Croissants are a major project. It is not a difficult process, but it is long. There are multiple steps with rest times in between. You need to be available for a couple of days, not continuously, thankfully. I have made croissants before, but it’s been a couple of years, and I have never made the recipe in Baking with Julia. And, to give you a preview of this entire post, I may never make this recipe again.
Let’s start with the dough. It may just be me, but the amount of liquid called for in the recipe was way too little for the flour. I had to add water several times to get the dough to the right moisture level, and even then, it was a lumpy, ugly mass of a thing.
I had better luck with the butter. The mixer was brilliant at mashing up the butter with the tiny bit of flour. I used premium European butter and, since it came in 8 ounce blocks, I just used two blocks to total 16 ounces instead of the 18 called for in the recipe.
Also, I used a trick that I saw on America’s Test Kitchen. I folded a piece of parchment into an 8 inch pouch, placed the butter inside and rolled it out. The folds keep the butter inside and make for a very precise square slab of butter.
Ok, here’s where things get really get tough. Or, actually, when I found out how untough I am. Rolling out the dough is hard work. I am weak in the upper body muscle department and after two turns I was a little tired and sore, but after three, I was having some little spasms.
This is not an unexpected thing. It happens everytime I make croissants or puff pastry or something that requires the rolling out of a cold piece of dough. Well, all I can say is, the finished product Must be good because I keep doing it, albeit not too often. As I was rolling, I kept thinking of this travel show I saw once that featured a danish bakery making danishes. They had this awesome amazing rolling machine that they called a laminator. I so, so wanted one of those while I was sweating away! But, look at all the layers you get when you are done rolling!
Anyway, this is where the husband comes to the rescue. On the second day, when it was time to roll out the cold dough, he did a lot of the rolling, and I was a lot less sore and grumpy. This enabled me to concentrate on shaping and filling.
I made the full recipe of almond filling, thinking I could use it in something else if I froze it. Then, I got out the chocolate batons that have been in the cupboard for a couple of years, waiting for me to get around to croissants.
I gathered all the leftover scraps, tossed them with some cinnamon sugar, and piled it into a ramekin. No way was I going to waste a single scrap of that dough!
Anyway, unlike some much more dedicated bakers, I was not up at three o’clock in the morning to prep these to have for breakfast. No, no. We had them for an afternoon snack.
How were they?
They were delicious. They were flaky, light as air, fluffy, and wonderfully buttery. The boys loved them. The husband loved them. I loved them.
I don’t love the process of making them, but I do love the final results. Like I said at the beginning, I probably would not make this particular recipe again. Why? Well, Mostly because I just like the other ones I have made better. These have great flavor, but I love the wheaty flavor of the recipe from The Bread Bible more. I also have been eager to try sourdough croissants from Local Breads, and I also have the recipe from The Bouchon Bakery, which uses a poolish, which looks interesting. So, you see, as good as these are, they will probably be left behind for these other recipes, mostly because I am easily bored. If I were to make these again, I would have to do something to tweak the main dough recipe. It worked out well in the end, but it was frustrating to make because the moisture level was way off.
In the meantime, I put most of the croissants in the freezer to save as “treats” for breakfast. This is not everyday breakfast food, you know. That should tide us over for a bit while I get up the energy to try a different recipe. If you want to try your hand at making croissants, you can find the recipe posted here. Good luck!