October’s What’s Baking recipe is for croissants! I’ve never made croissants before, and they are very complicated. It also didn’t help that I was away almost every weekend this month, and this is certainly weekend baking. The recipes were supposed to be posted by Friday, but I needed this weekend to make them so I’m just a little bit late. Eva from Eva Bakes is this month’s host, so sorry I am late Eva!
I’ve been watching a lot of the Great British Bake Show, and they made a pastry that used croissant dough. One contestant tried a different method, and of course it ended poorly for him. When looking for recipes, I did end up choosing a recipe that used an alternative method, where you process the dough and butter together rather than making a butter rectangle that you roll with the dough. I hoped for the best. I was a little worried as I think I could have processed the butter more. My pieces of butter seemed a bit too big in the dough. I hoped for the best.
I’m not usually very good at rolling dough to a certain size, but this dough was fairly easy to roll. I was able to shape my croissants and they looked pretty good. I shaped half and proofed them as directed in this recipe. The second half I proofed in my proofing oven (my microwave has a proofing feature). The first half, done as described, didn’t proof much and I was worried they would fail, but they baked up beautifully and I was so thrilled. Those that were proofed in the proofing oven proofed too much and didn’t bake up quite as well. I have to say I was thrilled with my success with this recipe. It was a really fun challenge.
7/8 cup buttermilk (cold)
¼ cup water, about 75 degrees
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces butter
1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash
Combine the buttermilk, water and oil and set aside.
In a large food processor with a steel blade, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse a couple of times to combine. With the food processor running, pour the buttermilk mixture down to feed tube of the food processor. Process until a ball of dough forms, then process 30 seconds to knead the dough. Remove the dough from the processor and knead by hand a couple of times.
Shape the dough into a ½” thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 90 minutes, until the edge of the dough is very firm.
While the dough is in the freezer, cut the butter into 32 pieces. Place the butter pieces in a bowl and place it in the freezer.
Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 12 even pieces. Place 3 pieces of dough in the food processor and 8 pieces of butter. Process until the butter and dough are cut into different sizes, no pieces too large. Empty the food processor dough and repeat 3 times with the remaining dough pieces and butter.
Shape the butter/dough mixture into a 4” x 6” rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 6” x 18”. Do your best to keep the sides as straight as possible. Add flour to the work surface as needed to avoid sticking.
Fold down the top quarter of dough, and fold up the bottom quarter of dough so that they meet in the middle. Then fold in half. Turn the dough so that the folded edge is on the left. This is the first turn.
Reroll the dough into a 6” x 18” rectangle and again fold as directed above. This is the second turn. Roll one more time to 6” x 18” and fold again. This is the third (and final) turn. If all goes well, as your made the turns the larger pieces of butter will incorporate into the dough.
Place the dough into a large ziplock bag and freeze for 30 minutes. At this point, you can shape the croissants or refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days before shaping.
Make the croissants: fill a 9” x 13” pan with very hot tap water and place on the lowest rack of your oven. Place another rack in the top third of the oven. This is now your proofing oven.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut in two halves. Leave half in the refrigerator while you shape the dough. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Roll the piece of dough into an 8” x 24” rectangle. Achieving 24” is difficult, so do your best. I made it to about 21”. Square the sides with a pizza cutter. Cut the dough into 4 rectangles, approximately 6” x 8”. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally.
Roll up each triangle, stretching to dough slightly while rolling. Stretch the point of the croissant and tuck it underneath. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces and the second half of the dough.
Place in the oven and allow to proof for 1 hour. The dough won’t prove a lot, but will rise ever so slightly.
Move the croissants and the water from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven preheats, brush the croissants with beaten egg.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Eat the same day that they are baked.
Recipe from Pastries like a Pro