Probably one of my favorite things in the world is a properly made croissant. For me, it needs to be made with butter, not margarine or some other butter substitute. Only real sweet cream butter brings the proper flavor to the finished treat.
Making the croissant is actually super easy but because of how you treat the butter (you want it to stay cold) it takes some time to prepare them. In the process of making these I do half on the first day and the second day I finish them off.
2/3 cup unsalted butter (chilled)
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
place 1/2 of the butter between two pieces of seal wrap and roll out with a rolling pin. Form it into a 5″ by 8″ rectangle. Do the same with the other 1/2 of the butter. Place both butter rectangles in the refrigerator.
Combine yeast, warm water, and sugar and allow yeast to soften and become creamy. Mix milk, sugar, salt, and oil. Add flour and then milk mixture to the yeast mixture and combine. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead till smooth. Form dough into a ball and place in lightly greased mixing bowl. Allow to rise till triple in volume (roughly an hour and a half). Gently punch down and allow to rise till double (roughly an hour). Gently punch down again. Place dough ball in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to chill.
Roll out dough to 15″ by 9″ rectangle. Place one butter rectangle in the center of the dough. Fold one third over the butter. Place the second butter rectangle on top and then fold the last third on top. Turn side ways and roll out to roughly 14″ by 5″. Fold into thirds and roll out again. fold back into thirds, dust lightly with flour and then place in seal wrap or a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Roll out to 14″ by 5″ then fold into thirds. Turn 90 degrees and roll out again. Fold into thirds then back into fridge for two hours.
Roll out to 20″ by 5″ and then cut in half. Place one half in fridge to keep chilled. Roll out second half into 15″ by 5″ and cut into thirds. Cut each third in half diagonally. Roll out the triangle lightly to extend the center point. As you roll up the end pieces stretch them slightly, then curl them in when rolled. When all croissants are rolled allow them to rise till they are light and fluffy. (about an hour)
Brush them with the egg and water mixture and cook in a 475 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The heat allows them to rise and become flaky.
If you are short on time, you can throw the dough in the fridge over night after the first or second pass. The extra chill time will slow the yeast and also ensure that the butter does not melt or become oily. The Oven temperature is very important. If you cook them at too low of a heat the butter will have time to melt out. When they are cooked at the proper temperature and all the steps have been followed properly, the pan will be oil free when they are done baking.
Time for a pint…