I wanted to wake Marv up with a special tasty breakfast for his birthday so I decided to make croissants from scratch. Me. All by myself. I don’t really do technical food. Design is sorta my religion, so I mostly design tastes and then figure out how to make them. This is how I go about most things in my life. When you get into food science, I know how things work and I love the geekyness of it but I don’t really know how to use it to my advantage. Therefore, aside from learning how meat works, this really is the most technical thing I’ve taken on.
And it worked.
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 T + 1/4 t active dry yeast
1 T salt
1/4 c light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 c unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 c sliced almonds
1/4 c powdered sugar + more for sprinkling
1/4 c sugar
1 egg yolk
splash almond extract
Croissant mix & roll
Use the dough hook of a heavy duty electric mixer combine milk, yeast, salt, brown sugar, and flour. Mix on low until the dough is fully combined and smooth, 6 minutes. Dough should be soft, but not too sticky.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, kneed a couple times then shape dough into a rectangle, 1 1/2″ thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
Place butter between two pieces of parchment paper, and smash with a rolling pin, flattening it into 5 x 8″ rectangle. lightly flour your work surface, roll the dough into a 10 x 16″ rectangle, 1/2″ thick. You can pull on the dough to help it maintain a rectangle shape, but you don’t need to worry that much about it, with the amount of folding you do, it really just works out rectangular. With the long side parallel to the edge of the work surface, place the butter in the middle of the dough. Fold the bottom edge up, just past the middle, and the top edge down to the bottom edge, creating a letter fold.
On a floured surface, roll the dough to 10 x 15″ rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. With the longer side parallel to the edge of the work surface fold the left side over two thirds across, and then fold the right side over to meet the left edge, stretching the corners and squaring off the sides so the edges line up. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
On a floured work surface, place the open seam parallel to the edge of work surface and follow the instructions for the first fold.
On a floured work surface, place the open seam to the left of the edge of work surface and follow the instructions for the first fold.
Fourth (last) fold
On a floured work surface, place the open seam to the top furthest away from the edge of work surface and follow the instructions for the first fold. Then wrap dough tightly in plastic, and chill for at least 3 hours, but no longer than overnight. You can freeze the dough at this point if you want to store it for longer.
Put all filling ingredients in a food processor and process until the almonds are coarsely ground and all ingredients form a big glob of paste.
Divide dough in half, and return one half to the refrigerator or freeze. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 13 x 16 rectangle, 1/4″ thick, flouring the dough as necessary. Trim the edges straight.
With the long side parallel to the edge of the work surface, cut the dough down the center vertically and set one half aside. Place the longer side parallel to the edge of the work surface, and cut dough vertically into 1/3rds if you want smaller croissants or 1/2 if you want larger croissants. Cut each 1/3 or 1/2 diagonally in half to make two triangles. You will have 6 or 4 triangles.
Roll dough out to each side and then out towards the top until it’s 1/3 larger and 1/6″ thick. Return the enlarged triangle to the work surface with the widest end toward you.
Take a teaspoon of paste and roll into a thin log. Place log about 1/3″ up on the croissant. Tuck the bottom in on itself and roll up over the paste. Keep rolling loosely up the rest of the croissant. The dough should overlap 3 – 4 times with the tip sticking out the back from underneath. Place croissant on the parchment paper lined baking sheets turning the corners into a crescent shape (if you want to.)
Repeat with refrigerated portion of dough, (if you are making them at the same time.)
Place the croissants 2″ apart on parchment-lined baking sheets and curve the ends of the croissant inward, forming a crescent shape. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 2 1/2 hours.
Adjust oven racks to the lower and upper positions, and preheat oven to 425°f.
Open the oven door, spritz the oven heavily with water from a spray bottle. Repeat, then slide the baking sheets onto the racks. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°f. Do not open oven door for the first 10 minutes.
After the first 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheets to ensure even baking. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°f and continue baking 8 minutes more. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let rest for a couple of minutes. Serve while still warm.