A French Croissant Recipe For Long Days Spent At Home
I LOVE to cook and bake. It's a longtime passion of mine. I grew up doing it. My mother was like Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was a thing, so baking has always been something that has been close to my heart.
Lately, like many people around the world, I have a bit more time on my hands, and I'm stuck at home, so I've been baking up a storm. Luckily, I was able to secure a big bag of flour before all this went down (I've been making my own bread in a bread machine every week for the past year, so I stock up every once in a while).
Not being able to travel this year has been a huge bummer. My kitchen is now my way to travel to far off places, where I can experience different cuisines and cultures. I remember going to France when I was in my early 20s, walking up the steps of the metro for the first time and seeing patisserie shops with gorgeous little bites of heaven in the window. One of my favorite things, though, was to sit at a cafe and drink a cafe au lait and eat a croissant around 10AM every day on my trip.
I've always wanted to make croissants, and having watched copious amounts of the Great British Baking Show that last three weeks, I decided to give it a try. I've watched bakers on the show make puff pastry, and they always get scared by it. Luckily, I didn't have their time constraints, but it was my first time doing it.
I am also obsessed with America's test kitchen. I used to watch it in college (I wasn't partying in college, I was watching cooking shows and sewing, a real nerd, I know), and I learned all kinds of techniques and geeked out on why one element of a recipe worked better than another. I bought their HUGE cookbook in 2016, and it's been my bible throughout the quarantine. I've probably made a dozen recipes out of it since mid-march.
So, that's where I went to get the croissant recipe. I decided to make them one Sunday. It took 3 sticks of butter (now its own food group in my house) and 10 hours! The keys are to use European style butter (which has a higher fat content) and it helps to use a flour with a slightly higher protein content, like King Arthur's. I am also a BIG believer in weighing your flour. Treat yourself to a small, digital kitchen scale if you love baking.
The funnest part (besides eating them, of course) was making the butter block - I got to pound butter with a rolling pin just like on GBBS. It was SO fun!
The result - 22 gorgeous, fluffy, melt in your mouth croissants. I froze 2/3 of them, so that I can enjoy for the next couple months. I will just take them out of the freezer and let them thaw/rise overnight. Also, for baked croissants that you don't eat right away, put them in the oven for a few minutes on the lowest setting and they are just like when you first baked them.
I can't wait to hear how it goes if you decide to take this on. Yes, it took a LOT of time, but I get to enjoy them for the next couple months and it is heads and shoulders above anything available at a grocery store.
You can download a printable recipe below. If this whole clothing line thing doesn't work out, this might be my back-up career. Be well and enjoy!
You can also see them making these in this video from America's Test Kitchen, which I highly recommend if you are a visual person like me. It really helps when laminating the dough to make the puff pastry. You can watch it HERE