Croissants and Everything Laminated – My Revised Recipe for Beginners – My Croissant Chronicle – Part 1

Baking Diary – Log 7 – 08.05.2012

Ever heard about bread named “croissant”?

Batch 6

Batch 6

No? Wait, NO? REALLY? Are you 100% sure? O.M.G, poor friend, you just miss the one hidden wonder of our world! Get out of the chair, go to the nearest bakery, and buy yourself a croissant. Please! Then come back here. ;)

Yes? Heard about it? Tried it? Love it? Well, that’s the answer I kinda expected.What is this little babe that I am so crazy about today?

Croissant is a buttery flaky pastry named for its distinctive crescent shape. Have you ever drooled over the heavenly buttery aroma comes out of a bakery or a corner café, cannot help but rush right into it and buy yourself that little treat? That’s freshly baked croissant’s distinct smell.

And when you really do take a bite on it, chewing, uhmmm, some overwhelming satisfaction are dancing in your tongue: those flaky crusts, and then the buttery cake-like and bread-like at the same time crumb… Another bite swallowed, uhmm, that’s when you know that you are eating a perfect croissant.

There is no fresh bakery in the town I live, at least they do not sell fresh baked croissant. That’s one of the many reasons I have to make it myself. The other reason is that I really want to make great croissants all by myself. :)

So after hundreds of times (well, I exaggerated a bit, maybe less than a hundred, maybe about 20 times. That’s more like it) of testing different recipes and trying different technique, below is my revised recipe that I, found most successful, and easy to follow for beginners. :)

This is a warning: this bread is time-consuming; so spare yourself a free night and a free day to explore this recipe. Another one: this bread is also addictive and is a garden of fat and carbohydrates, so do consume with caution.

Why my recipe is suitable for beginner? It is because my dough recipe has higher hydration (liquid percentage) than usual croissant recipe; make it softer, more pliable, easier to handle and laminate than usual croissant dough. It will, however, have little affect on the crumb, as it cannot be as open as store-bought croissant where they have industrial machine to handle dry dough. And the croissants tend to spread out a bit more horizontally than raised 100% vertically. Other than those side effects, the flavor of my croissant is still great, buttery with super soft crumb and flaky crust. Furthermore, my recipe requires less fold and turn than usual croissant recipes, reducing the pain of laminating and the risk of over-handling the dough.

This post may seem a bit long and complicated. But it is just because I want to be as detail and well explaining as possible. The true process is actually quite simple, so keep up with me, OK?

Update: My Collection of Danish Filling and Shaping + My Croissant Journey to Success, with many tips and lessons learned. Enjoy!

—————————————-

Ingredients

(One batch of this makes about 10 mini croissants that fit on the palm of my hand)

Ingredients needed

Dough:

  • 200g (preferably bread) flour (all purpose flour is OK too, if you don’t have bread flour in hand)
  • 7g fresh yeast
  • 120 ml cold milk
  • 7,5 to 15g sugar (depends on how sweet you want your croissant to be)
  • 4g of salt (3g if you use salted butter in the dough)
  • 20g unsalted butter, at room temperature (meaning you should leave your cold butter block out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before proceeding) (If you don’t have unsalted butter in hand, use salted one, but remember to cut back the amount of salt in the dough recipe.)

Butter:

  • 112g cold unsalted butter

Egg wash:

  • ½ egg
  • 1 tbsp. water

—————————————-

Instructions

DAY 1:  On the night, at about 7PM, of day 1, do these steps:

Step 1: Because we use fresh yeast in my recipe, first we have to dissolve the yeast into cold milk. You will have a hard time dissolving in cold environment so you may need to weight and dissolve it first in about 10ml of warm milk, and then pour the rest of the cold milk into the yeast mixture. If you use different yeast like dry or instant, activate it according to the manufacturer instructions, then add them into the remained cold milk.

Step 2: Weight flour, sugar, and salt into a same mixing bowl, give them a whisk or three to combine.

