In the laminating process, the dough becomes more difficult to roll with each fold and turn as the gluten formation is increased. In this recipe, we use three turns to yield the light, delicate layers. Our all-purpose flour is just the right protein content to support all the butter, but not make it a struggle to create this dough.
Using the right fat is crucial. The high-water content of conventional butter sometimes causes the butter to break up in the dough, which means that the dough layers stick together and don’t rise as they should. We use a butter and shortening combination to boost the fat content and give a more consistent finished product without compromising the mouthfeel. Using a higher-fat European butter works for all the fat, but it might not be much better for the expense. Lastly, giving the dough layers a few 20-minute chills in the freezer brought the fat and dough components to a more comparable consistency, ensuring distinct layers.
Classic croissants usually require at least 8 hours start-to-finish, but most of that time is with the dough resting in the fridge. Don’t let this time commitment discourage you from trying to make them. The process can be spread out over two days. If the dough becomes hard to work with or gets too soft, fold it into thirds, wrap and freeze it for 10-15 minutes. We also don’t recommend making these in a sweltering kitchen, as the butter will melt quickly.
3 Tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
1¾ cups whole milk, lukewarm (90°F)
1 cup butter, very cold (2 sticks)
½ cup butter-flavor shortening
2 packets (4 ½ tsp) Red Star instant or rapid-rise yeast
4¼ cups (21¼ ounces) Panhandle Milling all-purpose flour
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) sugar
2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. cold water
Line a half-sheet baking pan with a rim with parchment paper. Lightly flour the parchment. Transfer the dough to the pan and shape it into a 10 by 7-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 1 ½ hour.
If you are spreading out the croissant process over two days, this is the point to stop until the following day.