I woke up on a Saturday morning (yesterday) craving for croissants. I think this craving got ignited from Meryl Streep’s character in It’s Complicated, when she made croissants with assistance from special machines. I, however, do not have those machines at home.
It’s a long recipe, takes 2 days to make. It’s easy to do, just time consuming. But I had the patience for this, unlike the other long stuff that I’ve made. My croissants didn’t turn out as bent/curved though.
- 7 cups flour, sifted
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 3 tsp salt
- 3½ cups cold unsalted butter
- Egg wash (day 2)
In a large bowl, create a well in 2 cups of flour. Pour the yeast in the well and then pour the water, and mix until flour lumps are broken up. Set the bowl aside and let rise for 1 hour.
Add the remaining 5 cups of flour, the cream, and salt. Knead the mixture for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes. Knead the mixture by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic by the time you finish kneading. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and using a rolling pin or a frying pan, pound/hammer/smash the butter into a rectangular sheet.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a long rectangle. Place the sheet of butter on the bottom half of the rectangle. You can use your hands to align the dough and the sides of the butter square. Fold the top half of the rectangle of dough down over the bottom half so the butter sheet is now enclosed. Press together the edges of the rectangle to seal in the butter. Pound/hammer/smash the dough with the butter in it. Roll the dough into a long rectangle.
Next, you want to fold the rectangle into thirds like a letter – start with the bottom third and fold it up. Then fold the top third down. That’s one TURN. Turn the dough so the single fold (like the spine of a book) is on your left. Now you’re ready to start the second TURN. Repeat the folding steps and then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Once the dough has been refrigerated, remove it and complete two more TURNS – for a total of 4 turns in all. At this point, the dough is ready to be rolled out and used. Before you begin to shape the dough, line baking trays with parchment paper then cut the dough in quarters.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle. Transfer each large rectangle onto the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
You want the dough firm, but not brittle. When the first rectangle is ready to work with, transfer it back to your work surface with one of the long ends facing you. The next step is to cut the triangles from the dough that will be formed into individual croissants. Measure the bases of the triangles to be 5-inches long. Cut the triangles and then make a small slit in the base of the center of each triangle.
Begin to roll the triangles to form the croissants by curling the two sides of the triangle on each side of the slit away from each other. You want to roll tightly. Arrange the croissants on a sheet pan and cover them with plastic wrap to proof.
You have several options for proofing: overnight in the fridge, ≈3 hours in a cool place or ≈1 hour in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Combine egg with a splash of cream to form an egg wash and brush the proofed croissants. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the croissants are puffed and golden brown. Remove them to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.