He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

22 June 2010

{Croissant & Pan au Chocolat}

So, I'm not a good baker. Ask Dear Hubs and he'll be glad to tell you thatI ruin boxed brownies regularly... and since I love a challenge I decided to take on crescent rolls. {I say this in regard to the intro of the recipe from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking that says "Mastering the making of of croissant pastry is considered a great achievement in the baking world" so you must understand how impressed I am that these even resemble croissants but for the record, they were delicious!}
By the way... these take a while so don't plan to try them when you're in a rush!

Have them on the table in 9.5 hours {you read that right}

Makes 16 croissants or 8 "pan au chocolat"
8 croissants and 4 "pan au chocolat"

You'll need: 2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled &
1 cup butter chilled but pliable
1 cup cold whole milk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

One: In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar, stir and let settle for 5 minutes until bubbles form.

Two: In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, salt, 2 tbsp melted and cooled butter, milk, yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour {1/2 cup at a time} and mix until it forms a sticky mass.

{If you are familiar with baking, the texture of this may throw you off. I thought it needed more flour but I went with the recipe and it works out}

Three: Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. Transfer to a jelly/sheet pan, cover with plastic and refrigerate until chilled for at least 40 mins and as long as overnight. {Since the dough is so sticky I had a hard time working with it. I'm sure you could just add a little more flour until it is easier to work with but, to stay true to the recipe, I just sprinkled flour onto two pieces of plastic wrap and rolled the dough flat between it. That way it didn't stick to my counter or my rolling pin and put it into the fridge still between the plastic sheets.}

Four: About 10 minutes before you're ready to take the dough out make butter package by pounding 1 cup {2 sticks of butter} into a 6"x8" square using a rolling pin or palm of your hand and chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes so that i was firm but still pliable {I used a gallon sized freezer bag and just cut the sealed sides off to get the block out easily after chilling}.

Five: To laminate the dough, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to a 9"x13" rectangle. Place butter block in the center of the dough and fold in all four sides so the butter is concealed {the picture above is just to give you an idea of what this should look like and is not one I took so the butter is towards the end and not centered as directed}.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to form a 10"x24" rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds {like you would a letter} and this completes the first "turn". Cover with plastic on pan and return to fridge for 45 minutes.

Six: Remove dough from fridge, roll out to 10"x24" rectangle, fold into thirds again and refrigerate for 45 minutes. This is your second turn. Do this 2 more times for a total of 4 turns. After rolling and folding the 4th time, leave laminated dough covered in plastic and in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight if you'd like.

Seven: To form croissants, roll out the pastry on a lightly flours surface into a 9"x18" rectangle. Cut it in half lengthwise to get two 9" squares. {I actually pulled out my ruler for this step.}
If you are making only croissants, cut each square in half both ways so you end up four squares. Then cut each square in half diagonally so you end up with 8 triangles. Gently stretch the triangle to double the length and, starting at the wide end, tightly roll into croissant shape. Place on a buttered baking sheet, about 3" inches apart, with point of the triangle under the croissant to avoid it from unrolling during baking.
If you are making only Pan au Chocolat, cut the 9"x9" square in half, both ways, to make four equal squares. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate shavings or chips into a strip down the middle of the square and fold into thirds {again, like a letter}. Pinch the seam to seal but do not seal the ends. Place seam down on the pan about 3" apart.
If you are making 8 croissants and 4 "pan au chocolat", use one 9"x9" square for each and follow the steps above.

Eight: Cover croissants/pans with a towel and place in a warm, draft free spot to rise for aprox. 1.5 hours {until dough doubles in size}.

Nine: Mix 1 egg and 1 tbsp of whole milk in a bowl and brush to completely cover your dough.

Ten: Bake at 425 for 12-18 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!

** This recipe is brought to you with some edits for what worked best for me and is not the exact replica of the recipe found in the Williams-Sonoma book.

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