A buttery flaky bread, a leavened variantof puff pastry, it is named for its distinctive crescent shape.Croissants have long been a staple of French bakeries and patisseries.
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeastor 5 teaspoons active dry yeast1 cup lukewarm milk, more if needed 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons salt 1 pound unsalted butter (1 (1-pound) stick of butter and not1/4 pound sticks) 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting 1 large egg 1 tablespoon milk
Dissolve the yeast in the 1 cup lukewarmmilk.
In a mixer with a dough hook, place theflour, sugar, salt and the yeast/milk mixture and mix for 2 minutesuntil a soft moist dough forms on the hook. If needed, add moremilk, a tablespoon at a time until dough is moistened and smooth.Turn mixer on high and mix for another 4 minutes until very smoothand elastic.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface,cover with a damp tea towel and allow it to rest for 15 minutesto relax the gluten. Remove the towel and, using a rolling pin,roll the dough into a 10 x 9-inch rectangle and 5/8-inch thick.Wrap in plastic then chill for at least 1 hour to overnight.
Several minutes before removing the doughfrom the refrigerator, prepare the butter by beating it witha rolling pin on a floured surface to soften it and form a rectangle6 x 8 1/2-inches. Place the butter between parchment paper orplastic wrap and set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigeratorand roll it on a floured work surface into a 10 x 15-inch and1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush any excess flour off the dough.Place the shorter side of the dough parallel to you on the worksurface. Place the butter in the middle, long-ways. Fold thebottom up over the butter and brush off any excess flour andthen fold the top down over the butter to overlap and encasethe butter. Press down lightly with the rolling pin to push allthe layers together and make sure they have contact.
Continue rolling the layered dough toform a new 10 x 15-inch rectangle, patching any holes with adusting of flour where butter may have popped through. Fold intothirds, like a letter, brush off any excess flour. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour. Repeatthis procedure three more times.
Remove dough from refrigerator and rollout to a 13 x 24-inch square that is a little less than 1/4-inchthick. Cut dough with a sharp largeknife into 6-inch strips then cut the strips into triangles,4-inches wide at the base of the triangle. Stretch these trianglesagain 9-inches long, then place on the work surface and put apiece of scrap dough in the center of the wide end to enclose,which will plump up the center. Roll the triangles up towardsyou starting at the wide end and place them 2-inches apart ona parchment lined sheet pan with the tip tucked under and theends slightly curved in to make a crescent shape.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggand milk and brush the croissants with the egg wash.
Place the croissants in an warm oven,but not turned on, with a pan of hot water placed at thebottom of the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours until puffed up nicely.Remove from the oven.
Spritz a preheated 425°F (220°C)oven with water, close the door. Place the croissants in theoven and spritz again, close the door and turn the oven downto 400°F (205°C). After 10 minutes, rotate the pan andturn the oven down to 375°F (190°C). Bake another 5 to8 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 20 croissants.
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