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!
We were required to make a batch of croissants according to the provided recipe below. The most difficult part of making croissants is that they take 12 hours of total time with the resting and rising periods, although some of that time can be left for overnight which for very busy schedules actually works in our favor!
Prep Time – Total 12 hours
Making Dough, 10 minutes
First rise, 3 hours
Kneading and folding, 5 minutes
Second rise, 1.5 hours (or overnight in the fridge)
Rolling in the butter (turns one and two), 15 minutes
First rest, 2 hours
Turns three and four, 10 minutes
Second rest, 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge)
Forming the croissants, 30 minutes
Final rise, 1 hour ( or longer in the fridge)
Baking, 15 minutes
1/4 oz of fresh yeast, or 1/14 teaspoon of dry-active yeast
3 Tablespoons warm water (less than 100 degrees farenheit)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups of strong plain flour. I used Pillsbury All-Purpose.
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons tasteless oil ( I used vegetable oil)
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash
1. Mix the yeast,warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up ( proofing the yeast ). Measure out the other ingredients. Heat the milk until tepid ( either in microwave or in small saucepan on stove), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the oil,yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour. Mix all of the ingredients together using a rubber spatula, just until all of the flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let rest a minute while you wash out the bowl.
3. Knead the dough eight to ten times only by smacking the dough onto the counter and then push with the heel of your hand, pick up the dough and repeat again smacking/throwing the dough onto the counter and then pushing the dough with the heel of your hand, like you do when you are kneading regular bread dough. Place the dough back in the bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
4. Leave the bowl at approximately 75 degrees farenheit for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips. Place the dough onto a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches.
5. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up). Place the dough letter back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. The second rise can be done overnight in the fridge.Now, place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
6. Now, it’s time to incorporate the butter.Place a block of chilled butter on a chopping board.Using a rolling-pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat. Use the heel of your hand continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
7. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rise for a minute or two. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 inches by 8 inches.
8. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on top half of the dough rectangle. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it 1/4 inch across/ away from all edges. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third up.
9. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right ( like a book). Roll out the dough package, (gently so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 inches by 8 inches. Again, fold the top third down, and the bottom third up.
10. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 2 hours. I had to leave mine in overnight.
11. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter. Tap the dough with a rolling-pin, to deflate a little. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
12. Roll the dough package out till it reaches 14 inches by 8 inches. Fold in three, as before. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 inches by 8 inches. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours ( or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising).
13. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants!! First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper instead.
14. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into two rectangles. This way you are only working with a small amount of dough at a time. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 inches by 5 inches.
15. Cut the rectangle into three squares. Place two of the squares in the fridge to keep them cold. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles. Stretch the triangle out a little at the widest end , so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.
16. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape, just like you roll up those store-bought rolls in the can! Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to very hot 475 degrees farenheit.
17. Mix the egg with 1 teaspoon water. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants. Bake the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely. Remove croissants from the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Baked croissants are best eaten the day they are made. You can store them in a sealed package for the next day and refresh them by warming them in the oven.
Unbaked croissants should be frozen after they are shaped and before the last rise. Shape them, put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, can cover with plastic wrap. Freeze. Once frozen, you can put them into a freezer Ziploc bag or other freezer container. When you want to bake them, take them out, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and allow them to thaw completely and proof one more time – meaning, don’t bake them until they hit room temperature and they have risen again before baking. Bake as you normally would.
Verdict: These were fun to make and makes you really appreciate the bakeries that make these on a daily basis. They were very crumbly with the crisp crunch when you bite into them and so full of layers. My family loved them and next time I will make a double batch so I can have some with chocolate inside of them! I hope you all will try making these, they are not hard to make, just lots of waiting, so don’t let all the steps scare you away, your family will be so impressed. Now, I am headed for my pantry to find the Nutella! 😉