When I read about the March Kitchen Challenge over at Love and Olive Oil, I couldn’t resist tackling one of the items on my baking bucket list: croissants. I took advantage of my excess free time (on my last spring, EVER) to take a stab at this challenging baked good. Per Lindsay’s recommendation, I used instructions from Cooks Illustrated. I didn’t do such a great job of documenting the entire process, but it starts with a simple yeasted dough of butter, flour, sugar, salt, whole milk, and (surprise!) yeast. After letting the dough rest for a half hour, it’s rolled out and then transferred to the fridge for two hours, followed by 30 minutes in the freezer. While the dough is chilling, roll out three sticks of butter into a flat square. Remove your dough from the freezer and roll it out with your butter.
Refrigerate your dough again, then freeze, then take it out and roll it out again. Your arms will get a serious workout in the process.
Follow the rest of the steps from Cooks Illustrated, and if you’re lucky, you’ll end up with this:
Overall, I’d say my venture into croissant making was a success. They were perfectly buttery and flaky, and I really couldn’t ask for much more than that. A few tips from my mistakes:
- It was difficult to strike the balance between underdone and overdone croissants. My first set was a little too buttery in the center, and the second batch I baked was slightly burnt on the bottom (but still edible, for sure). I think the problem had something to do with my using two separate kinds of baking sheets for each set.
- The time it took for me to bake my croissants was also significantly less than the recommended time from Cooks Illustrated. They said the croissants should bake for 12 minutes, followed by an additional 8-12 minutes after rotating baking sheets. My croissants only took about 12 minutes total. Keep a close eye on yours as baking times vary from oven to oven.
So, what’s on your baking bucket list?