Croissants - ooh, la la!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2¾ cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
  • 6½ cups bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I use Kosher)
  • 2 cups cold butter, unsalted
  • egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten well)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best), mix the yeast and warm milk together. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Using a dough hook, mix in 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, and the salt. Stir well and add the remaining flour gradually. It should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a dishtowel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for about an hour.
  3. Split the dough in half and on a floured surface, form each half into a ball. Put each half into a heavy plastic bag and put in the refrigerator.
  4. Bring one stick of butter out of the refrigerator at a time, and cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices. Place them snugly together with two pieces end to end on top, and two pieces end to end directly below the first two on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming a rectangle approximately 6-1/2 inches by 3 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and roll gently to make a solid rectangle, 6-1/2 by 4 inches. (If your butter comes in the long, skinny sticks, you'll have to improvise!) Place it back in the refrigerator, and repeat with the other 3 sticks of butter. Let everything rest in the refrigerator for 15 more minutes while you grab a cup of coffee!
  5. Working with one piece of dough (leave the other one in the fridge), roll it out on a floured surface until it is approximately 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. You may have to do a little stretching to get a nice rectangular shape.
  6. Bring out two rectangles of butter and put one directly in the middle of the dough, with the short side facing you. Fold the right side over the butter and press all around it gently to seal the butter in. Put the other piece of butter on top, and fold the left side over it, pinching well to seal. So...your layers at this point are: dough, butter, dough, butter, dough.
  7. The short side should be facing you, and it should be like a book - with the open edge to the right. Now roll it gently, being careful not to squeeze butter out of the dough, until it again measures 12 inches by 8 inches. Fold it in thirds again (you now have 15 layers!) and put it back in the plastic bag in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other bag of dough.
  8. Let them both rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then bring them out, roll each one to 12 inches by 8 inches, fold, and return to the refrigerator for 30 more minutes.
  9. Do this one more time! (I'm not counting layers anymore) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but at this point you can let the dough sit in the refrigerator for several days if you wish. The flavor just gets better.
  10. To form the croissants, work with one piece of dough at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long, trimming the edges to make them neat and tidy. Cut in half, lengthwise, using a sharp knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter. Working with one half, mark the edges every 5 inches on one long side. Cut into triangles. This will give you 4 triangles on one side, and 3 full-size ones on the other, plus 2 halves. Repeat with the other half. You should have 14 triangles, and 4 half triangles.
  11. Roll each piece up, starting at the wide end, and stretching lightly as you go. I find it helps to lightly roll each triangle with a rolling pin so it is thinner and sticks to the counter a bit. It helps with the rolling process. Place each croissant on the baking sheet, tip down, curving the ends to the middle. You can make them "hold hands" if you want. They'll come apart when they rise, but it helps them retain their crescent shape. Repeat with the other piece of dough, or save it for later.
  12. Allow the croissants to rise at room temperature. Depending on the temperature of your home, this can be anywhere from 1-1/2 hours to 3 hours. They're ready to bake when they're plump and feel like marshmallows when you poke them.
  13. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the croissants lightly with the egg wash, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  14. Ta DA!
Recipe by The Rowdy Baker at http://www.therowdybaker.com/?p=654