Croissants

I've found that there are many pros to having baking be one of your hobbies: You always have dessert around the house. So you're never hungry. It's fun. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You get to make those you love happy when they eat the stuff you bake. Even people you don't love are happy. Basically baking is just happiness and makes the world go round.

But the one problem with baking is that you make something and it can last for several days when you only have a couple people in the house to eat it. So you have to wait a while in between baking things. OR you start looking for other things to bake that are not explicitly dessert.

Enter: croissants.

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Croissants are the perfect thing to make because they're baking and you can eat them for breakfast, not dessert. (Or you can eat them for dessert, that's cool too.)

Croissants are one of those things that I've always wanted to try but it's always seemed impossible. I just crossed croissants off the list of possibilities because you always get them at bakeries and they just seem so professional and complex. But they actually aren't. I promise.

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The only thing hindering you from baking a batch of croissants every morning is the fact that it takes a long time. Three days, to be precise. But that's mostly just because the dough has to sit in the fridge for a while.

But the actual process is incredibly easy. Mix the dough together, put it on a plate in the fridge. Then the next day, roll out some butter (okay, lots of butter) into a square, then put it on the rolled out croissant dough and fold and roll it several times. Then form your croissants, refrigerate them, and bake them the next morning.

Or, if you're like me, you can mix up the dough in the morning, then do the day two steps at night and pop them in the oven the next morning.

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So... while this can't exactly become a regular thing in your house (That might be a good thing, honestly), it's certainly an easy enough breakfast for special occasions. You just have to plan ahead and have tim eat home.

You're probably wondering "Oh, if I put all that work in, is it even going to taste any good? Wouldn't it be easier to just buy some professionally made?" I have two responses to that: A) Don't be lazy. You have enough time to be lazy when you're biting into one of these on a leisurely morning. B) these taste just like any croissants you'll buy. And what they might lack in professional-quality, they make up for in the satisfaction you feel because you are eating something you spent three days working on.

And satisfaction makes everything taste better. Why else do you think they say "The sweet taste of satisfaction"?

-Audrey

 

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Croissants

 

From: Cannella Vita (Go to her site for pictures)

 

Ingredients:

Dough:
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon + 1 scant teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt

Butter layer:
1 1/4 cups cold, unsalted butter

Egg Wash:
1 egg

Day 1:
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and medium speed for an additional 3 minutes.
Place the dough on a lightly floured plate, wrap well in plastic, and refrigerate overnight. 

Day 2:
Cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slabs (about 3 slabs per stick)

Arrange the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper to form a 6x6 inch square.

Top with another sheet of parchment and pound the butter with even strokes with a rolling pin.

As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force and roll it into a 7.5x7.5 inch square.
Trim the edges off and pound them into the center of the square.
Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured surface.
Roll it into a 10.5 inch square.

Take the butter square out of the fridge and unwrap and place it on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough square.  Fold the flaps of dough over the butter and press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough, and roll it into an 8x24 inch rectangle (this doesn't have to be perfect, but make sure the area is roughly the same), focusing on lengthening rather than widening. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it over the dough, leaving one third of the dough exposed, and roll it over once more (fold the dough into thirds)
Freeze for 20 minutes.
Repeat this rolling and folding process 2 more times.

After you've done that rolling and folding process a total of three times, roll the dough into a long and narrow strip (8x44 inches). Cut into rectangles and add the fillings of your choice (I recommend chocolate, cinnamon, marzipan, Nutella, peanut butter) or just leave them plain, and roll them up

Brush each croissant with egg wash (lightly beat the egg), and pop the baking sheet in the fridge overnight.

Day 3:
In the morning, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take the croissants out of the fridge and brush with a second egg wash.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Enjoy! (and bask in the glory of having made your own croissants)