YIELD: 24 Croissants
- 300 grams Whole milk
- 100 grams Levain (wheat sourdough, 130 % Hydration)
- 15 grams Instant yeast
- 500 grams All-purpose flour, Weizenmehl Type 550
- 60 grams Butter, unsalted, softened
- 15 grams Sugar, granulated
- 10 grams Sea salt
- 200 grams Butter, unsalted, chilled
- MIX THE DOUGH: Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. With a rubber spatula, stir down the levain to invigorate and deflate it. Scrape it into the milk. Stir in the yeast, flour, 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and salt just until a dough forms.
- KNEAD THE DOUGH: With the dough hook, mix the dough on low speed (2 on a KitchenAid mixer) just until the ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes.
- RETARD THE DOUGH: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear, straight-sided 2-quart container with a lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. It will expand only slightly in the cold.
- FORM THE BUTTER BLOCK: While the dough is chilling, remove the 14 tablespoons chilled butter from the refrigerator and let stand on the counter until still cool but pliable. Flour a sheet of parchment paper. Place the butter on the parchment and use a lightly floured rolling pin to pound it into a single mass. Cover the butter with another piece of parchment paper and roll it into a 13-cm square, about 1 1/4 cm thick. Wrap the butter block in plastic and refrigerate along with the dough.
- FOLD THE BUTTER BLOCK INTO THE DOUGH: Remove the dough and butter from the refrigerator. They should both be firm and cold. Dust a baking sheet with flour and set aside. Lightly dust the countertop with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Roll the dough into a 13 cm x 25 cm rectangle, about 2 cm thick. With the long side facing you, place the butter block on the right-hand side of xhe dough, about 1 1/4 cm from the edge. Fold the dough over the butter, as if closing a book. Pinch the edges together to completely enclose the butter inside the dough. Roll the packet into a ioby-r4-inch rectangle, about 1 1/4 cm thick, dusting the dough and the countertop with more flour as necessary. With the short side of the rectangle facing you, fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter: Pick up the bottom edge and fold it two thirds of the way toward the top; pick up the top edge and fold it one third of the way down, laying it on top of the bottom third. Lay the dough on the baking sheet, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 3 hours.
- MAKE THE SECOND FOLD: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Dust the counter with flour and place the dough on the counter with the long edge facing you. Roll the dough out into a 25 cm x 36 cm rectangle, about 1 1/4 cm thick. Repeat the businessletter fold: With the short side facing you, fold the bottom edge two thirds of the way and toward the top; pick up the top edge and fold it one third of the way down, laying it on top of the bottom third.
- MAKE THE THIRD FOLD: Rotate the dough a quarter turn clockwise, so that once again the short side is facing you. Again, roll the dough out into a 25 cm x 36 cm rectangle, about 1 1/4 cm thick, dusting the countertop and dough as necessary. Repeat the business-letter fold to make a neat stack of three layers. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
- SHAPE THE CROISSANTS: Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it. b Lightly dust the countertop with flour. Roll the dough out into a 25 cm x 61 cm rectangle, about 1 1/4 cm thick, dusting the counter and the dough as necessary.
- Fold the dough in half lengthwise to mark the center line, then open it up again and lay it flat. With a chef’s knife or pizza wheel, cut along this center line to make two long strips. Keep the pieces side by side. Use a ruler to measure every 10 cm down the length of each strip, ticking the dough with a knife to mark it. Cut at each mark perpendicular to the center line to make 12 rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles. You will now have 24 triangles.
- Starting at the wide end of one of the triangles, roll toward the tip. Place the rolled croissant on the parchment-covered baking sheet, curving the ends inward to make a crescent shape and making sure that the point is tucked underneath. Repeat with the remaining dough triangles, placing them in rows on the baking sheets and making sure to leave 2 inches between croissants. (If the triangles become too soft to work with, place them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.)
- PROOF THE CROISSANTS: Let the croissants stand, uncovered, at room temperature (21 to 24 °C) until they are puffy and delicate to the touch, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Alternatively, freeze the shaped croissants and bake them later: Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the croissants are firm, at least 1 hour. Peel them off of the parchment paper and transfer to resealable plastic bags. Before baking, let them thaw out on parchment-lined baking sheets overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours and then let them rise until puffy, about 1 hour.)
- PREPARE THE OVEN: About 15 minutes before baking, set the oven racks in the top third and the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 175 °C.
- MAKE THE EGGWASH: Whisk together the eggs, cream, and sugar in a small bowl.
- BAKE THE CROISSANTS: Brush the croissants with the egg wash, coating them completely. Slide both baking sheets into the oven and bake the croissants until they are a glistening caramel color, 15 to 18 minutes, switching the position of the baking sheets after 8 minutes for even baking.
- COOL AND STORE THE CROISSANTS. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks, let the croissants cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy them while they are warm.
- To store, cool completely and freeze in resealable plastic bags. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or on the counter for an hour, then reheat in a 175 °C oven for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
total time: 8 hours
preparing time: 15 minutes, if sourdough is ready
cook/baking time: 18 minutes