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From Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking With Julia, comes this recipe for that famous French pastry – croissants, even though France is not where croissants originated. This week’s recipe is actually two recipes. First, the making of croissant dough. Second, turning that dough into croissants. The contributing baker for this recipe is Esther McManus. Here is a link http://video.pbs.org/video/2250835454/ to a video of she and Julia Child making croissants. I watched it before making my croissants and it was very helpful and lots of fun to see Julia in action! I had so much fun making croissants. It took 2 days. Will I do it again? Absolutely! This blog post is loaded with pictures and I hope you enjoy the process. The full detailed recipe is posted by TWD host, Amanda of Girl+Food=Love. Amanda has done an awesome job detailing the recipe!
The dough consists of yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and milk. Once made it is wrapped and placed in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. Mine rested overnight, rose slightly from the yeast and remained a beautiful dough to handle the following morning.
If butter insults your healthy-living sensitivities, you might as well stop right here. These croissants require butter — 4 1/2 sticks of it! My motto “everything in moderation” means I will make the croissants, use the butter, and only eat the unbelievably delicious croissants “in moderation”! 🙂
While the dough is resting, the butter is mixed with flour. The flour helps to absorb the water in the butter as the croissant dough is rolled and baked.
The butter/flour mixture is placed on plastic wrap, shaped into a rectangle, wrapped and placed back in the refrigerator.
Incorporating the butter into the dough requires time and patience. There is a lot of rolling. But that is the fun part too! The dough is rolled into a rectangle 24″ to 26″ long by 14″ wide. The piece of chilled butter is placed in the middle of the dough.
The dough is folded over the butter making a nice little “packet”. This is the beginning of the buttery croissant dough to follow.
Rolling, rolling, rolling. This way, that way. Roll, roll, roll.
Next step is to fold and refrigerate for a rest (2 hours). The dough … not me! I am making lunch.
Dorie and Esther do a great job explaining step-by-step how to roll, fold, rest. Roll, fold, rest. This happens 3 times in 2 hour intervals.
This is turn #2. See the marking? It’s mandatory to making the croissants! 🙂 Roll, fold, mark, rest.
The final fold is called “the wallet”. It is like closing a wallet or a book. This is the end of recipe #1! The dough can be used right away, left in the refrigerator overnight and used the next day or frozen for up to a month.
I cut the dough in half, wrapping and freezing half to make chocolate filled croissants on another day.
After the third turn and 2 hour rest in the refrigerator the dough is rolled, again. Using a lot of flour while rolling keeps the buttery dough from sticking to the counter. I started out “sprinkling” flour on the counter. I quickly realized I needed a handful here and a handful there. Be generous with the flour and make sure the dough stays chilled. Do not over-roll until the dough is warm. This will cause the dough to release the butter and you will be very unhappy with the end results. If the dough gets warm, pop it back in the refrigerator for an hour or until the butter is set and the dough is re-chilled.
Once the rectangle is formed the dough is folded in half and cut into triangles. The video of Esther and Julia shows how to do this the very best.
Now each triangle is stretched. This is the only picture I ended up taking of stretching the triangle and it came out blurry. Sorry about that, but I still want you to see the stretching as it is an important step. Making the dough longer will result in more layers within the croissant, creating the flakiness we are striving for.
I measured my croissants 3″ across the top when I made them. They turned out a little on the small side and next time I will start with a triangle that measures 4 inches across the top. The ideal place for rising is a turned-off oven containing a pan of hot, steamy water. The croissants need 3 to 4 hours to rise.
Making these croissants reminded me of why I choose to join the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group in the first place. I am sure I would not have tackled this multi-step, multi-page recipe without the prompting from the group. It continues to thrill me to be baking through the book, Baking With Julia!