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Croissants are my favourite buttery breakfast treat, along with brioche and maple brioche. Growing up, they were a weekend treat, fresh from the bakery, warmed in the oven and served with orange marmalade, a winning breakfast combination if you ask me. Butter + marmalade = love
When I was younger, I had a very precise way of eating my croissants. I am a creature who still likes to eat meals in sections, and apparently, as a child, even my croissant eating was sectional. I’d start by ripping off the ends and eating them first. I think the ends were probably my least favourite part. Then I’d open up “the body” of the croissant and pull out the middle. The middle was my favourite part, but I could never save it for last because it’s the softest, butteriest part of the croissant and so yummy when it’s warm. Then I’d take the hollowed out body of the croissant, and I’d fill it with orange marmalade. Somewhere along the way, I grew out of my sectional-croissant-eating phase, though I still do enjoy them with homemade marmalade.
I took the time for this post to take pictures of key steps of the croissant-making process, like the step at the beginning of the process where you tuck the butter block inside the dough. You basically wrap the butter block like you are forming an envelope around it, pinching and pressing the dough together all along the seams to seal in the butter. Then comes the rolling and folding process. In pastry school, we learned that croissants require 4 “turns” (1 turn = roll & fold), while puff pastry takes 6. I’m a bit lazy with my rolling and folding, so sometimes I roll the dough out a little thicker than I should but, not to worry, it still works out in the end! The fold is much like how you’d fold a letter, in thirds.
I have had “croissants” typed in my editorial calendar for probably the last year. I kept bumping them from one week to the next, or worse, the next month. I was avoiding them. I don’t think we should shy away from croissant-making. It isn’t all that hard. You make a dough that you wrap around a butter block. Then you roll and fold, and repeat this process of rolling an folding until you’ve done it all 4 times. Croissants are much, much easier to make than kouign amann (which was a little bit of a traumatic experience when I tried). I spread out the croissant-making process over 3 days so that there was no stress and so that my dough was always properly chilled. This way, you only have about 20 or so minutes of work to do every day. Twenty minutes a day is manageable. You can do it. The key is to not dawdle when you are doing the layering and to work in a cool kitchen (so perhaps this is best done in winter, when your kitchen is NOT +30ºC!)
– day 1: prepare dough | chill for 30 minutes while you form the butter block | chill the butter block while you roll out the dough, then wrap the butter block in the dough and seal | do 2 turns | wrap & refrigerate overnight
– day 2: do 2 turns | wrap & refrigerate overnight
– day 3: roll out & shape croissants | let rise 1.5–2 hours | bake | eat
For more details on the rolling process, check out David Lebovitz’s post on whole wheat croissants.
Homemade croissants recipe
Homemade croissants | for the love of butter
You can make buttery, flaky croissants at home from scratch with this recipe. Go through it step-wise and know that you can split up the work over a couple days to make it easier!
- 83 mL water 1/3 cup
- 83 mL milk 1/3 cup
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 250 grams all-purpose flour 2 cups
- 1 tsp salt
- 125 grams Stirling Creamery unsalted butter 1/2 package, cold
- 1 large egg beaten
- Warm the milk with the water to 100ºF, then add it to the mixer bowl with the sugar, the yeast, and half the flour. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the flour and the salt, and knead for 3 or 4 minutes until a dough forms. If you notice the dough is too hard/firm/dry, sprinkle in a teaspoon or so of water.
- Place the dough in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap.
- Meanwhile, place the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and with your rolling pin, bash/roll/work the butter into a square block (4.5-x4.5-in). Transfer to the fridge to keep chilled.
- Remove the dough from the fridge (it will have risen quite a bit in the fridge) and roll it out on a floured surface to form a 8.5-x8.5-in square. Unwrap and place the butter block overtop, "kitty corner", and then wrap & pinch the dough together to form an envelope around the block and seal in the butter.
- Roll out the dough to a 12x9 rectangle on a floured surface, brush off the excess flour, and fold (1st turn).
- Rotate the dough 90º, then roll out again to a 12x9 rectangle and fold (2nd turn). Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Repeat the rolling and folding process twice more to complete the 3rd and 4th turns. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Roll out the dough to a 12x9 rectangle, trim the edges if they are very uneven, then cut into 8 triangles. Roll the triangles to form croissants, then place on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Carefully and evenly brush with the beaten egg. Top loosely with plastic wrap and let the croissants rise for 1.5–2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush the croissants again with a thin, even layer of egg wash. Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating halfway until they are a deep golden brown.
- Serve warm with marmalade.
- For this recipe, I used a higher fat butter, specifically Stirling Churn 84 unsalted butter
I do my best to bake with the finest ingredients. Stirling Creamery, a Canadian company, has provided the butter for this post.