One-Step Croissants

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Makes

    12

    medium croissants

Appears in

My standard croissant recipe calls for an 8-hour to overnight chill after the dough is mixed, then begins the process of layering the dough with the butter and rolling and folding it repeatedly. After all that, you have to chill the dough again before rolling it out to make the croissants. In this method, the mixing is accomplished in the food processor and the dough is rolled and folded once instead of several times. After a short rise, the dough is ready to be made into croissants. I’ve made puff pastry this way for years, so I knew the croissants would work out just as well, and they did.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 teaspoons ( envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 20 tablespoons ( sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 2 jelly-roll pans lined with parchment or foil

Method

  1. Heat half the milk in a small saucepan until it is just lukewarm. Pour the milk into a small bowl and whisk in the yeast. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter (leave the remaining butter in the refrigerator) and pulse continuously until it is finely mixed into the dry ingredients.
  3. Cut the remaining 2 sticks of butter into ½-inch (1-cm) pieces and add to the bowl. Pulse two times only.
  4. Add the cold milk to the yeast mixture and add to the food processor. Pulse 3 times only—the dough will not form a ball.
  5. Invert the work to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Quickly press the dough into a ball. Flatten it to a rough rectangle and flour under and on the dough. Roll it quickly to a 12 × 15-inch (30 × 38-cm) rectangle.
  6. Fold one of the larger sides down over the middle and the bottom one over that, making a long thin 3-layered package that is 4 × 15 inches (10 × 37½ cm. Roll up the dough from one of the 4-inch (10-cm) sides, then flatten the dough to a rough square. Lightly flour the dough and slide it into a plastic bag. Let the dough rise in the bag at room temperature for 1 to 1½ hours—the dough will not fully double in size.
  7. After the dough is risen, use the palm of one hand to deflate it, still inside the bag. Refrigerate the dough for an hour or up to 8 hours.
  8. Remove the dough from the bag and place it on a floured work surface. Flour the dough and gently press it to deflate. Roll it to a 12 × 15-inch (30 × 38-cm) rectangle. Roll gently, and if the dough resists, let it rest for 5 minutes, then roll again. If at any point the dough becomes too soft to handle, slide a cookie sheet under it and refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Once the dough is rolled to the correct size, straighten the edges and make the corners even. Use a sharp pizza wheel to cut the dough into two 7½ × 12-inch (19 × 30-cm) strips. Cut each strip into 6 triangles, each with a base of about 4 inches (10 cm) (figure a).
  10. To form the croissants, face the 4-inch (10-cm) side of one of the triangles toward you. Gently pull the two corners closest to you outward to make the base about 6 inches (15 cm) wide. Roll up the dough from the side facing you, gently pulling on the point of the triangle with the other hand as you do (figure b). Repeat with all the croissants.
  11. Place one of the croissants on one of the prepared pans and curve the end out in front of it to make a crescent shape. Arrange 6 croissants on each pan, leaving them plenty of room all around for expansion. Cover each pan with buttered plastic wrap and let the croissants rise until they’re almost double, as before.
  12. About 20 minutes before the croissants are finished rising, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Carefully brush the risen croissants with the egg wash, making sure to dry the brush to avoid having it puddle under the croissants (figure c).
  13. Bake the croissants for about 15 minutes, then switch the bottom pan to the top and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. Bake the croissants for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until they are deep golden and springy to the touch. Slide the croissants still on the paper, from the pans to racks to cool.

Serving

Serve the croissants with your favorite preserves or marmalade—no butter is needed.

Storage

Keep the croissants loosely covered with plastic wrap the day they are made. Bag and freeze for longer storage. Defrost, reheat at 375°F (190°C) for 2 minutes, then cool and serve.

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