Croissant Express

This is such a great recipe ! If you feel like having a croissant and do not want to spend two days making them, or use a kilo of butter, this is the recipe for you. Like many home cooks, I have gone through a phase of making croissants, which was more like an obsession. I tried so many recipes and so many different ingredients to achieve a respectable level and a product I could be proud of. For one thing, make sure when making croissants to use a flour rich in gluten. I tried using a 00 type Italian flour and the dough was not strong enough to rise, to the occasion. An all purpose flour will work very well and give you the rise you are looking for. The same with butter, do not compromise with the quality. I tried local butters in the Czech Republic, but they are too high in water content. I finally got a hold of French butter, with much better results. This recipe does not call for folds as the butter is melted and the end result is a good flaky bread-like croissant with a lovely butter taste. You can vary the filling according to taste; chocolate spread, Nutella, almond butter or just like below, I filled the last layer with cinnamon sugar and a few chocolate chips. Wonderful.

125 Ml. lukewarm water
200 Ml. lukewarm milk
125 Ml. Vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
42 Gr. fresh yeast or 17 Gr. active dry yeast
1 Egg at room temperature
900 Gr. All purpose flour
100 Gr. Melted butter
1 Egg yolk + 1 Tablespoon milk to brush the croissants before baking

You can make the dough by hand, but it takes just a few minutes to complete the dough if you have a mixer.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, stir in the water, milk, sugar and crumbled fresh yeast and mix well to dissolve the yeast.
Add about 200 Gr. of flour with the salt and start mixing. Add the flour in three or four times to make sure there are no big lumps and the dough is still wet. The final dough should be quite runny and tacky to the touch.

Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. It seems like a short time, but the high level of yeast makes the dough rise quite fast.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a small bowl.
Transfer the dough on a working surface and roll it into a long tube.
Cut in 16 equal pieces and form a ball with each one. Cover with a tea towel to prevent your dough balls from drying.

Taking each ball and using a rolling pin, form a large disk, the size of a dessert plate. Start with the first 8 balls.
Brush a dinner plate with a little butter and add the first disk of dough. Brush a little butter and add a second layer of dough. Brush it with butter and continue, until you have a total of 8 disks.
Cover and set a side until you complete the process with the second batch of dough balls.
Take the first batch of layers and turn them on your work surface. Stretch the dough as much as you can with your hands, all the way around, forming a large disk, the size of a very large dinner plate. Using a pizza wheel cutter, cut the large disk into 4 large pieces and each piece into three, giving you a total of 12 triangles.
Make a small indentation at the base of each triangle right in the middle and roll to form a croissant.
Place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
Complete the process with all the dough triangles.
Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, set your oven at 180 Celsius with a fan on.
Brush each croissant with the egg yolk and water mixture.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.

This recipe uses fresh yeast and quite a large amount of it, which means it rises quite rapidly and you will see your dough will become quite light and airy.
This means you have to work rapidly otherwise you will have a hard time rolling the dough into a croissant shape.
The last resting time of 15 minutes will allow the croissant to increase in size and they will take a lot of space on your baking tray. Make sure you give them enough space to grow. The croissants will also grow even more in the oven and will take even more room… so be generous with giving room between each croissant.

Before you roll them out, you can spread a variety of different fillings such as chocolate spread, Nutella, almond butter or like I did, a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, garnished with a few chocolate chips. Delicious.

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