1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 Tbsp dry yeast
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3 cups + 3 Tbsp All-purpose flour
3 sticks unsalted butter (12 oz), chilled
To make the Pre-Dough, heat the milk in a pot until it is warm to the touch (be careful not to overheat it).
Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top, then the sugar and vanilla. Mix and leave it to froth for about 5 mn.
In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups of flour with the salt, and mix with a wooden spoon (I used my hands).
Add the flour mixture to the milk gradually and mix until just combined.
Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight (or for 8 hours). It should almost double in size while in the fridge.
On Day Two, take the pre-dough out of the refrigerator.
To Make the Butter Block, cut the chilled butter into 12 equal pieces and mix it with 3 Tbsp of flour until the butter is completely smooth (use a stand mixer if you have one, with paddle attachment).
Scoop the butter mixture onto a well-floured surface and shape it into a 6square (about one inch thick). This becomes your butter block. Place it in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
To Make the Croissant Dough, on a well-floured surface, pat the pre-dough into a square. Stretch each corner outwards about 4 making an X shape. Place the butter block in the middle and fold the stretched corners of the dough over the butter block. Pinch the seams together to completely seal the butter inside the dough.
Sprinkle the dough with some flour and roll the dough into a 12 x 20 rectangle. If the butter shows in places, pinch the dough to reseal it.
Folding the Dough: place the longer side of the rectangle in front of you and fold the left and right sides to the center so that they meet.
Then, turn your dough at a 90 degree angle and fold the left side of the dough to the middle, then the right side over it, as if closing a book.
Put the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 mns.
Take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 15 mns.
Repeat the folding process two more times (roll into a rectangle, fold the two sides to the center, fold as if to close a book, chill).
Once the 3 foldings are done, chill the dough one last time for 30 mns.
To Shape the Croissants: (this is not included in the original recipe, but my own addition) Cut your dough in two halves and roll one half into a rectangle (place the other half back in the fridge in the meantime, for more croissants or another treat which I will present later on).
Cut triangles in the rectangle and make a small slit at the base of the triangle. Roll starting from the base of the rectangle to the tip.
Brush the croissants with one beaten egg yolk and let rest for 2 hours minimum in a warm room (70 F minimum).
Preheat your oven at 380 F. Cook the croissants for about 20 mns, or until they have a nice golden color. Enjoy immediately!