Introduction: Hardcore Croissants Made Easy

Picture of Hardcore Croissants Made Easy

Croissants are not that hard to make, as you possibly have made believe.

To make it "even harder", i tried my luck with a sourdough recipe.

But i also add a version with instant dry yeast, for the less "hardcore" bakers.


Why should you make them at all?

-They taste like heaven.

-Because you can...   and you are one of the 1-3% who ever did this.

But that's why you are on instructables, i guess.

The steps in the text have corresponding commented pictures. You can zoom in by clicking on the little [i] on the upper left.
The pictures have been shot with my Sony HX100V. (16MP)


Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

The ingredients used, should be easily available. Except maybe unsalted butter in some places of the world.

For the dough  (sourdough version)

460g       of a strong gluten flour
115ml      milk
50g          butter
2              eggs
125ml    of a mild sourdough culture (it's about 50-50% water-flour by volume)
10-15g    of salt (i'm on the 15g side, otherwise i couldn't keep up my blood pressure...)
30g         of sugar
3-5g        of dry instant yeast (half a packet for 500g flour)




The dough should be on the dryer side, even with all the fat in it. This is hard to tell, it's experience.



For the dough  (yeast only version)

500g       of a strong gluten flour
175ml      milk
50g          butter
2              eggs
10-15g    of salt (i'm on the 15g side, otherwise i couldn't keep up my blood pressure...)
30g         of sugar
7g           of dry instant yeast (one packet for 500g of flour)

The dough should be on the dryer side, even with all the fat in it. This is hard to tell, it's experience.



The stretching butter

This is extremely vital for a good result.
Your goal has to be the same consistency of the stretching butter and the dough.
Only this way, you can stretch it together, without getting mad.
My pro baker friends told me so, but they buy it in 10kg units readily made.

250g butter
25g of flour


1 egg yolk and some sweet cream or milk for glazing



Step 2: Dough and Stretching Butter

Picture of Dough and Stretching Butter

Now this is nothing for the faint of heart, but that's why i tell you.

All the "drama queens", male or female, should probably run to the store and buy some puff pastry dough... but then, they'd probably not be browsing instructables anyway.

It has been done before and it's still done, because it rips your socks off.

What is really important, to have a even leavening, is a geometrically square work.

Baking is quite forgiving most of the time, but not here.

The idea behind puff pastry is a vapour barrier made of fat in many (36 ) layers. When you bake it, the water in the dough expands and leavens the dough.
In a croissant dough, you additionally have some yeast, to leaven the dough layers some more.
In a pure, yeastless puff pastry dough, you have more layers. (i think it was 144, that's a additional double fold)


First, make the stretching butter.
You need to incorporate the flour into the butter. Do it the quick and dirty way i did it, or put it into the Kitchenaid to knead it right.
But then, the result is important. I never had any issue with ripping dough this time. When i took pure butter, i had problems with the dough ripping.
As you can see in the pictures, i cut the butter into pieces, added the flour, used a spoon to mix and in the end, i kneaded it back to a ball. Actually it was a square, because that's what you need later on.
Don't play around with it for too long, it will melt pretty soon. Put it in the fridge.

Then, mix the dough ingredients.
I add all the ingredients and let it mix and knead in my breadmaker.
I always use it for doughs up to 500g of flour. When it gets bigger, i use my Kenwood Major.
You can do it by hand, or with the kneading hooks of your hand mixer.
If you do it by hand, be prepared to knead it for 10-15 minutes or so.

Put it in a covered bowl and let it rise at room temp. for a half hour or so.
You should see, that it has risen some, but not doubled in size.
Then put it into the fridge for 45 minutes to cool down.

The dough and the stretching should be at the same temperature, for the next step


Step 3: The Layering of the Dough

Picture of The Layering of the Dough

There are different methods to achieve layers of butter and dough.

This method works extremely well and gives nice, even layers.

Flour the working surface. Keep it floured all the time, so it never sticks.
You will need a brush to remove the superfluous flour. This is important, so the dough merges when you fold it.

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut a cross about a inch (25mm) deep.
Pull the edges out and take a rolling pin to form it according the fourth picture.

As you can see in the fourth picture, i roll out four flaps much thinner than the middle square. The middle square should be a little bit larger than the butter square. The middle square should actually be four times as thick as the flaps.
So when the flaps are folded over the butter, the dough on top and underneath have the same thickness.

The butter square is about 5 inches (12.5cm), the dough is a bit larger. (Picture 6)

In picture 7 you can see two flaps folded onto the butter. It is important to brush off excess flour between the dough layers. It's also a good idea to stretch the flaps as square as possible, but not as much that the dough rips.

