The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
The Daring Bakers have done croissants before, but long before my time, and they are one of the things on my mental “bucket list.” I am think I should actually write out that list one of these days and start crossing things off of it, I can think of a few right off the top of my head that my blog and being part of the Daring Kitchen have pushed me to do, pretty keen to think about it actually!
And to make croissants using Julia Child’s recipe? The perfect way to start if you ask me.
Now, first things first: this recipe is long and has a lot of directions for how to do these babies the right way. I am sending you here for the pdf file of the recipe that Sarah prepared for us. She did an absolutely amazing job with tons of pictures to guide us along the way, and they were all such a huge help. Now, please don’t be intimidated, if you’ve considered making croissants, it is more of a time issue than a difficulty issue, the recipe just requires patience and time.
And now I will share with you what I did wrong the first time I attempted to make my croissants.
Don’t rush your yeast! Don’t put it in too warm of an oven thinking it will help it proof while you are off running errands early on a saturday morning! I went and tried to use a slightly preheated, warm oven because our house and the morning were cool the first day I started. The oven ended up being too warm and I killed off some of my yeast. I powered through but ended up with dough that wasn’t very elastic or forgiving and small, not risen croissants:
I also determined that the 475 degree temp was too warm for my oven, hence the slightly burned bottoms on the almond croissants you see there.
The next week, I tried again, again on a cooler morning in the house, but I did something different this time, a trick I’ve used before with great success.
That my friends is a heating pad, turned to low nestled around the bowl with my dough in it. And because of it, I got a perfect slow rise in the morning. Once the day and the house warmed up I didn’t need it any more, but if you have a day that the house isn’t quite warm enough to make your yeast happy, give this a try, I swear it works!
So now, with happy dough, I set about getting it laminated, that is the process of rolling the butter in and turning and rolling again.
Then, once it was turned and rolled and rested appropriately, I shaped my croissants. I went with three flavors for this second attempt, 4 plain; 4 almond, rolled in the traditional crescent shape with a little almond paste in the center; and four with a nice, dark bittersweet chocolate, essentially just folded around the piece of chocolate. And this time I baked them for the recommended time at 450 degrees, which was perfect.
And amazingly, there was only 1 stick of butter for the full dozen. My mother in law was surprised, she assumed they would need far more than 1 stick. So while not a common item found on diets, they aren’t a complete deal breaker either.
Now the big question; will I be making croissants again? Absolutely! I am already planning on making them for Christmas Day breakfast. They are easy to make ahead and freeze, then defrost over night in the fridge, proof the last hour and bake as normal. That makes them a great option for a family gathering around the holidays, you won’t be running around crazy in the kitchen, trying to get something made.
I hope you consider making your own croissants. Also, head over to the Daring Kitchen and see what my fellow Daring Bakers created!