Salted Caramel Croissants (Kouign-amann)
Oh, the Saturday mornings we’ve driven to Pint Size Bakery on a quest for buttery, flaky croissants, only to find them sold out! When Sauce reader Lisa Walther asked us to nab this recipe, we were more than happy to oblige. Saturday is saved.
1 Tbsp. fresh cake yeast, firmly packed
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
¼ cup unbleached bread flour
1½ tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt, divided
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
Vegetable oil to coat
1 lb. unsalted butter, chilled
3 to 4 cups sugar, divided
• In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, crumble the yeast into 14 ounces of room temperature water. Add 4¾ cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, 1½ teaspoons sea salt and the room temperature butter and mix slowly on low speed 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture is uniformly moist and butter is incorporated into the dough.
• Lightly coat the dough in vegetable oil, then wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, prepare the butter block, or beurrage. In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix the cold butter, remaining ¼ cup all-purpose flour and remaining 1 tablespoon sea salt on medium speed. Use your hands to shape the beurrage into a 6-by-9-inch rectangle approximately ½-inch thick on a piece of parchment paper. Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes until pliable but not greasy. If it is too soft, refrigerate up to 20 minutes.
• Remove the risen dough from the refrigerator, punch it down and fold in half to deflate. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle approximately ½-inch thick.
• Place the beurrage on the bottom half of the dough rectangle and fold the top half over the beurrage, crimping the edges lightly to seal, as if making a calzone or hand pie.
• Lightly dust the work surface and dough with flour, then roll it out again into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle ½-inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds, as if it were a letter to fit in an envelope. Dust off any extra flour between the folds.
• Rotate the folded dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding method again. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 to 25 minutes.
• Sprinkle the work surface with sugar. Roll and fold the dough 2 more times, rotating 90 degrees between each turn, and spreading 1½ cup sugar on the work surface and dough as you go. Do not dust off excess in between turns or folds; the sugar creates the caramel. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 to 25 minutes.
• Sprinkle the work surface with the remaining sugar and roll out the dough a final time, creating a 12-by-16-inch rectangle ½-inch thick. The croissant dough will keep frozen up to 1 week or refrigerated up to 12 hours.
• Slice the rolled croissant dough into 12 4¼-inch squares with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Pull the opposite corners of each square to the center and press lightly, making a clover shape.
• Butter the cups of a jumbo muffin pan or 12 pastry rings. Place each croissant in a cup and let the dough rise in a warm place 30 to 35 minutes until puffed (previously frozen dough may take up to 1 hour).
• Preheat the oven to 390 degrees. Bake croissants 25 to 30 minutes until dark golden brown. Unmold while warm and serve.