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Since 1998

Croissant pastry

A French symbol, named after a lunar reference.  Croissant literally means increasing, such as the moon on its way from new moon to full moon.  The shape of the moon when waxing gave its name to that very down to earth delicacy . . .

The secret of the famous pastry is revealed to you here.  You must do it once in your life to realise what your baker goes through to bring you this delicious pastry.  You must be ready to spend quite a bit of time on this product.  If you are in France, you’d be better off running to the closest bakery!
Time needed 2h preparation, 14h rising, 15’ baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg plain flour (non-raising)
  • 30 g baker’s yeast
  • 20 g salt
  • 60 cl fat free milk (2.5 cup)
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 650 g unsalted butter (room temperature) : 100g on the day, +550g the next day

Preparation

"The croissant pastry is no more no less than a 3-round puff-brioche pastry".
Let’s call ’water’ the fat free milk, as it can in fact be any blend of water + milk that suits your taste buds. Dissolve the yeast into a bit of water.   Dissolve the sugar into the reminder of water.
In a food processor bowl (more convenient given the thickness of the dough), pour the flour, turn the processor on, and add the water and the yeast solution little by little; finish with 100 g of butter.
Process the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl.
Don’t hesitate to add 20 to 30 ml of water at the end to allow a ball to form.
Stop the processor, shape the dough into a ball, and let it raise for 30’ in a warm place (26°C-28°C), then squash the dough with your fist, and place it for half a day in the fridge (not the freezer).

(The next day) roll the dough down to a 25cm wide square, inside this square, place the 550g of butter in a smaller square.
Fold the four corners of the larger square so that they meet at the centre of the ensemble, and gently roll out until you obtain a 3:1 rectangle in a landscape manner (3 times as wide as high). Fold the rectangle in 3 in an even manner by folding the left and right edges onto the centre, like a towel (i.e.   each fold is one third of the total length).
Rotate the dough anticlockwise a quarter of a round (3 o’clock becomes 12 o’clock).
In French cuisine, and speaking of puff pastry, this procedure is simply called ’a round’.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and leave it in a cool place for 30’ (fridge is ok). Keep in mind what the edge facing you was, as you must continue from where you stopped.
As you progress down, the butter layer (visible through the dough at first) will fade out progressively.
Repeat this standard ’round’ 2 more times.   Always cover and allow the dough to raise 30’ in a cool place between the rounds.

Eventually, you’ll get to 3 rounds, and the dough is now ready to be rolled out, it should have now a nice textile aspect: both souple and robust. You can now roll it out one more time before you cut pieces out of it, and roll them up to the desired shape.

This portion of work is rather amusing: cutting out and rolling up:
- Croissants are in fact loosely rolled up isosceles triangles.
- Pains au chocolat (chocolate logs) are rectangular cutouts with a dark chocolate rod (45-50% cocoa).
- Snails are slices of a croissant pastry roll filled in with vanilla custard sprinkled with sultanas.
- Finally, almond croissants and almond ’logs’ have an almond cream filling, see frangipane. Once the cutouts rolled up, you can either:
- Leave them raise for a couple of hours in a warm place, then paint them with a water/egg-yolk blend and put hem in a 230°C oven for 15 min (cover with aluminium foil to prevent burning towards the end of the 15 minutes).
- Freeze them up for a later use.   In which case you will take the above step once defrosted.
French cuisine utterly prohibits the use of a microwave oven to defrost pastry or bake anything.  Lest we forget!

(1915 views)
created 03 July 2011
revised 11 February 2017 by
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