Step 3: Then make a well in the middle and pour in the milk – yeast mixture. Cooperate them using a hand mixer-hook attachment, or stand mixer with a dough hook (like me), or using hand (I’ve been here too, believe me, take a bit more time and the result is the same) for about 3 minutes in low speed (and 5 to 7 minutes by hands), until it come together as a kind-of smooth dough, you don’t want them to be extremely smooth and pliable (technically saying, fully gluten development).

After that, add the soft butter into the dough, bit by bit. The reason why adding butter later, that I have just recently discovered, is that adding fat with other ingredients in the very beginning will make it harder, take longer, but not impossible to knead the dough to sufficient gluten development. So, if you add it early you will find yourself (or your machine) doing more kneading than adding it later. Good for your arm muscle building, but not any good for the bread. Why is that? It is because the action of kneading oxidizes the flour over time, the more you knead, the more oxidized the dough will be, and this oxidization negatively affects the crumb, color and flavor of your hard-worked bread.

Dough consistency

What you trying to achieve should look like this picture of mine: medium gluten development dough that can be stretched out to thin sheet but still tore quite easily.

Step 4:  At this stage, most recipe call for a fermentation of 1 to 2h and then toss it in the fridge. I never have enough time, nor patience to wait that long, and my recipe have the dough overnight to proof in the fridge after lamination. Therefore, what I do right after mixing it is that I put the dough on a plastic wrap, spread it with my rolling pin until it reach the size of about 25cmx12cm rectangle, put another plastic wrap on the dough to keep it moist, and place it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

It is a very important step, letting your dough rest and chill, because if you don’t do that, the gluten in the dough will not have time to relax and loosen up, it then will fight back very forcefully when you try to incorporate the butter into the dough in the next steps, and you will lose to the gluten strength, miserably, trust me. So please do have patience with this.

Step 5: While waiting for your dough to chill and firm up. Take a block of cold butter out of the fridge. Slice it up 0.5cm thick and weight 112g of it, arrange those slices into a rectangle of 12x8cm on a plastic wrap. Like this.

Slice butter up and arrange them like this

Step 6: Now is my fun part of the croissant making. Cover the butter with another plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to slam it real hard into a thin sheet of 12x15cm. This is a great stress reliever and a sweet little revenge, just like hand kneading bread dough. Imagine the butter as the face of an annoying person, hold your rolling pin up very firmly, and BAM, BAM, BAM, smash it sincerely with all your strength, please. After this exercise, you will have a thin sheet of cold butter like this; make sure the corners are square.

Slam (plasticize) butter

Except for the stress relieving effect, this step is very meaningful for croissant dough making because it will plasticize the butter, technically make it pliable, and easier to be evenly distributed in the dough in the laminating process. You know your butter is well plasticized when it is still cold and hold it shape, while you can easily bend it over the bench without any cracking. Like this.

Well plasticized butter sheet

Proceed with the next step immediately. Make sure the softness of the dough and the butter are at the same level.

Step 7: Take the dough out of the fridge onto your working bench. Place the plasticized butter at one end of the dough sheet. Make sure all the corners of the dough sheet and the butter sheet are square and fit onto each other. The butter sheet’s length should be exactly of two third of the dough sheet’s. Like this.

How to perform a butter lock in – step 1

Then, flap the dough part that has no butter on it onto the butter sheet, like this.

How to perform a butter lock in – step 2

After that, flap the dough-butter combo from the other side on top. Like this.

How to perform a butter lock in – step 3

You have just locked your butter inside the dough using English lock-in method. Many other recipes use French method like in this video, but I always prefer English method because it will build up more initial layers for further laminating, result in less turns and folds.

After locking the butter in, seal the dough in every side and corner very tightly, you don’t want the butter to leak out. :)

Step 8: Now, we gonna start the laminating process. Hold your rolling pin proud and high. Ready? Here we go, the first turn and fold.

