12 Days of Christmas Baking- Pastry Edition Day 8: Baker’s Croissants

Photo: K.Henriques

I’m starting the new year off with one of the most well-known and time consuming pastries: the croissant. I had the opportunity to eat a delicious freshly-made croissant while in Paris around this time a few years ago and it was heavenly! I didn’t expect these to turn out like those in France, but I figured if I managed to get something half decent it would be success. My husband made these many years ago and swore he’d never do it again because of how much time it took. While he didn’t make these, I did make him supervise so I didn’t mess anything up.

The first section of this recipe isn’t too difficult. You prep all the dough ingredients and mix; then let it sit. While it’s resting you make the butter square, which was pretty easy as well. I popped the butter square in the fridge while I finished the dough and then once it was done I let it rest in the fridge as directed. It doesn’t say this in the instructions, but my husband remembered that having both the dough and butter is a pretty sharp square makes it easier later.

After letting the dough/butter rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes it’s time to laminate the dough. I rolled the dough out to the proper shape and then put the butter square on top like a triangle. Then you just fold over the edges like you would a letter. Note: One thing I love about King Arthur is they often have tips and more photos for their recipes on the baking blog so if you need a visual aid (as I often do!) then this is a huge help. I also have a video on my Instagram which shows some of these techniques too. Once you’ve got the butter completely covered by the dough then it’s time to roll it out to the proper size and fold it like a letter. Be sure to let it rest in the fridge in between each turn so the butter doesn’t get too soft and seep out of the dough. Once all of the turns were done I let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. Note: after reading through the baking blog the next day so I knew what to do to shape the croissants I realized I missed the “book” turn. Obviously there was nothing I could do about it now so I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Despite having read the baking blog multiple times I pulled the dough out of the fridge and immediately got to work and completely forgot to cut the dough in half. Again, by the time I realized it there was nothing I could do so I just kept going. In hindsight, this is where having a second set of eyes is helpful for new and complicated recipes because it’s easy to put the recipe down and get to work and miss a step. Unfortunately my husband was busy while I was doing this portion and even with him we still missed the “book” turn for each laminating session so both of us missed that step. Once I finally got the dough into triangles I rolled it out a little so they were slightly bigger. I think my dough was a little thicker than it should have been since I didn’t cut it in half (though maybe that didn’t make a difference??) so I had a little trouble getting my croissants to angle in a little. Once this part is done though you let the dough rest for another 60-90 minutes. I wasn’t sure how much more they would rise but they seemed ready a little after an hour of rising at room temperature so it was time to actually bake them!

A few of my little croissant tails pulled slightly and ended up coming out from under the bottom of the dough, so next time I need to be sure to use a little water. They might have been a little crispier than they should have been but they looked pretty good and tasted delicious with both honey butter and later with homemade chicken salad!

I know this recipe takes a lot of time, but despite my few mishaps, this recipe is really straightforward and made a complicated recipe seem less intimidating. It did help to be able to leave the dough in the fridge overnight as well and somehow that made it feel like it took less time than it actually did. I wouldn’t make this all the time, but I do want to try this again and see if I can make them look a little more like croissants. Plus, I want to try the version with the chocolate inside!

Baking Ease6
Time Spent6
Taste10
Visual9

Recipe Used: King Arthur

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