ham and gruyere croissants

prep time:  3 hours
cook time:  15 minutes
servings:  20

4 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter - melted and cooled + 1 cup butter - softened
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
20 thin slices of ham
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

1.  dissolve the yeast in the water for 5 minutes.  add the flour, milk, sugar, melted butter and salt to the dissolved yeast water and mix the dough on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  if dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoons of extra flour at a time until the dough is just firm enough to fold a shape.

2.  shape dough into a ball and loosely cover with plastic wrap.  allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  roll the dough into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle and cover loosely.  allow to rise for 40 minutes.

3.  brush the rectangle with the softened butter and fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.  roll the long, thin rectangle back into the original 10 x 15-inch shape.  fold the dough into thirds again, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  repeat process one more time.

4.  using a sharp knife, cut the dough diagonally to make 20 triangles.  place 1 slice of ham and 1 1/2 tablespoons gruyere cheese over the dough.  pull the tip of each triangle taut and roll the croissants up from the base curing the ends slightly to make the crescent shape.  arrange each finished croissant on a lightly greased baking sheet with at least 1 1/2 inches between them.  cover them loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 45 - 60 minutes until they are nearly doubled in size.

5.  preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons milk together to make an egg wash.  brush the egg wash across the surface of each pastry.  bake the croissants for 14- 16 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown. 

- about.com

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