Perfecting the Homemade Croissant
Author: 
Recipe Type: Pastries
Serves: 30 croissants
 
Ingredients
Preferment:
  • 200ml water (see Notes)
  • 40g fresh yeast (or 16g active dry yeast)
  • 150g all-purpose flour
Detrempe:
  • The preferment from above
  • 80g white sugar
  • 25g salt
  • 350ml milk
  • 70ml water
  • 600g bread flour
  • 350g all-purpose flour
Beurrage:
  • 600g butter, softened (see Notes)
You will also need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Instructions
Preferment:
  1. Combine the three ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Detrempe:
  1. Mix the sugar, salt, milk and water in the bowl of your stand mixer until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
  2. Add the preferment, bread flour and all-purpose flour and mix with a spoon to combine well.
  3. Turn your mixer on and knead on low speed for 2 minutes, then on medium speed for 3 minutes. Don't mix longer than this - we don't want to develop too much gluten. If you're doing this by hand, knead for a maximum of 8 minutes.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl on a floured working surface and shape it into a 40cm square for now.
  6. Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll into a rectangle that has between about 1cm thickeness.
  7. Take your softened butter and spread it over two-thirds of the dough, leaving one third clean and exposed for now. Dust off the flour if needed then fold the unbuttered third over the butter. Fold the remaining third (buttered) on top. This is called a simple fold.
  8. Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1½ hours.
  9. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a floured working surface, making sure it's turned to 90 degrees compared to how it was when you folded the first time.
  10. Roll the dough into a rectangle that has about 1cm thickness. Be gentle while rolling - the risk of tearing the dough apart is high. Always roll in one direction - lengthwise.
  11. Complete one simple fold as described above then place the dough back in the fridge for 1 hour.
  12. Repeat the simple fold process 2 more times, remembering to turn the dough 90 degrees before rolling.
  13. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  14. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a floured working surface.
  15. Roll it into a rectangle that has about 40x110cm. If the dough resists or shrinks back during rolling, fold it and place it in the fridge to relax for 20 minutes then unfold and continue rolling.
  16. Cut the dough into strips of 20cm width then cut it into triangles as shown below.
  17. Roll each triangle into a croissant: start by making a small cut at the bottom of the triangle then roll the two wings obtained by moving your hands outwards from the center. While rolling, gently pull the tip of the triangle to slightly elongate it. Continue rolling until you reach the end.
  18. Place the croissants in a baking tray lined with baking paper, making sure they have enough space to rise and bake.
  19. Mix the eggs with milk then brush the croissants with a thin layer of egg wash - this is only the first coating.
  20. Allow the croissants to rise at room temperature (22-26C) for about 2 hours. To test if they are proofed enough, gently shake the pan - if the croissants seem to wiggle, they are ready for the oven.
  21. Brush the croissants once again with egg wash - be gentle as they can easily be deflated at this point.
  22. Bake in the preheated oven at 190C (fan oven on) for 6 minutes, then lower the temperature to 170C for another 10 minutes. The final croissants should be golden brown and crispy. If they're not, continue baking a few more minutes. The ideal temperature and baking time can only be learnt by trying, especially since every oven is different.
  23. They are best eaten fresh, but they can be frozen as well. Simply re-heat them when you want a warm, buttery croissant for breakfast!
NOTES
  1. - The water used for the preferment, as well as the milk and remaining water for the detrempe should be room temperature, considering that your room temperature doesn't go higher than 22C.
  2. - The butter used for beurrage should be slightly soft, easy to spread, but still a bit cold to the touch. Don't be tempted to heat it in the microwave!
  3. - Sift the flours before using.
Recipe by Honest Cooking at https://honestcooking.com/perfecting-homemade-croissant/