Eggs, milk, flour, butter, salt, yeast, sugar– it’s amazing that these simple ingredients can make something as wonderful as a croissant.
I’m here to tell you it’s true, these ingredients and 18 hours of your time can produce that deliciously iconic french pastry.
When I was looking for a recipe that would be both challenging and delightful to master, my mind settled on the croissant. I had wanted to make homemade croissants for a long time, but was slightly apprehensive due to the time factor.
As I began researching croissants, I was surprised to learn that croissants aren’t originally French. According to a Smithsonian Magazine article titled “Is the Croissant Really French”, the idea originated in Austria with a similar pastry called a kipfel. The croissant started to be acknowledged as French when the recipe adopted puff pastry as the dough.
Although they might not be the healthiest option, nothing beats the occasional croissant served with Nutella, as a breakfast sandwich, or even a la carte.
In my two decades on this earth I like to think I have eaten my fair share of croissants— both high quality and not. From grocery store sale croissants to freshly baked croissants from my hometown’s local bakery, I’m rarely displeased. However, I can’t help but think the meals that taste the best are those made from scratch.
I began at 8 p.m. Thursday, mixing my ingredients. Following a recipe from Food Network’s website, I used my roommate’s KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook and mixed the ingredients as instructed until they came together. As the dough formed into a ball and became more firm I decided to knead it by hand.
For those who have not made bread before, a forewarning: dough kneading could seriously be an event in the Olympics. Maybe I’m just particularly out of shape in the baking department, but I had to take a few breaks.
It’s important that the dough is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, according to the recipe. The kneading process took me about 10 minutes. When I finished, I put the dough on a baking sheet and threw it in the fridge.
The following morning I woke up at 5:45– I made my pat of butter, rolled out the dough, folded the butter in the dough, rolled it out and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. I repeated the rolling process two more times and then placed the dough back in the fridge.
The recipe says the dough can stay in the fridge like this for 2 hours to overnight. I kept it in for six hours while I was at work. When I took the dough out of the fridge I had to roll it one more time.
The hardest part was making the dough triangles for the crescent rolls. Although I measured like the recipe told me to, not all of my triangles were the same size. The elasticity of the dough makes this process difficult, but trust me everything will turn out fine.
After I rolled my triangles into little crescents I sat them on baking sheets to let them rise. Packing for my trip the next day, I let these sit out for 4 hours (double the time instructed) before I baked them. In my crazy oven, which tends to cook 25 degrees hotter than the indicated temperature, the baking process took about 4 minutes less time to cook.
Overall, I was very pleased with the product. Better than Pillsbury that’s for sure! I smuggled two containers worth to my family in Virginia and this morning we ate them with june apple compote from a tree nearby. How’s that for a spin on apple pie?