Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Green Tea Croissants

There's this program called "peaksaver" in Canada where electricity costs more during the daytime on weekdays and less at night and on weekends, so as to lower the stress on the power grid. This means I save most of the baking for weekends. Sometimes it becomes too hard to wait for the weekend and I find myself getting started on a weekday. Last week was one of those weeks, but I thought of the perfect thing to make: croissants. Croissants are made by folding a layer of solid fat (usually butter) into a yeast dough, and folding the resultant dough over and over again to achieve many layers. Making them can take up to a few days because the dough has to rest in the fridge for hours between each fold. Starting on a Thursday night made them ready for baking on Saturday. I combined cream cheese and butter with some green tea powder for the fat layer for half the recipe, and just butter and green tea powder for the other half. Since I only had whole wheat flour at home, I used that for both recipes. Both turned out alright. The cream cheese croissants were softer while the butter ones were crispier.

The Recipe:
Fat layer:
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g plain cream cheese (or use all butter if desired)
  • 2 tsp green tea powder
  • 250 g whole wheat flour
  • 25 g pea fibre (not really necessary)
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • ~1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Softened the butter and cream cheese, add green tea powder, and stir together to combine. Roll into a large, flat square about 6" (~15 cm) wide between two pieces of plastic wrap. Store on a flat surface in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes to let it firm up. Meanwhile, prepare the dough by stirring all ingredients together and kneading it into an smooth, elastic ball. Roll out into a rectangle about 7" by 14" (~17.5 by 35 cm) large. The idea is to get it slightly larger than twice the size of the butter layer. Place the chilled butter layer on one side of the rolled out dough and fold the other side over so that the butter is sandwiched between two layers of dough. Make sure there are no air pockets between dough and butter and pinch the sides to seal the butter in. 

Roll the dough out a bit so that it becomes a rectangle with one set of edges longer than the original 7". Fold into three like a letter, wrap loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for anywhere between 1 to 8 hours. Repeat this roll, fold, and chill process again three to four more times. 

When the final dough has had time to chill and rise slightly in the fridge, it is ready to be rolled out, cut, and shaped into a croissant. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a layer just less than 0.5" (~1 cm) thick. Cut into triangles and add a small slit at the base of the triangle to help with even baking. Roll into crescents starting at the base, and place on a lined baking sheet. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours and bake in a 350F (~175C) oven for 20 – 25 min. Allow to cool on a rack. 

Green tea butter sitting on dough

Cut out dough, ready to be shaped into a croissant

Before baking (this is the cream cheese and butter batch)

Before baking (this is the pure butter batch)

Fresh from the oven (this is the butter batch)

Texture of the cream cheese and butter croissants (retained green tea colour better than the butter ones)

Texture of the pure butter croissants

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