For our annual trip – twice makes it annual right? – we decided to hit up NYC and go on a full pastry tour. This included eating an obscene number of pastries, but also taking a Croissant and Brioche course at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).
We made plain croissants, almond croissants, pain au chocolat, and monkey bread, but they were all essentially the same, with slight variations at the final step.
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 90 g butter (room temp.)
- 26 g sea salt
- 550 g high gluten flour
- 550 g all purpose flour
- 66 g fresh yeast
- 310 g COLD water
- 310 g COLD milk
- 600 g COLD butter (for lamination)
Part 1 – Prepare the Detrempe:
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix together the sugar, room temperature butter, and salt. Mix until combined, and add a little bit of flour if necessary.
- Once the butter mixture is combined well, add the flour into the mixer.
- Dissolve the yeast into the water, and add it and the milk into the butter mixture.
- Mix everything well until the dough is quite elastic. You should be able to hold one end and swing the dough.
- Chill for 15 minutes.
- Without adding extra flour, knead the dough a few times until smooth. Shape it relatively into a square and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes.
Alternative – prepare the Detrempe by hand:
- Break the room temperature butter into small pieces, and mix it with the salt and sugar until very fine.
- Mix the butter with the flour until everything is in fine crumbles.
- Create a flour well with liquids and yeast inside, and mix together until elastic.
Part 2 – Beurrage (laminating the dough)
- Place the COLD butter in-between plastic wrap and hit it repeatedly until you have a rectangular, thinned out sheet of butter (around 1/8″)
- Roll the dough out to ~1/8″ – it needs to be large enough to very comfortably fit the flattened butter
- Place the butter into the rolled out dough. Fold the short sides in, and then fold the long sides in. This should completely encapsulate the butter.
- Turn the entire thing upside down so that the seam is on the bottom.
- Roll the dough out along the seam as long as you can. Flour generously while rolling.
- Brush off any excess flour, and then fold the pastry into thirds (like a book). Flip the whole thing upside down, rotate 90°, and repeat.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate again.
- Do another two roll/flip/rotates, and refrigerate again.
- Do another two roll/flip/rotates, but after the last (sixth) roll, fold the dough into fours and flip on itself like a little book.
- Loosely place plastic wrap over the dough, and refrigerate overnight.
Part 3: Shaping the dough
- Make sure you keep the dough in its folded book form and roll it out
- Roll the dough into a rectangle, and cut that into fourths.
- Roll each fourth into a long rectangle (1/8″ thick). Cut off the edges to use for something else (like monkey break) and cut the dough into triangles.
- Pull the wide edges apart somewhat, and then roll towards yourself.
- Finish with the point at the bottom (so the weight can hold it together) and point the sides towards you
- If you want a filling, place a dollop of filling near the wide edge, and roll over top of that.
- Place croissants on a baking sheet. Cover with saran wrap and let proof.
- Egg wash the tops, and bake at 375 F (20 – 25 minutes). They should be a nice golden colour at the end.
- Cool for at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Fresh yeast dies in ~2 months
- When the yeast is added to water, it should not be left for more than about 5 minutes
- You can replace fresh yeast with dry yeast, but you need to use half the amount of active yeast (2 fresh: 1 dry)
- The egg wash is created with 1 egg: 1 tbsp. heavy cream so as to not leave an eggy flavour
- To make pain au chocolat, you can roll the out the rectangle as you would for other croissants, put chocolate on the sides, and roll the sides over the chocolate. Then roll the edges together, put the seam on the bottom, and slice into pieces.
- At the end, the scraps were rolled into little balls and covered in cinnamon sugar to create monkey bread
- Fun fact: dairy from brown cows is good for creme fraiche and hard cheeses, and dairy from jersey cows is good for heavy cream and creamy cheeses