Making Croissants

I’m taking cooking classes at Cook’n with Class (terrible name, but excellent Parisian cooking school). This morning was French baking and I was blown away by the process of making croissants.  First of all, the croissants we made were delicious and rival those found in bakeries around the city.  I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from this class, but I definitely didn’t think our finished product would look and taste so professional.

Basically it all comes down to the dough and this dough was no joke!  It involves two separate “resting periods” of 12 hours each before it’s ready to be formed into the croissants and baked.  Although we went through the process of making the dough from scratch, they also had some that had already “rested” for us to use in our baking.

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As you can see in this photo the dough is really many, many thin layers of dough mixed with thin layers of butter (which we literally pounded out into a sheet to combine with the dough).  Once you’ve layered your sheet of butter over your sheet of dough you begin a complex process of folding, rolling out, and folding some more.  It was a little confusing to keep all the steps straight, but amazing to see the layers of the flaky croissant dough forming before our eyes.

After the dough “rested” some more, we were finally ready to begin forming our croissants.  We cut the rolled dough into measured triangles and split the bottom, making them look kind of like the Eiffel Tower.

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You then roll carefully up from the bottom, making sure to keep stretching the dough as you go.  The last little piece is secured with an egg wash (eggs and milk whisked together) and your little croissant is ready to go!

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I must say the croissants looked adorable as they were being rolled and lined up on the pan together.  Each had it’s own distinctive shape, but they were a happy little family all together.

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Obviously this was followed by more “resting” in a slightly warm oven, then to the fridge, then brushed with egg wash, and finally into the oven to bake.

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They were seriously good!  The best part was that the same dough we used for the croissants was also used for all the other pastries we made – pain au chocolate, pain au raisin, and custard filled danishes. I’m a bit daunted by making this dough on my own, but it’s definitely worth a try given the range of options – all with delicious results!

I came home to a very happy T with a huge bag of pastries after class.  We’ve been gorging ourselves all afternoon!  When in Paris….

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