Feather bread croissants (pains au chocolat) pt 1

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
2 teaspoons Bread machine yeast
2¼ cup All-purpose flour; * see note
2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Instant nonfat dry milk solids
1 tablespoon Sugar
⅞ cup Water
4 ounces Unsalted butter; (1 stick)
1 large Egg; beaten with
1 tablespoon Water; for glazing
3 \N Bars (1.45-oz) semisweet chocolate


* Do not use bread flour.

Add the yeast, flour, salt, dry milk solids, sugar, and water to the bread machine pan and place in the machine. Process the ingredients on the dough setting until well incorporated, with no dry ingredients clinging to the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes on most machines. After the dough ahs been mixed, turn off the machine and let the dough rise in the machine until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Meanwhile, place the stick of butter between 2 layers of plastic wrap or waxed paper. With your fingers, flatten and shape the butter into a 6-inch square that is about ⅓ inch thick. Chill for at least 15 minutes. The butter must be the consistency of vegetable shortening when you use it. If it is too hard, it will tear the dough; if it is too soft it will ooze out the sides. Warm it or chill it accordingly.

When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, press the dough into a 13-inch square. Unwrap the chilled butter and place it diagonally in the center of the dough square. Bring the corners of the dough over the butter to meet in the center (it will look like an envelope). Press the center and edges of the dough to flatten and seal in the butter.

Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18 x 9 inch rectangle. Do not press too firmly. If you do, the butter will ooze out or the dough will tear (if it does tear, just pinch to patch). Fold one 9-inch end of the dough rectangle over the center third of the dough. Fold this over the remaining third. Roll the dough out again into an 18 x 9-inch rectangle. Fold it as before to form the 3 layers and place in a plastic bag or wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes and then repeat the rolling, folding, and chilling process twice more.

Refrigerate the dough overnight after the last folding.

To cut and shape the croissants, cut the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic and return it tot he refrigerator while you work with the other half. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch circle.

Cut it into 6 wedges. Gently pull the base of each wedge to a width of about 6 inches and the length of each wedge to about 7 inches. Starting from the base, roll up the wedge. Place the croissant, top-point underneath, on a heavy-duty baking sheet. Curve and bring the base points toward the center to form a crescent. Roll and shape all the croissants, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Brush the croissants lightly with the egg glaze. Then, allow them to rise in a warm place until light and puffy, about 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the croissants with the egg glaze one more time right before putting them in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Remove the croissants from the baking sheet to cool on a rack. Serve warm, with jam or your favorite sandwich filling.

PAINS AU CHOCOLAT (Chocolate Croissants) Chocolate Croissants are a Parisian variation of plain croissants. Sweet and simple.

Prepare the croissant dough as directed.

After you cut it in half, roll each half into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut each half into six 7 x 4-inch rectangles.

Break apart three 1.45-ounce bars of semisweet or dark chocolate to make 12 rectangles, each about 3 x 1 ½ inches. Place one piece of chocolate lengthwise along one short end of each piece of dough. Roll to enclose the chocolate completely and press the edges to seal. Place the croissants, seam side down, on a large baking sheet. Proceed to glaze and bake as directed.

Notes: When we began to make croissants, our goal was to make the flakiest, lightest roll ever created. Naysayers insisted, "No way in a bread machine, the machines will overknead and develop the gluten." Well, hadn't they ever heard of the on and off button? With croissants, we use the machine only to mix the dough, not to knead it. Then we turn the machine off and let the dough rise in the pan.

With croissants, less is more. Add as little extra flour as possible to keep the dough manageable and, other than the folding process, handle it as little as possible. You will be rewarded with a most sublime pastry, full of blistered, buttery bits that flake and are crisp.

continued in part 2

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