Rock’s master-baker post: classic croissants

Ever since we were visiting Rock’s family in Quebec back in August, he’s been wanting to make REAL croissants because there is no such thing here in Moose Jaw.  At least none that we know of!  I was pretty sceptical that this first attempt would work out ‘cus everyone knows croissants are a total pain in the ass to make.  My friend that used to work at a posh bakery near my house back home told me that even their croissants were baked but not made in house.  But Rock’s croissants worked! They’re super airy and flaky and everything a true french croissant should be.  He is a total baking champ now.

Anyway, I made zero contributions to this entire process and just flopped about on the couch instead; it was all Rock’s doing.  So here’s his post about this almost 15 hour labour of love:

4 and 1/2 tsp yeast  /  1/4 cup sugar  /  6 tbsp warm water  / 2 tsp salt  /  4 tbsp butter, melted  /  2 cups cold milk (we used skim that we had to borrow from the neighbour’s… but probably whole milk would be preferable)  /  ~ 5 cups all-purpose flour (but use more if the dough is too sticky.  I used about 5 and a half)  /  2 cups of cold unsalted butter  /  1 egg, beaten (for the egg wash)

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First don’t start this process late in the evening like me because you will be busy until mid night…  So when you are mentally ready to bake the best croissant on this side of the Atlantic you dissolve the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with a pinch of the sugar and the warm water. Let stand until foamy, it won’t be long 5min.

In the bowl of the  stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk and the yeast mixture and mix on medium speed until combined. Gradually add the flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a sticky ball.  After 4 cups I used the dough hook because the paddle was getting useless.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 2 cm thick. Transfer to a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or parchemin paper. Place in the fridge until chilled, about 40 minutes.

In the mean time,  take a pound of butter, (I know, i will need to go at the gym after eating all my creation) slice it into six equal part and place the parts side by side to form a rectangle (2 rows of 3).

Now it is time to laminate the dough, which just means fold the dough with the butter to create layers. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 40 by 25 cm rectangle. Place the butter in the middle of the dough. Fold the ends up like a letter. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then fold over the remaining lower half and press the edges together to seal. Use the rolling pin to press down equally on the dough to help flatten it. Roll dough into the initial 40 by 25 cm rectangle. Then fold the dough like a letter again, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down. Use your hands to pull the dough into a rectangle shape. You should now have a roughly 30 by 15 cm rectangle. This completes the first turn. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 40 minutes.

Return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling the dough each time, for a total of 4 turns. Just remember to turn the dough 90 degree each turn.  So after the fourth turn, you will have foldded the dough from all direction.  After the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours.  It was almost midnight by then, so I went to bed, the dough was in the refrigerator for 8 hours.  The next morning, the dough had double its size.

(This picture is half the dough)

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I cut the dough in half and place one half in the fridge while working with the other half. Roll out one half of the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 1 cm thick rectangle. Using a knife, I  cut the dough in half lengthwise, and then cut the dough into triangles.  roll into a croissant shape.  Repeat with the other half of the dough.  Place on a baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.  Set the cooking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

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Lightly brush the tops of the pastries with the beaten egg. Bake the pastries, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 15 minutes. I guess by the end my oven was getting very warm so the cooking time when down to 14 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. I baked 26 croissants.

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From the web side I found this recipe, you can freeze the un-cook croissant up to six months.  Diana hates freezing stuffs, I had to cook them all !

The result is breath taking !  Non seriously those croissant turn out very good.  I baked three on them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar in the middle.  You can substitute that with chocolat and make “chocolatine”.

Bon appétit !!!

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