Friday, June 8, 2012

Croissant Dough


Yield: Makes about 10 - 12 large croissants
Active time: 5 hr
Total time: 14 hr


- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated to warm (105°F–110°F)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter-
- Special equipment: a standing electric mixer with dough hook, 2 kitchen towels (not terry cloth), a ruler, a pastry brush


Make dough:
Stir together warm milk, brown sugar, and yeast in bowl of standing mixer and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t foam, discard and start over.) Add 4 cups flour and salt and mix with dough hook at low speed until dough is smooth and very soft, about 7 minutes.
Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand 2 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Form dough into a roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until cold, about 1 hour. 

Prepare and shape butter:
After dough has chilled, arrange sticks of butter horizontally, their sides touching, on a work surface. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften slightly (butter should be malleable but still cold). Scrape butter into a block and put on a kitchen towel, then cover with other towel. Pound and roll out on both sides until butter forms a uniform 6 by 5 inch rectangle. Chill, wrapped in towels, while rolling out dough. 

Roll out dough:
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary and lifting and stretching dough (especially in corners), into a 15 by 10 inch rectangle. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you. Put butter in center of dough so that long sides of butter are parallel to short sides of dough. Fold as you would a letter: bottom third of dough over butter, then top third down over dough. Brush off excess flour with pastry brush.


Roll out dough again:
Turn dough so a short side is nearest you, then flatten dough slightly by pressing down horizontally with rolling pin across dough at regular intervals, making uniform impressions. Roll out dough into a 15  by 10 inch rectangle, rolling just to, but not over the ends.
Brush off any excess flour. Fold in thirds like a letter, as above, stretching corners to square off dough, forming a 10  by 5 inch rectangle. (You have completed the first "fold.") Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 hour. 

Make remaining "folds":
Make 3 more folds in same manner, chilling dough 1 hour after each fold, for a total of 4 folds. (If any butter oozes out while rolling, sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.) Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours but no more than 18 (after 18 hours, dough may not rise sufficiently when baked).

Cut the dough:
After refrigerated, roll the dough out as much as you can.  30 or more by 15 inches is ideal. ensure the direction of the folds are parallel to the short side of the dough, otherwise you will not see the layers when you bite into the croissant.  You will want to make each croissant about 4 inches wide, bigger or smaller works too.

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