First, very lightly flour the workbench and your rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Turn your dough clockwise (or counter clockwise) 90 degree.  Lightly pressing the dough evenly to release all the trapped air, if there is any; and also to make the dough and butter layers stick together.

Now start rolling it out, start from one end to another. NO back and forth rolling, one clear stroke at a time, always start from one end to another. Apply even medium pressure in every spot of the dough, not too hard, not too light. And remember, from one end to another. Try handling the dough as quickly as possible. Croissant dough doesn’t like warmth. Now flip the dough over to the other side, both horizontally and vertically. (You keep up with this, right?), this is to present sticking on one side and for more even butter distributing. Now continue rolling, until you achieve a 30x12cm rectangle, like this.

Roll it out!

No or very tiny little butter leaking out, Wow, you are doing great! Keep up with great work! I am right here. Let’s continue. Now you will make a double fold, or book fold by eye-dividing the dough into 4 equal, now folding 2 end toward the center, leaving just a tiny space of 0.5cm in between. Like this.

Prepare for a book fold

Now folding one end onto the other, like this. Look great, huh, just like folding a book, just like it’s name. YAY! I choose to do this double fold on my recipe because at this time of laminating process, the dough is still soft and the gluten has not developed much, it will not fight back very much, easier for us to stretch it out longer. Further more, double fold will create more layers than a single fold, resulting in less dough handling in the future.

Double Fold – Book fold

Step 9: You have done your first turn and fold. Congrats! There is 1 more to go, but not yet. For now, wrap the plastic around the dough, and put it in the fridge for another hour. Yes, 1 more waiting hour, but totally worth it! Long time in the fridge will keep the butter cold; prevent it from melting and absorbed by the dough. Furthermore, as explained above, it will help the dough to relax and loosen up, meaning save yourself a little less pain handling it.

Get yourself a cup of tea, check out some news your friends posted on FB, or enjoy a book. Keep yourself busy. One hour will pass by in a minute.

Step 10: Now one hour is up, get the dough out of the fridge. We will perform our second and final turn and fold. Like the last time, flip the dough out of the plastic wrap, longer side toward you. Roll it out, once again, into a 25x12cm rectangle. Remember; no back and forth, always start from one end to the other of the dough sheet.

If the butter leaks out or a bit of dough sheet sticks to your rolling pin or the workbench, don’t panic, it is normal if you try it the few first times! It means that you have torturing the dough quite, and it is now fighting back. Try dusting a bit of flour on it, on the leak, and on your rolling pin. Just handle the dough a little faster to the required size and proceed as below. In worse cases, if the butter leaks out much and the dough springs back, try put it in the fridge for another 30 minutes and then continue until achieve the right rectangle.

Now, eye divide the dough into 3 equal parts, fold 1 part toward the center, fold the other part onto it. End result like this.

Single Fold

Step 11: now wrap the dough closely with plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge overnight.

You are done for today. You have done very hard work today! You deserve a glass of red wine and a good movie. I recommend “Music and Lyrics” of Hugh Grants and Drew Barrymore, a romantic love story with many good songs.

—————————————-

DAY 2: In the morning of day 2, at about 7AM, get the dough out of the fridge. It might rise into a balloon of dough; sometimes it might not. In both cases, it is normal.

Step 12: Now deflate the dough by lightly press it down. Roll it into a 36x21cm, about 0.5cm thick rectangle. Cut all the imperfect edges around the rectangle, about 0.5cm wide. Now divide the dough into 5 equal parts of 20×7 rectangles. Use a knife and a ruler. I use my pizza cutter, work like a charm!

Divide each rectangle into 2 triangles. So you have 10 pieces in total. I have more in this picture because i almost double the recipe for this batch.

Dividing Croissant dough

Step 13: We will shape our croissants now. Use the rolling pin (recommended) or your hand to stretch the triangle out a little.

