I promise this won’t become a blog dedicated to croissant making (frankly, neither my bank account nor my waistline can handle that much butter in my life), but I’m trying hard to get this right. This past weekend, I tested out the croissants de boulanger recipe from the Joy of Cooking and OMG. SO much better than my first attempt. Some thoughts on the recipe in case you’re inclined to try it. (I did promise a full report, didn’t I?)
- The dough was on the dry side (as was probably my kitchen, being winter and all) so I had to add a splash more milk to get it to come together.
- The recipe did not call for much resting time in the dough. The first two turns are done only after 5 minutes of dough rest and there is no rest between the first two turns. (This is where the recipe was REALLY different from Reinhart’s, which calls for lots and lots of resting.) I think this is a bad thing. My dough started breaking almost immediately after I started the second turn. I almost threw it in the trash because butter was seeping out everywhere. I had the foresight to put it in the refrigerator instead to rest and that saved the day. Next time, I will be more patient with the dough.
- This recipe calls for a LOT more butter (three sticks versus the 1.5 sticks in Reinhart’s). I used Reinhart’s method of creating the butter block (cut cold butter into tiny pieces and blend with flour using a stand mixer+paddle attachment). Much easier than the Joy of Cooking’s method of doing it by hand.
- My kitchen is on the warm side, especially in the winter so proofing time was less than an hour.
- I used Reinhart’s egg wash recipe (1 large beaten egg + 2 tbsp. water) rather than the Joy of Cooking’s plain beaten egg. I think it yields the same great effect but is much easier to brush on without damaging the croissant’s rise.
- The recipe, start to finish, took about 6 hours, largely untended. No small time commitment, mind you, but a lot less than the 2 days I dedicated to my last effort.
The end result was pretty marvelous. The croissants were super tender and flaky. They are rich, no doubt, but so much better than anything you could ever find at the store. And they went perfectly with the batch of orange marmalade I made over the weekend. (Yes, I made more jam too.)