Step by step to the perfectly flaky croissant.

November 16, 2017 General Studies

Baking the perfect croissant–golden and astonishingly light for its size, with crisply defined layers of flaky pastry–may seem beyond the reach of home bakers,

But success is at hand when you borrow secrets from professional baker Jean Lapuyade and associates at the Fabrique Delices Bakery, San Mateo, California.

For distinctive, crisp layers and high, light croissants, you need to fortify bread flour with a touch of glutten flour (both flours are available in supermarkets); this gives the dough just a little more stretch and strength. The pros also careful to keep the dough relatively moist, adding as little flour as possible when handling it; they also prefer to mis by machine rather than knead by hand to develop elasticity.

The croissant recipe given here is one of more than 190 excellent recipes for the home baker in Sunset’s newly revised 128-page Breads (lane Publishing Co., 1984; $5.95). Many of the 24 color pages are devoted to clearly presented how-to-do-it instructions. Five of the seven chapters deal with yeast breads, including sourdough; one is devoted to griddle and fried breads, and one to quick breads. Special features include a troubleshooting guide, a discussion of flours and grains, and a section on baking in quantity. Croissants

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (about 110[deg.]) 3/4 cup warm milk (about 110[deg.])

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup gluten flour

2-1/4 cups bread flour

1 cup (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

Almond or fruit filling (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, and gluten flour . Gradually add 2 cups of the bread flour; beat with a heavy-duty mixer for 5 minutes on high speed (or beat vogorously by hand for 15 minutes) until dough is elastic and pulls away sides of bowl in stretchy strands. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1-2 hours.

Srape dough out onto a lightly floured baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate untol very cold, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut butter into 1/8-inch-thich slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Chill until very cold.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour on a cool surface (a board or smooth counter). Roll out dough to form a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Arrange butter slices, slight Roll out dough to form a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Arrange butter slices, slightly overlapping, in center third of dough rectangle (step 1). Fold each extending side over butter and roll out again (step 2) until rectangle is about 3/8 inch thick. If necessary while rolling, turn dough over occasionally, flouring the surface lightly to prevent sticking; use as little flour as possible.

Fold dough in thirds again to make a squarish rectangle (step 3). Roll and fold dough again the same way. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Two more times, roll and fold dough as directed above, then wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Roll dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Cut into triangles about 6 inches at base and 8 inches at sides (step 4). If filling (recipes follow) is desired, center a 3-inch log of almond filling or 1 tablespoon fruit filling along base of eacg triangle. Roll triangles up from base to point (step 5) and place, point down, on 2 ungreased 14-by 17-inch baking sheets; croissants should be about 1-1/2 inches apart all around. Curve ends inward to form a crescent shape. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in az warm place until doubled and very puffy, about 2 hours.

Brush each croissant gently with egg yolk mixture. Bake in a 400[deg.] oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, or transfer to racks and let cool. Makes about 16 croissants.

Almond filling. In a blender or food processor whirl 1/3 cup unblanched whole almonds until finely ground. Stir in 1/3 cup each all-purpose flour and powdered sugar. Using food processor or a fork, work in 1/3 cup firm unslated butter and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Fill each croissant with 1 tablespoon filling rolled into a 3-inch log. After brushing croissant with egg yolk mixture, sprinkle with slice almonds.

Fruit filling. Fill each croissant with 1 tablespoon canned fruit pie filling (such as apple, cherry, blueberry, or peach). Bake as directed; if desired, sift powdered sugar over tops while still hot.

The Ultimate Croissant

To make larger, more dramatic-looking croissants, follow preceding directions, but cut 8 triangles instead of 16. Make the triangles 8 inches at the base and 10 inches on the other two sides (you’ll need to piece together 2 of the croissants).

Continue as directed.

To fill with almond filling, prepare half the filling as directed, using 2-1/2 tablespoon each whole almonds, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, and unsalted butter. Use 1/8 teaspoon almond extract.

Serve croissant hot or cool. To reheat, place them on a ungreased baking sheet (11 by 14 in.) bake, uncovered, in a 325[deg.] oven until warm, about 10 minutes.

Makes 8.


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