1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/12 oz./340g) cold butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water or milk
Cut butter into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a medium mixing bowl stir butter slices into the 3 cups flour until slices are coated and separated. Chill butter mixture while preparing the dough.
For dough, in a large mixing bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the milk, sugar, and salt until warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Add 1 egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chilled flour-butter mixture till the flour is well moistened (the butter will remain in large pieces).
Sprinkle a pastry board or pastry cloth with 1/4 cup flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. With floured hands, gently knead the dough for 8 strokes. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 21 x 12-inch rectangle. (If necessary, sprinkle the surface of the dough with up to 1/4 cup flour to prevent sticking.) Fold dough crosswise into thirds to form a 12 x 7-inch rectangle. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in the refrigerator or 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer, or till dough is firm but not excessively stiff.
On a well-floured surface, roll dough into a 21 x 12-inch rectangle. Fold dough crosswise into thirds again and give dough a quarter-turn. Roll, fold, and turn twice more, flouring the surface as needed. (It is not necessary to chill dough between each rolling.) Place dough in a plastic bag. Seal bag, leaving room for the dough to expand. Chill dough for 4 to 24 hours.
To shape, cut dough crosswise into fourths. Wrap and return 3 portions to the refrigerator till ready to use. On a lightly floured surface, roll the fourth portion of dough into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle crosswise in half to form 2 squares. Then cut each square diagonally in half to form 2 triangles. (You will have 4 triangles total from each rectangle.) Loosely roll up each triangle, starting from an 8-inch side and rolling toward the opposite point.
Repeat shaping with the remaining 3 portions of dough. Place croissants 4 inches apart on 2 ungreased large baking sheets, points down. Curve the ends to form crescent shapes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 1 hour).
In a small mixing bowl beat 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water or milk. Lightly brush the egg mixture over croissants. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F/190 degree C oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets; cool on a wire rack.
Place 1 teaspoon of raspberry preserves on one 8-inch side of each croissant dough triangle and roll toward the opposite point. Proceed with the recipe.
Chop your favorite chocolate bar and place about 2 teaspoons along one 8-inch side of each croissant dough triangle and roll toward the opposite point. Proceed with the recipe.
Roll up 1 thin slice ham and place on one side of each croissant dough triangle, or spread one side with 2 teaspoons of semisoft cheese with garlic and herbs, or 1 teaspoon cheese and 1 ham slice; roll toward the opposite point. Proceed with the recipe.
Makes 16 croissants.
Date: April 8, 2003