Sunday, February 24, 2013

Classic Croissants


When Aparna announced that the bake for the month would be Croissant , I decided that this was not for me and I should sit out of this challenge. All through the month I saw the members put pics of their delicious croissants. From the discussions I could see that it was a lengthy process but not an impossible one. So finally I dared myself to start the process. With the power cuts and the sudden very warm weather here, it was quite a challenge but the end result is too good for me to complain.

INGREDIENTS
Recipe Source:Jeffery Hamelman at Fine Cooking
All purpose flour  4 cups
Instant Yeast         1 Tbsp+1Tsp
Sugar                    1/4 cup
Salt                        2 tsp
Butter(softened)  40 gms
Cold milk            1/2 cup+1Tbsp
Cold Water          1/2Cup+1Tbsp
FOR THE BUTTER LAYER
Cold Butter         250gms
FOR BRUSHING
Cold milk        1/4 cup

PREPARATION
DAY 1
MAKE THE DOUGH AND REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT
Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixerfitted with a dough hook. Run it at low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and now run it for 3 minutes in high speed.
I combined everything by hand. Added a little more of cold water and cold milk as my dough looked a little dry. Do not knead for a long time as it may lead to the formation of gluten.
Lightly flour a dinner plate and place the dough in it.Flatten the dough a little. Cover it with a cling wrap and refrigerate it overnight.
DAY 2
MAKE THE BUTTER LAYER
Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper
The butter should be cold and pliable
Cut the block of butter in 1/2" thickness
Arrange the butter so that it forms a 5" square
Now top it without the other piece of parchment papaer
Use the rolling pin to pound the butter with light even strokes and the pieces will begin to stick together and continue to this till it makes it 7 1/2 " square
Refrigerator this while rolling out the dough

LAMINATE THE DOUGH
Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface.
 Roll it out to a 10-1/2-inch square, and brush off the excess flour.
 Take the butter out from the refrigerato.It should be cold but pliable.  Else refrigerate it
 Unwrap the butter and place it on the square of dough in the centre, so that it forms a “diamond” shape on the dough.
Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of the butter square.
 Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping the previous one. Similarly repeat with the other two so that the dough forms an envelope around the butter.
Lightly press the ends so that the butter does not leak during the rolling process
Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. 
Elongate it slightly with the rolling pin
Now roll it along the length keeping it straight
Roll the dough into a rectangle  8" by 24"
Now pick up one short end, fold it 1/3rd the lenth to make the first fold
Now take the other short end and fold it over the the already folded side, making it look like a 3-folded letter
Cover it with a plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes
Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends (from the shorter sides to lengthen the longer sides) until the dough is about 8” by 24”. 
Once again fold the dough in thirds, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers.
 Cover once again with plastic wrap and freeze for another 15 to 20 minutes.Go over the same process the third time and finally wrap it in a plastic wrap and refridgerate it over night.
The next day unwrap the dough. Lightly flour the top and bottom. Cut the dough along the longer side into halves.Cover one half of the dough and refrigerate it while working on the other

DAY 3
Divide the dough
The next day unwrap the dough. Lightly flour the top and bottom. Cut the dough along the longer side into halves.Cover one half of the dough and refidgerate it while working on the other

Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length with the rolling pin.
 Slowly roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, approximately 8” by 22”. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour.

Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides and prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end so that when you trim the edges to straighten them, you have a strip of dough that is 20’ inches long. Now trim the edges so they’re straight.
Now place the rule or tape measure along the bottom length of the dough. Make a mark 2-1/2 inches in from the end of the dough.
Make diagonal cuts by positioning the yardstick at the top corner and the first bottom mark. Use a pizza wheel/ pie wheel or a bench scraper and cut the dough
SHAPE THE DOUGH
Now work with one piece of triangular dough at a time
Using the rolling pin, strech the triangle a little until it is 10" long
Use a sharp knife to make a notch at the center of the base of the triangle.
 Place the trinagle with the knotched side near u
Press the notched legs and flare it away from the center.
Roll the legs simultaneously and continue till u reach the tip
Now bend the legs towards you to form a crescent shape
Shape all the triangles like this and place it apart on a parchment lined baking tray

Brusg the croissants with milk and keep them covered(lightly) in a cool place for 2-3 hrs to prove.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Bake them for 15-20 minutes or till the top starts to brown
Utterly Buttery Croissants ready to drool!!!!
Serve warm!
Linking this to We Knead to Bake

Thank you Aparna. But for this challenge I would have never dared to bake these!!
Hop on to Aparna's blog to see a detailed pictorial