Croissants in a Day
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon instant active dry yeast fast rising
- 2 ½ teaspoons table salt
- 1 1/2 cups 3 sticks unsalted butter, cold
- 1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons whole milk to be used as an egg wash
- The Dough
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and water until they reach between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (lukewarm).
- Place the brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the warm milk mixture to the sugar and whisk until the sugar is somewhat dissolved.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, and salt until blended.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar in the electric mixing bowl, and using the paddle attachment, blend on medium speed until a dough forms.
- Pour the mixture onto a work surface and knead for about 2-3 minutes or until the dough becomes slightly sticky, smooth, and elastic.
- Form the dough into a 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator while butter is being prepared.
- The Butter
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface. Place 3 sticks of unsalted butter side by side long sides touching in the middle of the plastic wrap.
- Cover butter with another piece of plastic wrap.
- With a rolling pin, pound the butter out until it forms a 5 inch by 8 inch rectangle.
- Keep it in the refrigerator until you roll out your dough.
- Rolling Out the Dough
- Unwrap the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it forms a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle.
- Arrange the dough so that one short end is facing you.
- Remove the butter from the refrigerator and remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Flip the butter onto the rectangle of dough in the center so that the long sides of the butter are parallel to the short sides of the dough. Remove the remaining piece of plastic wrap from the butter.
- Fold the dough over the butter like you would fold a letter. This step incorporates the butter.
- Brush off the excess flour with a pastry brush. Now we will make what is called the first fold.
- Fold #1 — turn the dough so the short side faces you and then, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle. Brush off excess flour. Fold into thirds like a letter, keeping the dough ends nice and square so that the top and bottom meet.
- Make two more folds repeating Step 6.
- Now, after the third fold, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and give the dough a rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. The dough at this point is ready to shape. The dough can also be left in the refrigerator overnight.
- Forming Croissants
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Cut the dough in half crosswise, re-wrapping one half in plastic wrap and placing it back in the refrigerator.
- On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch by 16 inch rectangle.
- With the long side facing you, trim ½ inch off each short side, using a pizza wheel and ruler, so that the rectangle now measures 12 inches by 15 inches.
- Make a small notch with a pizza wheel 1 ½ inches in from the upper left side. Make notches every 3 inches along that upper 15 inch side, beginning at the point of the 1 ½ inch notch.
- On the bottom 15 inch side, make notches every 3 inches down the length.
- Using a pizza wheel and a ruler, make a cut from the 1 ½ inch notch on the upper side to the bottom left corner of the dough to form a slanted side.
- Using a ruler and a pizza wheel, cut the dough from the upper left corner to the bottom first 3 inch notch. This should form an isosceles triangle. Cut diagonally from that bottom notch up to the next top notch and back down to the next notch. Continue cutting diagonally to create isosceles triangles using the notches you made as a guide. You should have between 8 and 10 triangles for this half of the dough.
- Cover at least two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll each triangle from its base into a tight crescent shape that does not curve at the edges, gently pulling the tip out as you roll to get more layers. Place the croissants tip-side down onto the baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
- Using a small pastry brush, lightly egg wash each croissant, being careful not to allow any egg to drip down onto the sheet pan. Allow to rise uncovered in an unlit oven for 1-2 hours, or until they look puffy. If the oven is too cold, place a rectangular pan of one to two inches of hot water on the bottom of the oven. Remove the pan of water from the oven. Remove the croissants from the oven and allow them to stay at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Egg wash the croissants again. Place the croissants, one sheet at a time, into the oven (on the middle rack) and immediately reduce the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 22-26 minutes, or until they are nice and brown and crisp. Bake off each sheet pan of croissants the same way.
- Repeat steps 1-11 above with the other half of the dough.
Makes approximately 16-20 croissants