THE COOKING HOME BARISTA: croissants
Close your eyes and think about the scent of freshly baked croissants, perfect with the aroma of a warm cup of “cafè au lait”. Now, open them and make the dream come true! Wear your apron and let’s get started!
Where does the croissant come from? There are many legends and stories about it, but this flavorful pastry is, in fact, a version of the Austrian “kipferl”. Its origins date back to 1839, when an Austrian artillery officer, August Zang, founded a Viennese bakery, named “Boulangerie Viennoise”, in Paris. That is why, we use to refer to puff pastry sweets as “viennoiserie”. Then, the name croissant is said to be related to its “crescent” shape.
Did you know that an original French croissant is not very sweet? In fact, the recipe implies the use of little sugar, so these nice treats can be enjoyed with salty stuffing too. They are ideal for a breakfast, a Sunday brunch or for a break. Perfect if paired with a hot coffee or milk-based Gaggia drink!
You will need a few simple ingredients to make the most amazing French croissants. Just take 500 grams of strong flour (high protein content: W330 or T45), 10 grams of salt, 30 grams of sugar, 25 grams of fresh yeast, 125 ml of milk and 125 ml of water. Do not forget the star of this recipe: butter! Pick a very high quality one, unsalted. You will need 450 grams. Moreover, to glaze the croissants as in a French bakery, do not forget egg yolks.
Making croissants could be challenging, but the effort is definitely worth it. You will get flaky layers of goodness!
Let’s start by mixing flour with salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, activate the fresh baking yeast. Crumble it with your hands and add milk and water to it. Mix gently.
Now, take the flour and make a hole in the center. Here, add the activated yeast and mix well. Knead the dough vigorously, and make a soft lump. Let it rest for 30 minutes, ambient temperature.
Half an hour later, it’s time to get rid of the excess air inside the dough. Place it on a floured lay, and press it in order to eliminate the bubbles.
Now, place the butter on a parchment paper sheet. Beat it with a rolling pin, so to make a square. Each side of the square should be 15-20 cm long.
Once you did this, it’s time to take the dough and roll it out. Place the butter on it and fold the dough over it. Check how to do it in the pictures below.
Now, it’s time to fold. Do not worry, all steps are explained and shown in the picture.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface, and get a rectangular shape. Fold the bottom side in order to reach the 2/3 of the height. Fold the upper side on the bottom side. Roll it out. This is the first lamination!
Let the dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then, take it and place it on a surface. Rotate it by a quarter of a turn. Repeat the lamination explained before. Roll it out, turn it again and repeat the lamination.
Leave the dough in the fridge for 2 hours.
We are almost at the finish line. Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll it out in a shape of a rectangle (40 cm x 60 cm).
Cut it in two, horizontally, to obtain two rectangles (20 cm x 60 cm).
Cut them in triangles, about 8 or 9 for each rectangle.
Take each triangle and make a two cm-long cut at the base (as shown). Place a little piece of dough on the base. Shape the croissant by rolling it up, from the base to the top. Repeat for all triangles.
Now, place the croissants on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Leave at least two centimeters between one and the other. For a flawless result, check that the tip of the triangle is well placed under the croissant.
Pre-heat the oven at 220° C ( 390° F), best if set on fan.
Brush each croissant with a beaten egg yolk. Do not go over the sides or the pastry will not develop well.
Bake the croissants for about 20 – 25 minutes. Check them out frequently, as cooking time might differ from oven to oven.
The perfect match
Once ready, we highly recommend to enjoy them warm! If you want to immerse yourself into a 100% French atmosphere, pair your croissant with the delicate taste of a cafè au lait. Or, if you prefer to eat them with salty stuffings, we suggest a hot mug of black american coffee.