last week, i packed everything up in the post-stamp-sized apartment on the upper east side and moved to brooklyn. i carefully wrapped red wine glasses in taupebrown packing paper (only one broke), retrieved months-lost fake mice from beneath the couch, and climbed on top of the small refrigerator to pull down the curtain rod.
and so it goes. here, now, boerum hill. outside the window i spy rows of brownstones and the city skyline beyond, trees with hopeful white buds, street signs littered with gotham city roller girls stickers.
i should be unpacking, but why unpack when you've got cold butter in your fridge, a pile of flour, and an angling for giant, flaky croissants smothered in herb-blended soft butter?
croissants are a laminated dough consisting of two components - the detrempe, or the dough portion, and the beurrage, the butter that is rolled into the dough. usually these doughs, such as puff pastry, are seen as layered and flaky due to the many turns and repeated rolling out of the dough and butter. during the baking process, the butter melts and then vaporizes, the air causing the dough to rise slightly, and then essentially fries the dough layers, causing that crispy crackle that's so desired.
croissants, unlike puff pastry, have the addition of yeast, which is going to cause the dough to rise more with the release of yeast's co2 gas. to help capture these gases with this delicate, flaky dough, we add some bread flour. this flour's higher protein content helps form additional gluten and create stronger dough structure.
10 oz bread flour
8 oz all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 oz sugar
12 fl oz whole milk
1 packet active dry yeast
10 oz cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 oz all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with pinch of salt.
in a small saucepan heat the milk to lukewarm to the touch (100 degrees) and add yeast. stir with whisk to dissolve. set aside.
in a mixing bowl, combine remaining detrempe ingredients and stir to mix. beat the milk and yeast into the dry ingredients until fully combined. mixture should look very shaggy. cover with plastic wrap and allow to ferment and rise for 1-2 hours (if placed in a refrigerator, allow overnight). before working with the detrempe, chill for 30 minutes.
flour your work surface with the 1.5 oz and slice the butter into large 1 oz chunks (i find it's easier to work with block instead of stick butter for this and to slice instead of cube). using a wooden rolling pin (or mallet), beat the butter flat to 1/4th of an inch. by the time it's fully beaten, all or most of the flour should be incorporated.
roll out your detrempe on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle about 12 inches by 18 inches. layer the butter pieces along the bottom 2/3rds of the dough, then fold the unbuttered top down. fold the bottom then up (like a letter). turn the letter so that the bottom is now on the right hand side.
pound the dough and roll out again into a rectangle. fold the right side in to meet the middle. fold the left side in to meet the middle. now fold like you are closing a book. this is called a double turn.
repeat double turn. wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. pull out onto floured work surface and give final double turn. place on a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. brush with egg using a silicone brush.
preheat oven to 350, bake until croissants are risen and fluffy and golden brown.