I had posted the recipe for the big buttery croissants half a year ago but I recently made them a couple more times and have some very important tips for you!
Growing up, my mum and I would make crescent rolls from the Pillsbury cylindrical container. They had already-made indentations for pulling apart the dough and we just rolled these up and baked em. I thought crescent rolls were croissants. Yup the Pillsbury one was the only "croissant" I ever knew. Through the years, hotel breakfasts would have some actual croissants, but nothing made a huge impression on me. Bakeries in Paris were obviously off limits and I was left to wonder- what does a yummy, buttery, tasty croissant really taste like? How is it supposed to taste?
In recent years, I've made croissants- all by hand (no mixer)- dozens of times. Each, time they only get better and I learn so many new things. And I'm going to share them with you! To ensure they come out nice a big and perfect, read the instructions super carefully! Let's get baking.
- 350g bread flour
- 35g sugar
- 13g instant yeast
- 9g salt
- 195g water, room temperature
- 70g butter, room temperature (for dough)
- 175g butter (for butter block)
- 1 egg (egg wash only)
- Making bread dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients, in that order. Knead by hand for a bit until well combined (5 minutes in the mixing bowl is okay). Add the butter and knead well, until smooth and slightly window-paned (15-20 minutes). This is the stage where the gluten has sufficiently developed in the bread dough, ready for its first proofing. The dough at this stage should be supple and smooth.
- Place a tablespoon of oil in the mixing bowl and use a paper towel to spread the oil around . Place the dough in the mixing bowl and cover all sides with the excess oil. Cover the bowl with a towel/plastic wrap.
- If your house temperature is cold like that of mine, place a pot of simmering water in the lower rack of the oven and place the bowl with the dough on the top rack. Close the oven and let the dough proof for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. If your house temperature is fairly warm, (75+) you can just proof your bread dough outside. This takes trial and error.
- Making butter block: After this, take a regular- sized Ziploc bag (7" x 5") and open it. Take the butter for the butter block out from the fridge and put that in a bowl to soften (16 seconds in the microwave). Place the softened butter (very soft) in the Ziploc bag and seal up the bag tightly. Use a rolling pin to get an even layer of butter in the bag. Place Ziploc bag with butter block in the fridge until ready to use.
- 10 minutes before the 2 hour mark, take out the butter block from the fridge. Also, take out the bread dough proofing in the oven. Punch down the dough and flatten it a bit. On a parchment paper-lined baking tray, place the flattened dough on top on put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
- After taking out the bread dough from the freezer, the dough and butter block should be the same consistency. If not, wait until they are.
- First roll out: Your butter block is about 7" x 5" so roll out your bread dough a bit more than twice this size, 15" x 5". Cut the Ziploc bag with a pari of scissors and place the butter block on the edge of one side, leaving a few centimeters of space between the dough and butter block.
- Incorporating butter block into bread dough: Fold one side of the dough over the butter block so that the entirety of the butter block is covered by the bread dough. Let this rest for 20 minutes. My house is very cold, so I can just leave it out on the counter. If your's is warmer, wrap this dough/butter chunk with parchment paper and place it in the fridge to chill.
- Double Turn: After 20 minutes, it should be much easier to roll out the butter/bread dough chunk into a long rectangle, 14" x 7" if possible. Fold 3" of the left side over (towards the right) and fold the rest of the right side (11") over (towards the left), until they meet. Try to seal the edges, but this doesn't have to be perfect. Then, fold the left over to the right (in half). This completes your double turn (detrempe). Let the butter/bread dough chunk rest for another 30 minutes (outside on the counter or in the fridge depending on your house temperature).
- Simple Turn: After 30 minutes, it should be easier to roll out. Roll out the butter/bread dough chunk into 10" x 6" or however near these dimensions as you can manage. Imagine that the rolled out dough is cut into thirds. Fold the right third over to the left and the left third over to the right. You have now completed your single turn (detrempe). Let the butter/bread dough chunk rest for 30 minutes (outside on the counter or in the fridge depending on your house temperature).
- Final roll out: After 30 minutes, it should be easier to roll out. Roll out the butter/bread dough chunk into 12" x 6" (and 1/4 inch thick) or however near these dimensions as you can manage. Attempt to roll out the sides as straight as you can. Use a knife to make sure sides are straight, if you need to. With a sharp knife, cut 8 or so long triangles (realistically, 6 or 7, or just however many you can manage) from this rolled out dough. Make sure the bottom of the triangle is wide enough to support the croissant shape when rolled.
- Shaping croissants: With a sharp knife, cut an 1 inch thick opening at the bottom of the triangle to ensure the integrity of the outermost croissant part. Roll the croissant from bottom to top, making sure that the whole way up, making sure that your rolling is evenly spaced. Repeat this step for all the croissant triangle pieces.
- Place the rolled up croissants on 2 parchment lined trays. Give them a good 3 inches apart when you place them. They are going to grow to be huge! For colder temperatures: allow croissants to proofed in a closed oven with simmering water in the lower rack, for 1.5-2 hours or until the croissants have grown in size significantly. For warmer temperatures: let the croissants proof outside on the kitchen counter uncovered for 2-3 hours or until the croissants have grown in size significantly.
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Crack the egg and whisk well. Using a clean pastry brush, carefully egg wash all the proofed croissants.
- Bake for 20 minutes until nicely browned.
- Enjoy warm or on the day you baked them!