The I MADE IT challenge for May was set by Blue Jellybean, and what a challenge it was. In my career, this has been a challenge that has been with me for a while.
After I made these, I sat back and analyzed what I could improve on, see the CHEF NOTES below.
Croissants & Pain au Chocolat
250g salted butter
280g full cream milk (NOTE: must be grams, not millilitres)
1 tsp dry yeast
70g white sugar
pinch of salt
Heat the milk until tepid (lukewarm) – see chef’s notes at the bottom. In the tepid milk, add the yeast, 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar. Whisk together at set aside in a warm place for the yeast to activate. This will take about 10 – 15 minutes, you will know it has activated once the yeast creates a large section of foam on top of the milk.
Cut your butter into slices, about ½ cm thick, place between cling wrap and roll out until the butter is really thin.
Place in a tray, cover with cling wrap and place into the fridge.
NOTE: The butter must be very cold before you can work with it.
Mix the rest of the flour, sugar, and the salt into a mixing bowl.
Whisk the yeast mixture and pour into the flour.
Using your fingers, mix until combined.
Place on a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. (This stage can be done in a mixer using a dough hook).
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a long rectangle shape, using a rolling pin.
Place butter slices on the dough, slightly overlapping the edges of the sliced butter.
Tightly, but gently, fold one edge of the dough to the middle, and repeat with the other edge, forming a 3 fold.
Fold in half.
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Again, on a lightly floured surface roll out dough again into a rectangular shape. Do this gently at first as you do not want the dough to split and the butter to break through. Rub a little flour on the surface if you feel your butter is breaking through.
Fold again into a 3 fold, and then into half.
Cover and place into fridge for 1 hour to rest.
Repeat the rolling out step 3 times, remembering to rest for 1 hour between each roll.
After the last rest, cut the dough in half and roll out on a lightly floured surface, the dough should be about 1 cm thick.
For the Croissants
With a sharp knife, trim the edges to make them even, cut even sized triangles out.
Set aside to rise for minutes and bring the dough to room temperature.
Brush with an egg wash
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes
For the Pain au Chocolate
With the left over dough, trim the edges to make them even.
Cut rectangles out of the dough.
Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of corn starch for lighter, flakier dough
Don’t heat the milk up to much as this will kill the yeast, however if the milk is too cold it will not activate. You want the milk at a temperature that if you put your finger in, you feel the heat on your cuticle.
When working with the dough, ensure that your work surface is cold, keep your hands cool as the dough must stay cool to ensure the butter does break through.