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Servings: Makes 40 croissants
What is a Croissant?

Definition: [kwah-SAHN; KWAH-sawn; kruh-SAHNT] The origin of this flaky, buttery-rich yeast roll dates back to 1686, when Austria was at war with Turkey. In the dead of night a group of bakers, hearing Turks tunneling under their kitchens, spread the alarm that subsequently led to the Turkish defeat. In turn, the vigilant bakers were awarded the privilege of creating a commemorative pastry in the shape of the crescent on the Turkish flag. Croissant is the French word for "crescent." Originally, the croissant was made from a rich bread dough. It wasn't until the early 1900s that a creative French baker had the inspiration to make it with a dough similar to puff pastry . . . and so a classic was born. Croissants can be made with buttered layers of yeast dough or puff pastry. They're sometimes stuffed (such as with a stick of chocolate or cheese) before being rolled into a crescent shape and baked. Croissants are generally thought of as breakfast pastries but can also be used for sandwiches and meal accompaniments.

Source: The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

2 eggs
21 ounces cold water
1 1/2 ounces fresh yeast
4 ounces sugar
9 ounces dry milk
14 ounces high gluten flour
6 ounces cornstarch
1 ounce salt
8 1/2 ounces (2 sticks + 1 tablespoon) butter
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Mix all ingredients except the butter for 5 minutes on first speed in a mixer. Continue to mix for another 5 minutes on second speed. Once all ingredients have combined, remove dough from mixing bowl, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Flatten the butter out into an 8 by 8-inch square shape. Roll out the dough into a 14 by 14-inch square shape, with the corners pointing towards you. Place the butter on the dough, with the corners placed opposite the corners of the dough. Fold in the corners of the dough over the butter to the center, sealing all the seams. Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll the dough out approximately 18 inches in a rectangle. Then fold one end to the center, and fold other end, overlapping each fold. This is what we call a three-fold. Wrap dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat same process one more time, and refrigerate.

Remove dough from refrigerator, and roll out until dough is a rectangle that is approximately 1/8-inch thick. Halve the dough lengthwise, and then cut each section into 10 triangles. Roll each triangle from base of triangle to tip, shape it into a crescent, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush each croissant with some egg wash. Let the croissant rise for 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.

Place croissants in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes

Makes 40 croissants.

Date: April 8, 2003