Up until recently, when I craved home made french croissants, I simply bought a box of ready made ones and heated them in the oven for 5 minutes or I used to buy puff pastry from the supermarket, cut it in triangles, roll it and bake it. But somehow those weren’t quite as nice as the ones I used to have for breakfast in France.
Now I’ve been reading other french croissants recipes on internet and most of them demand a lot of kneading, waiting, chilling, rolling, packing, chilling again, rolling again. Very well for someone who has the patience, but what I choose to bake or cook is always easy enough for my 7 years old daughter to get involved and no mucking about for hours please.
So, I’ve been experimenting and here are my first two results:
I won’t bother with the first recipe and method but I will only share with you what I think it went wrong:
- I skipped two steps: no chilling and no proofing
- I forgot to preheat the oven
- I turned on the grill when I noticed that the croissants are getting a little burned at the bottom
Not the second time around I took all the care and the time to make sure my french butter croissants turn out fluffy, light and delicious. And they did. And I didn’t even have to work to hard. I’ll share the easy recipe with you.
Easy Way Recipe
For the bread dough
- 1 cup warm water
- 4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- For the croissants:
- 12 oz. of cold unsalted butter at room temperature and softened
- additional flour for rolling out the dough
- 1 egg at room temperature and gently beaten for glazing
- Put the bread ingredients in the bread making machine and set it on dough program. Mine takes 90 minutes. I wasn’t ready to roll and bake at that time so I started another dough making program on the bread machine.
- Have the butter out of the fridge while the dough is being kneaded in the bread maker. When, the butter is at room temperature, mix it with a wooden spoon until it gets fluffy, creamy, spreadable – 5 minutes;
- Prepare a large surface for rolling. Dust it with plenty of flour. Tip the dough onto the surface. Split it in two dough balls.
- Roll the two balls as thin as they get. Put one sheet of the dough on a side and spread the other one with half of the butter. Place the other sheet of thin dough on top. Spread half of the remaining butter on only half of this top layer. Fold the whole pastry once. Spread the remaining butter on another half of the smaller rectangle that you now have. Fold again and again until you have a small enough piece to fit on a plate in the fridge.
- Oil a large enough piece of cling film and wrap the pastry square in it. Put it in the fridge for few hours. 16 hours spent in the fridge must have done my butter croissant dough a wealth of good.
- When you’re ready to make your croissants, dust your rolling surface again, and roll your cold square of dough as thin as it suits you. Fold and roll again to obtain a rectangle as big as your baking tray.
- Place the rectangle in the baking tray in cut it in triangles as big or as small as you choose – see image. Roll your triangles in a crescent shape, see image.
- When your tray is full of crescent shapes, Make some room for a glass of water in the middle. Cover everything with cling film. Leave it to proof in a warm place for an hour, two hours if it’s cold. Preheat the oven and get your egg and a glazing brush ready.
- When the crescents are about doubled in size, brush them with the egg wash, and put them at the top shelf of the preheated oven (360 F should be about right). Bake for about 20 minutes or until the croissants are golden brown.
Tip. Use the same dough to make bacon and cheese bite sized snacks, chocolate croissants, jam croissants or simply pastry twists. Perfect stuff for kids parties. My son’s birthday is coming soon and as soon as I have a menu, I’ll share it. In the meantime, ideas for kids party food and cakes are most welcome.