A morning with time unrestrained, weekend papers waiting to be perused, hot tea (or coffee) steaming and a warm buttery, flaky croissant. The picture of a wonderful moment. Savoring, savoring, savoring.
Nearly every Sunday morning after a long walk with the boys, I am settling into my living room with my newspapers piled high, a warm homemade croissant in the oven, hot water for the teapot boiling and my favorite go-to breakfast waiting to be enjoyed. There really is nothing quite as sweet when it comes to weekly rituals and routines.
Over the many years, I have been in pursuit of the most scrumptious croissant, and as I will share in today’s episode, once you have had a French croissant, it is hard to spend even a couple of dollars on an inferior, albeit valiant attempt, at this classic and quintessential French weekend morning pastry (or should I say boulangerie item, as you will find the best ones in a classic French boulangerie as I will share in today’s episode). However, there are a couple of bakeries in the states that have mastered it almost exactly as my tastebuds can attest after my trip to San Francisco this summer.
In today’s episode, a helpful step-by-step visual guide teaching you how to make your very own croissants. As I will share in the video, I make a large batch of both classic croissants and pain au chocolat, and freeze most of them so that I can enjoy them each week for nearly four months (I will show you how to do this as well). Not only does this save me money (here in Bend a croissant can run as much as $3.95/each). As well, making my own croissants inspired by the classic Baking with Julia episode with French baker Esther McManus (links below the video) ensures the size is not too extreme and the flavor is the wonderful and desired marriage of buttery goodness throughout and flaky exterior.
I do hope you will tune in to this week’s episode as I will share the Paris 2018 boulangerie that won for Best Croissant and much more about Paris and places to visit, stay and enjoy. Now, to the episode!
~Episode Note: A small scene was inadvertently left out in the editing room (55:30), so I would like to add that step here (it is correct in the written recipe shared here on the Show Notes). After you place the croissants in the oven for 3 hours to proof, you remove them, add one more round of egg wash, and then put into a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until beautifully golden brown.
Links from the Episode:
- Link to the FULL RECIPE for EACH CROISSANT (traditional and pain au chocolat)
- Posts mentioned:
- A Butter Tasting and My Favorite Butter (yep, it’s French ;))
- Visiting Musée d’Orsay and Impressionist Berthe Morisot’s Exhibit
- 9 Places in Paris I Recommend for Dining, Sleeping, Exploring and Finding the Perfect Croissant
- TSLL’s 4th Annual French Week (2019)
- Tartine, in San Francisco is spotlighted in episode #256 of the podcast: 72 Hours in San Francisco — Where to Eat, Sleep and How to Get About
- Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers
- Esther McManus & Julia Child, making croissants on Baking with Julia on PBS, part 1 (video)
- Esther McManus & Julia Child, making croissants on Baking with Julia on PBS, part 2 (video)
~Cook & Share! I would love to share your Simply Luxurious Kitchen inspired experiences from your kitchen! Tag me on Instagram with @thesimplyluxuriouslife #tslkitchen and your post could appear on my Instagram feed. Many readers have already shared their meals inspired by recipes from TSLKitchen. Check out TSLL’s IG Story Highlights – titled, Viewers’ Recipes. And see the most recent shares since Season 1 wrapped up as viewers began to explore the recipes in their own kitchens.
Check out previous episode from Season 2 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen
Season 2 Premiere – Moules Marinière à la Crème
Season 2, Episode #2, My Friday Night Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta
Season 2, Episode #3, Apple Tart Tatin, plus How to Polish Copper Simply & Easily
Season 2, Episode #4, Herbed Trout with Citron Beurre Blanc
~CLICK HERE for the entire recipe and step-by-step pictures for both Croissants and Pain au Chocolat
French Croissants & Pain au Chocolat
Pastry Dough Ball
- 3 3/4 cups flour Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread is my choice
- 1 packet dry, active yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk you will need 1 cup most definitely and perhaps more depending upon the consistency of the dough
- 1 pound unsalted butter the best quality you can afford/find – my favorite is Isigny Ste. Mère Beurre
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 ounces dark chocolate the best quality you can find – I use Belgium or Scharffen Berger (from San Fran)
- 1 egg for egg washing the croissants
- In a mixer with dough attachment, mix at a low speed 3 3/4 cups flour, the yeast, salt, sugar and 1 cup whole milk (reserve 1/2 if needed – if dough is too dry). Mix until the bowl looks clean and all of the flour is incorporated. If the dough is too dry, you may add a little of milk at a time.
