Although the majority of people are trying to avoid using stereotypes, still usually when we are hearing about French people there are two things that pop into our minds: the Eiffel Tower and naturally those magnificent croissants. At the beginning it might look difficult to make them, but with a little practice you might become a master.
The process that is used to create these little pieces of heaven is similar to the process that is used to make puff pastry. There is need to alternate the layers in order to achieve the perfect flaky texture. There are patterns that need to be followed and these need to be repeated many times.
Some say that folding a croissant is just like closing a book; you just have to repeat it three times minimum to get that flaky texture you want.
To make the perfect croissants, you will need one and a half cups of whole milk, one and a half tablespoon of dry yeast, three tablespoons of granulated sugar, two tablespoon of vanilla extract, one and a half tablespoon salt, three cups and three tablespoon all-purpose flour, and three sticks of chilled and unsalted butter.
In the first day you will have to make the pre-dough. First heat the milk and pour it in a bowl. Add yeast to the top of it, and also the sugar and the vanilla. Mix the ingredients and leave them to froth for about 5 minutes.
In another bowl mix three cups of flour with salt. You could mix with a wooden spoon or simply with your hands. Gradually add the flour to the milk and mix it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for the night (for about 8 hours).
In the second day get the mix out of the fridge. Get the chilled butter and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Mix it with three tablespoons of flour until it is totally smooth. Put the mixture into a well floured surface and shape it into a 6”square. Wrap it with plastic and put it into the fridge. This is the butter block.
The pre-dough should be made a square on floured surface. Stretch the corners to make an X shape. Put the butter block in the middle and fold the corners over the block. Sprinkle with flour and roll it into a rectangle.
Fold the right and the left side to the middle and turn the dough 90 degrees; fold the left side to the middle. Put the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes then leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes. Repeat the steps two more times.
Roll the dough and cut triangles. Roll the triangles starting at the base and in the end spread them with egg yolk and let them rest for two hours.
Bake the croissants for 30 minutes in a preheated oven until they get a golden color.
Enjoy the croissants as soon as they are cooked, because they taste their best when they are freshly baked.
Keep in mind they have plenty of butter and that makes them perfect to be served with steaming coffee or with tea and a spot of orange marmalade.