Last weekend, I tried the recipe that’s in “baking with julia child” - two of the people in my office had done it, and I had to rise to the challenge. it’s very similar to puff pastry, so if you’ve done that, the croissants aren’t that difficult - just time consuming. It helps to set up your timetable in advance, so you can work backwards and figure out when to start. Actually, the toughest part was stretching the dough triangles to make the individual croissants - they tore, and I didn’t really get them big enough. I also used the dough to make chocolate croissants - much easier, since it’s just a rectangle. On finding enough room in the refrigerator - since the dough is folded into thirds, it really doesn’t take up that much space. And I froze half the batch after the last rising, to keep for later.
If it is croissants you want, then it is croissants you should make. They are actually a bit less time-consuming to make than puff pastry (less turns etc), plus the added boost of yeast means you still get a very light product even if the rolling-in of the butter does not work well. The recipe that appears in p&p;b and the one in bb are almost the same and turn out well every time. I also sometimes make them without the bran if i don’t have it on hand.
ps they also take up less space than you might realize in the fridge—just try for a flat space, it does not have to be on the shelf itself. i have chilled dough on a tray or board balanced on top of the veggies in the veggie bin.
I have made them many times, it does get easier the more often you do it. I have a large marble slab (that I bought on 1/2 off day at Goodwill for 7 dollars) that keeps the dough cooler than a cutting board——it makes it much eaiser. If it is something that really interests you—-jump in and give it a try. Not to say that I don’t ever buy bakery pastries anymore——but, I can more accurately judge if they were made correctly though!!!
A neat tip I saw on Baking with Julia - if your marble or granite surface is too large to fit in the fridge to chill, just place a garbage bag filled with ice on it for a few minutes. It works wonderfully.
Croissants and Puff Pastry - two things I’d like to try if I had a whole weekend with no interuptions, meals to prepare, or household chores to do!
Boy, isn’t that the truth!! I’ll get around to them eventually, I suppose, but it won’t be any time real soon…
Actually, it is not that difficult to fit making laminated doughs into your schedule if you will be home most of the day… I think it was in the Silver Palate cookbook that the description went something like,“If you read through, except for 20 minutes at a time, it is doing its thing in the refrigerator while you are out playing tennis.” I teach making these doughs to Saturday-Sunday students and sometimes we start them one weekend and do not get back to them until the next weekend. Assuming you have space in your fridge, that’s a pretty lenient schedule. Sort of like a beef stew that gets better the longer it simmers unattended, the puff will only benefit from relaxing gluten and cooling butter if you don’t make the turns “exactly on schedule.”
The payoff of course is unbelievable. And the thing is, once they are shaped, croissants do not necessarily have to be proofed and baked off all at once. Shape them, freeze half and let the other half rise and bake. The other half sits in your freezer until the occasion that you really need to impress someone with your baking skills! Then defrost, let proof and bake.