Julia Child made compromises.
…this is what Adam tells me Saturday morning when he was looking at croissant recipes to attempt.
Julia Child! The female World War II badass who then found love and french food. The woman who brought nearly all of my favorite foods to America, and made food TV a mainstream staple with her show, The French Chef, without even being french. The woman who invented the 5 second rule, and traded her intel job for a second career in food (or maybe she was just undercover in France?!) after being introduced to French food by her husband: basically my life goals…. These are the croissants that are too straightforward and uncomplicated for our first attempt, says Adam after some internet research.
This is where my dear husband and I differ immensely…but in the best possible ways for cooking: I am impatient, rash and uncareful where he is ambitious, calculated and detailed. I can think of a million things to do with a lovely batch of fresh croissants, but ask me to fold dough around a sheet of butter into 12 microscopic layers and we might as well start driving to France now 😉
For some back story, this was our first lazy saturday home since mid July, and I spent the morning laying in bed dreaming about food and watching an original episode of The French Chef on croissant making [exciting, I know]. Anyone who knows us, knows these are the signs of pure exhaustion: 1. sleeping in when there are so many fun things we could be doing; 2. watching other people do fun things instead of doing them ourselves; and 3. watching ‘television’ on a tiny little phone screen since we don’t even own a TV, because we hate them so much [see reasons 1 & 2]. So after our little lazy pity-party we decide to do something insanely hard like make croissants.
First of all, making croissants has always seemed liked something nice to think about, to aspire to, but not to actually attempt. We have had far too many amazing croissants in our travels (especially Adam’s previous neighborhood of West Seattle), and far too many warnings against it to commit the number of days that they require, only to risk being disappointed. But guess what? I don’t know of a single place to get a fresh croissant in this small town on a Monday morning before work, and so once again necessity is the mother of invention, or imitation, or good food, or something. [Let’s be honest, I just let my husband do all the work, that was my secret]. These are worth making, so go google some Julia Child videos to get motivated, or marry someone who will attempt the more ‘authentic version’ below….
With an entire stick of butter, they have to be good…..
Recipe adapted from The Daring Kitchen
Fair warning, we timed this out for Monday morning, by starting Saturday morning. If you were actually paying attention you could start them Saturday for Sunday morning.
- 1 teaspoon sugar, dissolved in:
- 3 tablespoons warm water (not too hot), sprinkle on:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Dough (add to above):
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar dissolved in:
- 1/2 cup tepid milk (we used whatever we had, this time was 1%)
Butter for the center:
- 1 stick of salted butter (cold) beat with a rolling pin until pliable (scrapped off the cutting board with a pastry blade)
- 1 egg with a good splash of water mixed vigorously to create an egg wash.
Form the soft, wet bread dough into a ball. This is the fun part: throw the dough down onto the clean counter top (we used our heavy end mahogany cutting board that Adam made) multiple times until it becomes less sticky. Probably 8-10 times of literally smacking the dough to the counter until it doesn’t stick to your hands. [Again, watch the video for inspiration.]
Form into a ball, cover in a bowl and let triple in size on the counter. At this point we had Saturday dinner guests and a really great Blackened Chicken Tortilla Soup [ I promise to blog soon] that we had to look after so we put the dough straight to the fridge overnight after the rise.
Sunday morning, Adam punched down the dough and rolled into a square. Added the flattened square of butter to the middle, folded the edges around it to fully enclose the butter, pinching the dough seams together to make an nice envelope. Chill for 10 or so minutes. Roll into a 5 x 20 sheet, and fold into thirds like an tri-folded piece of paper. This is called the first turn. Rotate 90 degrees, roll out again into a 5 x 20 sheet, fold into thirds to complete the second turn. Cover dough and return to the fridge for 2 hours. Remove the dough from the fridge, complete 2 more turns (for a total of 4). Return to the fridge overnight (host another dinner of steak and chicken fajitas!)
Monday morning, roll into an 8 x 20 sheet and cut into two 8 x 10 sheets. Place one half into the fridge to keep cold while working on the first 4 croissants. Roll the dough into a square 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 (whatever makes sense to the dough without letting any butter escape from the center!). Slice the square from corner to corner to form 2 triangles. Roll out one corner of the triangle for a pizza sliced shape and begin to roll the dough on itself from the wide edge to the point.
Continue with each of the squares until you have made 8 croissants. Place onto a buttered cookie sheet, and let rise in a warm place for an hour or more. Brush generously with egg wash and bake for 16-18 minutes at 475. Let cool for 5 minutes before diving in. It will certainly be the longest 5 minutes ever!
Enjoy with the sunrise and have a great week.
Kate and Adam