Sunday, April 20, 2014

Whole Wheat Croissants for a #SundaySupper Easter

Sunday mornings, especially Easter Sunday mornings, call for a special treat. Between pancakes, waffles and crepes, our weekend breakfast-brunches always seemed to be carb-heavy, but around Easter (especially if we had a holiday dinner on Good Friday), my Sunday morning treat was a leftover ham sandwich with lots of mustard. Mom (and later, I) would take the cold, sliced ham, cut it into strips and "toast" it in our frying pan - essentially creating bacon but without the grease. Depending on the bread stash we had at home, it would be piled onto crispy-crust kaisers, Texas toast, cinnamon-raisin bread (weird, but it works with the mustard - trust me!) or my favourite, bagel croissants.

What is a bagel croissant? All the good, flaky texture of the croissant, but sturdier and much better for slicing. My personal favourite was poppy-seed, just like the bagel! That said, for straight-up eating, they paled in comparison to the local bakery's homemade croissants that we would get on very special occasions. Those were intensely buttery, flaking at the slightest nudge, and melted in your mouth. Paired with a little bowl of berries and bananas, a cafe au lait (and a cappuccino yoghurt if we had gone to the store recently), it was a very Parisian experience that I just took for granted as a treat!

Around Easter I start thinking of those mornings again, and while croissants are obviously still available, the bakery has shut down and the storebought ones just aren't the same. I knew that there were infinite recipes out there to make your own, but I kept putting it off - they just seemed too finicky! Finally, though, with our turn to host Easter coming around, I bit the bullet and started seriously looking at recipes.

I wanted to make the classic, but with a little bit of a healthier (and more flavourful) twist of whole wheat. Thanks to David Lebovitz, I knew it was possible - but the problem came down to quantity. I wound up combining his fantastic method (step-by-step pictures really helped!) with this one from Zester Daily and a few of my own additions - namely the use of buttermilk and a small portion of shortening mixed with the roll-in butter to minimize oozing. Luckily I chose a fairly cold stretch of the week to get my hands dirty, so the butter stayed (mostly) contained. In any event, they puffed into wonderfully flaky layers with a unique tang, perfect for brunch!

Whole Wheat Croissants

This week's #SundaySupper is celebrating Easter and Passover with a host of treats - all the meals are on the table, including appetizers, desserts and wine too! is our host this week - thanks!

Breakfast/Brunch:

Appetizers:

Savory and Sweet Breads:

Sides and Salads:

Main Dishes:

Desserts:
Sunday Supper Movement
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Whole Wheat CroissantsWhole Wheat Croissants
Makes 6

Butter Paste
70 g salted cultured butter, cool but not fridge-cold
20 g shortening, cool but not fridge-cold

Dough
½ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat bread flour
pinch sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
⅓ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp canola oil

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water

Butter Paste
  1. Beat butter and shortening into a paste.
  2. Scrape onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a rough square. Refrigerate.
Dough
  1. In a bowl, mix the “dough” ingredients together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough.
  2. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes, then place in a zip-top bag or a greased bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the butter mixture and the dough from the fridge and let stand 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
Lamination
  1. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll it into a large square.
  2. Set the block of butter diagonally on the square dough.
  3. Bring each corner of the dough square over the butter square, allowing the edges of the dough to overlap.
  4. Starting from the center of the square, roll the dough out into a rectangle.
    *NB: If at any time the butter is too soft and starts to ooze out the corners, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes before proceeding.
  5. Letter-fold the dough (into thirds).
  6. Reposition the dough so that the open ends are at 12 and 6 o'clock.
  7. Roll the dough into a rectangle, working from the center of the dough.
  8. Fold both open ends of the dough into the middle, then fold the already-folded dough in half (book-fold).
  9. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  10. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough into a rectangle again and repeat both folds as above.
  11. Place in a zip-top bag or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Shaping & Baking
  1. The next day, roll the dough into a ¼” thick rectangle. 
  2. Trim the edges of the dough and cut 6 triangles across the long edge of the dough.
  3. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll dough up into a log.
  4. If desired, bend in the corners to form the traditional crescent shape (or leave straight, either is delicious).
  5. Place on a parchment-lined sheet and let rise 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  7. Whisk together the egg yolk and water and brush pastry with egg wash.
  8. Bake 14-16 minutes, until golden and light.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 239.2
Total Fat: 16.3 g
Cholesterol: 58.6 mg
Sodium: 82.2 mg
Total Carbs: 20.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 3.7 g