by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Esther McManus
There is a PBS video of Esther and Julia making these same croissants. Watching the video was extremely helpful, especially since this book is not real clear in the instructional department and I just love Esther's way of explaining as she bakes along: "To help the mixer, because I can see the mixer is struggling." "The dough is not the boss, YOU are the boss." and "Do not be afraid of the dough - the dough should be afraid of you." Even if you don't plan on making your own croissants, it's fun to watch the video - Esther is a kick in the pants.
OK, take a deep breath and let's get started!
Day one you mix the dough, let rest for half an hour at room temperature, then chill for at least eight hours or overnight. You also prepare the butter (mixed with two tablespoons flour) and chill it along with the dough (separately).
Day two you incorporate the butter block, yes I said block, it is one pound of butter mixed with a bit of flour and formed into a huge block. Chill again for one to two hours - unless you're feeling courageous (this being my second attempt, I chose to chill it for a bout an hour and a half) and can work quickly before the butter softens too much; then you can go ahead and make the first "turn" of the dough (rolling and folding), after which it gets chilled again for at least two hours. Then comes turn number two of three, a repeat of the first turn, and another chill for two hours. For the final turn of the dough, it too will get chilled for two hours, then the dough is ready to be used for shaping your croissants.
Day three you get to form the croissants (the fun part!). Once formed you give them an egg wash, and guess what?!!! They get to rise (proof) at room temperature for another three to four hours!!* After that, give them one more egg wash and finally into the oven.
*I formed my croissants in the evening of day two and wrapped them in plastic wrap for a slow rise in the refrigerator as mentioned in this post (one of the benefits of getting a late start - you get to read the other baker's posts for tips and issues) to be baked the following morning. However mine did not rise at all in the refrigerator and still needed a three-hour proofing period at room temperature.
The proofing period would not have been a problem since I was planning on taking these out to the boys for their morning break at around ten O'clock anyway. However I awoke with a migraine and did not even get up till ten. It was well after two before I was ready to share these delights ~ so the lucky recipients were two of my neighbors, my sister, our daughter and her co-worker, whom she affectionately calls Boss Lady (she is her boss..).
I don't feel bad that the boys did not get to indulge in these; they received the Mocha Chocolate Chip cookies (next post) two days earlier.
Consensus so far:
Laura: TO DIE FOR
Ashley: My mom rocks
Boss Lady: AWESOME
Liz: WONDERFUL - even better than the ones in France :)
Would I make these again? Yes. Probability of making these again ~ slim.
Success meter (1-3): 3
I chilled my counter by leaving pans filled with ice for about fifteen minutes.
If I were making a pie crust my dough would be any shape other than round!
The fillings: Chocolate, almond and for the plain, a piece of scrap dough to give the croissant its belly.
Can you say flag overkill? I can't believe I did not take any pictures without them!
If you are feeling adventurous and have three days to spare, and are thinking you would like to give making these a try, you will find the recipe and detailed photos of this crazy long process over on Amanda's beautiful blog, Girl+Food=Love; and for more beautiful photos, tip and tricks, check out the results of the many talented bakers in the group. Just look for the LYL: Croissants link on the Tuesdays with Dorie website.