High-fat, European-style butter is the key to these high-rising and delicious croissants.
Slideshow: How to Make Croissants
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup water, at room temperature
One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
Two 1/4-ounce packages active dry yeast
5 sticks (1 1/4 pounds) cold unsalted European-style butter (82 percent
butterfat), such as Plugrá
2 large eggs
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the sponge
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, water and yeast and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2 Make the dough
Let the sponge stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil.
Step 3 Make the dough
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until lukewarm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine both of the flours with the sugar, salt and yeast. Scrape in the sponge. At low speed, drizzle in the lukewarm milk and mix just until the dough comes together. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Step 4 Make the dough
Knead the dough at low speed until it forms a ball, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Punch down and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Step 5 Make the dough
Meanwhile, on a sheet of parchment paper, arrange the sticks of butter side by side so they touch. Cover with another sheet of parchment. Using a rolling pin, pound the butter flat and roll out to a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Step 6 Make the dough
Remove the butter from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, until soft and pliable—the butter should yield gently when you press it with your finger and hold the indent, like a ripe avocado. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12-by-28-inch rectangle. If the dough springs back, cover it with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes before rolling. Arrange the butter in the center of the dough so the short sides are parallel. Fold over the 2 short sides of the dough so they meet in the center; pinch together to seal. Pinch the long sides of the dough together to completely seal in the butter. Turn the dough so that a long side is facing you and roll out to a 12-by-28-inch rectangle. Starting from the bottom, fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Brush off any excess flour and wrap the dough in plastic. Chill until firm but pliable, about 1 hour.
Step 7 Make the dough
Arrange the dough on a lightly floured surface with a short side facing you. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12-by-28-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds like a letter, wrap in plastic and freeze overnight. Before baking, let thaw in the refrigerator until semi-firm and pliable, about 3 hours.
Step 8 Make the dough
Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the layered dough to a 13-by-36-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise to form nine 13-by-4-inch strips. Halve each strip lengthwise on the diagonal to make 18 long triangles. Starting at the shortest side, roll each triangle into a crescent shape. Arrange the croissants on the prepared sheets, tip side down and spaced 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Step 9 Make the dough
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the croissants with the egg wash and bake until deep golden brown and crisp, 20 to 23 minutes. Transfer the croissants to a rack to cool.
The baked croissants can be frozen for 1 month. Reheat in a 350° oven until warm and crisp.
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