Friday, 21 February 2014

How To Make Chocolate, Plain & Almond Croissants {Step By Step}

If it were perfectly feasible (for the hips and tum) to eat a buttery pastry every morning, I doubt you’d ever get sick of it. For that, I sincerely hope that you wont get sick of the sight of croissants by the time you reach the bottom of this never ending post!
I’ve read about how difficult it can be to successfully make a batch of these yeasted breakfast beauts, and how it could take a few tries before getting them where you want them, in terms of how many intricate layers each croissant has and achieving a formidable balance of flakiness and crispiness. 

After eight hours in the kitchen, I’ve discovered that all it really takes is some patience, and possibly a freezer. Make that 24 hours if you’re not using the freezer (please put your dough in the freezer). 
Once you’ve mastered the skills required to make croissants i.e. shaping dough so that it looks like a book 3 times and then rolling it into a pretty shape with the glide of one hand, the fillings actually lend themselves as the trickiest component.

Seriously, which percentage chocolate should I fill my croissant with? 

Marzipan or almond paste? 

RASPBERRY OR FIG JAM?!

I do not regret cramming this all into one overly loooooooong blog post, nope. 
My morning breakfast consists of a small skinny cappuccino from the in-house Costa at university. I made all 18 the recipe yields thinking: “I can finally incorporate large amounts of fat into my morning routine and cant wait to show off my new non moody morning self all thanks to my new - week long - breakfast routine!” 

Somehow, three days after croissant baking day, I managed to sneak just one off to uni, what a pile of nonsense. 
Sooo, we’re about to make the best croissants ever with a little (BIG) help from Thomas Keller, and we’re using Sainsbury’s Basic’s butter and flour, because who says you need optimum quality for optimum croissants? Here’s a hint: bakers with pockets full of money and no sense. 
Are you ready?


Decide that you want freshly baked croissants one day before you desperately want freshly baked croissants, that gives you enough time to make the fresh yeast starter for the dough. 

Bang the butter into a square

Pat the dough into a rectangle
HIDE THE BUTTER 
Roll the day nice and long and fold into thirds, starting with the bottom third. Turn it over so it looks like a book. At this point you'll need cup of strong coffee to cure the back pain, but thats okay, it'll all be worth it. 
Freeze, fold, repeat. Lets get laminating! 
Roll the dough into two final rectangles, and cut these into traingles roughly 2" wide from the base.
Give the triangles a good long stretch!
Fold the corners from the base of the triangle and roll away from you, don't forget to press down to stop the croissant from unfolding in the oven.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
HOLD ON
Now would be a good time to add sea salted chocolate...
Space them apart on a lined baking sheet
Give them two generous egg washes for golden croissant bliss, and another sprinking of chocolate for good measure (almond croissants are made once the plain croissants have been fully baked). 
Proof, and bake!

How To Make Croissants

Adapted from Bouchon Bakery's Croissant Dough

Poolish
100g plain flour
2g instant yeast
100g lukewarm water
Dough
330g unsalted butter block + 100g
500g plain flour
75g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
3g malt powder, such as Horlicks
200g lukewarm water
15g (1 tbsp) sea salt
1 egg

Makes 18 croissants 

Note: Once the dough has been shaped, the raw croissants can be frozen for 1 month. Just wrap each croissant individually & tightly, let thaw and bake for the recommended time :)

Almond Croissants 

100g sliced almonds
100g icing sugar
Almond Cream
150g almond paste or marzipan
50g flour
50g sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Almond Syrup
75g caster sugar
75g water
15g almond paste or mazipan

Chocolate croissants

200g chocolate, grated

Note: Measurements for almond and chocolate croissants are enough to fill all 18 croissants the recipe yields. 

The Recipe


Make the poolish. Combine flour and yeast with fingers. Pour in water and mix until combined. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours. 

Make the butter block. Center the butter on a piece of parchment and top with another piece. Pound the butter from left to right with a rolling pin to flatten. Take off the top piece of parchment, place the block back on the parchment, turning it 90 degrees. Pound until you have a 6 ¾   x 7 ½ inch rectangle. Cover and refrigerate.

Make the dough.  Combine flour, yeast, malt and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Give it a quick and slow mix to distribute everything. Pour half of the water around the edges of the poolish to release mix from the bowl. Add the contents of the bowl, and the rest of the water (except 50ml) to the flour mixture, add the butter, and knead on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Sprinkle in the salt. If the mixture feels dry, add the reserved water in small amounts as needed. Mix on low speed for 20 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead into a ball. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. 

Line a tray with baking parchment. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface; gently pat the dough into a 10 x 7 ½ inch rectangle, pressing out any large air bubbles. Transfer to the tray, cover with cling film and freeze for 20 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 7 ½ x 16 inch rectangle, ½ inch thick - roll the dough from the center outwards, using a floured rolling pin. Lay the butter block in the center of the dough, fold over the 2 long sides so they meet in the center, pinch the dough so no butter shows at the top. Press down onto the dough with a rolling pin to expand slightly. Turn the dough so the short end faces you and roll away from you until you have a 22 x 9 inch rectangle. Fold the bottom third into the center and then fold the top third over the bottom third, turn the dough 90 degrees, so as to make a book with the opening on the right. Cover and freeze for 20 minutes. Repeat the exact process 2 more times - roll, fold into thirds and freeze. 

