keep in mind, the more folds, the more delicious buttery layers you end up with in the finished product.) It’s best to make the croissants over a two day period, getting all your rolls and folds done on day one so that the dough can rest overnight and you can cut, roll and fill them, allow them to proof and chill, and then bake them off and enjoy them on day two.
Here’s what happened in the kitchen on the first day:
To make the dough block (the detrempe) I mixed the flour, sugar and salt, then added the yeast, sugar and warm milk and more cold milk. I gently kneaded it and put it into a buttered bowl for the first proof in the refrigerator.
While the dough was proofing, I made the butter block (the beurrage): I cut up the butter and tossed it with a little flour, then chilled it for 20 minutes. Before I took the dough out to roll, I mixed the butter until it was pliable (but still cold). Back into the refrigerator it went.
I took the dough out and rolled it into a large rectangle. Before making the first fold, I spread the butter over two thirds of the dough…then folded the whole thing into thirds (a letter fold).
Yes, all that butter was spread onto the dough…and now you know why croissants are so very buttery and fabulous…sigh. Here’s what the dough looked like after the first fold.
Working quickly so the butter would stay cold and not seep out, I rolled the dough into a large rectangle again…
…and folded the two end quarters to the middle, then folded the whole thing in half (a book fold), so it looked like this:
Now we have 7 layers of dough and butter working in there. Sounds delicious already! The dough was wrapped and got another proof in the refrigerator, then I rolled it out again into ~ you guessed it ~ a large rectangle:
One more letter fold for 10 layers of buttery doughy deliciousness…
And now it’s wrapped (and labeled so I don’t forget how many folds I did!) and resting, waiting for tomorrow morning when I will roll it out one more time, then cut and roll the dough into croissants, proof and chill and then bake them…at last! Based on the croissants we made in class, these will be well worth the effort.
The biggest question now is…to fill or not to fill the croissants? Chocolate? Cheese and herbs? Jam? Stay tuned for the scoop on day two with pictures of the (hopefully beautiful and delicious) finished croissants ~ Bon appetit!