In the months since my last post, I have graduated culinary school, moved three times, and started not one, but TWO new jobs here in Boston. If that isn’t enough, let me elaborate: my kitchen during the summer months had no windows. The kitchen at my restaurant has no windows. My current kitchen delivers a real one-two punch: indirect sunlight paired with just one flimsy light fixture attached to the 9-foot ceiling. Oh, the struggle to take good pictures of food! Do you forgive me, just a little bit, for waiting this long to share another recipe with you?
If anything could turn you back into a follower, this recipe would be it.
Imagine the flakiness of a traditional croissant with an elusive nuttiness that you can’t quite seem to resist. Typically, I find that many people find the flavor of whole-wheat flour off-putting, but the combination of whole-wheat flour with the butter and salt in this recipe seems to have a magical quality.
Because I was trying to please a crowd this Christmas, I filled my croissant dough with various savory fillings, including ham & cheese and spinach & feta (pictured above.) Anything that does not contain too much excess moisture should make a fine filling; to use the spinach, for example, I cooked one small package of frozen spinach and pressed it into a fine-mesh sieve to remove excess water before filling my croissants.
Once you master the laminating part, you should feel free to fill and shape the dough as you like; I hope that this quick tutorial brings you back into my good graces and fills some of your tables during this New Year celebration. Enjoy!
Lightly adapted from David Lebovitz’s version
Yield: 6 pastries
3/4 c. whole or reduced fat milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
175 g all-purpose flour
105 g whole-wheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
5 1/2 oz cold butter
1. Make the dough: Heat the milk to approximately 95-100º F, or the temperature of a warm bath. Whisk in the active dry yeast and allow to sit for 10 minutes before adding the flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, and salt. Knead the dough only until all of the ingredients are fully combined; the dough will finish developing during the laminating process. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic wrap, as it will expand a bit in the fridge, and refrigerate overnight.
2. Make the butter block and laminate the dough: I like these instructions from America’s Test Kitchen, or you can follow the instructions that David posted along with the recipe. They offer two different methods, so you can choose which is more understandable for you.
3. Shape your croissants: Make sure to use a sharp knife or pastry wheel to trim the edges and expose those beautiful layers you just worked so hard to create! You can shape the dough into the traditional crescent shape; for filled croissants, I cut mine into 3 x 5″ rectangles and filled them like this:
4. Proof and bake: Once your croissants are shaped, cover them loosely with plastic and allow them to proof until they are soft to the touch and hold an indentation. Lightly brush them with egg wash and bake at 375º F for 25-35 minutes, or until pastry is dark golden brown and feels light when lifted. One note: If you are proofing them in a warm spot, be sure it is no warmer than 80º F. An environment that is too warm will melt the butter, and you’ll watch your hard work ooze all over your clean baking sheet.
5. Allow the croissants to cool slightly before devouring. If you don’t finish all six in one sitting, you can keep the croissants in an airtight container for up to four days; however, I would recommend warming it slightly in a toaster oven or in a 350º F oven to get those flaky layers crisp again!