food & drink

whole-wheat + half-the-fat croissants

>Human nature really is perverse. How is it that I can never be happy with what I have and where I am at the moment? In high school I couldn’t wait to get out and start college coursework. All my life in the US I wanted to travel (and live) in some European country. When I finally get to England, I want to go back to sunny California. Now, in this now too-sunny California, I miss the cloudy drizzly days of Oxford.

The main thing I miss about living in the city center at Oxford? The ease with which I could stop into a café at eight in the morning to start off my day with a freshly baked croissant and an americano. I could go on about the americano found at Zappi’s Bike Café (a must go-to café if you’re in Oxford). But for now, I’ll keep it to the croissants.

There are no café’s close by where I live in the ‘burbs, so I decided to just make my own croissants and, since we have a cool stovetop espresso maker, I get my americano as well.

So, partly because of a new-found health consciousness and partly because I didn’t have enough white flour on hand, I adapted Tartine’s* croissant dough recipe and made whole-wheat-and-half-the-fat-croissants instead.

Whole-Wheat + Half-the-Fat Croissant Dough Recipe

—> Preferment

3/4 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 & 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

—> Dough

1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup soy milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

—>Roll-in Butter

1 & 1/4 cup unsalted butter

—>Egg wash

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup soy milk
pinch salt


1. for the Preferment . Warm the milk to take the chill off and pour into a mixing bowl. Add yeast, stir to dissolve. Add the flour. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Cover and rest for 2-3 hours or until almost doubled in volume OR overnight in the refrigerator.

2. for the Dough . Add the yeast to the preferment, mix until combined. You can use a mixer with a dough hook but I did it by hand just fine. Add half of the milk and continue to mix until incorporated.

3. Add both flours (all-purpose and whole-wheat), sugar, salt, melted butter, rest of the milk until it becomes a loose dough. Rest for 15-20 minutes.

4. Knead the dough for another 4 minutes and be careful not to over mix. Cover and let rest until the dough increases by half, about 1 & 1/2 hours.

5. Place dough on a lightly-floured surface. Press into 2-inch thick rectangles. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.

6. for the Roll-in-Butter . Cut the butter lengthways in half and arrange the pieces as a single block. Place block between two sheets of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to incorporate the butter into one large rectangle. Place in refrigerator to chill.

7. Laminate the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a rectangle of 28 by 12 inches. Place the butter-rectagle in the middle of the dough. Fold the right third of the dough over the butter rectangle and then fold the left third of the dough over that. Roll out of the dough and fold into thirds. Repeat this three times, each time wrapping the dough in plastic and chill for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.

8. Make the Croissant. Roll into a rectangle. Cut long triangles. Roll up from the longer end to the point of the triangle. Curve the ends to make the classic croissant-shape. Let rest for 2 to 3 hours.

9. Preheat the oven at 425 F.

10. Brush the croissants with the egg-yolk glaze.

11. Place the croissants in the oven, immediately decrease the temperature to 400 F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp on the outside and light when picked up.

12. Eat! Remember that they are best served warm, so either eat all at once (like I would love to have done) or just reheat in the oven at 375 F for 6 to 8 minutes. My toaster oven worked fine on the “Toast” setting.

Another “plus” for being back in San Diego: I finally get to pluck figs off of our fig tree. They’re sweet and perfectly ripe— unlike the overpriced imported and apparently sugar-free figs I found in Oxford.

*I would love you forever (and feed you endless desserts) if you gave me this…


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