If homemade dough leaves you reeling. If lengthy prep times have you rolling your eyes. If classically French recipes scare you altogether, we’ve pulled together three all-star baking tips for croissants that are sure to impress your family.
Tip #1: Never skimp on the butter. We recommend using … wait for it … 84 percent butterfat! This is our wheelhouse, so rely on our butter artisans’ craftsmanship and your croissants will be as flaky and tender as ever.
Tip #2: Try making your croissants on a cool day in a room hovering below 68° F. This will help your butter and dough to stay cold, which makes for flaky layers.
Tip #3: Breathe. Take it easy. Have fun! Your croissants may not be award worthy on your first attempt. Just enjoy the ride and relish the first batch out of the oven! You might even want to involve your kids for some quality kitchen time.
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated to warm (105°F–110°F)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
3 3/4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. kosher sal
1 1/2 cups cold Minerva Dairy Amish Quarter Stick Butter
Stir together warm milk, brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy. Add 3 3/4 cups flour and salt, and mix with dough hook at low speed for about 7 minutes until dough is smooth and very soft. Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Form dough into a roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap for about 1 hour until cold.
After dough has chilled, arrange sticks of butter horizontally, their sides touching, on a work surface. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften slightly. It should be malleable but still cold. Scrape butter into a block and put on a kitchen towel, then cover with other towel. Pound and roll out on both sides until butter forms a uniform 8- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill, wrapped in towels, while rolling out dough.
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary and lifting and stretching dough into a 16 by 10-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you. Put butter in center of dough so that long sides of butter are parallel to short sides of dough. Fold into thirds. Brush off excess flour with pastry brush.
Roll out dough:
Turn dough so a short side is nearest you, then flatten dough slightly by pressing down horizontally with rolling pin across dough at regular intervals, making uniform impressions. Roll out dough into a 15 by 10-inch rectangle, rolling just to but not over ends. Brush off any excess flour. Fold in thirds like a letter, as above, stretching corners to square off dough, forming a 10 by 5-inch rectangle. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap for 1 hour. Repeat three additional times to make a total of four folds. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours but no more than 18.
Holding short side (side opposite tip) of 1 triangle in one hand, stretch dough, tugging and sliding with other hand toward tip to elongate by about 50 percent. Return to work surface with short side of triangle nearest you. Beginning with short side, roll up triangle toward tip. Croissant should overlap 3 times, with tip sticking out from underneath; you may need to stretch dough while rolling.) Put croissant tip side down on a parchment-lined large baking sheet. (Curve ends inward to make a crescent shape if desired.) Make more croissants with remaining 5 triangles, then with remaining rolled-out dough, arranging them 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Repeat rolling, cutting, and shaping procedures with chilled piece of dough.
Let croissants rise:
Slide each baking sheet into a garbage bag, propping up top of bag with inverted glasses to keep it from touching croissants, and tuck open end under baking sheet. Let croissants rise until slightly puffy and spongy to the touch, 2 to 2‚ hours.
Adjust oven racks to upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 425°F. Remove baking sheets from bags. Spritz inside oven generously with spray bottle and close door. Put croissants in oven, then spritz again before closing door. Reduce temperature to 400°F and bake 10 minutes without opening door. Switch position of sheets in oven and rotate sheets 180°, then reduce temperature to 375°F and bake until croissants are deep golden, about 10 minutes more.