Basic Croissant Dough: Test 1

This is my first attempt at working with a croissant dough and getting an understanding for the techniques involved.
Active Time3 hours
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time3 days
Print Recipe
Yield: 12 Croissants

Equipment

  • Standing mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Paring knife
  • Ruler

Ingredients

  • 500 g flour
  • 140 g water
  • 140 g whole milk
  • 55 g granulated sugar
  • 40 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 11 g active dry yeast
  • 12 g salt
  • 280 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

Day 1

  • To my standing mixer, equipped with the dough hook, I added the flour, water, milk, sugar, softened butter, yeast and salt. Then I let my mixer run on low speed for 5 minutes. The only thing to keep in mind in this step is that over-mixing your dough will make it less elastic which will make stretching and folding later on more difficult. This is why I kept the kneading to 5 minutes or less on low speed.
  • Once the dough was ready, I turned it out onto some plastic wrap, wrapped it tightly, and refrigerated it. Because I did this, you guys now get to know that this is a bad idea. Yeasted dough expands, do not wrap this dough in plastic, instead put it into a large bowl with a lid. This will give it space to expand while keeping it from drying out.

Day 2

  • This is definitely the most work intensive day for this project and you need about 3 hours of time. I started by taking out my butter from the fridge or even freezer and weighing. The butter I use is very soft (Kerrygold) due to its high fat content. If you’re using a store brand butter, it will be hard to work with straight out of the freezer.
  • Once I had the correct amount of butter ready, I start slicing it into half inch thick slices. I tried hard to keep them the same width to make it easier later. I arranged these slices into a square roughly 6-7 inches wide on some parchment paper to make the butter easier to handle. Don’t over think this part because you’re going to be rolling this out and cutting it anyway.
  • I then rolled my butter out to about 9-10 inches between two sheets of parchment. At this stage my butter chunks fused into a large slab. I cut the edges to make the slap more square and placed the cut bits back on top and re-rolled. I used the parchment paper and my fingers to shape it as well. Do whatever you can to get this thing mostly square and roughly 9 inches on each side.
  • Once my butter was a shape I was happy with, it went into the fridge while I worked on rolling out my dough. I fished out the dough from the previous day which should have puffed a bit overnight.
  • I rolled this dough out into a 13 to 14 inch square on a very lightly floured surface. Try to use only as much flour as is necessary to avoid toughening your dough as you repeatedly Rolls it out. If you want advice on how to Roll a square successfully, I’m sure there are good YouTube videos out there. I am still mastering this skill myself but essentially I found that a combination of things gives decent results. When you put your dough on your surface it will be rounded. Use your rolling pin to indent a cross in the dough and then rolling from the middle out towards each corner. This will get your shape started. Shape it with your hands or bench scraper as you go and try to roll mostly from the middle. Binge watch some of Great British Baking Show, they have examples of this every so often and it’s a great show!
  • Once I was happy with my dough square, I got that butter out and put it so that the corners of my butter were against the sides of my dough square. Like a buttery diamond on my square dough. Then I folded the corners of my dough to the middle so the butter was fully enveloped
  • My butter encased in dough was then rolled, still from middle out, along just one axis until I had a long sheet that was about 30 inches in length. I then folded it into thirds like a letter and placed it on a small cutting board. It was then covered in plastic to keep it from drying out and placed int he fridge for 30 minutes.
  • After half an hour, the dough was brought out again and rolled out again To roughly 30 inches. I like to keep my open ends facing up and down and rolling it out towards the open ends. This way each time I fold, fridge and roll, it is rolled in a different direction. This dough is rolled out so much that resting the dough, relaxing the gluten, and the rolling direction are very important.
  • Again, the dough was folded in thirds and refrigerated for an hour.
  • Repeat steps 7 and 8 one more time and leave the dough to rest in the fridge overnight. If you’re following along with the math, this will results in 27 layers.

Day 3

  • Finally, this is the day when I got to shape and bake my croissants. Get ready to tap into those geometry classes. The dough was removed from the fridge and rolled out to a 1/4 inch thickness. As I rolled the dough and handled it, it continued to proof and thicken. This is expected and nothing to worry about.
  • I rolled the dough to roughly 10 by 24 inches. The long sides of the dough were trimmed so that I had straight edges. I was aiming this first round at creating classic croissant shapes and so cut my dough into triangles about 3 inches wide at the base and 8 inches long. They were then rolled up and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment. I also made some simpler rolls similar to those used in pain au chocolat. These I made from 4 by 8 inch rectangles.
  • Once the croissants were formed and arranged on the baking sheet, I whisked together the egg and about 1 tablespoon of water to create my egg wash. The croissants were brushed lightly with the egg wash to prevent the dough from drying during their long rise. I recoated them as I felt necessary to keep the croissant from drying out and once more just before baking.
  • The croissants were left to rise for 2 hours. You can tell when they’re fully proofed when the croissants are a bit jiggly when you poke them.
  • They were baked at 390°F on the middle rack of my oven for 20-22 minutes.

Results

In my original testing I combined this test with a few tests for filling and two toned dough options. Most pictures reflect these tests but the main croissant dough is clearly visible.
For the roll, the croissant puffed to nearly 3 times its original size while baking. The dough was not rolled thin enough maybe and 4 by 8 may have been too large. This also meant that the croissant didn’t bake through as much as I would have liked.

References

Parent Notebook

Croissants

Published by

Tali Perlov

I'm a baking addict with a history of messing around in a lab. Science, an intense interest in food and flavor, and creative genes! Thus, Exploratory Kitchen was born! A scientific approach to producing delicious and customizable foods with the aim to understand the ingredients and not just follow the recipe.

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