Croissant dough is essentially just puff pastry dough with some yeast and sugar added to it. It requires about half the number of folds (“turns” as they’re known in the trade), so it’s less time consuming to make. This dough freezes extremely well, for up to about two months, so make extra
For the dough (détrempe):
22 ounces (about 4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) instant yeast yeast
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) milk at room temperature
4 ounces (1/2 cup) half-and-half at room temperature
For the butter slab:
3 Tbsp flour
12 ounces cold Euro-style (cultured) butter
In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle, combine 2 cups of the flour with the salt, sugar and yeast. Combine the milk and half-and-half and add it to the flour mixture. Beat on low for about 2 minutes until a batter is formed. Add the additional flour a few ounces at a time until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not use all the flour). Switch to the dough hook (or turn it out onto a lightly floured board) and knead on mediums speed for about five minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap refrigerate it for an hour.
About half an hour before you’re ready to roll the pastry, take the butter out of the refrigerator. Let it sit on the counter for about twenty minutes to soften slightly (less time will be required if it’s warm in your kitchen). While you’re waiting, make two double-layered pieces of plastic wrap. When the butter has softened slightly, place it on one of the plastic wrap pieces and sprinkle the flour over it. Lay on the other piece of plastic wrap and begin pounding the butter with a rolling pin, beating, folding and mashing as demonstrated in the How to Laminate Dough post under the Techniques menu. You want to end up with a large, flat slab with all the flour incorporated.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and proceed according to the How to Laminate Dough tutorial, making your butter and dough envelope. Give the dough two “turns” — letter-style folds — one after the other. After than, cover the dough and let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour. The last turn is a style not shown in the tutorial, but it’s call the “book” turn. It’s not difficult, it simply involves folding each edge of the sheet in toward the middle, then folding the one side over the other, closing the dough mass like a book. The end result is that the dough is folded into four layers.
The folding done, return the dough to the refrigerator and let it chill at least four hours before using.