A walk to the Boulangerie to pick up the breakfast pastries is the epitome of all that is lovely about living in France. The bag of warm croissants brought home and served fresh with a little jam and steaming hot coffee is simply sublime.
Ah well. If you can't be in France then the next best thing is to make croissant in your home. Truly, they are not as hard to make as you would imagine; take a look at the recipe below to see just how easy they are.
You will need to plan ahead, there is no way that you can set about making the morning you want to eat them. You can, however, make them to the end of stage 5 and then freeze them for when you do want them, or cover them and keep them in the refrigerator the night before as they stop rising or rise very slowly in the coldness.
- 4 teaspoons instant dried yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- This recipe is made using a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can, of course, make the croissants by hand by simply hand kneading for at least 5 - 10 minutes.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes. Add the bread flour, milk, sugar, melted butter, and salt to the dissolved yeast and water and mix the dough on medium speed for about 2 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of extra flour at a time, until the dough is just firm enough to fold a shape.
- Shape dough into a ball and loosely cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 15-inch rectangle, and then cover it loosely and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.
- Brush the rectangle with the softened butter and then fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. Roll the long, thin rectangle back into the original 10-inch by 15 shape. Fold the dough into thirds, again, and then cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Repeat this process one more time.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough diagonally to make 20 triangles. Pull the tip of each triangle taut and then roll the croissants up from the base curving the ends slightly to make a crescent shape. (If you are freezing the croissants see the note below).
- Arrange each finished croissant on a lightly greased baking sheet with at least 1 1/2 inches between each pastry. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they are nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons milk together to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash across the surface of each pastry. Bake the croissants for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.
If frozen, when you want to eat them, take them from the freezer a couple of hours or the night before and let them gently thaw then simply proceed with the recipe.
This croissants recipe makes 20 servings.