No longer do you need to be enslaved to the patisserie down the street. With this inexpensive, simple (if somewhat tedious) recipe, you can create your own fluffy, flaky, delectable croissants. Even better, you get to eat them warm. My picky kids devour these croissants like locusts.
Just a note before you begin: you will need a dough scraper (only $1.95, buy a few!), a pastry brush, and a good quality yeast. As I mentioned in the pizza dough recipe, we only use SAF gold, available from King Arthur Flour. Buying it by the pound is much cheaper than buying packets at the grocery store, not to mention those packets tend to be a poor quality yeast anyway.
2 tsp yeast
3 tbs warm water
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup warm milk
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened but NOT melted
for egg wash:
2 tbs water
Before you begin, make sure that your butter is at the right consistency and temperature. It should be softened but not melted. If you warm up the butter in the microwave and it melts, don’t panic; just let it sit at room temperature for a while. However, you don’t want it to be chilled. It should look like the butter below:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp yeast, 3 tbs warm water, and 1 tsp sugar. It should bubble and be frothy after a few minutes.
Meanwhile, warm up your 2/3 cup milk (warm but not hot to the touch), and whisk in 2 tbs vegetable oil and 2 tsp sugar.
Add the milk mixture to the yeast mixture and whisk.
Add the 2 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 tsp salt; knead with the dough hook until it forms a cohesive mass. The dough should not be too sticky. If it is sticky (as pictured below) add one more tbs of flour.
As you can see, that 1 tbs of flour did the trick.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a rectangle.
It should be between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick, as illustrated by comparison to my daughter’s fingertip. The rectangle should be roughly 9 X 12 inches but it doesn’t have to be exact.
Now take your butter and smear it on the top two thirds of the dough. I went a little overboard here, but just make sure you leave a section butter-free at the bottom, and leave a slight margin around the edges.
Fold up that third at the bottom over the middle third.
Fold the top third down.
Press the dough down slightly, but don’t roll it out.
Now, fold in thirds again, being careful to scrape any butter that oozed out back onto the dough It doesn’t matter which third you fold first, just fold it into thirds and press it down slightly again.
Place in a plastic bag,
and put it in the fridge for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the dough from the fridge, and once again roll it out into a rectangle the same size as you did before. Again, fold up the bottom third, and fold down the top third.
Turn the dough 90 degrees, and roll it out slightly. This second roll doesn’t have to be as thorough as the first, but you need to roll it out sufficiently such that it can be folded into thirds yet again. Fold up the bottom third, fold down the top third,
… and put back in the plastic bag, and in the fridge for another 2 hours.
After the second 2 hours round in the fridge, the pressure rises a bit You need to work fast because you want the dough to remain slightly chilled as it goes into the oven. Of course, you could always shape the croissants, cover with dish towels, and but them back in the fridge, but you’ve already waited 4 hours for those warm croissants!
Preheat oven to 475F with the rack in the top slot. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Remove the dough and once again roll out into a rectangle of roughly 1/8-1/4 thickness. Slice this in half widthwise (assuming a short side of the rectangle is facing you) and put one half back in the fridge. Roll out the remaining half as thin as you can, but keeping the shape of a rectangle. Cut this rectangle into thirds (again, cutting the narrow length) and then cut each third diagonally into 2 triangles. So you’ve just made 6 triangles. It may sound complicated, but I promise it’s not.
Now take each triangle and roll them up starting at the wide side down to the point. Place them point side down on the cookie sheet; you can stretch a little as you roll and turn the crescents in slightly for a classically “croissant” shape (I don’t bother with this, too much hassle!). Keep working quickly, and repeat the process with the other half of dough.
Now prepare the wash. Whisk one egg together with 2 tbs water, and with a pastry brush, brush over each croissant. Here’s on old trick from making challah: after you’ve “painted” each croissant, wait a minute or two, and brush the wash over again. This makes for a glossier finish.
By this point the oven should be hot, so pop them in on the top rack.
Cook at 475F for 6 minutes, then lower the temp to 375F and cook for 5-6 more minutes. Let cool before eating! My girls love to slather these with cream cheese.