I just finished reading ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat.’ I know, I’m 6 years behind the times. I always read books WAY after they are popular. I just finished The Hunger Games recently, also way behind the times.
Anyway, I have no idea why I read this book. I’m not looking to shed any weight. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to drink wine at lunch AND dinner. Maybe I’m going through a Francophile phase? And then I must thank another friend for being such an enabler. She convinced me at brunch this weekend that there are, in fact, pills big enough to make someone like me conquer their fear of flying over the ocean to visit France.
My point being that I read a book about how to manage your weight, and all I came away with was a recipe for croissants from a real French woman. These are not diet croissants, even though they come from a diet book. They are croissants for the woman who’s been good all week and looks forward to her weekly reward of a croissant on Sunday morning.
I’m going to take a shot in the dark here and say that if you’ve been good all week, you probably can’t be trusted around a dozen croissants. Is that just me? I just came off another sugar detox, and I went straight to my favorite chocolate shop. I spent so much time in there that my hair smelled like chocolate-dipped sea salt caramels the rest of the day (success!). So, this recipe makes 4 good-sized croissants. You can absolutely stretch it to 6 croissants, though they will be smaller.
I made a lot of changes to Mireille’s recipe, mainly to eliminate any wishy-washy instructions (there were lots). I need clear, concise instructions for baking; a French chef, I am not. I also changed some things that were blantantly wrong with her recipe: do not put flour in the butter layer. I don’t know where she came up with that, but my sweet cousin Stephanie who is a pastry chef said that was absolutely not the way to make croissants. When I put flour in the butter layer, I ended up with crescent rolls, not croissants. Still delicious, but not my goal. Stephanie calmed my fears about croissants by boiling it down to this: it’s a yeast dough with a butter layer that is folded four times. When you think of it that way, it suddenly becomes more approachable.
So, please, follow the instructions exactly (including using unbleached flour, kosher salt, etc.), and you will have great results. Mireille divided her recipe into the course of 3 days for ease. This way, you can start Friday night and eat croissants Sunday morning. But, if you want to alter the recipe and replace all overnight instructions with 4 hours and try to make these in one day, go ahead. I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. But as always, if you have any questions, just leave me a comment, and I will get back to you. I will post answers to questions on the site so that everyone can see them.
Once you’ve mastered this small batch of croissants, be sure to make my other version: CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS!:
24 hrPrep Time
15 minCook Time
24 hr, 15 Total Time
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon 2% milk, divided use
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, divided use
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons high-quality butter (European style)
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- Heat 1/2 cup of the milk to 115-degrees Fahrenheit, and stir in the yeast until dissolved. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the flour. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, remaining 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of the flour, and salt. Add the foamy yeast to the mixture, and knead until smooth with a wooden spoon, about 3-4 minutes. The dough will be sticky, but it will stick to itself and not the edges of the bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
- Let the butter come to room temperature.
- Remove the dough from the fridge (it should have risen some and seem bubbly). Flour a surface, and roll the dough out into a 6 x 10" rectangle. The 6" side should be closest to you.
- Spread all 6 tablespoons of the butter evenly over the rectangle, but leave about 1cm of a border on all edges.
- Fold the dough like a letter: fold the top one-third to the middle. Fold the bottom third up to the middle also. Roll the dough back into a 6 x 10" rectangle. Cover and refrigerate the rectangle of dough for 2 hours.
- Remove the dough from the fridge after 2 hours, fold it like a letter again, and then roll back out to a 6 x 10" rectangle. Place it back in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Repeat this two more times for a total of 4 folds, refrigerating for 2 hours between each fold and roll. After the last roll out, refrigerate the dough overnight.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll it on a floured surface into a 10 x 10" square.
- Using a knife, cut the rectangle into 4 evenly-sized triangles. Roll the rectangles up, starting at the wide end. Roll towards the skinny tip.
- Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick mat, and brush with the remaining tablespoon of milk.
- Let the rolls rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. If your kitchen is cold, let them rise for longer--they really need to double in size before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
- Brush the egg yolk generously over the croissants. Be sure to get it in the nooks and crannies of the dough.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until very golden brown. Start checking on the rolls at 10 minutes, and shield them with foil if the edges threaten to burn. You just spent 3 days making rolls, keep an eye on them in the oven so they don't burn!
- Let cool 20 minutes, and serve.