On Sunday my parents threw me a Bon Voyage party, a French-themed going away gathering with my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. My dad and I cooked all the food for it -- from scratch I might add, and I made these kimchi and blue cheese croissants from the Milk Bar cookbook we've had for a few years. The only other things I've made from this book, the blueberry and cream cookies and the volcanoes, have been time-consuming but delicious, and these croissants were no different.
To get the kimchi flavor in the croissants, you make a kimchi butter (pictured above) which was one of my favorite parts of the recipe. You puree kimchi and add softened butter, mixing them until it is a creamy, kimchi-flavored and colored delicious butter. This butter is then used as the butter in the dough, rolled into it for the book turns so the croissants come out with the layers of flakiness.
As I tweeted on Saturday night:
Pro tip: making croissants from scratch is a marathon, not a sprint — Indigo (@sunshynedarling) January 5, 2014
My dad told me how it would be a long number of hours, I didn't really realized just how long it would take until I was in the middle of the recipe. For me it was frustrating to do one book turn and then have to wait 30 minutes before doing the next step, although I understand how it is necessary to do that for the layers to form in the dough. I also made a little mistake of not cutting the dough recipe in half before adding in the butter, so I was able to make larger croissants that weren't quite as strongly flavored with kimchi because of it, but they were still incredibly tasty.
Also? Making croissants is MESSY. Like, flour on the counter, on the floor, on your clothes, and seemingly always on your hands no matter how many times you wash them. My croissants weren't perfectly formed, but for the first time making them, I'm really proud of the shape I managed to get. They ended up being huge, which I wasn't expecting, because after you roll the dough and shape them you let them sit for 45 minutes to double in size, and then they double AGAIN in the oven while baking.
For the party we cut the croissants in half, so everyone could have as much as they wanted, and the hole you see in the photo is where the blue cheese was rolled into the dough. Most of it melted while cooking, so next time I would definitely put a LOT more blue cheese inside initially. After more than four hours of cooking, assembly, etc, I am very pleased to announce that these croissants were hit-the-spot delicious. I learned a lot this go around so the next time I make them, or any other kind of croissant, I can make them even better! And, without further ado, the recipe so you can try making them at home:
Kimchi and Blue Cheese Croissants
For the Mother Dough
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 packet active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups water, at room temperature
- grapeseed oil
For the croissants
- 1/2 recipe of Mother Dough, proofed
- 2/3 cup flour, for dusting
- 1 recipe Kimchi Butter
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon water
For the Kimchi Butter
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Stir together the flour, salt, and yest in the bowl of your stand mixer -- do it by hand, using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring by hand as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together into a shaggy mess.
- Engage the bowl and hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, or until the ball of dough is smoother and more cohesive. Then knead for 4 more minutes on the lowest speed. The dough should look like a wet ball and should bounce back softly when prodded.
- Brush a large bowl with oil and dump the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Kimchi and Blue Cheese Croissants
- Punch down and flatten the dough on a smooth, dry countertop. Dust the counter, the dough, and a rolling pin with flour, and roll out the dough to a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches and even in thickness. Grab the butter pad from the fridge and place it on one half of the dough rectangle. Fold the other half of the dough rectangle over the butter pad and pinch the edges shut around it. Drape with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- To make the croissants, you will need to put 3 "double book" turns into the dough to create enough alternating layers of flour and butter to make the croissants rise and puff in the oven. To make your first double book turn, dust your counter surface, your rolling pin, and the dough with flour, remembering to dust under the dough as well. Roll the dough out again to a rectangle 8 x 12 inches and even in thickness. Be gentle with the rolling pin, making sure not to break into any part of the butter bundle or roll so hard that the butter rolls right out of the dough. (If this happens, push it back in and pull a little dough over the escape hole to patch it up.) Make sure there is not an excessive amount of flour left on or underneath your dough -- dust off any excess with your hands.
- Visually divide your dough lengthwise into quarters. Fold the two outer quarters over to the center axis, or spine, of the rectangle of dough, so they meet in the center. Then close the book, bringing one edge to meet the other with the spine now to one side. Wrap it loosely in plastic and transfer it to the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 twice more to make a total of 3 turns. Each time you start a turn, make sure to have the open edges, or seam, of your dough facing away from you. If you put in one too many turns, it will not hurt your dough; if you skip one, you will end up very disappointed in your softbody croissants.
- For your last and final roll-out, dust your counter surface, your rolling pin, and your dough with flour, remembering to dust under the dough as well. Roll the dough out to a rectange that's 8 x 12 inches and even in thickness.
- With a paring knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 5 triangles, each 8 inches long from the pointiest tip to the center of the side across it and 4 inches wide at the bottom. You should have 5 triangles (2 upside down and 3 right side up) plus some scrap on the right and left. Divide the blue cheese among the croissants, putting it into the center of the wide bottom end of each triangle. Starting at the blue cheese end, use one hand to begin rolling the dough up toward the tip of the triangle while your other hand holds the tip and gently stretches it away. Continue until the triangle is completely rolled up into a crescent shape. Make sure the tip of the triangle is tucked underneath the body of the crescent, or it will unravel in the oven.
- Transfer the croissants to a parchment-lined sheet pan, arranging them 6 inches apart. Cover lightly with plastic and leave at room temperature to double in size, about 45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375F.
- Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Generously coat the top of your croissants with the egg wash, using a brush.
- Bake the croissats for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they double in size, caramelize on the edges, and have a crusty outer layer that sounds hollow when you tap them.
- Put the kimchi in a hand blender-friendly container and puree it.
- Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the pureed kimchi, salt, and pepper and paddle for another 2 minutes; the liquid from the kimchi will try and separate the butter during this time, but the paddling will keep it in line. When the mixture is light, fluffy, and red, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the butter out onto a piece of parchment. Lay a second piece of parchment on top of it and press down on the butter with your hands to flatten it into a 4 x 6 inch rectangle. Transfer the butter-filled parchment to warm up.
The recipes above belong to the Momofuku Milk Bar and were accessed from a print copy of the Momofuku Milk Bar cook book, printed in 2011.