This week in pastry class, we learned to work with laminated dough — the base for croissants, danishes, and pains au chocolat. If you like instant gratification, none of this is for you. But there is something inherently satisfying about making croissants from scratch. At least this is the lie I told myself after grueling over a ball of butter for eight hours, only to realize I could walk across the street and buy a croissant at Starbucks for $2.10.
To make these, I used Izy Hossack’s amazing croissant dough recipe and made a few modifications, mainly changing the way the butter layer is made, reducing the number of folds from 4 to 3, and adding steam to the oven.
Détrempe (dough layer)
- 1 cup cold milk
- ½ cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast (make sure not to use active instant dry yeast, which is for bread machines.)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
Beurrage (butter layer)
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp. European-style butter at room temperature
Filling and toppings
- 1 egg for egg wash
- ½ cup crushed salted pistachios
- Good quality orange-flavoured dark chocolate, chopped
- Apricot jam for glaze
- Icing sugar, for garnish
- Combine yeast, boiling water, sugar and milk into a large bowl and let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and salt to the above mixture. Make sure to stir salt well into flour first so it’s evenly distributed.
- Using your hands, work dough into a sticky ball. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead softly until all flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Shape dough into a rectangle about 1.5″ thick , cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Start shaping the beurrage (butter block) into a 8″x5″ rectangle. To do this, I cut a sheet of parchment to 16″x10″ and folded it down the center line. Place butter on one side of the fold line, fold the other side over, and use a rolling pin to press butter to the edges of parchment. It’s OK to use your hands. Calories from butter are not absorbed through skin! Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and unwrap.
- Roll out on a floured surface into a 16″x10″ rectangle.
- Place beurrage in the centre of the rectangle (remove the parchment!).
- Fold one third of the dough over it, locking in the butter at the seams by pinching the edges of the dough. Fold the other third of the dough down over the top layer to make a letter fold. This is called “one turn.” See Izy’s GIFs if you need a demo.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and complete steps 6&8 once again (roll out dough and complete letter fold). This will be the second turn. To roll the dough, be careful not to displace butter. Tip: Do to this, use the rolling pin to press down on the dough at regular intervals to make indentations. Then press down at regular intervals again, but this time, on the high peaks to flatten them down. If butter leaks out one of the sides, fold this side in next time you do a “turn.”
- Once you have completed two letter folds, wrap the dough and place it back in the fridge for one hour.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, roll to 16″x10″ and complete one more turn (steps 6&8). Place dough back into fridge for one more hour.
- Remove dough from fridge cut into quarters. Each quarter will make six croissants. Depending how many croissants you’d like, decide how many quarters of dough to use and how many to freeze. Tip: You can freeze the dough for up to a month. Place in the fridge overnight to dethaw it before shaping.
- Roll out each quarter in to a 16″x6″ rectangle. Cut this rectangle into thirds using a sharp knife. Cut diagonally down each third to make 6 (isosceles!) triangles.
- One triangle at a time, gently stretch the two corners at the base of the triangle. Place small amount of chopped dark chocolate in the center of the base, slightly up from the margin of the base.
- Roll the base up toward the point.
- Place shaped dough on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours).
- To create steam in your oven, place a large pan filled halfway with water on the bottom rack of your oven.
- Preheat over to 450 degrees. The water in the pan will heat quickly, so remove it after a few minutes.
- Remove pastry from fridge and lightly brush each croissant with beaten egg (egg wash). Do not add too much egg or the croissants won’t rise well.
- Lower the oven heat to 400 and bake croissants for 10 minutes. Lower temperature again to 350 and bake for another 10-12 minutes until brown.
- Remove croissants from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Apricot glaze and decoration
- While the croissants are baking, heat about ½ cup apricot jam in a pan, combining with a bit of water to loosen. Once the jam is almost boiling, reduce heat, creating a simmer.
- Let glaze cool and run through a sieve. You should have a thin, bright and glossy glaze remaining.
- Once croissants are cooled, brush with a thin layer of glaze. Top with crushed pistachios and sift icing sugar over half of each croissant.
If you legit made it through this entire process, you have now earned every croissant. Enjoy!