In the next picture, the package is ready. If you feel the butter gets too soft, put it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

In picture 9, the package has been rolled out to about 12x12 inches (30x30cm).

In picture 10 and 11 you can see a so called single fold. Put it on the workplace with the seam up. Then fold it like a letter.
You can give it a couple of rolls with the pin and then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cover it with cling wrap, while in the fridge.
(you have 3 butter layers now)


Now you need to roll it out again. This time, the dough will be rectangular after rolling.
You need to give it another single fold. Lay it in front of you, seam up and fold it over the long side. (90° turned in relation to the first fold)
There are no pictures of this step, but you should get the point.
Wrap it and put it in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
(you have 9 layers now)


The next step on picture 14 and 15 is a so called double fold.
Roll it out again to about the size on picture 13  maybe 10x12 inches (25x30cm).
Seam up, fold both ends to the middle, then fold it again.
Give it some rolls with the pin. Wrap it and put it in the fridge again for 30 minutes.
(you have 36 butter layers now)

Most of the time, i go to bed after this step and leave the dough in the fridge overnight.


Step 4: Forming the Croissants

Picture of Forming the Croissants

After the dough was in the fridge for at least 30 minutes( or overnight) after the double fold, you need to roll it out to it's final size.

If it was in the fridge overnight, it will have risen and you need to be careful not to pop the bubbles (degas) too hard.

In this stage, the dough layers get the thinnest, so the chances for ripping is the highest. Flour the surface well.

When rolling, you probably need to relax the dough for a couple of minutes after some rolling/stretching.
Your goal is a size of about 20x20 inches (50x50cm).

Then you fold it by half and cut triangles of your desired size.
You can also trim the outer edges straight, because the dough won't rise nicely at the edges.

Fold back the triangles, that are still together and cut them apart.

Now you stretch the triangles at the tips, remove excess flour, put a piece of scrap dough on the triangle, like you see on picture 7.
Start with both hands at the points and roll the croissant.
Place them them on a buttered cookie tray or on cookie sheets and cover them with cling wrap.

I salted the remaining scrap dough pieces and backed them with the croissants. This is called "Flute de Chanpagne".
In fact, i made my first puff pastry dough for this, after i ate a artisanal version of them.

Step 5: Final Rise and Backing

Picture of Final Rise and Backing

After you formed the croissants, you need to let them rise for a fluffy consistency.

Unlike other doughs, you can't speed up the rise by raising the temperature, otherwise the butter will melt.
So keep it at room temperature.
Depending on the amount of yeast used and temperature, the rise will take somwhere from 90-150 minutes.
The dough should almost double its thickness, like you see on the first picture.

During the rising, you also need to preheat the oven to around 200° C or 390° Fahrenheit.

After the croissants have decently risen, you need to eggwash them.
Mix a egg yolk with some cream or milk and paint them. Picture 2

I baked my croissants for about 20 minutes.
I started baking them at 200° for around 5 minutes, or until you see the first browning.
I then reduce the temperature to around 160° C or 320° F for the remaining time.
I used the convection function of my oven. Without that, you probably need to increase the temperature by around 10° C or 20° F.

You can see the croissants rising again in the oven.
This happens because of CO2 bubbles created by the yeast, and by moisture trapped between butter layers (the puff pastry effect).


Step 6: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

Here we are now.

It wasn't that hard, or was it?

Hopefully you were able to enjoy some selfmade, delicious croissants with butter and strawberry jam.


Variant in step 3-4: Instead of putting the dough in the fridge overnight, you can also form the croissants in the evening.
Then you put the covered trays with the croissants into the fridge overnight.
Of course, before you roll out the dough, you need to keep it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes after the double fold.

If they stayed in the fridge overnight, the will have risen quite nice. Leave them warm up to room temp. and maybe some time to rise, if necessary.

Happy baking

If you are interested in baking, you may check out my other instructables as well.

Comments

calyad (author)2012-01-22

Thank you so much. What a lovely Instructable! I have always viewed pastry-making of this sort as too hard to bother with. You have just made it possible for me.

Notquitepinoy (author)2012-01-18

I love croissants, I get them at the store most of the time but I will have to try this method myself... thanks

roulopa (author)2012-01-18

absolutely great instructable about a true recipe for making croissant!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-01-13

That is one amazing looking croissant!

scoochmaroo (author)2012-01-13

Gorgeous! One day I may try my hand at puff pastry dough.

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