|Mulling over which alien baby to eat first.|
|Look at those layers! I feel... I feel... I feel happy of myself!|
500 g flour (I have a gram scale, but some time I think I'll try to convert: 500 grams looked to be about 4 cups)
15 g active dry yeast
90 g sugar
15 g salt
300 ml warm milk
340 g butter, room temperature (3 sticks, unsalted)
- Stir the yeast into the warm milk with a little bit of sugar, and let sit for a few minutes. (Mine didn't foam too much, probably because I forgot to add the sugar, but it all turned out well anyway. I should have watched this video first.)
- While the yeast is proofing, measure the flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor or your stand mixer. Add the proofed yeast and mix on low for 8-10 minutes until the dough has a smooth, elastic consistency. (It seemed to be too much for my food processor to knead the dough, so I mixed for about a minute, and then kneaded on the counter for about 8 minutes.)
- Dust the dough and a large bowl with flour. Remove the dough from the mixer and transfer it into a bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rise until it doubles in size. This should take about 2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the "butter slab": between two pieces of saran wrap, flatten the butter, first with your hands, and then with a rolling pin into an 8x10 inch rectangle. Place into the fridge to chill.
- After the dough has doubled in size, sprinkle it with a little bit of flour. Punch out the air with your knuckles and place it onto a floured work surface. (No brick this time! It actually grew!) Dust the dough with flour and roll it out into a long rectangle that is long enough to wrap fully around the butter slab.
- Place the chilled butter slab onto the upper part of dough. Fold the dough around the butter to enclose it completely. Turn the folded dough parcel 90 degrees and roll into another long rectangle (sprinkling the counter and dough with flour as needed). Fold the dough into thirds, brushing off the excess flour as you go. This completes the first turn. Wrap in saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for a good half hour.
- After it's chilled, place the dough, seam vertical, onto your floured work surface and roll into a long rectangle. Fold into thirds as before. This now completes the second turn. Chill for another half hour, then repeat this step to complete the third and final turn. Make sure the dough is well wrapped before placing into the fridge once more to chill overnight. (Mine sat for 7 hours, and that seemed to be enough time. It had grown a lot in that time and had stretched the saran wrap to the point of bursting, so I think I might wrap it more loosely next time.)
- Once chilled, cut the unwrapped dough in half. Dust the dough with some flour and roll one half of the dough into a rectangle. Reflour the surface when necessary and continue to roll until the dough is roughly less than half a centimetre thick. Cut it into triangle shapes (I find a pizza cutter is ideal for this). Take the bottom of the triangle at its widest part and using your hands, tightly roll it up into a croissant shape (feel free to roll some chocolate in there too!). You can freeze the other half of the dough for use another time, or repeat the process and make more croissants.
- Place the croissants onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover with saran wrap and let croissants rise on the counter until slightly puffy and spongy to the touch, about 2 hours.
- Once they've puffed up, place them in the fridge for a solid half hour before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the croissants directly into the oven from the fridge. Immediately reduce the temperature to 400ºF and bake for 10 minutes. (I think this "flash bake" scares the butter into place. No pool of butter this time!)
- After 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet 180°, reduce temperature to 375°F and bake until croissants are deep golden, about 10 minutes more.
- Dance. Boogie-down dance like you've never danced before, because your croissants are perfection! No pool of butter, no lumps of unrisen yeast, no uncooked middles, just beautiful, golden, airy layers of deliciousness. Oh yes, it is time to dance.