Oh my goodness! Are you ready to welcome the taste of France into your kitchen and everyday weekly routine? I say, why not give it a go.
Since 2019 I have been making my own croissants every two months and enjoying one (sometimes two) each Sunday morning, one of my favorite weekly rituals. Hot out of the oven each week, and only having to make them every couple of months, it is a simple recipe that will leave you feeling as though you have savored a taste of France even if you aren’t on its terra firma.
Now you may be asking yourself, didn’t you already share this episode about how to make croissants in a previous season, and you would be correct – season 2, episode 6 to be precise, but since then, I have made this recipe nearly 40 times and have found ways to shorten the amount of time it takes to make it while keeping the quintessential butteriness and flakiness, and want to share with you today.
Making both the classic French croissant as well as the chocolate croissant, better known as le pain au chocolat, this truly is a fail-safe and super simple recipe, adapted from a French baker who joined Julia Child on her PBS cooking series, Baking with Julia in the 1990s. I will talk all about that and more in today’s episode.
Let’s get to the episode, shall we!
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Links shared during the episode:
- Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
- blog post: Butter Tasting and My Favorite French Butter
- Pastry Cutter/ Bench Scraper
- My favorite French butter – Isigny Sainte-Mère
- Bob’s Red Mill Flours, Fine Pastry Flour
- Recipe for TSLL’s Peach & Rum Jam – episode #2 of season 6
- blog post: How I Savor My Sundays at Le Papillon
My Favorite Sunday Rituals (hint, hint, they include croissants!)
~Cook & Share! I would love to share your Simply Luxurious Kitchen inspired experiences from your kitchen. Tag me on Instagram with @thesimplyluxuriouslife #tslkitchen (or directly tag @tsllcookingshow) and your post could appear on my Instagram feed as well as on a future Show Notes post (see readers’ pics below). Many readers have already shared their meals inspired by recipes from TSLKitchen. Check out TSLL’s IG Story Highlights – titled, Viewers’ Recipes. Below are a few readers that have shared recipes and pics that caught their eye (and tastebuds ?) since last season concluded. Thank you to everyone who has shared!
Digital Cookbooks for Each Season of the Show are available (and they are free to everyone!). If you are looking for all of the recipes for each previous season in one easy to find place without having to click through each episode for each season, I now have available a Digital Cookbook for Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. Shop here. Season 6’s cookbook will be available at the end of this season (end of November).
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!