Sunday, January 20, 2013

Croissants

I am going to go ahead and make the assumption that out of all the people on Earth - who don't have careers as bakers - I am one of the few who dedicated their entire Saturday to making croissants. I wish I was exaggerating too. From when I woke up, before eating breakfast, I began the long process of making these deliciously buttery pastries, and finished right around the time many people would be going to bed: a total of thirteen hours. Now I have spent days baking before, but usually there is a hefty amount of product at the end, or one of the recipes took a few practices, but not croissants! As long as the process was I am also crazy enough to say that it was worth the seven pastries that resulted.

Having some time on my hands (and being afraid of the cold winds outside) I decided to put yet another Christmas gift to good use - Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The croissant recipe is in the second volume, along with various other French bread and pastry recipes. Though the recipes are intimidating at first, the instructions are so incredibly detailed that there were very few times (if any) that I felt completely lost at what I was doing. Julia guides you through each step of the process in a voice that is very much her own - I could almost imagine her teaching me the recipe in person. 

Given the detail of this recipe - and my lack of experience with pastries -there was no way I was about to make my own subtle changes, the croissants I made are entirely Julia's. This recipe takes a great deal of patience rather than skill. With every slight touch of the dough, time is added to its resting and rising times. The final rise, where the croissants are shaped and nearly ready for baking, is where I had the most trouble. The croissants need to rise at 75 F - and having no real idea on how to achieve this in my heat controlled apartment - so I made my own proofing setup in the kitchen. Though I knocked one of the trays over and lost a few it seemed to work just fine. Being lucky enough to have some homemade jam in the fridge, these croissants were the perfect pairing for my cup of tea this morning. In the words of Julia,                                                           Bon App├ętit!

Note: I couldn't seem to find the exact recipe I used online, however this one is a great alternative seeing as it's from Julia Child's cooking show, the French Chef.

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