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Homemade croissants

Has anyone done this before? I received the Tartine cookbook as a gift, and since we had just returned from SF where we gorged on pastries and almond croissants, I thought I'd give the croissants a shot and see if it's worth all the effort (it almost always is). It's quite a process - preferment sits for a couple of hours, the dough sits for a couple of hours, then there's the laminating with butter with rests in the fridge for an hour at a time. Then, the rolling and shaping (I did this part this morning) and a 2-3 hour proof. But the, only 15 minutes in the oven!

I was a little wary when the first batch came out (half the dough is still in the freezer, waiting for another lazy weekend of baking) because a lot of butter had oozed onto the baking pan. But, man, after taking a bite, these things are flaky and good!

If you've made these before, do you find it's something you make often or save for special brunches or breakfasts? I can't see doing these every weekend (I'd have to buy bigger clothes, for one thing), but I'm impressed I could pull it off and now I want to give them to everyone, ha!

If you haven't made them before, but you love croissants, I have to say that it isn't as difficult as I thought, just time consuming.

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  1. I really love home made croissants. My dad's were the best. I wouldn't make them all the time, but well worth the trouble.

    1. First of all, congrats on your first croissants!

      I used to make them to sell to a local cafe and it was a royal pain to make them all the time. Once in a while, it's ok, but I began to really dread making them.

      Last batch I made, I had some extra dough to keep for myself, so I baked the batch up all at once and then wrapped them up individually in plastic wrap, then put them in a freezer bag Now, I just pop them in the toaster oven to warm and crisp and they are wonderful.

      I've had the butter leakage, too. It may have been that your oven wasn't hot enough and when they went in, the butter started to melt out before they had a chance to puff up. Or maybe you proofed them a bit too long or in a place too warm.

      I haven't had to make them in a while but for a special occasion or to do a big batch for the freezer, it would be worth it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dukegirl

        Do you think it's better to bake them and then freeze, or just keep a batch of dough in the freezer to bake them "fresh"?

        It's possible that they were a bit too warm after proofing, as I know the oven was at least 425 when I put them in, since it had been at 450 for a trial loaf of no-knead bread.

        1. re: leanneabe

          Well, it's nice to just grab some already baked out of the freezer to eat with dinner on a moment's notice. It's not the same as fresh-baked, but it's convenient and they are still pretty darn good.

          One thing I did have happen to me once was that I froze half a batch of dough and a few months later, formed them and they just wouldn't proof. I asked around and several people told me that too long in the freezer can be detrimental to the yeast. That was pretty frustrating to say the least.

      2. I have made them and they are delicious however, I think this is one of those things that you can buy excellent ones and the process and time is not worth it.

        1. I used to have a friend who ran a B&B where she served freshly baked croissants every morning. She got them in a sort of brown'n'serve condition from a restaurant supply baker---actually I think they must have come frozen because I remember she had to get up quite early to set them up on cookie sheets, which sounds as if maybe they had to thaw for the second rising. Anyway, they were wonderful.

          1. I make croissants sometimes and while it certainly takes time and effort I do think the results are superior to anything you can buy. (Also, if you've mastered croissants, you also know how to do puff pastry and danish, so it's a useful skill.)

            One helpful time-shifting trick is to shape them at night, allow them to rest overnight in the fridge (in a sealed ziploc bag -- the huge 2.5 gallon bags can slip over a 1/4 sheet pan -- this keeps the dough from drying out and forming a skin), pulling the pans out in the morning to let them proof (still within the bags), then baking them. I find that the overnight rest improves both taste and texture (as it does with most yeast breads) and there's much less work in the AM when you're bleary-eyed and stumbling around the kitchen. I've actually got a batch of danish in my fridge right now, ready to go for tomorrow.

            I also do freeze them fully baked. It's awfully nice to know there are treats in the freezer ready to be reheated.