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Web's Best Recipe Croissant

Is there a greater treat anywhere than a fresh, fragrant, buttery recipe croissant?

Let's be honest about this. Croissants are not easy to make. They are not fast to make. They are not low calorie and certainly not low fat. However, they are good. Darned good. And therefore, making your own croissants is worth the trouble from time to time.

Trivia: The croissant is thought to have originated in Buddapest in 1686. Bakers working at night raised an alarm when Turkish invaders attempted to dig into the city. Later, the bakers created the crescent-shaped delicacies to mock the Turkish flag.

And now, on to your recipe croissant. You will find three recipes here. Two are made with white flour and one with whole wheat flour. One, marked easy, is somewhat simpler to make than the other two.

Tip: It is important to keep the dough cold while working with it. You will get best results if you roll the dough on a cool, marbled surface, using a cool marble rolling pin.

Tip #2: Each time you cover recipe croissant dough, wrap securely to keep air out. Wrapping prevents an unwanted skin from forming.

Tip #3:Cut the dough of recipe croissant with a very sharp knife or pizza cutter.

Tip #4: Resist eating your croissants when they come from the oven. Croissants need time for the layers of dough to settle.

Recipe Croissant #1 -- Basic

1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter (first amount)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup cold butter (second amount)

Combine milk, first amount of butter, sugar and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

While mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the water and add it to the milk. Place the liquid in a mixer and add the flour. Using the dough hook, mix until the dough is elastic and sticky.

Place in a bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Place in refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

While recipe croissant dough is chilling, soften the remaining cold butter by pounding with a rolling pin.

Roll the dough on a floured board to form a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread the butter over 2/3 of the rectangle closest to you. Fold the unbuttered third over the center third. Then fold the bottom 1/3 over the doubled portion. Swing the dough around a quarter turn. Roll it again into a 1/4-inch thick oblong. Fold again in thirds.

Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more. When the dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and repeat the folding and turning twice more. Then roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness once more. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares then cut the squares on the bias to form two triangles. Roll each triangle beginning with the wide side, then shape the rolls into crescents. Place on baking sheets such as the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Baking Sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave enough room for each croissant to triple in size. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

Preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and continue to bake another 15 minutes.

Remove recipe croissant from the oven. Cool and enjoy.

Recipe Croissant #2 -- an Easy Recipe

1 cup warm milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar (second amount)
1 beaten egg
1/2 cups melted and cooled butter
4 cups flour
1 cup cold butter (second amount)
1 egg beaten with cold water for wash

Stir warm milk and sugar together. Add yeast then let stand 10 minutes. Stir well. Add flour; beat well. Add milk, sugar and egg. Beat until smooth. Add butter; beat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place the 4 cups of flour and the chilled butter. Cut butter into flour until pieces are the size of beans (not too small). Pour the liquid batter into the flour mixture; stir until moistened. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove from refrigerator. Press into a compact ball on a floured board and divide into 4 parts. Roll each into a circle 12" or 16". Cut each circle into 6 or 8 pie-shaped wedges. For each croissant, roll a wedge towards the point. Shape into a crescent and place on ungreased baking sheet. Let rise at room temperature until doubled. This could take in excess of two hours.

Brush each with egg beaten with cold water. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place croissants in oven. Lower temperature to 350 F and bake recipe croissant for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.

Recipe Croissant #3 -- Whole Wheat

2 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
3/4 cup warm water (first amount)
2 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 egg
1/2 cup water (second amount)
1 tbsp water

Combine yeast and warm water, stirring to dissolve yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 of flour; add water and honey; whisk until smooth. Cover bowl and let stand 1 1/2 hours.

Combine remaining flour with butter, and flatten butter pieces. Pour yeast batter into flour mixture; fold together with spatula; just moisten flour without breaking butter pieces.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Pat dough down and roll into a 18" x 12" rectangle; if too sticky, sprinkle with flour. Use a metal spatula to fold 1/3 of dough toward center; then fold from other side, 1/3 of dough over first 1/3. Lift folded dough off work surface, and scrape surface clean. Sprinkle work area with flour and repeat, rolling and folding 3 more times. Dough must be hard; if not, freeze for 45 minutes.

Pat dough into rectangle. Cut into 6 equal parts. Each part will make 4 croissants. You will work with one piece at a time, and hold others in refrigerator until ready to use. Roll each piece individually into 5 1/2" x 14" rectangles. Cut into two 5 1/2" x 7" pieces. Cut each piece diagonally to form 4 triangles; roll from wide end to point. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Curve ends to crescent shape.

Beat egg with water to form a wash; brush croissants with this and set them aside 1 hour. Wash again with the egg/water mixture. Bake at 375 degrees until puffed and brown. Let cool and serve.

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