I've finally taken the plunge and decided to try out some sourdough croissants. When i was 16 I worked in an organic bakery in Canada and can still remember how our French baker, Piere, would cut a long slab of dough into triangles and then, like a dance with his hands, rolled the triangles up from thick end to point into a perfect little snail-like bundle!
After doing my own experimentation, talking with other pastry bakers and recipe comparison, I have a great sourdough croissant recipe here for you!
Yes, it takes three days (yes, 3), but No, like most sourdough projects, you don't have to hang around for three days before they are finished!
On day 1 you make the dough - very simple.
On day 2 you cut and fold the dough.
On day 3 you bake and eat!
Cold butter is the key to successful croissant, keeping the butter cold stops it from being incorporated into the dough and turning everything into a brioche - which you maybe want anyways. :) #neverstopexperimenting
So let's get started.
Ingredients for around 15 croissants
440g White wheat flour (Type 405, 00, or something similar to pasty flour)
80g Cold Water
140g Scalded Milk (milk that is heated until it starts bubbling then taken off the heat and cooled)
135g Active White Sourdough Starter that had been fed within the last 4-12 hours @ 100% hydration
55g Unsalted Butter, cubed and at room temperature
250g Unsalted cold butter for the folding (laminating) NOTE: Don’t add this to the dough.
Sourdough starter Note: It is important that your sourdough starter is active and bubbling. You can always do the 'float test' to see if a spoon of your starter floats in water, which means it is active and ready to be used!
100% hydration means that you have fed equal parts (in grams!) your starter with flour:water.
In the morning feed your starter. You can scald your milk now to make sure it is nice and cold when you make your dough. Add the milk to a small pan and heat gently until it just starts to bubble. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
In the evening or afternoon mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt and sugar) together and then add the milk, water and sourdough starter and form the dough.
Tip: if you want a smoother dough, try sifting the flour through a mesh sieve.
Knead the dough on an un-floured surface for 1 minute and then add half the 55g cubed butter. Knead until the butter has been incorporated and then add the rest of the 55g cubed butter and knead again. Cover the dough and leave to prove at room temp (~20-22°C) for 3 hours. Reduce this to 2 hours if the temperature is warmer. Put the dough in the fridge overnight covered with something so it doesn't dry out or get other smells from your fridge (mine would be kimchi).
Sometime during the next day, take your cold butter out of the fridge and pound it lightly onto some kind of plastic-wrap (you can reuse this later) to form it into a 20cm x 20cm square. Once in a squarish form, put it back in the fridge, you want to keep the butter as cold as possible but don’t be tempted to put in the freezer as it will be too cold!
Take your dough out of the fridge and roll it into a 30cm * 30cm square … you can use a ruler or the long side of a sheet of A4 paper! You will need a light dusting of flour to stop it sticking but use the flour liberally. Rotate the dough 45 degrees so you have a point towards you rather than a flat edge. Mine wasn't very 'square' but it seemed to work. :D
Take your butter out of the fridge and place with a long edge facing you and the points will be close to the long edge of the dough.
Then take each corner of the dough and stretch and fold it over the butter so it is completely encased.
Roll the dough (from the centre outwards) so it is approx. 20cm x 60cm trying to keep it as straight as possible.
Now fold the dough, letter style in 3. Wrap the dough in plastic-wrap or similar and put in the fridge for around 30-60 minutes (longer is fine, this is not a time critical process you just need to make sure everything has cooled down).
(to see exact folding method, see video attached below)
Take the dough out of the fridge, with one of the short open ends towards you roll out to 60cm x 20cm and fold into 3 again.
Back into the fridge for another 30-60 mins and then repeat this one more time, short edge towards you, roll to 60cm x 20cm and fold into 3, wrap and back into the fridge.
You will have done a total of 3 folds of three-fold-letter-folding which will give you 27 layers in total. Don’t be tempted to try to add more layers as the dough will get so thin that the butter will start to merge into the dough and you will have a brioche rather than a nice layered croissant dough!
Now it’s time to cut and shape your croissants! Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll out to about 100-120cm x 20cm. The dough will resist and shrink back! You can let the dough rest for a couple of minutes and then continue to roll out and put a little flour underneath.
You can use a very sharp knife or I prefer a pizza wheel to cut your croissants out into triangles. If you want precisely sized croissants, then you want to make the long end of the triangle about 13-14cm depending on how long you rolled the dough. You can make marks along the top and the bottom to then join the marks up to cut your triangles.
From the longer end, tightly roll up the dough!
Put the croissant onto a tray with baking paper. Cover the tray with your plastic wrap of plastic bag and leave to prove at room temp for around 3 hours. Put in the fridge overnight.
Take the croissants out of the fridge and pre heat the oven to 220°C. Egg wash the croissants with a beaten egg. Drop the temperature to 180°C and bake for 25 minutes. If your oven is finicky and heats only from one direction, turn the tray(s) round halfway through the bake.
Cool for 15 minutes and then enjoy the goodness of sourdough croissant!