Introducing our new and improved way to croissant! Made with the same ingredients as the traditional but with a less-fussy, beginner-friendly method, these Genius (Quick) Croissants are the gateway baked good to the world of lamination.
Genius (Quick) Croissants
Makes 8 croissants
- ⅓ cup (80 grams) water
- 6 tablespoons (72 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
- 4½ cups (572 grams) bread flour
- 3¾ teaspoons (10.5 grams) kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup (227 grams) plus 6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted European-style butter, cut into ¾-inch cubes and divided
- 1 cup (240 grams) cold whole milk
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 4 cups (960 grams) water
- 1 large egg (50 grams)
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together ⅓ cup (80 grams) water and ½ teaspoon (2 grams) sugar; heat on high in 10-second intervals until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43°C) to 115°F (46°C). Whisk in yeast until well combined. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat bread flour, 3½ teaspoons (10.5 grams) salt, and remaining 5 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons (70 grams) sugar at low speed until combined. Add 6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold butter; pulse mixer between low speed and “off” setting until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup (227 grams) cold butter; pulse mixer between low speed and “off” setting just until butter is coated with flour.
- Add cold milk to yeast mixture; while pulsing mixer between low speed and “off” setting, add yeast mixture to flour mixture in a slow, steady stream just until a shaggy dough comes together. (There will still be large pieces of butter.)
- Lightly dust work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn out dough, and shape into a rough 7-inch square. (Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.) Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust work surface with all-purpose flour. Roll dough into an 18×9-inch rectangle, lightly dusting surface and top of dough with all-purpose flour as needed. Fold dough in half so short sides meet. Pat fold to mark center. Unfold dough, and pull one short side to center. Pull opposite side to center so short sides are touching. Pinch seams together; fold along center seam, like closing a book. Rotate dough 90 degrees; repeat rolling and folding procedure once. (Dough will start out soft, rough, and somewhat sticky but will come together; turn dough over as needed so edges are rolled out as evenly as possible.) Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 minutes.
- Repeat rotating, rolling, and folding process once. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes. (If dough is resisting or feels too soft, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing.) Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1½ hours.
- Position oven racks in top third and bottom third of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups (960 grams) water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place pan on top oven rack in back corner. (This gets your oven steamy but also allows the space to cool a bit while you’re shaping the dough.)
- Lightly dust work surface with all-purpose flour. Roll dough into an 18×12½-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). (If dough or butter feels too soft, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing.) Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, trim dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle; cut into 4 (12×4-inch) rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to create 8 triangles. Make a 1-inch cut from center of 4-inch wide base of each triangle. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes. (See page 51 for alternative shaping options.)
- Very gently stretch triangles to about 16 inches long. Starting at wide base of each triangle, fold center corners of 1-inch cut toward sharpest point of dough; roll dough, jelly roll style, toward sharpest point. Place, point side down, 2½ to 3 inches apart on prepared pans. (Shape, proof, and bake dough scraps, if desired.) Let rise in prepared oven until croissants are very puffed and jiggle slightly when pan is wiggled, 2 to 3 hours. (Temperature within oven should be 75°F [24°C] to 79°F [26°C]; higher temperatures may cause butter in croissants to melt.)
- Remove croissants and saucepan of water from oven. Loosely cover croissants with a sheet of greased plastic wrap. (Do not secure plastic wrap. You don’t want to put any weight or pressure on proofed dough.) Refrigerate until oven is preheated.
- Position oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Brush croissants with egg wash. (Avoid applying or leaving pools of egg wash.)
- Bake, one batch at a time, for 10 minutes, loosely covering with foil after 6 minutes of baking. Rotate pan, and reduce oven temperature to 375°F (190°C); bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 210°F (98°C), 8 to 10 minutes more.
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