|February 3, 2012
Lately my favorite whole grain ingredient has been pumpernickel flour. It mixes
well with just about anything and gives a bold statement about the whole grain
nature of the dough. Long a staple of the bulk bins at co-ops, pumpernickel flour
is just a coarsely ground rye, not much of a flour. Being so coarse, it is eye candy
in the dough and adds a lot of texture, but doesn’t really do anything for
cohesiveness or extensibility of the dough. So, I add it in relatively small amounts,
a half a cup or a cup here and there.
One of my latest pumpernickel doughs is this whole grain croissant dough. I was
a bit worried at first about the whole grains in croissant dough. Would I be able to
work the dough enough to laminate the butter well? Would it make the croissants
taste like something totally different? Fortunately, the dough ended up being easy
to work and Chris and I agreed that the nutty, whole grain flavor makes a better
croissant. Try it for yourself and see. I tried the recipe with both all-purpose and
bread flour, and I really couldn’t tell the difference between the two doughs, so
use whichever white flour you prefer.
You could start in the morning and work this recipe all into one day, but I usually
stretch things out into three days. On day 1, I usually spend 10 minutes or so
stirring up the dough, then it is refrigerated until the next day. On day 2, I fold the
dough to laminate the butter in. This requires being around the house for 4-5
hours, since the dough is folded initially to work in the butter, then folded in two
more sessions, each separated by two hours with refrigeration in between. At least
2 hours after the final folding session on day 2, the dough is ready to be rolled out
and cut into croissants. To serve on the morning of day 3, I’ll refrigerate the
shaped croissants overnight on day 2, then bake in the morning of day 3. Anyway,
try them out and let me know what you think.
Multigrain Croissant Dough
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt with a large spoon.
Stir in the warmed milk and melted butter until mixture is uniform. Cover and
allow to rise at room temperature in a draft-free area for 2-3 hours. Refrigerate the
dough for 2-72 hours prior to working in the butter.
To warm the butter to just under room temperature, I typically take it out of the
refrigerate and allow it to warm up on the counter for about an hour prior to
working into the dough.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Fold on a well floured work surface a
few times to eliminate sticky areas. Roll dough out to a large rectangle, about 21 x
15” with the long side nearest you. Mentally divide the dough into thirds along the
short axis of the dough, creating thirds that each measure 15 x 7”.
Using a cheese cutter or sharp knife, cut each butter stick lengthwise into several
¼” thick slices. Cover the left 2/3 of the dough with with the butter slices, leaving
½” around the edges. Smear the butter around a bit on the dough connect the
slices and to cover the entire left 2/3 surface of the dough. Fold the unbuttered
right third over the middle third of the dough and then the left third over the other
two thirds as if folding a letter for a business envelope. Push dough together along
the edges to seal in the butter.
Rotate the dough a quarter turn so that the long side is again nearest you. Pound
the dough a bit with your hand or the rolling pin to help work in the butter, then
roll out again into a large rectangle, about 15x21”. Again, fold the dough into thirds
as if folding a letter for a business envelope. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic
wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the plastic and again roll out into a large rectangle with
the long side nearest you. Again fold into thirds as if folding a letter for a business
envelope. Pound the dough a bit with your hand or rolling pin to help work in the
butter and then roll the dough out again into a large rectangle and again fold into
thirds as if folding a letter into a business envelope. Again wrap the dough tightly
in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
At this point you may proceed with rolling out the dough and forming the
croissants or you may leave the dough refrigerated up to three days until ready to
use. Also at this point half the dough may be frozen to use later.
Shaping and Baking Your Croissants
Single batch of croissant dough (see above)
Egg wash (see below)
Egg Wash Ingredients
Amount Large egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Pinch of Kosher salt
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up a few minute
while you prepare the baking sheets. Line three baking sheets with parchment
Place a single batch of dough on a floured work surface then roll the chilled dough
out into a large rectangle, about 15 x 21” with the long side nearest you. Divide the
dough into thirds along the long axis, making three 5 x 21” strips with the long
side nearest you. Cut each strip into a triangle with a 4” or so base. Flip over each
triangle and then gently stretch so that the long sides of the triangle are equal. Cut
a 1” slit into the base of the triangle, then roll up and shape into a crescent, with
the point on the underside. Place 2” apart on baking sheets.
Lightly beat the egg with a pinch of salt and the heavy cream. Brush the croissants
with the egg wash mixture.
Cover the croissants lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room
temperature for about 1 hour while the oven warms up. If you are planning on
baking croissants the next morning, place in a refrigerator after covering with light
plastic and allow to rise in the refrigerator until the next morning.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Remove croissants from the refrigerator if needed and
allow to rest at while the oven is warming up. Brush the croissants again with egg
wash. Place the sheets of croissants in the oven and turn the oven down to 400
degrees. Bake 24-28 minutes, rotating pans halfway thru baking if possible. Bake
until tops are starting to turn chestnut brown. Remove from oven and cool on a
The croissants freshen up very well in an oven or toaster oven, 350 F for 7
minutes if frozen, 4 minutes if not frozen.
Baked croissants freeze very well with freshening as outlined above. Croissant
dough can be frozen but croissants made from frozen dough will be a bit smaller
and more dense than ones made from fresh dough. Several hours before using the
frozen dough move it from the freezer to the refrigerator.