Monday, February 22, 2010

Fresh Croissants

This comes from my Gourmet Recipes cookbook.  I have never attempted this dough but in general I have become confident when making dough.
Last week for the Saints Victory Parade, we spent the night at the Ritz in New Orleans.  My son and I enjoyed breakfast together and he ordered an assortment of croissants.  He loved the apple filled croissants and yesterday asked me to make them.  I decided, why not? 
This is like no other dough, though, because it gets rolled and folded 4 times with an hour of refrigeration in between.  In other words, it's a lot of work!  But if good, will be worth the time.  It got folded, chilled, rolled, folded, chilled, rolled, folded (as pictured) a total of 4 times. 
As I worked, I began to see the distributed butter bits in the dough which will lend itself to creating the layers.  The dough is beautiful to work with and with each passing hour it puffs up nicely. 
It has taken all day to make these but I just baked the first dozen about an hour ago.  They are superb

This is the Gourmet's Buttery Croissants recipe!  It makes 24 Croissants. Stir together 1 1/2 Cup Warm Milk(105-110 degrees), 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar and 1 Tbl + 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (this will require (2) 1/4 oz packages).  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 3 3/4 Cups Flour and 1 Tbl Kosher Salt and on low speed, mix using the dough hook, mix for 7 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly floured surface (I like to use a pastry cloth) and knead for 2 minutes, adding flour if necessary, to make a soft sticky dough.  Form the dough into a rectangle about 1 1/2" thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
While dough is resting, Open and Arrange 3 sticks of Cold Unsalted Butter in a 1 Gallon plastic bag.  Using a rolling pin, pound the butter so you end up with a single rectangular shape slab about 8" x 5".  Refrigerate the slab.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you get a shape that is 16" x 10".  Place butter as pictured.  Then fold up the bottom third and fold down upper third.
Rotate the dough so the short side is facing you.  Roll into a shape that is 15" x 10", keeping the thickness consistent by using equal pressure as you roll.  Brush off any extra flour.  Fold in thirds again into a 5" x 10" rectangle and refrigerate for an hour.  Repeat 3 more times, rolling into a 15" x 10" rectangle and folding.  Each time, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate.  On the 4th time, refrigerate for 8-18 hours.
After 8-18 hours (hopefully overnight) remove dough from refrigerator.  Cut dough in half crosswise and wrap and refrigerate the 2nd half until you are ready for it.  Roll on a lightly floured surface, into a rectangle 16" x 12", stretch the corners to get the shape and trim edges.  Cut the dough in half, lengthwise so the 2 shapes are 16" x 6".  Cut each of these halves into thirds, so about 5" x 6".  Cut each rectangle diagonally into triangles.  (NOTE, it you want many, many layer, cut differently into long triangles with a narrower bottom.  This will take more layers to roll up.)
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Holding one end of the dough, stretch to elongate the triangle by 50%.  Begin with the point away from you and roll the dough toward the point.  Place on parchment with the point facing downward.  Curve the ends slightly to get a crescent shape.
Using an UNSCENTED garbage bag, place over the sheet pans.  Use glasses to prop up the bag so it doesn't touch the dough.  Let rise for 2 hours.  Nearing the end of the rising time, preheat over to 425.  Using a spritzer with water, spritz the inside of the oven, and close the door.  Place croissants in the oven and quickly spritz again and bake for 10 minutes without opening the door.  Reduce the temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 10 minutes until they are a deep golden.
Serve immediately with Raspberry Preserves and hot coffee! 

You can bake 2 sheet pans at once.  Place shelves in the lower and upper thirds and rotate the pans after the first 10 minutes.  I was worried the 1st batch got too dark and I can see in my closeup of the inside they should've baked for an additional minute.  For the first time though, very pleased!

Here is a quick time table.
1:30pm Make dough and let rise 1 hour in refrigerator.  
3pm Roll dough, add butter, and let rise 1 hour in refrigerator.
4pm Rolled and let rise 1 hour in refrigerator.
5pm Rolled and let rise 1 hour in refrigerator.
6pm Roll dough and let rise (between 8 and 18 hours) in refrigerator.
6:30am Shape and let Rise 2 Hours at room temperature.
8:30am Bake.

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