The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
This is my first time making croissants. I made puff pastry once before, Vols-au-Vent with the Daring Bakers a couple of years ago and it was a little frustrating because the butter got soft so quickly. So this time I took tips from the You Tube videos of Julia making croissants with pastry chef Esther McManus.
In the video they cream the butter and then chilled it again before incorporating it into the dough. I decided to spread the butter in to a rectangle the size that I needed and then chill it. This method was much easier for me and allowed me to work much more quickly. Only a little of the butter oozed out during the final turns and in the video Esther said that is to be expected.
Also in the video, before rolling up the croissants, they added a little ball of dough from the scraps. This made it easier to shape the croissants and gave the center a little bit more height.
The recipe makes 12 small croissants. I think next time I would divide the dough in to 6 croissants so they’re not so small. I doubled the final rising time to 2 hrs. but if I would have had more time I would have let them rise for 3 hrs. I incorporated my changes in the recipe below.
I served the croissants with homemade blackberry jam that I canned with Kelley, Mountain Mamma Cooks, and Maria, Two Peas and Their Pod a few weeks ago when we canned the peach salsa. The blackberry jam is so luscious and fresh tasting. A perfect compliment to my flaky, little croissants. The recipe is below.
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of dry-active yeast (about ½ package)
- 3 tablespoons warm water (less than 100°F)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 3/4 cups (225 gm) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 11/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter
- 1 egg, for egg wash
Quick Blackberry Jam
- 4 cups crushed blackberries
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 7 cups granulated sugar
- 1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin
- Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
- Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl. Knead the dough eight to ten times. Place the dough back in the bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size.
- After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and roll it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up).
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place on to a cookie sheet to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. (This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge.)
- Place the stick of chilled butter on a silpat (silicone mat). Using a rolling pin, beat the butter down until it is quite flat. Use the heel of your hand or a offset spatula to spread the butter until it is smooth and measures 10 x 8. Place the butter in the fridge to chill while the dough is on it's second rise.
- After the dough has double, place the dough in the fridge to chill for 30 min. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle about 15 by 8 inches. Remove the butter from the silpat, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle. Fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third of the dough down. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
- Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 15 by 8 inches. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
- After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
- Roll the dough package out till it is 15 by 8 inches. Fold in three, as before. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 15 by 8 inches. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)
- It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready (I baked mine on parchment paper). Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
- Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches). Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold.
- Roll the second rectangle out until it is 10 by 10 inches. Cut the square into three triangles (as shown in the video.) Cutting off the corners on each end to create a diagonal line. Stretch the triangle out a little to lengthen it.
- Make three small balls of dough from the scraps and place a ball of dough at the wide end of the triangle. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough, creating 6 croissants in total. Leave the tray of croissants to rise for 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F 52. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants
- Put the croissants in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely.
- Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving
Quick Blackberry Jam
- In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine blackberries, lemon juice and sugar.
- Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stired down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
- Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. (If you wanted to make seedless jam, you could strain it before filling the jars.) Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
- Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars to folded towel on counter and do not disturb for 12 hours.
- Check that the lids have sealed. If they didn't seal, put in fridge and use within 2 weeks.
Slightly adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two