Recently, Miriam had the opportunity to take a class with Sur La Table on making croissants. She made three different varieties – plain, chocolate, and cinnamon sugar – from scratch. And it was a lot of effort. Worth it, but definitely a process. We’ll take you through how to make these different varieties from beginning to end, but be forewarned that this is a long post.
Here’s what you’ll need:
First there’s the dough, which has two different components: the dough block and the butter block. To make the dough block, first stir together 1/2 cup of warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar, then add in 4 teaspoons of active dry yeast and let that sit for about 10 minutes. Next, you’ll need to combine 4 cups of flour, a tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 4 tablespoons of chilled butter that’s been cut into pieces in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the mixer’s paddle attachment to combine everything together. Then add in the milk mixture and, using a dough hook, mix everything together for another 2 minutes.
Once you have a rough dough, take it out of the mixer and knead it just a few times to combine everything together. Then wrap or cover your dough and let it refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Now it’s time to make the butter block, so first cut the rest of your butter into pieces and put it in your stand mixes along with 2 tablespoons of flour.
With a paddle attachment, beat the butter at a medium speed for a minute or two until the butter just reaches the point of being whipped.
Scrape the butter out of your bowl, turn it onto a piece of parchment paper, wrap it up, and stick it in the fridge.
Once your dough is ready, take it out and roll it into a 15-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
Take your butter out too and roll it between two sheets of parchment paper into a 9-inch by 11-inch rectangle.
Then place the butter on top of the dough.
Fold the the dough and butter block up together by pulling both ends of the dough up so they meet in the middle …
… then fold everything in half.
Roll this combined dough and butter out into a 20-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
Fold it up the same way again, wrap it up, and refrigerate it for an hour. Then take it our and roll it once more into a 20-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
Fold the dough up the same way as before and then fold then fold it again into thirds so it looks like this:
Then cover the dough and stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Once you’re ready, you can start making classic croissants by first rolling the dough out into a 26-inch by 14-inch rectangle and the cutting it in half.
Then take each half and cut it into 6 triangles.
Cut a small slit on the bottom of each triangle and pull the two sides apart, then stretch the whole piece out a few more inches.
Fold up the two legs of each piece …
… then roll the whole thing up …
… and then curl the sides around into a croissant shape.
Place all your croissants on a baking sheet and brush them with an egg wash made from one egg beaten together with a tablespoon of milk.
Let the croissants rise in a warm place for an hour or two, then bake them at 400°F for about 20 minutes until they are browned.
Now, onto the chocolate croissants. To make these, roll your dough out into a 26-inch by 14-inch rectangle again, and this time cut it into three pieces.
Then stack your pieces on top of each other and cut them into fourths.
Take pieces of chocolate and break them in half, then place a row of chocolate about half an inch from the bottom of one of your dough pieces.
Roll the chocolate up into the dough, then place another row of chocolate at the seam and continue rolling your dough up.
Keep doing this until each piece of dough is completely rolled up like a log, then place each of these on a baking sheet with the seam down and brush them with your egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk).
Let these rise in a warm place for an hour or two, then bake them at 400°F for about 20 minutes. Here’s what they’ll look like once they’re done baking:
And finally, your cinnamon sugar croissants – for these, you’ll want to roll your dough out into an 18-inch by 11-inch rectangle …
… and brush the surface of your dough in an egg wash of one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk.
Then mix together 2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon with 1/2 cup of sugar.
Spread this cinnamon-sugar mix out over the dough …
… and then roll the whole thing up.
Cut your rolled-up dough in half, then in half again, and then cut each of those four pieces into thirds.
Place each piece in a muffin tin and then let these rise for at least 45 minutes.
Once you’re ready, bake your cinnamon sugar croissants at 375°F for 25 minutes, and when they’re ready they’ll look like this:
As you can see, all this was a lot of work – do not undertake croissants lightly. What you get at the end, though, are three dozen flaky, buttery, tasty treats in different varieties. It was fun learning to make all these croissants, so if you’ve got some time on your hands try these out and bring some French pastries into your life.