Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Croissants au Levain

Since my first attempt with a starter with the Bread Baking Babes some time ago I fell in love with sourdough baking. When I found this recipe in 'The Village Baker's Wife' I had to try it and it was a hit ! The croissants are very good and they have a subtle sourdough taste that I loved a lot. The only problem is that the recipe makes too many of them so I tried to freeze them raw but it killed my sourdough and they didn't rise anymore after that !! So next time I'll freeze them after I bake them (as my friend Cinzia had strongly suggested since the beginning !)
I'm submitting this recipe to Susan's (Wild) Yeastspotting this week.

Croissants au levain


1/2 cup liquid sourdough starter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour


1 package active dry yeast (I omitted the yeast)
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup butter softened and cut into small chuncks
Scant 1/2 cup powdered milk
7 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons salt
1/2 cup sugar


2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) cold butter


1 egg
2 Tablespoons cold water

In a medium bowl, make the sponge, diluting the starter with the water. Add the whole wheat flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. The mixture will be the consintency of a thick batter. Let rise until doubled.
For the dough, dilute the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Set aside until creamy.(I didn't do this part)
Place the sponge and the remaining 1 3/4 cups of waterin a large bowl. Add the 1/ cup of butter and the milk powder and mix with a wooden spoon until moderately incorporated. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
In a small bowl combine the bread flour salt and sugar. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet one, stirring with a wooden spoon or plastic dough scraper. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be damp and sticky but workable. Knead the dough for no more than a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, working out any dry spots. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for an hour at room temperature.
Punch the dough down, then shape it into a flat 12 x 6 x 3 inch square. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 15 hours.
For the roll-in wrap the butter in parchement and pound it with a rolling pin until it's soft and pliable. Then, remove the parchement paper and, on a lightly floured work surface, with a rolling pin and a metal dough scraper alternately roll and shape the butter into a rectangle measuring 10 x 10 x172 inches thick.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 24 x 12 inch rectangle. Place the slab of butter on the right half of the dough, fold the other half of the dough on the butter, and pinch the edges together to form a flat pillow.
Cover the dough pillow and tranfer it to the refrigerator and rest for 10 minutes. To complete the first turn, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to approximately 30 x 12 inches. Fold the dough in thirds, then re-cover and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Complete the second turn, rolling the dough out the opposite way and folding it in thirds again. Cover the dough and store overnight in the refrigerator. Repeat the process one more time the next day.
After the third turn is completed, cut the dough in half. Cover one half and store in the refrigerator. Roll the other half into a 16 inch wide rectangle 1/8 inch thick and cut into two 8 inch wide wide strips. Cut each strip into 9 or 10 triangles with 5 inch bases. Starting with the base of the triangles, fold 1/4 inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point. Repeat with the remaining dough or reserve it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper. Place the croissants at least two inches a part . Whisk together the egg and water to make the glaze. Lightly brush each croissants with the glaze. Let rise, uncovered, for 4 to 5 hours at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400° . Brush the croissants once more with the glaze. Place baking sheets on the center rack in the oven and bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. BUON APPETITO !!!