My Favorite Croissants

For a long time I’ve been searching for a croissant recipe that will suit my taste. I’ve tried many recipes and they were all good, but still not what I was looking for. I really like a rustic kind of croissant, that’s crispy outside and has nice, textured layers inside. If you like the same, look no further because this recipe from the Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook is the right one for you.

This baking book is SO good, I absolutely love every single recipe inside of it. There are also step by step directions and pictures for making bread, croissant dough, danishes dough, etc. If you didn’t get the book yet, please do, you will be inspired, mesmerized and if you are not already in love with baking, you will definitely be after going through this book. Please read David Lebovitz impression of The Bourke Street Bakery – Sydney, AU.

This recipe might seem a bit too long and complicated, but in the end it’s just repeating one same process three times.  Once you start making it, it is really simple and the results, oh the results are exceptional! 🙂 Give yourself plenty of time. I usually start making the dough in the late afternoon or evening. There is a lot waiting and resting. I do the final two steps the next morning when I plan to have croissants for breakfast.

This quantity of dough will make about 18 large croissants. That was way too much for the four of us, so I divided the dough in half and made bear claws the next day. Making pain au chocolat would be an idea too.

Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe

My Favorite Croissants

[printable recipe]

(Recipe from The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook)

Makes approximately 18 large croissants

For the ferment

(Ferment is a small amount of dough that needs to be made first and will help your croissant dough develop and rise):

  • 100 g plain flour, chilled (3.5 oz)
  • 55 ml whole milk, chilled (1 ¾ fl oz)
  • 5 g (or 1 tsp) brown sugar, chilled
  • A pinch of salt, chilled (1/2 tsp)
  • 5 g fresh yeast, chilled (1/8 oz)
  • 20 g unsalted butter, softened (3/4 oz)

Make the Ferment:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until it becomes a ball. Knead it for about 10 minutes until becomes elastic and smooth. If using electric mixer, use dough hook and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.

Put the ferment in a bowl covered with plastic and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to ferment. After, store the pre-ferment in the fridge overnight (this can be kept for few days in the fridge).

For the croissant dough

(Chill everything in the fridge before you start making the dough, including the flour and sugar):

  • 935 g strong white flour (2 lb 1 oz)
  • 550 ml whole milk (19 fl oz)
  • 60g brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 15 g salt (3 tsp)
  • 35 g fresh yeast (1 ¼ oz)
  • Plus 500 g unsalted butter (1 lb 2 oz)  for laminating (the rolling and folding process for the dough)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 80 ml (about 1/3 cup) milk
  • Pinch of salt

Make the Dough:

Divide the ferment into 8-10 small pieces, mix it together with all other ingredients, except butter, in a mixing bowl until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer the dough ball to a bench and knead for 10 – 15 minutes (by hand) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, and doesn’t tear when stretched gently. If using electric mixer, using dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 -4 minutes, followed by high speed for another 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a bowl covered with plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Laminate the Dough:

Before starting the dough laminating (i.e. incorporating butter into the dough) remove the butter from the fridge. Pound the butter with rolling pin between two sheets of baking paper into 20 cm (8 inches) flat square. If the butter becomes too soft, store it in the fridge for 15 minutes before using.

Take the dough out of the fridge, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 20 x 40 cm (8 x 16 inches). Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over the top. Seal the edges of the dough together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Gently and carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 x 90 cm (8 x 35 inches) (approximately 3 times longer than the piece you started with). Mentally divide the rectangle into three equal sections, top, middle and bottom. Fold the top section over the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle, like folding a letter. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag or cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Take the dough out of the fridge and rotate the dough 90 degree so that the dough will be rolled in opposite direction from previous fold. Repeat the rolling, folding, and resting process as above two more times. There will be three foldings and rollings (the term is “three turns”) altogether and you need to rotate the dough 90 degree with each rolling.

After the final rolling and folding, store the laminated dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into croissants.

Make the egg wash by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Take the laminated dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a rectangle about 25 x 100 cm (10 – 40 inches) with 5 -8 mm (1/4 inch) thickness.

Trim the edges of the dough so that it becomes a neat rectangle.

Cut the dough into triangles with 9-cm (3.5 in) base and 21-cm (8 in) height. Stack triangle sheets on baking sheet/papers and chill for 10 minutes.

Shape the Dough:

Take the chilled triangles out of the fridge and shape into croissants. Gently pull the tip of triangle to make the triangle longer. Working from the base, roll it towards the tip. Make sure that the tip is tucked underneath the croissant.

Place shaped croissants on trays lined with baking sheet or paper.

Shaped croissants can be kept in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. Take them out of the fridge next day and follow the proofing and baking steps as below. Brush the surface lightly with egg-wash. Cover the tray with tea towel. Let it stand at warm room temperature for 2 hours until it almost double in size. Croissants are proofed and ready for the bake when the layers become visible and the croissants are very soft and wobbly.

Bake the croissants:

Preheat the oven to 240 C (465 F)

Brush the surface of croissants with egg wash before baking. Put the croissants into the oven, then immediately reduce oven temperature to 190 C (375) and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until deeply golden brown.

Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Adding ferment to the dough mixture
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill
Rolling butter into 8X8 inch square before putting in the fridge to chill

Croissant preparation 1

Croissant dough up close - notice all the layers!
Croissant dough up close – notice all the layers!

Croissant preparation 2

Almost ready for the oven
Almost ready for the oven
Fresh from the oven!
Fresh from the oven!
Layers of goodness!
Layers of goodness!
 Croissants - bourke street bakery recipe
 
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Poppy Seed Challah

The month of March was just not very productive for me in any segment of my life… After shredding a part of my finger early in the month, I didn’t have much desire to cook, bake or type. Lack of sunshine and warmth took its toll… I was so hoping for spring to come and all we got was snow and bitter cold. As I write this it’s still cold out, but the sun is shining, the trees and flowers are budding and it makes such a difference. I also took a few days off from work to spend with my family and to do the things I love – bake and paint.