After the last turn, roll the dough into a 24 x 9 inch rectangle, cut in half crossways  (12 x 9 inch) and place both pieces of dough in the freezer for 20 minutes. Take one piece out, and place the other in the fridge. Roll the dough into a 19 x 9 inch rectangle. Use a knife to cut straight edges so that you’re left with an 18 x 8 inch rectangle. Score the dough every 3 ¾ inches. Cut triangles using the markings as a guide (for every 2 triangles) - you should have around 8/9. 

Position the triangle so the large side is closest to you. Stretch the dough to about 12/14 inches, fold over the 2 corners and roll away from you using 1 hand. Repeat with second lot of dough. Space evenly apart on baking sheets and brush with egg wash, cover and let proof for 2 hours in a warm spot, or turn oven on to absolute minimum heat setting if your house is rather cold and place in the middle of the rack, this works best for me! Brush the croissants with egg wash again and then bake at 170 degrees C for 35 minutes until golden brown.  

Almond Croissants

Boil water, sugar and almond paste for on high heat for 2 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line baking sheet with baking parchment.

Place all of the ingredients for the almond cream in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until smooth. 

Slice baked croissants horizontally using serrated knife. Spread almond cream in the middle. 

Dip and brush croissants in cooled syrup and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake for 20 minutes. Dust with icing sugar as soon as they’re out of the oven. 

Chocolate Croissants

Sprinkle chocolate in the middle of raw dough before rolling to form croissants. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle the tops with chocolate and proof as necessary before baking. 

Love Em xx

27 comments:

  1. Em, these are probably the most beautiful croissants that I've ever seen in my life! Your step by step photos are gorgeous and I'm going to be consumed by longing until I can stuff one of these beauties in my face!

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    1. Thank you Kathryn. I couldnt believe just how little fiddling there is, and just how much waiting around. I wish I could have just popped them all in the freezer mind you, the woes of having a food blog!! I saw you wrote about Keller in your recent post, will you be gracing us with some TKO'S any time soon?!

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  2. Jesus. Can I please have 50 of these, delivered to me, in bed? And then I'll need to be left alone...

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    1. Im hoping to have around that number of them in my freezer! I'll send them to you in a little picnic bag!! ;)

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  3. These look be-ooootiful! I love a homemade croissant but have to admit I'm quite lazy when it comes to getting round to making them - I can count on one hand the number of times I've made them in my life!

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    1. Thank you! They are a labour of love I'm not gonna lie. Not a touch on your doughnuts though ;) theres a recipe in Joanne Chang's book for doughnuts that I'm dying to try and your post has basically prompted me x

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  4. Oh my goodness, Emine! Such perfect croissants!! I'm in awe. And like Kathryn, I adore the step photos. I've yet to attempt these, so I'll take any and all process photos I can get. (Love how cute they look all rolled up and ready to bake, too. ha.) These are fantastic -- thank you so much for posting!

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    1. They really are the cutest yeasted bits of dough I've ever come across! Beats a hunky chunk of sourdough any day!! Can't wait to see when you give it a go :)

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  5. What beauties! Almond is my favorite croissant, but after viewing your enchanting photos I am coveting a chocolate filled bit of scrumptiousness!

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    1. Thank you! After making all three, I still think that almond is my fave :)

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  6. Heidi @foodiecrush21 February 2014 21:23

    Holy moly. I think I've just been convinced to try these. They are gorgeous, and you somehow have made me think I'm superbaker and could actually pull it off. Pinned for weekend baking!

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  7. I love croissants! This is such a great step-by-step. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  8. Wow how impressive! So did you actually have fun making them? It seems like so much work, but I'm sure the result is worth every second!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, yesss I really did! I know, I can hardly believe it, the worst part was having to bend over to roll the dough so long, but making all of the layers felt satisfying!!

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  9. I've wanted to have a go at making croissants for ages, so thanks for the step-by-step! They look especially yummy with the salted chocolate added!

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  10. No Problem Danielle & Helen ! :)

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  11. Oh good lord. You've done it again, Em, and I am stunned by how gorgeous and professional these came out! They seem like a lot of work, but totally worth it. Maybe I'll gather up the patience to make them some day soon, but for now I'm just going to sit here and feel sorry for myself because I don't have one. Waahhh.

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  12. I tried to make croissants in the past and failed miserably. this looks like a really great explanation. Definintely want to give this a go!! x

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    1. Oh no, how so? I can vouch for this recipe working so I hope you do give it a go because they are such a satisfying bake!

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  13. I'm in school for pastry arts right now, and I can't wait to work on croissants! We've already done puffed pastry, so once we actually make croissants, I think it will be amazing! I'd definitely add Nutella!! :)

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    1. Good luck! You're going to love it :)

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  14. This is such a fantastic recipe and one which I've bookmarked so that I can make them one day soon, thanks for sharing! xo

    Hannah | Glitter and Sparkle

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  15. Hannah, Cannot wait to try these. Quick question: for the almond croissants, why didn't you put the almond paste into the dough before you baked the first time instead of waiting to slice a baked croissant.

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    1. Hi Maria,
      I read that traditionally almond c's are made with leftover stale croissants, so they're soaked in syrup to preserve them and then sliced to add the filling. Also, I think that filling the uncooked dough can be a little messy, theres a high risk that it could all ooze out! Hope that helps, Em

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  16. If you want my expert opinion, from a chocaholic point of view, you should fill it with 100% chocolate:)

    www.hungrycaramella.blogspot.com

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  17. Nanny Shecando31 March 2014 02:18

    These look amazing, seriously now I want a million of these pain au chocolat delivered right to my door. They rival some of the best patisseries in France! Yum xx

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