How to make the perfect croissant

Recipe from Rich Tango-Lowy of Dancing Lion Chocolate

Chocolatier Rich Tango-Lowy found perfect croissants in Paris and Montréal, and sought to duplicate that buttery, light and airy bit of perfection in his own kitchen. It took a year to perfect the recipe and technique, and he presents it here for the adventurous baker. They may take a day to prepare with chilling time in between roll-outs, but hands-on time is not too arduous. You do need a scale as this recipe is in grams — remember, baking is a science. While you are at it, break out a ruler too.

Yield 16 croissants

35 grams active dry yeast
57 grams sugar
600 grams all-purpose flour
15 grams sea salt
440 grams whole milk
340 grams high-fat butter (Kate’s or Land O’Lakes unsalted)
1 egg (for egg wash)

Whip the butter — on medium with paddle attachment on mixer until it lightens in color.

Scrape butter from bowl onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll out into a thick 4" rectangle of butter. Refrigerate.

Mix dough — Using a dough hook and cleaned bowl, mix (in order) the yeast, sugar, flour, salt and milk. Mix on low until a dough ball forms. Do not overwork.

Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 9” x 14” rectangle. Keep the edges straight.

Place butter on top of dough — Quickly shape the butter into a 8” x 6” rectangle and place in the middle third of the dough matching the 8” length of butter to the 9” side of the rectangle.

First fold — Fold the left third of the dough over the center, then repeat with the right third to fully encase the butter in dough in a book fold.

Second fold — Rotate the dough package 90 degrees and roll out again to 8” x 14“.  Repeat book fold. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Third fold — Roll out again to 8” x 14”. Book fold the dough in thirds again and wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Fourth Fold — Roll out again to 8” x 14”. Fold into quarters — left one-quarter toward center, right one-quarter toward center, then fold in half for a wallet fold. Wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Proof overnight (optional) — Wrap very securely (four sheets of plastic wrap) and refrigerate up to three days, then proceed to rolling and cutting.

Rolling and cutting, then proofing — Cut the roll into two equal portions. Wrap one in plastic and roll the other into a 12” x 16” rectangle. Cut into four equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle on the diagonal into two triangles.

Starting at the wide end, roll the croissant toward the tip, stretching the dough gently as you roll. Place on parchment paper or silpat on a baking sheet with the tip down and at least two inches apart. Repeat with the refrigerated roll.

Cover the croissants loosely with plastic wrap and proof in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until double in size and puffy.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the egg with two teaspoons of water and brush the egg wash carefully on the top of croissants and not the edges of the dough for a nice pattern after baking.

Put only one bake sheet into the hot oven at a time. After 30 seconds, give the oven  four or five spritzes of water toward the oven wall, being careful not to hit the oven light or glass. Conversely, add three or four ice cubes to the oven floor to provide the injection of steam.

Bake for six minutes, then rotate the sheet and bake for another six minutes or until the croissants are a deep caramel color. Cool for at least 10 minutes before consuming, just slightly warm.



Categories: Recipes