SMiLes by Meg

Croissants

Get ready for a marathon: croissants may be the most time-intensive (and exciting) thing I have made in a very long time. It’s not often I have a weekend where I can pull this off, but I am so glad that I did.

First, shout out to Bess for sending me this recipe months ago – she made them first, and it was with her recipe vetting that I felt confident enough to give it a go.

Second, shout out to Erik for his enthusiastic sous-chef and photography skills – as I’ve mentioned before, he really is the bread expert, so all questions yeasted-dough-related generally go his way.Not going to lie, the process for making croissants is SO COOL. So I’m gonna dive right in. Also, if you’re going to try this recipe at any point, you’ll really want to try to refer to the pictures. I try to be clear in my directions at the end, but so much of this needs a visual aide.

The night before you want to eat the croissants, you’ll need to make the dough. First, warm up the milk until it’s between 100° and 115°F. I pulled out all the stops and even got to use my fun yellow thermopen.

Then, add the yeast to the milk and stir to dissolve. Allow to sit for a couple minutes to activate.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, and salt.Stir the honey into the milk mixture.Add the milk and honey mixture, butter, and cold water to the stand mixer. Stir on low speed using the dough hook for about 3 minutes until dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Put in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.Allow the dough to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring bowl to the refrigerator to continue to ferment overnight, 8 to 12 hours.

Meanwhile, it’s time to start one of my favorite parts of this recipe: the butter book. Tear off a large piece of parchment paper and fold it around the butter to be 7 1/2 by 10 1/2 inches.Fold edges and flip over. Use a rolling pin flatten and fill the entire area.How cool is that? It’s a perfect rectangle of butter! And so much butter, at that…

Anyways, place the butter book in the refrigerator overnight as well.

The next morning, when you’re ready to start baking, begin by rolling dough out long enough to place butter book horizontally and just cover it when folding in sides – no overlap!

Pinch in the seam down the middle and on the sides to seal in the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes, roll out along the seam until dough is 24 inches long.Fold in thirds, like a pamphlet (or book), so that three panels are exactly equal. Then, wrap back up in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 more minutes. Remove from fridge and again roll out to 24 inches in the direction of the seam and fold into thirds.You can put two indents in it to show this is the second turn (and so you remember). But, realistically, I was so excited to be making these that there was no chance I would forget how far into it I was.

Wrap the second turn in plastic wrap again and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In case you were wondering how to move it around the kitchen, I have no good tips. but here’s me trying.

One more turn! Remove the dough from the fridge, roll it out to 24 inches, and fold into thirds. Here’s Erik getting in on the action.   Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 more minutes. This is the last chilling time!

Now, roll the dough out one final time to be 24 inches long and 8 1/2 inches wide.Cut the dough into triangles, with 3 inch bases.Cut a slit into the base of each triangle. Roll up, starting at the wide end, and curve slightly.Look at all those layers of butter and dough! I can’t handle how awesome this is.Anyways, place the croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. They will puff up.Whip up the egg wash and coat the tops of each croissant. Turn the oven on to 350° and put baking sheets on top, covered with plastic wrap, to proof for about 50 minutes.Place oven racks on the second from bottom and second from top levels. Bake on bottom rack for 10 minutes, then transfer to top rack to bake for an additional 20 minutes until deep golden.  And that’s it! You’ve got croissants!Not pictured: Croipretzels and croiknots. Be creative with your extra dough.When you can touch them, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.Any you plan to eat in the next 24 hours can be stored at room temperature under plastic wrap. Any others should be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen.

Enjoy!

Croissants

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon (300g) Bread Flour
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon (300g) All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 teaspoons 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter

Butter Book:

  • 2 sticks + 6 tablespoons butter

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Heat up milk to between 100° and 115°F. Dissolve yeast in milk and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine bread flour, all purpose flour, and salt.
  3. To the milk mixture, add honey and stir to combine.
  4. Add milk and honey mixture, cold water, and butter to stand mixer and stir on low speed with dough hook for 3 minutes until comes together.
  5. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to fridge for 8 to 12 hours (overnight).
  7. Meanwhile, make the butter book by folding a large piece of parchment paper around the butter in a 7 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch rectangle. Use a rolling pin to flatten butter and fill package. Refrigerate butter book overnight, as well.
  8. In the morning, roll dough into a rectangle large enough to place butter book horizontal and fold edges to middle just to cover. Seal seam with fingers and edges with fingers to keep butter inside. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from fridge and roll out along the seam until dough is 24 inches long. Fold into perfect thirds, like a pamphlet. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove fridge and repeat step 9. This is the second turn. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove from fridge and repeat step 9. This is the third turn. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from fridge and roll out to 24 inches long and 8 1/2 inches wide. Cut triangles in the dough with 3 inch bases. Cut a small slit in the base of each triangle.
  13. Roll up triangles, starting at the long edge, and curve slightly. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
  14. Whisk together ingredients for egg wash. Coat tops of each croissant.
  15. Turn on oven to 350°F. Put oven racks on second from bottom and second from top levels. Place baking sheets on top of oven, covered loosely with plastic wrap, to proof for 45 minutes to an hour.
  16. Remove plastic wrap and bake on bottom rack for 10 minutes. Transfer to top rack to finish baking for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  17. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.

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