Friday, July 29, 2011

Almond croissants

I used the same basic recipe for this as I did for the chocolate croissants, however, I wasn't entirely happy with the results last time, so I made some adjustments to the recipe. These were definitely much better. I also added some process photos as it's quite difficult to actually visualise some of the steps.

For the dough:
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling 
140ml cold water 
140ml whole milk 
55 grams granulated sugar 
40 grams soft unsalted butter 
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. instant yeast 
2 1/4 tsp. table salt 

For the butter layer:
280 cold unsalted butter 

For the top:
1 large egg 

Flaked almonds

For the almond crème:
100g sugar
100g ground almonds
a pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs

Make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. If the dough is too try add another tablespoon of milk, the dough should be soft, smooth and non-sticky. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.
Make the butter layer: The next day, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1.5cm-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 15cm square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force. Pound the butter until it’s about 20cm square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

Make the almond crème: Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition, until you achieve a creamy mixture.
Laminate the dough:  Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 25cm square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator—it should be pliable but cold. If not, refrigerate a bit longer. Unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough (i.e. there should be a triangle of dough exposed at each side of the butter square). 

Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat with the other flaps. Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (It should look like a square envelope.)

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.
Roll the dough until it’s 20x30cm, then put on a baking sheet, cover with cling film so no part is exposed, and refrigerate for 2 hours (this is to harden the butter so it doesn’t seep out).

First turn: Roll the dough until it’s 20x60cm. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Fold the dough into itself like a book. This is the famous double turn, also known as “the wallet”. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 25 minutes to relax and chill the dough.
the double turn
Second turn: Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 20x60cm. Do another double turn, brushing off excess flour. Cover and freeze for another 25 minutes.
Third turn: This time do a single roll - pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Then fold over the exposed side. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate for 2 hours..
the single turn
Divide the dough: Unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. Cut the dough horizontally into two pieces; chill one piece in the fridge. 
the horizontal cut
Roll the other piece of dough into a long and narrow strip, 20x50cm. The dough may stick as you roll so keep flouring it (flip it over once in a while so that the bottom doesn't stick to the surface). Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides—this helps prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end to allow you to trim the ends so they’re straight and the strip of dough is 42cm long. Trim the dough.
Lay a large ruler or tape measure lengthwise along the top of the dough. With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 12cm intervals along the length. Position the ruler along the bottom of the dough. Make a mark 6cm in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 12cm intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough.

Make diagonal cuts by positioning the ruler at the top corner and the first bottom mark. With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough along this line. Repeat along the entire length of dough. You’ll end up with 6 full triangles and a small scrap of dough at each end.
Repeat with the other half of dough in the fridge.

Shape the croissants: Working one-by-one, widen the base of each triangle by stretching slightly, then hold the base in one hand, and hand the other hand to the point of the triangle to elongate it (you should pull it to twice its length). Lay the croissant on the work surface so its pointing towards you. Put a dollop of almond crème at the base of the triangle and with one hand on each side, begin to roll the dough towards you (towards the pointed end).
Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the “legs” become longer. Press down on the dough with enough force to make the layers stick together, but avoid excess compression, which could smear the layers. Roll the dough all the way down its length until the pointed end of the triangle is directly underneath the croissant.
Arrange them on two large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Keep as much space as possible between them, as they will rise during the final proofing and again when baked.
before proofing
Proof the croissants: Make the egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush it on each croissant.
Put the croissants in a draft-free spot at about 25 degrees C. Wherever you proof them, be sure the temperature is not so warm that the butter melts out of the dough. I proofed them in the oven with a bowl of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. They will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully proof. You’ll know they’re ready if you can see the layers of dough when the croissants are viewed from the side, and if you shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. Finally, the croissants will be distinctly larger (though not doubled) than they were when first shaped.

Lightly brush each croissant with egg wash again, and top with flaked almonds.
Bake the croissants: Shortly before the croissants are fully proofed heat it to 200° degrees C. Put the sheet in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheet. Continue baking until the bottoms are an even brown, the tops richly browned, and the edges show signs of coloring, another 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on a rack.


  1. Love it! When I made it last week for my patisserie class, we used the spool method. I'm tempted to try it your way though!

  2. Ooh I'm intrigued - let me know which way turns out better! The spool method seems quicker, although this probably gives you more layers.