It’s a tempting thought…
I made croissants thirty three years ago, the Saturday before Easter. They were to be for the family dinner next day.
That same night my father had a heart attack, and while we were waiting around at the hospital I went home, got the croissants, butter, plates, napkins, etc, and brought them back. At 2:00AM there wasn’t anything decent to eat in the hospital.
The key to croissants is not letting the butter get too soft. Use unsalted butter, no substitutes. Also, as another poster has said, hard flour(bread flour) is the best. When letting the croissants rise don’t let them get about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do the butter may melt. It’s those many, many, ultra-thin layers of butter and dough that make the flaky texture. When baked the butter does melt, steams, and separates the layers of dough. There is yeast in the dough but it’s more to treat the dough, and not to make it rise.
You might check this out, a similar thread from a food board. It will give you places to look. I too like James Beard’s recipe, he was my favorite bread/rolls person.
As is mentioned in the link above, plan on making a lot. Croissants are labor-intensive little suckers.
If you can’t get hold of the James Beard recipe(I’ll bet the book is in most libraries) I’ll post it here.
I checked the James Beard website but I couldn’t see it. Would you mind posting or PM-ing it to me? I am still making the pumpkin muffins you suggested years ago and everyone still loves them. Any recipe from you has to be worth a go!
It sounds like the butter is being incorporated into the dough instead of being “layered”. You’re basically making brioche instead of a croissant.
Like I mentioned, working quickly will help with managing the butter (I know, easier said than done), and work in a cool room. Also, make sure not to roll too hard during the laminating process. You don’t want to work the butter into the dough. Keeping separate even layers of dough/butter/dough is the key to flaky croissants. You can also proof between each fold when laminating to make the dough easier to work with. The entire process may take longer but less dough resistance means you get to work faster between each fold to mitigate butter degradation.
Nope, you want nice thin layers of butter, not specks of grated butter.
Right, thin layers it is then…
This is pretty much what happens on Thursday mornings Chez Athena nowadays; the garbage must be brought out on Thursday and the driveway is long enough that bringing it out in the car is the only choice. Once Mr. Athena is up, dressed, and in the car, it makes sense just to keep going to the very excellent bakery downtown. By the time I’m done with my first cup of coffee and ready for breakfast, I have fresh croissants and a warm baguette, comparable to the best I found in Paris when I was there last month.
Yeah, life just sucks around here.
It sucks even worse where I live in Portland. It’s a one-block trudge to Grand Central Bakery for fresh croissants (plain, almond or chocolate), then a one block trudge back again. In that time the coffee is done brewing and the homemade jam is on the table, just waiting for a very lightly toasted bit of heaven. Life is so hard.
I’m a complete moron when it comes to baking, but I caught Julia Child explaining how to make croissants on an episode of her TV show, it seems to be up on
youtube (I haven’t checked it though.