Fork Spoon Knife is the personal blog of Asha where she chronicles her journeys in food through stories, recipes and photographs. She can also be found doodling and sharing her experiences as below.

 
                        

Baked! Homemade Croissants

Fresh Baked Croissants

If I ever go on a diet, the one thing that I would really find hard, if not impossible, to give up would be the flaky, buttery, mood boosters, Croissants. And, I am willing to gamble that this delicate French pastry evokes similar allegiances in many. A friend of mine who recently decided to turn vegan still cannot give up these delicacies, neither does he plan to! :-)

I remember reading somewhere on the blogosphere that this particular pastry has been ranked high on the list of the Most Difficult Recipes. Since then they have been on my mind, tucked away in a corner, but never forgotten.

Then, a few days back, I came across Tracey's gorgeous blog listing her top 10 favorites from 2010. And, the pride and joy of the list was.... you guessed it, flaky Golden Croissants. I decided then and there that these beauties would be one of the first things I baked this year!

Croissant-crumb close up

So, I did! That is, once I was done balking over the copious amounts of butter needed in making these pastries as flaky as they are meant to be. :)

I had made puff pastry for my first Daring Bakers challenge, Vols-au-Vents, which, was a fun adventure in itself. The technique to make the croissant dough is pretty similar, actually. So, I was rather comfortable with it.

The layers of flakiness in a perfect croissant (as also puff pastry) comes from the even distribution of the butter into the dough. The method to do that is to tuck a flattened slab of butter into the rolled out dough, fold like a business letter and re-roll. Then, you repeat the process over about 4 more times.

Croissant-crumb

The trick here is ofcourse make sure that the butter stays cold throughout the process and if ever, you find the warm sun streaming in or an overenthusiastic heater cramping your style, pop the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the butter to harden up sufficiently but still remain pliable.

Now, a good question to ask is, if the technique is really the same, what is the difference between the croissant dough and puff pastry? Can one not interchange the two? The only difference I noticed is that the croissant dough has yeast in it. But, unlike typical bread dough, you don't see a significant rise in volume before the dough goes into the oven.

I don't know how the chemistry works, and if someone can explain, I am all ears, but the amount of yeast is really low and even while proofing the rise is just barely there. But, once the shaped dough hits the oven, it rises beautifully creating height and a lot more airiness during the baking process. I also think that the yeast contributes to the softer and cake-ier texture of croissants compared to the crunchier puff pastry.

Croissants

I pretty much followed Tracey's recipe, who in turn used the one by James Peterson, except I used a tad less butter and hid a stick of chocolate in some of the croissants, just to make it a guessing game when I pick one for breakfast :)

36 comments:

  1. They look absolutely perfect to me!! And well I am on à diet of sorts but i think i still can eat à croissant every once in a while!! ( just as long as it's not every day!!)

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  2. Your croissants are fabouls! They look wonderfully flaky and soft.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Gorgeous croissants, Asha! I've made them a couple of times, I've got to try them again.

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  4. How beautifully these turned out! You can really see from the pictures how flaky the exterior and soft and fluffy the interior is, just perfect! Now if I could reach out and grab one :-D

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  5. croissants make my knees weak=) YUM!

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  6. Those crossiants looks absolutely elegant..

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  7. Your croissants look perfect! I fully agree on giving other food, but not croissants! They are what I miss most when travelling in croissant-free countries ;-)

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  8. Congratulations - your croissants are absolutely gorgeous! It's been nearly a year since I made the croissants so I think it's just about time to make them again, and I love your idea to hide chocolate in them.

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  9. Oh wow, they looks all puffed up and just perfect! Good job girl!

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  10. Gorgeous croissants! Great job!

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  11. Amazing job on the croissants! They look crispy and lovely on the outside.

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  12. OMG! you're a croissant Goddess! they look amazing! I wanna try to bake them soon, but I am so afraid of failing! they are really amazing! Great job!

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  13. Croissants are one of those things that always relax me. I could be rushing off to work, in a panicked state... but just one bite of this buttery goodness, and I'm in a different place.

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  14. delicious croissants looks flaky yummy

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  15. I can almost smell the buttery delicious aroma of your croissants just by looking at your beautiful photos. Amazing!

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  16. looks gorgeous- I have been planning to bake this for so long- the dough preparation just spoils the fun for me.

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  17. Wow, I can't believe you made your own croissants!! Amazing :d

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  18. I wish I had the courage to make these! They look so good, and I am in love with your photos.

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  19. Croissants are my weakness too. Yours look scrumptious! Love that you hid chocolate in some. Fun to learn the difference between croissants and puff pastry.

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  20. Well done!!! Gorgeous! Flaky too,
    I hope? Croissants are on my "to-do" list, as well. One of these days... :-)

    [K]

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  21. Those croissants look amazing! Definitely hard to resist.

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  22. Very nicely done! It looks flaky, right to my liking!

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  23. Congratulations!! Yours look so beautiful! A GF version of these is on my list for this year!

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  24. I've made croissants three times, and only on the 3rd time did things go awry (with the butter distribution, of course). It just goes to show that croissants are, in fact, tricky business. :)

    I will say from the 3rd experience that if you find your dough is much too streaky with butter, it's probably best to toss it out. Why? Well, let's just say that those particular croissants leaked butter all over my oven, creating smoke that filled my entire apartment and necessitated opening the windows and putting a fan in...in December. In the Midwest. Brrr.

    Anyway, blah blah blah--your croissants are GORGEOUS!

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  25. Ok I feel like putting my hand into the screen and grabbing one croissant. Those look absolutely delicious and sinful.

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  26. There is absolutely nothing like a flaky, homemade croissant. Yours look incredible. I wish I had one right now!

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  27. Ohh that looks wonderful. I have been craving crossants for weeks.

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  28. Beautiful croissants Asha - as all your dishes are! :)

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  29. I think it is fun that you hid a stick of chocolate in a couple of those croissants. That's definitely a pleasant surprise in the morning.

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  30. It's been a long time since I last made croissants. I love them! Yours looks so flaky and delicious. You inspired me!

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  31. Those croissants look perfect, crispy & flaky!

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  32. delicious food and pictures, authentic recipe that are easy to replicate at home, thank you for sharing this recipe with us!

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  33. gorgeous looking! I may try them out since you were able to get these to be so pretty. Congrats for being in the spotlight of foodbuzz.

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  34. I am completely impressed. I think I'll stick with the local bakery though--I'm pretty much failure-phobic when it comes to using yeasts in anything besides a pretzel.

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