Martha's Niece Sophie Herbert Slater Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Forming Perfect Croissants
Martha knows croissants. That's beyond dispute. So when she first tried her niece Sophie Herbert Slater's sourdough version, she knew they were something special. "I tasted one the day after they were baked, and I liked it better than the first day," Martha said. "And they were good even the day after that. I was shocked, in a wonderful way." That's why our founder asked Sophie, a self-taught expert on the subject of baking with wild yeast, to give us a primer on how to laminate and form croissants. This step-by-step guide starts with the dough rolled out into a square, so be sure to visit the Sourdough Croissants recipe for the steps needed to get to this point, including making the levain and the dough.
Encase the Butter
Lay a rolled-out mixture of butter and flour in the center of your dough square. Roll the dough corners farther out, so you can drape them over it.
Flatten the Package
Roll the dough-covered butter into an 8-by-24-inch rectangle. It's easiest to push the pin away from your body, Sophie says.
Fold It in Thirds
Bring the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then pull the top third down over that.
Turn It 90 Degrees
Repeat rolling and folding into thirds at least twice more. The goal is to keep the butter encased in the dough so it will form layers. "If the butter starts to ooze out in here, just sprinkle a little flour on the spot and put it back in the fridge to firm up before continuing to roll," says Sophie.
Roll Out the Dough
After refrigerating for at least four hours (and up to overnight), roll out the laminated dough into a 16 1/2-by-23-inch rectangle.
Cut It in Half Lengthwise
Use a pastry or pizza wheel to trim the edges and divide the dough into two 8-by-22 1/2-inch pieces.
Cut each half of the dough into five equal rectangles (each will be 8 by 4 1/2 inches). Cut those rectangles diagonally into 20 triangles.
Form the Crescents
Turn each triangle so the short side faces you, and roll it away from you, stretching the tip out as you go. Bend each into a crescent, and let rise until puffy.
Brush on Egg Wash
To create a glossy, golden exterior, coat each crescent, then bake. "The wash results in beautiful dark-brown stripes," Martha says.