Croissant dough triangles (Source: Poolish Croissant – the pursuit of perfection, posted by txfarmer on thefreshloaf.com)

Roll it up fairly tight, stretch out the tip with one hand when you roll the bottom with the other hand. You should get 3 rolls, and 7 little steps, with the tip underneath. This is to create a straight croissant. You should not make the dough sheet any thinner than this or the crumb cannot have clear honeycomb structure.

How to roll up a croissant (Source: Poolish Croissant – the pursuit of perfection, posted by txfarmer on thefreshloaf.com)

If you want a curved one, create a little notch in the triangle bottom, and roll to the outside as you start from the base. Curve the 2 tips toward you, and you have it. The curved croissant indicated that this croissant is made of margarine not butter, which means less flavor but easier to handle dough. (And cheaper, too) Me, I never curve my croissants.

Step 14: Place your croissants onto a cookie pan. Now take a picture. Trust me, and take a picture now! These croissants will require fairly long final proofing time until they double in size. If you wait that long with constant observation on the croissant, somehow you will lose track of how much they have rose. So take a picture. Snap! Like this.

Before final proofing

And here is another one from the side.

Sides before final proofing

Step 15: Now cover them loosely with plastic wrap; and let them sit in a cool room of about 22 degree Celsius for almost 2 and half hours. Yes, you read it right, 2 and half hours! These babes take that much time to proof! But don’t trust the clock, or your eyes. Take pictures at about 1 hour interval. When the clock say there is 20 minutes left in the proofing time, preheat your oven to 200 degree Celsius.

Those croissants might be ready a bit earlier, or a bit later. Your mind and the clock can fool you, but taken photos never lie. Here is the picture showing that they are ready to go into the oven.

And after 2.5 hours

And here is another one from the side. You can see that the layers are clearer.

And sides

Step 16: Make the egg wash mixture my combining all the ingredients and stir well until combine. Now apply the egg wash onto your croissants using a pastry brush, nice and evenly.

Step 17: Put the croissants into the preheated oven, middle rack. Bake them for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown. I don’t know what you gonna do when baking these, I glued my eyes on the oven door and cannot stop watching them raise. Such an eye-opening experience! And that’s one thing I love about bread! They are alive!

Your croissant may leak out bit butter, but it is OK. If your croissants leak out a lot of butter, like pools of them under each croissant, it indicates that your croissants are under-proofed.

After 10 minutes, your oven and your apartment should smell wonderfully buttery. I always inhales and exhales pleasantly in this heavenly atmosphere.

After 20 minutes, your croissant is done. It should have rather golden brown color, not just golden. It should expand quite much and feel very light-weighted comparing with its look.

Freshly-baked Croissants

Now, wait for 10minutes until these cool down a bit. You and I have been patient for very long now. So 10 more minutes really doesn’t mean anything. Be patient again this time, please, waiting for the crust and crumb to settle a bit.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… And enjoy!

Uhmm, first your teeth will break the fragile flaky crust into little pieces, then they will reach the soft, chewy, buttery crumb inside. Nom, nom! You then swallow the little piece of heaven and immediately crave for another. The whole process starts all over, until you finish the whole pan, and you are deathly full. I am not kidding! Do consume with caution. These babes are your belly fat’s best friends.

Crumb shot

Now look at the crumb of these croissants. Well, quite clear honeycomb structure, no doughy parts. Great!

—————————————-

I just describe the process of making a croissant: layering yeast dough with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, shape and bake.

I used to think, ” Sound easy enough, huh?” and I have failed, desperately.

In the next post, I will review my whole croissant story up to now. By going through every typical case, I will note down all my failures and why it happened, how to avoid my mistakes; my turning point and notes on my own experiences and tips on how to conquer the laminating technique to ensure stable successes in the future.

Sneak Peek: My very first batch of Croissant. What on earth happened to these poor babes?

My very first Croissant batch – aka croissant disaster

Well, I must say a perfect croissant is definitely not the easiest one to achieve, but with practice, practice, practice, you can do it! Like me, from above, to below!

