Here is a great recipe to try while your kitchens are still cool (sorry Oceania and South America, you will have to wait for winter). In keeping with the love of baking we have all developed over this past year, the faster resting times here make this a fun one to try and get quick satisfaction from your oven.
This recipe is an improvement on the classic yeast based croissant and the use of sourdough is not as the main leavener but as a flavor enhancer that won't disappoint!
The acidity of the sourdough gives strength to the flour allowing us to use a plain all purpose rather than a strong flour as suggested in other recipes.
YIELD : 16 pieces
PREP TIME : 2hrs + 10hrs rest time
LEVEL : Hard
420 g all purpose flour (around 10% protein)
85 g liquid sourdough/levain liquide (*)
18 g fresh yeast (or 10 g dry yeast)
8 g salt
60 g sugar
1 egg yolk
40 g unsalted butter, melted
40 g cold milk
125g cold water
250 g butter for the lamination (butter layers)
In the kitchen-aid bowl dissolve yeast and levain in water, milk and egg yolk.
Place all other ingredients except the 250g of butter and start kneading with the hook attachment at low speed for 5 minutes. Switch to second speed and knead for another minute. At this point the dough should be smooth and should not be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let rest 30 minutes at room temperature, this step is necessary for the yeast to activate and start the fermentation.
Roll the dough into a rectangle 20cm wide and about 45 cm long, place it on a tray lined with parchment paper, cover with cling film and place in the freezer for 10’. This step firms up the dough so that its consistency is similar to that of the butter we will incorporate later.
Butter Layers Use an envelope of parchment paper to roll the 250g of cold butter into a square of 20 cm x 20 cm.
Place the butter in the middle of the dough and wrap it in the dough like a flat log.
Imagine it as a small book made of 3 pages (dough, butter, dough).
Make sure you have the spine of this “book” on your left, pound the dough gently and then roll it into a rectangle of 20 cm x 60 cm. Fold the two ends into the center and then fold the bottom half to meet the top edge to make what is known as double turn. If the dough is too elastic or if the butter starts to come out because it is too soft, wrap in plastic and let rest 20’ to 1hr in the fridge. Roll the dough again (with the spine on your left) and fold it again as described above..
Wrap in plastic and let rest a minimum of 30 minutes in the fridge. If it’s left overnight it will develop more flavour. Roll, cut, proof Roll the dough to about 4mm thick and form your croissants (o pain au chocolat etc). Let the egg washed croissants proof for 2 hours in a warm spot (you could place them in your cold oven along with a cup of boiling water, it should be about 25°C/77°F). They are ready to be baked when they look spongy and each layer has doubled in height.
30 minutes before baking, take the trays out of the oven and preheat it to 180°C/350°F (165°C/325°F if your oven is fan forced). Egg wash the croissants again, place them in the oven and let cook until golden brown, it will take 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before eating.
Tip: if your oven is weak, preheat it to 200°C with a tray already in it, place the croissant tray on top of the hot tray, close the door asap and lower the temperature to 180°C.
Notes The quality of the butter is key to the success of this recipe. The butter should be unsalted and with at least 82% fat content. If you have access to professional butter (beurre sec) give it a try, it will be easier to handle as its melting point is higher than regular supermarket butter.
(*) if you don’t want to use a sourdough starter (in this case is à levain liquide, meaning it’s 50-50 flour water) use à total of 470 g of flour and à total of 175 g of water. Increase the amount of yeast to 20 g. If you need directions on how to start your own sourdough, we made à video: https://www.grano-farina.com/videos which includes a pdf with detailed instructions.