Mimicking the crisp, flaky texture of croissants, these Croissant French Bread loaves are everything you love about puff pastry without the intensive time and labor. The layers of buttery goodness rise throughout the length of the baguettes, creating a golden-brown crust meant for tearing and sharing.
Croissant French Bread
Makes 2 (14-inch) loaves
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Yeasted Rough Puff Pastry (recipe follows)
- 1 large egg, (50 grams)
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll Yeasted Rough Puff Pastry into a 12x8½-inch rectangle (about ¼ inch thick). Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, creating 2 (12x4¼-inch) rectangles. Holding each short end of 1 rectangle, tightly twist in opposite directions twice, gently pulling to elongate into a tapered baguette shape. Gently pinch ends, and place on a prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough rectangle. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 1 to 1½ hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash onto 1 baguette. (Do not brush remaining loaf until ready to bake.)
Bake, one loaf at a time, until puffed and golden brown, 13 to 18 minutes. Let cool on pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Yeasted Rough Puff Pastry
Makes 2 (15-inch) Danish or 2 (14-inch) loaves
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) water
- 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 grams) active dry yeast*
- 2¼ cups (286 grams) bread flour
- 1¾ teaspoons (5.25 grams) kosher salt
- ½ cup (113 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup (120 grams) cold whole milk
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons (45 grams) water and ½ teaspoon (2 grams) sugar; heat on high in 10-second intervals until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43°C) to 115°F (46°C). Whisk in yeast until well combined. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat bread flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons (34 grams) sugar at low speed until combined. Add 3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold butter; beat until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup (113 grams) cold butter; beat just until butter is coated with flour.
Add cold milk to yeast mixture. With mixer on low speed, add yeast mixture to flour mixture in a slow, steady stream, beating just until a shaggy dough comes together. (There will still be large pieces of butter.)
Lightly dust work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn out dough onto prepared surface, and shape into a rough 5-inch square. (Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.) Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.
Lightly dust work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn out dough onto prepared surface, and roll into a 10x5-inch rectangle, lightly dusting surface and top of dough with all-purpose flour as needed. (See Note.) Fold dough in half so short sides meet. Pat fold to mark center. Unfold dough, and pull one short side to center. Pull opposite side to center so short sides are touching. Pinch seams together; fold along center seam, like closing a book. (This is called a book-fold.) Rotate dough 90 degrees; repeat rolling and folding procedure once to complete second book-fold. (Dough will start out soft, rough, and somewhat sticky but will come together; turn dough over as needed so edges are rolled out as evenly as possible.) Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 minutes.
Repeat rolling, folding, and rotating procedure twice (a total of 4 book-folds). Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1½ hours or up to overnight.
*We used Red Star® All-Natural Active Dry Yeast.
If at any point the dough is resisting or feels too soft, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing.
SHAPING CROISSANT FRENCH BREAD
Holding the short ends of 1 rectangle, tightly twist one side of the dough two times. Repeat with the other side, twisting the dough in the opposite direction. Gently pull on the dough to elongate the baguette into a tapered shape. Pinch both ends of the baguette to help it keep its shape while baking.
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