Homemade Croissants. Oh yes I did!

I started thinking about what I could make with butter. I had sort of a WWPD (what would Paula Do) moment.  So I decided it was finally time to tackle croissants. The croissant dough alone contains 3 sticks + 2 tbs of butter. The other 6 tbs of butter left from the pound (yes. I used an entire pound of butter) combine with chocolate to make the filling for pain au chocolat. I’m glad butter was on sale this week.

Detrempe (the pre-laminated dough)

Combine 4 1/2 cups of flour (I used a 50/50 mix of bread flour and a.p. flour
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs instant yeast (not dry-active)
7oz cold whole milk (that’s 3/4 cup + 2 tbs)
8 oz cool water
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted

whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.

add the milk, water & melted butter.

mix (by hand or with a mixer) until very sticky but well incorporated. if the dough is too dry, dribble in more water. if its batter-like, sprinkle in a little flour. the dough should be very soft & very sticky – but still look like dough.

park this in a lightly oiled and covered bowl over night in the fridge (or up to 2 days)

Butter Block

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) of cold, unsalted butter
2 tbs a.p. flour

cube the butter and mix with the flour until it forms a smooth paste (it should still be very cold)

form the butter into a 6 x 6″ square that is 1/2 inch thick. cover and park in the fridge until firm (about 45 minutes)

Laminating the Dough

Flour the work surface

Roll the dough out to 12 1/2 x 6 1/2″

Place the butter block on the right side of the dough with a 1/4 boarder around the side, top and bottom.

Lift the dough and butter and fold it over onto the other side. Pinch the dough edges so the butter is fully encased in the dough. You now have 3 layers. Butter/Flour/Butter

Roll out from the center to the corners, and then from the center to the sides (gently but firm so you do not tear the dough and expose the butter) until it is 16 x 9″.

Letter fold the dough. Turn it so the seam is facing away from you. Let it sit covered on the counter for 20 minutes. You now have 9 layers alternating dough and butter.

Roll the dough out to 16 x 9″. Turn it so the seam is facing away from you. Let it sit covered on the counter for 20 minutes. You now have 27 layers alternating dough and butter.

Once again, roll the dough out to 16 x 9″. Turn it so the seam is facing away from you. Lift this onto a parchment lined pan and cover the dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes. You now have 81 layers alternating dough and butter.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll it out to 32 x 7″ (it will be about 1/4″ thick)

Use a ruler or yardstick to mark every 3″ on both sides of the dough.

Cut from mark to opposite diagonal mark to make a triangle. This can be rolled from the wide end to form a crescent shaped croissant.

To make filled croissants, cut straight to the opposing mark to make a rectangle. Place filling on the first 1/3 of the dough and then fold twice to make a flattened roll.

Allow the croissants to proof covered with plastic wrap on parchment lined pans for 2 1/2 hours.

With 20 minutes to go, Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

Place the croissants in the oven and lower heat to 375. Bake for 15 minutes then rotate the pan(s) front to back and shelf to shelf and continue to bake for another 10 – 20 minutes until they are golden brown on all sides.

Allow to cool for one hour.

*If you wish to freeze the dough, freeze the croissants immediately after shaping (do not proof or bake). On baking day remove them from the freezer and allow them to come to room temperature and proof for about 3 hours and then bake as directed.

Try your hardest to let them cool at least 1 hour before eating. We couldn’t.

Chocolate Filling

Note – you can buy chocolate batons at specialty stores or online, but I decided to save some money and make my own.

6 tbs melted butter
12 oz chocolate chips (i used 60% bittersweet)

Mix until smooth. If necessary heat in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time.

Spread the chocolate onto a piece of parchment. It should be 1/2″ thick.

Refrigerate until solid and then use a knife or pizza cutter to make 3″ x 1/2″ batons.

Cheese Filling

Note – this filling is typically made with cream cheese, eggs, butter and sugar. I decided to try something a little different… plus I was out of butter.

8oz mascarpone cheese (room temp)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 vanilla bean (just the seeds)
1/4 tsp Fiori De Sicilia (This is a citrus extract that tastes like a combination of vanilla and orange. It’s italian so I figured it would go nicely with the mascarpone)
1 egg yolk

Whip all ingredients on high speed until well combined and fluffy. Fill contents into a piping bag and refrigerate until ready to use.

Taste – OMG so mother effing good. Buttery & light. The cheese filling was delicious. Not heavy or overpowering. These have some serious wow factor if you have an opportunity to make them. I impressed myself – I really expected this to be an epic first timer’s fail.

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