Orange Maple Croissants

This is definitely a practice makes perfect kind of recipe, and as this is only my second go at it I probably still have a few more rounds of practice before I hit perfect.  The results though always seem to fall on the tasty side of things.  So while labor intensive and complex the results are always enjoyable.  Just pace yourself and try not to focus to much on the large quantities of butter going into each croissant – Honestly, it is the most butter I have ever used in any one thing.

This recipe makes about 18 croissants, and is a two day process.

Recipe adapted from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp active dry Yeast (1 1/2 packets)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/3 cup Warm Water
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Milk + 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg
  • 2/3 cup Cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup Flour + 3 1/2 cups Flour + 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold Unsalted Butter (you want to make sure you use unsalted butter for croissants and other types of layered pastry due to the moisture content of the salt crystals)

Directions:

  1. Combine water, a drizzle of maple syrup, and yeast in a small bowl.
  2. Set the bowl aside for about 10 minutes or until the has foamed.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the remaining maple syrup, canola oil, orange zest, salt, milk, 1 egg, cornmeal, and 1/3 cup flour.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and 3 1/2 cups Flour.  The dough should remain slightly sticky.  Do not Knead.
  5. Using your fingers spread the dough out onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  You should have a rectangular shaped blob of about 1′ thickness.
  6. Wrap your dough and cookie sheet in plastic wrap.  You do not want your dough to dry out as it cools.
  7. Place the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  8. In a food processor or mixer combine the cold butter.
  9. Gradually incorporate the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
  10. Once well combined, form the butter into a rectangular block.
  11. Wrap the butter in wax or parchment paper, and place it in the refrigerator to cool and solidify.  In order to form the layers, it is important that the dough and the butter stay separate from each other and do not melt together.  We will insure this by keeping everything well cooled, and returning things to the fridge between steps.
  12.  Folding in the layers (Mastering the Art of French Cooking has some great illustrations of this process – superbly helpful, if you are a visual learner like me)
    1. Remove dough and butter block from the refrigerator.
    2. Roll out dough until it is about the size of the cookie sheet it was stored on.
    3. Roll out the butter block until it looks like it would cover about 2/3 of the dough.  Use the parchment paper to keep the butter from sticking to badly to the rolling pin.
    4. Use the parchment paper to transfer the butter onto the dough.  The butter should be placed so that it is covering the bottom 2/3 of the dough.
    5. Take the 1/3 section of dough not covered with butter and lift it to cover the middle third of dough.  Enveloping half of the butter.
    6. Take the other end of the dough (the one that did get butter placed on it) and lift it to cover the middle third of dough.  Tucking the remaining half of butter into the dough. You should be left with a folded rectangle of dough, and none of the butter should be visible.
    7. *Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle.  Do this carefully because you do not want the dough to tear.
    8. Fold the dough again in thirds.
    9. Wrap the dough and place it back in the fridge to cool for about 10-15 minutes (longer if the dough is getting to warm).*
  13. Repeat the steps between the asterisks * three more times.
  14. When you are done layering your dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge.
  15. Leave the dough in the fridge overnight.
  16. Gently deflate and unwrap the dough.
  17. Cut the dough in half, and return half of the dough to the fridge.
  18. Gently, roll out the remaining half of dough into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick.
  19. Cut the dough in half parallel to the longer side of the dough rectangle.
  20. Cut 4-5 triangles out of each strip of dough.  You should end up with 9-10 triangles.
  21. Slash a cut less then 1″ long into the center of the base of each triangle.
  22. Use your palm to roll up the croissants. Roll them tightly from the base of the triangle to the point.  Hold and lightly stretch the point as you roll up the croissant with the palm of the other hand.  Tuck the point under, and bend the ends of the croissant inward to form a crescent.
  23. Place the croissants on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.  Leave plenty of space between the croissants because they should double in size.
  24. Allow the croissants to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled.
  25. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400.
  26. Whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tbsp of milk to make an egg wash for the croissants.
  27. Brush the croissants with the egg wash.
  28. Bake the croissants for about 12-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, if they darken to quickly reduce the heat and allow them to continue to bake until they are no longer raw in the middle.
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