A croissant is a delectable pastry that exudes joy in every bite. When baked until the color of light mahogany is achieved, the croissant presents an incredible experience for the palate. This beautiful treat begins when the outer layer becomes flavorful with touches of beurre noisette, or browned butter; moments of sweetness from the caramelized sugar, or in culinary terms the Maillard reaction; and the tenderness of the honeycomb layers, pillowy clouds dancing in your mouth!
The shape of the croissant will determine whether the croissant is 100 percent butter. Only then will you experience the sincere heart and soul of the croissant. When the croissant is straight, not curved, it begins with joy and laughter.
The following is a recipe that can achieve this experience where one could say, “I live to eat!”
The full recipe makes at least 20 to 24 croissants and is easy to halve. Happy baking!
• 9 grams instant yeast
• 16 oz. cold water
• 1 lb. bread flour
Combine and ferment for 30 minutes
• 1 lb. bread flour
• 4 oz. sugar
• 3/8 oz. salt
• 4 oz. melted butter
Add the above ingredients to the yeast mixture. Knead for 10 minutes at slow speed, and then 1 minute at medium slow. Set aside and ferment for a few hours. Refrigerate overnight.
• 1 lb. butter (for lamination)
Pound into a square or rectangle a half-inch thick.
Roll dough out until it is twice the size of the pounded butter. Fold the dough over the butter and cut the folded sides:
• First single turn, rest for 30 minutes and cut the folded side.
• Second single turn, rest for 30 minutes and cut the folded side
• Third single turn, cut the folded side and rest for at least an hour.
Roll out to at least 12 inches wide, and 3/16-inch thick, (length will vary). Cut into triangles. Stretch triangle and roll and place on a flat metal baking surface. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove the shaped croissants from the refrigerator. Proof until dough looks light – 80 degrees for approximately three hours. Egg wash and bake at 365 degrees until done.
To make an in-home proof box:
1. Turn oven on at the lowest temperature for 1 to 2 minutes, and turn off the oven.
2. Heat water in a pot until boiling and place the pot with boiling water into the oven chamber.
3. Place croissants into the oven to proof.
Chef Shannon Hayashi, CCE, Ed.D., is the Culinary Arts Program Director at the Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the new Advanced Baking & Pastry program offered at FVCC, visit www.fvcc.edu/culinary.