Poppy seed challah

I really missed getting my hands sticky with dough and having the aroma of fresh baked goods around the house. All I could think of was to bake something good, warm and familiar and nothing sounded better than this challah bread topped with poppy seeds. Every bakery in Bosnia sells this bread. Their sizes range anywhere from a small knot, to an individual size challah to a large family challah. For me, it is an essential part of a good breakfast! It can be eaten just plain or spread with butter, jam, honey, paté or anything you may like. It can be used for a sandwich or for the bread pudding. It looks great on a holiday table!

I painted this while taking a break from baking
I painted this while taking a break from baking

Poppy Seed Challah

{print recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour (+ flour for kneading)
  • 21 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup + 2 TBSP) warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml (about 1/4 cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ TBSP salt
  • Milk for brushing
  • 2 TSBP poppy seeds

Preparation:

  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a deep indent in flour, add 1 TBSP of sugar and crumble up the yeast. Lightly mixing by hand, add ¼ of the quantity of water. Mix only inside the indent, just to get a small ball of starter. Cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the rest of the water with oil, egg and salt and stir well. Put the flour bowl back on the mixer and mixing at a slow speed start adding the liquid. Switch to medium speed setting and mix for about 3-, rest for about 3- and then mix for 3 more minutes.
  3. Dough will look nice and smooth. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Lightly dust your working surface with flour and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on what you want to make, a three- or four-strand challah.
  5. Shape each piece into a foot long strand. Transfer all the pieces onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Braid the strands to form a challah. Cover the bread and let it rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Brush the bread with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  7. Bake at 200 C or 395 F for about 35-40 minutes or until challah gets a nice,  golden-brown color.

***More about shaping a four-strand challah here.

Proofing yeast for challah dough
Proofing yeast for challah dough

Making challah dough

Making challag

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Poppy Seed Challah

Sweet Yeasted Buns: recreating mom’s recipe

Numerous times I tried to recreate these sweet, fluffy buns that mom used to make when we were children. I don’t have a recipe because mama always made these without one! I think today they have turned out just right – right amount of sweetness, softness, right texture and above all the right taste! I know she would be proud of me – Happy Birthday Mama! 🙂

Sweet Yeasted Buns                    Printable recipe

(KORPICE- is the name of these buns, which in Bosnian language means “little baskets”)

Dough:

  • 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup (295 ml) warm milk
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) fresh yeast
  • ½ lemon (zest only)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) butter (softened)
  • Flour for kneading

Filling:

  • 3.5 oz (100 g) finely chopped walnuts
  • 3.5 (100 g) fresh blackberries (mashed)
  • 5.2 oz (150 g) blackberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

***1 Tablespoon powder sugar + 1 pack of vanilla sugar for dusting

Preparation:

For the dough combine the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl. Make an indent in the flour. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and lightly pour the milk into the flour. Mix the dough until almost combined, add the egg and the yolks, mix some more and at the end add butter.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, cover and let it rest until double in size. The dough supposed to be medium firm. Once is rises is will be stretchy, soft and easy to work with.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Just mix all ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Once the dough is ready place it on a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle (approx. size 12 X 24 inches or 30 X 60 cm). With a pizza knife cut it into 24 squares.  Place some of the filling in the middle of each square, pick up opposite corners together as to form a little basket. Pinch the sides good so the filling doesn’t come out.

Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until you see nice golden-brown tops.

While still warm, dust with mixture of sugar and vanilla sugar. Serve warm with coffee or a cup of milk.

YUM! ENJOY! 🙂

Pancakes: Once you go ricotta, you’ll never go back!

I have never been a big fan of pancakes… Since I wasn’t born in the USA I didn’t grow up having pancake breakfasts, I didn’t know what maple syrup was, I just didn’t know they existed at all. My first experience eating real American pancakes was quite some years ago at a classic pancake house during breakfast with some coworkers. I remember quite well I ordered pecan pancakes and coffee that morning. They looked fabulously stacked with the butter on the top and maple syrup dripping from the edges. I enthusiastically dug in, but to my disappointment they somehow tasted like dish-washing detergent… and I am serious when I say this! It was such a let down! I tried to finish them taking big gulps of coffee to flush them down. That first experience somehow just got me into thinking that I should never eat pancakes again. Luckily, in years to come I have had some great pancakes at friends’ homes, homemade and all yummy, but I still didn’t have the courage to try to make them myself. Since my daughter is a big fan of pancakes I’ve made them for her a few times and they’ve turned out OK, but still for me that wasn’t it. Practicing and experimenting with ricotta, I managed to come up with a recipe that totally suits my family’s taste buds. The batter is so light and fluffy, the pancakes are airy and just sweet enough. Adding some berries to it, just further enhances the taste! I will say it again: Once you go ricotta, you’ll never go back!!!

Ricotta pancakes with blackberries                        Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (divided)
  • 8 oz  (225 g) ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract (or pack of vanilla sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (96 g) flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • Blackberries (or blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

Preparation:

  1. Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until fluffy. Set aside.
  2. In one bowl whisk the egg yolks with vanilla, add ricotta cheese, milk and lemon zest and mix until combined.
  3. In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Add the flour into the egg mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in the egg whites and lightly mix by hand just until combined. Batter will be very fluffy.
  5. Heat a griddle or a pan, butter lightly and using a small ladle pour the batter onto it. Add a few blackberries on each pancake and bake on each side for a minute or two until golden-brown.
  6. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Yum, yum, yummm!

Bon Appétit!