- Once the pastry dough is in a ball, remove from the mixer, wrap in plastic wrap. First, set it aside on the counter to rest for 30 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. I have left it in for 12-14 hours and that is just fine. This part of the recipe should be done at least a day before you want the croissants.
Combining the pastry dough and the butter.
- Day of baking (after dough has been in the fridge for at least 8 hours): Roll out the pastry dough on a floured surface to approximately 18 inches in length and 10 inches in width. Using a box grater, grate the butter into large shreds (butter should be chilled). This will make it easier to roll out and preserve the dough. Sprinkle all of the butter down the middle of the dough, from the very end to the very top (but only in the middle third). Then, fold length-wise, the dough over the butter. You will have two layers of dough on top of the butter – a tri-fold.
- Roll the dough a bit more to make sure the butter reaches near the end of the dough edges.
- Place the dough (with the butter now incorporated) onto parchment paper on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- The layering process continues! Remove from the refrigerator and roll out the dough to a large rectangle – approximately 24 inches by 18 inches. Then fold into thirds – one third on top of the other – similar to a letter folded so that it can fit in a business envelope. Place back onto the parchment which is on the sheet pan, wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, roll out the dough again (floured surface), fold the tri-fold again. Wrap again as before, and set aside again in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
- After the hour has passed, roll out the dough again and this time make a double fold: four layers. Find the center like and fold both edges to that center line and then fold one side on top of the other. Place the dough on the parchment, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Now to make the croissants! Cut the dough into half (you don’t have to, but it makes it easier to roll out).
- On a floured, preferrably cool surface, roll out the dough – 24 x 20 inches approximately. Fold in half length-wise. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut triangles. Open up the fold and separate the necessary triangles that are attached.
- Take each triangle, one at a time, and holding with all fingers the top of the triangle with a firm grip, slide your fingers from the middle to the end to stretch the dough. Be gentle, but firm. The triangle should double in length.
- Place the triangle on the flat surface, place a small ball of extra dough at the top of the triangle to add bulk, then begin to roll the triangle to create the crescent. Finish rolling and create an arch with the narrowest point facing you and rolled down inside the crescent. Complete this for each of the traditional croissants. (If you would like to add any preferred filling, instead of the extra dough mentioned above, you can place the almond filling, etc. there.)
- For Pain au Chocolat, take the second half of the dough and instead of triangles, make rectangles. Place the doculate – about 2 ounces on the end where you will begin rolling. Roll up to the end and keep the end underneath, to rest on the bottom of the croissant.
- Note: If you will be freezing some or all of the croissants, now is when you would place them into a freezer bag or storage container: After roll ping the croissants, before proofing them, I place them in a freezer storage container, separating each layer of rows (so they don’t stick together) with parchment.
- For the croissants you will be baking: If you have a proofing oven, you will use this now. If you do not have a proofing oven (I do not), while you are rolling the croissants, heat up the oven as you would to bake (350 degrees). As soon as it reaches the temperature, turn off the stove (or simply set your stove to 80 degrees or the lowest it will go – 90 or 100). Place the croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment, wash each croissant with egg wash (this is optional – so long as you do so when you bake them, this second wash isn't necessary. Place in the oven (the oven is off, but warm) for 2-3 hours. They are proofed when they have expanded but have not begun to deflate.
- Remove from the oven, wash again with egg wash. Preheat the oven to 350 and then bake for 20 minutes.
- Eating them warm out of the oven is a true luxury. Bon appétit!