I am constantly reminded that life is full of unpredictability; and that not knowing what is ahead of us is all part of the fun. Just a few short weeks ago, upon my husband's request, I made croissants for his birthday. Even with my very limited skill and knowledge of baking, I was able to create a delicious and beautiful baked good. I was so pleased with the results, and I truly believed that my journey down croissant lane was finished.
Enter the Gluten Free Croissant.
So many of my friends in real life and online are gluten free, that I was inspired to create a gluten free croissant. I made one version with butter and one with some fabulous ghee that I happened upon at the market. Although the dough was not as forgiving as gluten dough, I was again able to create a gluten free croissant that had unbelievable taste and texture. Again, I believed that my journey down croissant lane was finished.
Enter the Sourdough Croissant.
As a general practice here at home, we eat mainly soaked grains to aid in digestibility and to maximize nutrient absorption. After Sandrine Perez of Nourishing Our Children suggested that perhaps others within the community would enjoy a sourdough version of my croissant recipe, I began the process. Due to a suggestion to look for flour from outside the US, I found this amazing flour from Italy from Antimo Caputo.
Being a novice baker, I am still learning about flours and how they perform, but I have made a fair amount of breads, and this flour was a pleasure to work. It was smooth and stretchy and soft. On the side of the bag it reads, "Flour with strong, elastic gluten, ideal for dough that requires a long fermentation." And also, "We grind the wheat slowly so as not to damage the starch and protein content." It is labeled as tipo "00" which means 'double zero'. This is the finest of wheat flour and the most refined. Although I tend to avoid very refined flours in my everyday use, in this case, I would use it again. I found it very easy to work with and forgiving.
*This recipe contains affiliate links. By purchasing items via the links, I may earn monetary compensation. This helps keep my blog up and running. The price is the same for you.
Ingredients for the Sponge:
* 127 grams sourdough starter. My starter was einkorn (approximately 1/2 cup)
* 122 grams warm water (not above 100°F)
* 32 grams honey
Ingredients for the Dough:
* 163 grams flour
* 1 tsp salt
Ingredients for the Butter Pack:
* 227grams chilled grass-fed, pastured butter (8oz) Note: keep butter chilled until you need it.
Ingredients for the Egg Wash:
* 1 egg
* 2 TB milk (optional)
* Rolling pin
* Plastic Wrap
1. Make sure your starter is freshly fed and bubbly. Mine had been in the refrigerator for awhile, so I fed it 3 times over the course of 24 hours to get it going again.
2. In glass bowl, measure out and combine starter, honey, warm water, and first measurement of flour (137g). Stir until smooth. This mixture is your sponge and will rise. Since our home is rather cold, mine did not rise a lot; a little less that double. This can take anywhere from 2-10 hours. It will take practice to get the timing right. I let mine go for about 4 hours.
3. To the sponge, add second measurement of flour (163g), sifted and salt. Stir until a soft dough forms, then place on floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
4. Roll dough into a long triangle; approximately 16"x12".
5. Fold into thirds. With shorter end toward you, fold bottom third up to the center of the rectangle and then fold the top third down. Wrap this in plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
6. A few minutes before you are ready to remove the dough from the refrigerator, make the butter pack. Cut butter into equal pieces, forming a square on the parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper over the butter and roll over the pack with a rolling pin until you have one solid square (instead of separate pieces). The resulting square should be about 10"x10".
7. Remove dough ball from refrigerator and again roll out to a 16"x10" rectangle. Place butter pack in the middle and fold the dough around the pack by folding the dough at the top and bottom of the rectangle over and then the sides. You should not see any butter.
8. Using a rolling pin, seal edges. Gently roll dough into a 16"x10" rectangle and again fold into thirds. This is your first turn. You will do this 4 more times. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for an hour.
9. After the fifth time rolling and folding, you will again wrap dough in plastic and place in the fridge to rise. I let mine go overnight. You could let it go for as little as 3 hours. I did not get much of a rise this time around. I am not sure if this has to do with my starter or other factors. In the long run, it did not seem to affect the end product.
10. After removing from fridge, allow to warm for just a minute or two on a floured surface. Using rolling pin, again roll out into a 16"x10" rectangle. Using a ruler, mark every 2" along the top and bottom of the dough.
11. Using the ruler as a guide, use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter to cut dough into strips.
12. Cut each strip into 2 triangles.
13. It is now time to shape the croissants. With the base of triangle toward you, flatten slightly with rolling pin. Then, slice a small slit at the base of the triangle.
14. Using your thumbs to push the center of the roll and your fingers to shape and stretch, roll and form dough into croissants. My young daughter recorded a quick video of me forming the gluten free croissants. The same method is used here.
15. Place shaped croissants onto parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to rise.
16. Again, my shaped croissants did not rise much after a few hours, but I decided to bake them anyhow. Crack egg into bowl and add milk if desired. Brush over top of croissants.
17. With oven preheated to 400°F, bake croissants for 17 minutes (please check at 15 minutes. When croissants are a very faint golden, you'll lower the heat). Lower heat to 325°F and bake for an additional 6 minutes. These times might vary for you based on flour selection, how much your croissants rose, etc.
18. Remove from oven and enjoy. Be careful, they are hot!