Croissant hero

Croissant heroes

Nighty night, everyone.

Rose,

Updated: I submitted this to YeastSpotting. :)

About these ads

35 thoughts on “Croissants and Everything Laminated – My Revised Recipe for Beginners – My Croissant Chronicle – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Sourdough Surprises: Croissants | rise of the sourdough preacher

  2. Hi, I tried your recipe, and they came out yummy! I particularly liked the tip with taking pictures to check whether they have proved enough. Thanks. Just like to check with you, for some strange reasons, my pastry puffed out so much that they just lost the shape and looked nothing like croissants. I followed the sizes specified in the instructions exactly. Any ideas what went wrong? Can you also let me know the thickness of the dough just before you rolled them into the croissant shape? Thanks again.

  3. Pingback: Croissant | camdelicious

  4. I love how you analysis & explain the whole process, as mentioned my first two attempts turned up to be a lump of oily dough.

    Now I found your blog, at least my first attempt was better than previously. My heart pounded when I see butter leaking out.My greatest fear!!!!

    I used instant yeast, does this instant yeast affect the outcome compare with fresh yeast?

    • Hi Kelvin,

      Thank you for trying my recipe. I hope it help. :)

      Instant yeast only has slight difference in flavor comparing to fresh yeast, so don’t worry much. If your butter keeps leaking, try to dust the tear with flour, rest the dough some more, and try to work more quickly next time.

      All the best in the kitchen, and can’t wait to see your result.

      Rose,

  5. Hi Rose

    I’m a pastry chef from Cape Town, South Africa and I found my way to your blog while doing some research on laminated doughs. I’ve been trying to experiment with all different sorts of recipes and methods to try and find out what exactly works best and I’m very impressed by yours, I made it yesterday. The amount of layering you get with the few amount of folds is awesome.

    Also, the way I was taught to make the dough never had any extra butter in the dough itself, only milk, sugar, salt etc. But I find with the extra butter you get a much better end product :)

    Thanks for the detailed blog, always good to see somebody so passionate!

    Adriaan

    • Hi Adriaan,

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I feel very much motivated. :)

      This recipe is the result of several trials and failures, I had not been professionally trained when developing it. So I am glad to hear positive feedback from a professional like you.

      Hope you enjoy your stay at my blog. Let’s keep in touch with each other’s kitchen. :D

      BTW, if possible, could you share your result of this recipe, pretty please?

      Thanks so much,

      Rose

  6. Pingback: mini croissants | eelmsthebaker

  7. Hi Rose,

    I am thankful that you have posted your chronicles on how to bake croissants. I love to eat croissants and maybe it is time to try it out. Question here is that I am staying in Malaysia and we have pastry flour (similar to all purpose flour) and high protein bread flour. Is there a difference if we use pastry flour or high protein bread flour based on your recipe? Won’t high protein bread flour cause the crust to be thick and leathery vs pastry flour which will make the crust and crumb soft? Please advise. Thanks.

    Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards,

    Greg

    • Hi Greg,

      I have always made my croissants with bread flour because according to my understanding, croissant is laminated “bread”. So I haven’t tried this recipe with pastry flour yet.

      I saw on the Internet many bakers use blended flour of their own ratio. But I think the first time you make these, use 100% bread flour. It has higher gluten % so the layers are stronger and more velvety with bigger honeycombs when baked. About the flakiness and leathery of the crust, I think it is not really depends on the flour choice, but more on the thickness of the outer layers, meaning the thinner the layers, the flakier the crust will be.

      Hope this help and let’s keep in touch,

      Rose,

  8. I looove croissants and always wanted to learn how to make them at home. Your post is perfect – you are right, even Beginners can make them using your instructions. Thank you for such a nice work and step-by-step photos. They are very helpful

  9. Your food photos are amazing. You can share your mouth watering photos with us at foodienewz.com. foodienewz.com is a new food sharing site and we actually try our best to promote your food photos. At foodienewz.com all your food photos will be published without any editorial review so I really hope you come and join us.

