Monday, July 18, 2011

Adventures in Baking

Once upon a time I made croissants.

And they were the most delicious things I've ever made.

And probably the best croissants I've ever had. No joke.

And they lived in my stomach happily ever after.

Nom nom nom nom nom. :)

Here's the recipe:

First off, a disclaimer: These take a loooooonnnnnnnnngggggg time to make. I wasn't expecting that--so like, I wanted to eat them the same day I made them. You can't really do that. Unless you start in the morning. Then you can eat them in the evening. Anywho.

Croissants (recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups warm whole milk (110 degrees)

Butter Square:
3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing

1. For the dough: Combine 2 3/4 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook (I didn't have a standing mixer, so I just used a beater). With the mixer on low speed, add the milk and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
2. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead the dough until it forms a sticky ball and becomes elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 5 minutes the dough appears overly sticky and doesn't come together into a ball, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
3. For the butter square: Lay the 3 sticks of butter side by side on a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Gently pound the butter with a rolling pin until the butter is softened and the flour is fully incorporated, then roll it into an 8-inch square. Wrap the butter square in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counted and roll into an 11-inch square. Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough up over the butter square so that the corners meet in the middle and pinch the dough seams to seal.
5. Using a rolling pin, gently tap the dough, starting from the center and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften. Gently roll the dough into a 14-inch square, dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
6. Repeat step 5 and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 more hours before using.
7. For the croissants: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the chilled dough into a 20-inch square on a lightly floured counter. Cut the dough in half.
8. Cut each piece of dough crosswise into 3 small rectangles and cut each small rectangle on the diagonal into 2 triangles (you will have a total of 12 triangles). Gently stretch each triangle of dough to lengthen it slightly and even out the sides. Cut a 1-inch-long slit in the center of the wide end, then fold the dough on either side of the slit outward.
9. Gently roll up the dough, from the wide end to the tip, gently stretching it as you go. Lay the croissants on the prepared baking sheets, with the pointed end facing down, and bend the ends of each croissant around to form a crescent shape. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise slowly in the refrigerator, 10 to 16 hours.
10. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the croissants with the egg and bake until golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer the croissants to a wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 12.

Super long and intensive recipe. But so worth it.


  1. When you post pictures you should also post a recipe. :) They look yummy!!

  2. That's a good idea! I'll add the recipe right now. :)