Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Croissants At Home


 Being on a French kick for the past few months, I have been dreaming of a perfectly flaky croissant.  In addition, there have been a few new cafes that have opened around the city toting their fresh croissants.  Since they are just far enough from me, I have not been able to try them just yet, but instead only read the few early (yet good) reviews that have made it on to Yelp.  I decided that since I know what a really good croissant should taste like, I would try my own hand at making them first.  However, the last time I even looked at croissant dough, was when I was 18 years old.  The last time I even attempted to transform a little triangle of dough into a fluffy croissant was when I working at my part-time bakery job at a little well-known French bakery in Oakland, CA.  So, I would have to warm up a little first...
  

I read what seems like fifty different recipes...cook books and Internet alike...and decided that I liked the one I found from America's Test Kitchen.  It uses a very simple, yet scientific method... if you like that sort of thing.  If you follow it step by step it is pretty straight forward and fool proof.  They even have a video. (check out their site, because I won't be reposting the longest recipe ever.)
   

I started my croissants after work on Thursday evening.  The most difficult part about croissants is really just the time that it takes.  Between all of the rolling and working the dough and then cooling the dough, it will take about 7 hours to complete a batch.  
So by the time Brian arrived home, he was a little shocked to see the kitchen covered in flour and dough.  He said that I needed to warn him next time.  Since he is a little OCD, I usually try to keep my messes under control.  This time I just told him that it will be so worth it. 



I finally got them all shaped and slid them into the freezer, where I left them until 6:30am on Saturday morning.  At that time they needed to come out... so that they would be ready to eat some time around 10am.  I know, you are probably thinking that you must be crazy if you will get up at at that time on a Saturday to proof your croissants.  Well, yes, you are right.  
But it was so worth it.    



Nothing beats a hot, flaky, buttery, home-made croissant.  We ate them warm out of the oven, just sitting in warm winter sun that was shining through the window onto the living room carpet.  We dusted our fingers of the buttery flakes, and took another bite, in the sun, happy. 

3 comments:

  1. Was La Farine the bakery where you worked? Their croissants were/are the best...

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  2. Yes, they are very good. Lady Fingers Bakery was where I worked. The ownership changed about 10 years ago though, so I can't vouch for their offerings now.

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  3. I was the pastry chef who developed the recipe used at La Farine in Oakland, California. In 1982, a book I wrote about how to make croissants at home called he Quintessential Croissant was published. You can find it used from
    * ABE Books http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?kn=quintessential+croissant r
    * Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=quintessential%20croissant

    Happy Baking !

    Pamella Asquith

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