One of my favorite activities (as you know) is cooking. During winter break I was able to take a cooking class at Sur La Table–a cooking store. Their classes are super fun! They offer Sushi 101 classes, Homemade Pasta, Healthy and Delicious, and many more! The classes are around $65 and up and some come with a cookbook! Sur La Table also has classes and cooking camps during the summer for kids.
This week I took their Croissant class. I was so excited they were offering this class when I was in town because I tried to take it before but never had time. In this class, we learned how to make Chocolate & Ham and Cheese croissants. We were also going to make plain croissants but didn’t have enough time.
We made the croissants in reverse since the classes are only 2-2.5 hours long. Typically croissants take more time to make because the dough has to chill, croissants have to set and filled. We started off with a batch of prepared dough made by the last croissant class and ended the class by making a new batch of dough for the next class. To keep it simple and easy to follow, I’m going to start from the beginning. Also if you want a step by step photo version check out the SnapGuide.
Part 1: The Butter Block
– 1 lb (14 oz) butter, unsalted, cubed and room temperature
– 2 tbsp flour
1) In a stand mixer combine the cubed butter and flour. Mix on medium until soft and glossy.
2) Take a large piece of parchment paper and fold in half (hamburger style) and place the butter on one half. Top with the other side of the parchment paper and form into a block.
3) The block should be about 1/4 inch thick. To make it even use a ruler or another straight edge to smooth into a block.
4) Place the block in the fridge until it is ready to be added to the dough.
Part 2: Croissant Dough
-1/2 cup warm whole milk
-1 tsp + 2 tbsp sugar
-4 tsp active dry yeast
-4 cups flour
-1 tbsp salt
-1/4 cup unsalted, cubed butter
-1 cup whole milk
– thinly sliced ham and cheese of your choice
– Chocolate chips, bars or rounds
1) Add the milk and sugar to the yeast and stir a few times. Let it sit for 4-5 minutes to make sure the yeast is active.
2) Add the other ingredients to the stand mixer (you don’t need to remove the excess butter from the butter block step) and mix on medium-low until the dough is combined. You might need to change the mixer to a dough hook, but this step is not necessary.
3) Transfer to a floured surface and knead until you can form a ball. Cover and let sit for a few minutes
4) Roll the dough out into a 10x7x1/4 inch rectangle and place the chilled butter block in the center.
5) Enclose the butter block and seal the edges. Make sure there are no air pockets, if so just poke them with a toothpick or small knife.
6) Roll out the dough again into a 10x7x1/4 inch rectangle and then fold the two short edges in, leaving a small gap in between and brush the flour off. Fold on top of each other again, brush off the flour and roll back out. Repeat this step 3 times. If the butter starts to ooze from the dough then place it in the fridge for a few minutes, then continue rolling.
7) Once you have finished rolling the three times, roll it out once more and cut it into 4 equal rectangular sections. Two will be use for chocolate croissants and two for the ham and cheese. You can choose to do all the croissants one kind too.
Ham and Cheese Croissants:
1) Take two of the rectangles and brush off the excess flour from both sides, cut into triangles with a three-inch base. It’s almost like you are cutting a zig-zag in the dough.
2) Cut about 1/2 inch into the base using a pizza cutter or knife.
3) Add the ham and cheese of your choice
4) Fold the cut edges out and roll the croissant up. Make sure the tip of the croissant is underneath the croissant so when it bakes it won’t unroll
1) Take the other two rectangles, and dust the flour off .
2) Cut into 3 inch wide rectangles. You should get about 3 out of each larger rectangle
3) Add 3-4 chocolate rounds to one side of the base and roll up.
1) Place on a parchment paper lined baking tray and brush with an egg wash (1 egg+ 1tbsp whole milk). Cover with saran wrap and let them sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
2) After the time is up, place in the freezer for another 15 minutes. While the butter is hardening, preheat the oven to 400F.
3) Remove from oven and brush again with the egg wash. Bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the baking process.
The croissants took about 2.5 hours to make from start to finish. This is one dish that requires a lot of patience and precision to make sure the croissants turn out buttery, flaky and delicious (: