Plain, Chocolate Au Pains, Ham & Cheese, Chicken Alfredo… all of these delicious Croissants begin with one dough, and when it is mastered, the combinations are unstoppable!
This year, I decided to challenge myself to get our of my comfort zone of the traditional foods I make all the time and begin to learn more advanced techniques and technical recipes that I hadn’t previously made!
I proceeded to get a cookbook focusing specifically on French Patisserie and the first thing I tried was Eclairs (or Choux Pastry) which I truly surprised myself at how well they turned out (recipe to come!). Once accomplishing that recipe, I chose to move on to something a little more trying, Croissants, with their beautiful lamination, and if that wasn’t enough, I chose to up the ante by making them with natural leavening from the get-go instead of commercial yeast. After much reading and researching, I found THIS recipe, but being as the technique differed slightly from what my cookbook called for, I followed the steps for hers my first time through, but found that I prefer the directions from my cookbook better, so I will be imparting my take on the technique used in The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer.
This recipe is a 1-2 days process, so you will want to plan that into your timing appropriately, and although it is important to get the lamination done correctly, in my most recent bakes, I have messed it up a little and they still taste amazing, just lack slightly in the layers, so don’t beat yourself up! Practice is key, and the more you make them, the more naturally it will just flow.
Sourdough Croissants (makes 10)
- 2/3 Cup or 200g Sweet Sourdough Starter, stirred down
- 1 3/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp or 200g AP Flour
- 2 1/2 Tbsp or 38g Sugar
- 1 1/3 Tbsp or 15g Butter
- 1/4Cup – 1 Tsp or 45g Milk
- 1 Egg or 30g
- 1 Tsp or 7g Sea salt
- 12 1/3 Tbsp or 150g Butter
- Egg Wash (1 Egg + 2 Tbsp milk)
Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the starter, flour, sugar, 15g butter, milk and egg. Mix until only just combined, then rest for 20 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, sprinkle sea salt over the top and knead for about 1 minute, just enough to have everything incorporated and the dough not to be lumpy.
Rest for 3-4 hours, until your dough is about double in size.
Shape dough into a 1-in disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour. Mark an 8″x6″ rectangle on a piece of paper, then use it to shape the 150g of butter into an 8″x6″ rectangle between two pieces or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
When both the dough and butter are chilled (but not hard), bring them out of the refrigerator. Dust the countertop with flour and roll the dough out to a 16″x8″ rectangle. Place the butter on one half of the dough and cover with the other half of the dough, sealing the edges so that the butter is completely encased by the dough.
Roll out dough from one end to the other gently, being careful to apply even pressure so as to keep the butter even within the dough and prevent it from popping out. Be sure to keep the surface you are rolling it out on well-floured, so that the dough does not stick. When you have rolled the dough out to a length of about 20 inches, fold one third of the dough over the center, dust off any excess flour and fold the other end of the dough over the center, so as to resemble a letter. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This is the first fold, and there will be a total of 3.
After 30 minutes, remove from refrigerator, roll out dough until it is about 20″ inches long and repeat letter fold again. Wrap and return to refrigerator for 30 minutes. Repeat roll & fold one more time, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm slightly, about 30 minutes. Roll out dough to a rectangle, about 20″x7″, or slightly larger. Allow dough to rest for a few minutes to prevent shrinking when cutting. After rest, roll gently 1-2 more times, then cut croissants.
For Croissants, mark every 3-1/2 inches on ones side, and do the same on the opposite side, but start in from the end at about 1 1/4in. This will give you 9 whole triangles and 2 half triangles, which will connect in the middle to form the 10th one.
Make a 3/4 in cut in the middle of the wide end of the triangle. Fold out the bottom ends before rolling up tightly. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between each one. Brush with egg wash.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature until they are risen and pillowy (if you bump it with your finger, a slight indentation will remain)
Prove overnight in the refrigerator, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. While they are coming to room temperature, preheat oven to 375°. Brush gently with egg wash a second time and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden-dark brown on top.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
The dough can be frozen immediately after shaping for up to one month, simply defrost on a sheet pan, then follow the steps as if making them fresh.
Baked rolls can also be frozen for 1 month as well. Defrost on a baking sheet as well, then bake for 1 minute at 450°F to crisp again.
I know this recipe can be daunting, but these beautiful buttery rolls are just soooo good, and I love experimenting with flavors and add-ins. I hope you enjoy them, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know!!
Thank you so much for stopping by!!!! Every one of you make my day every single time, and I hope you stop by again soon!