- Place yeast into the mixing bowl of a large stand mixer. Whisk in warm water and let stand until a creamy foam forms on top, about 5 minutes. Add milk, sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, egg, salt, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Whisk mixture thoroughly. Pour flour on top of liquid ingredients. Place mixing bowl onto mixer.
- Attach dough hook to mixer and knead on low speed until dough comes together in a ball and becomes soft and sticky, about 3 minutes. Dough will stick to the hook and pull away from the side of the bowl.
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface, knead 2 or 3 times, and shape into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes to let gluten relax.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and dust lightly with flour. Roll out into a 9×18-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Evenly spread 1/2 of the softened butter onto the middle third of the dough. Fold one unbuttered third over the buttered third and press lightly; spread remaining butter on top of that third. Fold remaining third over the first (buttered) third. Transfer dough onto a sheet pan, cover lightly with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and refrigerate 20 to 30 more minutes for butter to become firm. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour as you work if it becomes sticky.
- Return dough to floured work surface and pat very gently into an 8×14-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Fold outer thirds over center third as before; roll out into an 8×14-inch rectangle again, keeping the edges as straight as possible. Fold in thirds as before. Cover dough lightly with a kitchen towel, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Roll the dough out to about 3/8 inch thick. Cut dough in half crosswise. Leave half on a lightly floured work surface; refrigerate other half of dough until needed.
- Use a sharp 3-inch round cutter to cut 8 circles of dough from the piece on the work surface. Use a 1-inch round cutter to cut the donut holes out of the dough circles.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Arrange cronuts and holes onto the prepared baking sheet. Let rise in a draft-free, warm place (such as an unheated oven) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
TipsThis recipe is for the cronut dough only. To fry and glaze the cronuts, see part II of this recipe.
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