  10. I found you at Foodgawker. I have been meaning to try my hand at making croissants and I am so happy to find your blog post on it. Your pictures and instructions are very helpful. Hope I can make them as good as yours.

  11. Pingback: croissants | eelmsthenovicebaker

  12. Love your post! I’ve been trying to “perfect” my croissants for the past few weeks.. heheh…Just a question, when I’m rolling my dough (or you call it laminating?) after few folds, my dough seems to “tear” a lil causing my butter to come out… any idea why?

    • Hi Ain,

      In your case, I suspect that the gluten of your dough has been stressed out too much with all the rolling and folding, making it fight back and tear.

      I suggest that you should let the dough rest in the fridge for a bit longer between folds, and try to work with the dough as fast as possible. Constant back and forth rolling not only unevenly distributed the butter inside, it also affect the gluten development of the dough.

      One more question is how many folds you performed in your previous experiments? Too many folding for amateurs with not so much experience handling this delicate dough like us also make it tear.

      Kindly consider my suggestion, and even better, try out my recipe (only 2 folds), and let me know how it comes out.

      Good luck to us,

      Rose,

  13. Yes , my dear . I’ll try to write anything else that I’ve learned so that we can learn each other . My name’s Tran . I though that I may be older than you . I’m 36 years old . Thanks for being my friend . Have a wonderful day .

  14. Hi dear, thanks for following my blog . I love croissand ,too ,but I don’t have time to write these recipes that I studied before in English because I’m studying English currently . I ‘m practicing my English everyday . Hopefully ,I can write them on my blog .
    Your croissant was prefect . I like tiny croissant ,they’ra so cute

    • Hi PTrann,

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      I see that your blog is not much right now, but I hope you have more time to write more. As we share fair amount of things in common, like both Vietnamese, both adoring our homelands’ cuisine and the passion of cooking and baking, I hope to hear more very soon from your kitchen.

      Your English is well-written, btw. Don’t worry much about that, mine is not perfect, either. :)

      Rose,

  15. Pingback: My Croissant Chronicle – Part 3 – And the Journey Continue… – My Collection of Danish Pastries’ Fillings and Shaping | Faraway from Home

  16. Great instruction and post, I do a one hour croissant which is tasty and fun but not as good as the crumb you get?

    • Hi peasepudding,

      Thank you for your kind words, if you have some free time. I do recommend you to try this recipe. :)

      Hope to hear more from your oven soon,

      Rose,

  17. Pingback: Croissants ans Everything Laminated – Part 2 – My Croissant Chronicle, How it all began… – Lessons and Tips learned | Faraway from Home

  18. they look very very yummy! thanksss so much for sharing, i know who to go to the next time i wana bake or try to bake something! im hooked and am now ur follower! hahaa

    • Hi Modgam,

      You are very welcome. Thank you for following this blog, I just open it like a week ago, it is great support. :)

      Yours are super chic and creative. Keep up with good work!

      And yes, please feel very free to try my recipes and open discussion around here. I would really appreciate it. Hope to hear more from your oven.

      Rose,

      • Hi EvillyChic, i think to be able to bake takes a lot of effort and talent. not forgetting the number of trials one has to go thru and to think u are even willing to share all your hardwork with us. i will definitely come by often.

        thanks soooo much, lets inspire and motivate each other. feel free to come by anytime too. =]

  19. This is very attention-grabbing, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for in search of more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

    • Hi Waggner, (I get your name from your email address, hope I get it right)

      Thank you very much for your kind words and sharing my blog in your network. I started this blog about a week ago. Your support encourages me to continue to write in the future. I really appreciate that.

      Please feel very free to explore the site, share opinions and spread the words. I hope to hear more from your kitchen soon.

      Rose,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s