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Has anyone made croissants? (successfully, that is)
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BG



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Cambridge, MA (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:49 pm    Post subject: Has anyone made croissants? (successfully, that is) Reply with quote

We are desparate for real croissants. We've been all over the Boston area searching for the real thing. We got so desparate we tried to make them one chilly Spring morning. We tried to follow Julia Child's detailed recipe; it took all day; and the results weren't bad, but they weren't croissants. They were more like crescent-shaped brioche.

Background -- a couple of years ago we did a bicycle tour in the Dordogne Valley. Not every morning, but several times, the croissants were things of glory -- light as a feather, buttery, dissolving into showers of micro-thin crisp flakes as we bit into them. On our last day, out hotel had great croissants, so as we walked to the train station, we bought a couple from a boulangerie. Nope. Not the same thing at all -- la patisserie industrielle.

Rant -- and people think the stuff you buy at Au Bon Pain is a croissant. Hah!

It's too hot to try to work with the buttery dough now, but can anyone guide me in the right direction for another try later this year?
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First you sell your souls to the devil, then you attempt croissants. Even Clotilde, in a posting from July 2005 says she avoids situations with yeast!
I've tried it too, twice, wasting a LOT of butter. The "Joy of Cooking" uses the word "troublesome". The answer to your question, has anyone ever made croissants successfully?, is no. Julia lied.
I'm suprised that you can't find them in Boston, though! Here in Salt Lake City, not so very sophisticated, but Boston?

I love your snooty put-down phrase "la patisserie industrielle".


Last edited by gingerpale on Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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BG



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
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Location: Cambridge, MA (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: La Patisserie Industrielle Reply with quote

Actually the designation patissere industrielle came from the French themselves ... we were chasing the Tour de France one summer, and stopped at a sprawling Hypermarche for some provisions ... and there was a big section with a sign over it: Patisserie Industrielle! So we've adopted the phrase and use it when looking down our noses.

So how do you suppose those clever bakers down in the Dordogne Valley produced such magnificant croissants? I dream of them!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not the least intimidated by yeast (nuttin' there to be intimidated by) but I've never made puff pastry. I've only recently thought it was about time that I did but who knows when I'll get around to it.

My own croissant memory is back in the early 70s when we were living in Crépy-en-Valois and Steve played as a musician in Paris until the very early hours of morning. On our way back home we would stop at the back door of a bakery and get them coming hot from the oven while we watched the baker assemble his next batch and THE fattest cat on the face of the earth watch for mice as though he were actually still capable of catching one. Wink

Maybe knowing I'd never approach those got in my way. OTOH, (heresy alert!) although a croissant can be wonderful, it's not as interesting to me as a dense, tangy sponge-based bread. And when it comes to puff pastry, Danish tickles my personal fancy more than croissants.

gingerpale- If you want any help with yeast, let me know OR perhaps if you search the net you could find a tutorial.
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Dilini



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've actually made croissants a couple of times, with surprsingly good results. It isn't difficult so much as a long process to go through because you have to refrigerate the dough before each time you roll it out. The recipe that I use is from the Williams-Sonoma "Essentials of Baking" book, which has great recipes for other pastries and breads, as well.

Good luck with your croissants!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have made croissants, years ago when I did a breadmaking course.

Thanks for reminding me, BG, and welcome to this lovely corner of the internet. Here in Australia it's the right time of the year to make them, so I'll try and find my recipe and have another go. I remember the first ones turing out well, and we certainly ate them all. These days there are 2 teenagers in the house, so everything gets demolished with indecent haste. Perhaps I'll wait until they're both out somewhere. Wink
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happenstance



Joined: 30 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A friend of mine and I just took a croissant making class. And you know what, it was really easy. I think just having a good teacher explain it made all the difference in the world.

Now, of course me explaining this to all of you might be impossible.

One thing to note is that it has to be cold, so the butter doesn't melt. The day we did it was pretty warm so we froze our flour and sugar and salt and stuck a chocolate thermomet in the dough to make sure it never went above 65 degrees Farenheit.

If you want to learn and you live in the Bay Area check out baking arts at http://www.bakingarts.net or http://www.spunsugar.com. Richard Festen teaches the class both places (the first is his own shop).

After the class I was very pleased with the final result and will be making croissant and pain au chocolate from now on!
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BG ~ I share your love of the delight...

Judy...shall imagine us together ..yeasting and feasting...

“Do you know on this one block you can buy croissants in five different places? There's one store called Bonjour Croissant. It makes me want to go to Paris and open up a store called Hello Toast.”
Fran Lebowitz, journalist

ah Frannie ~ how I doth love your turn of phrase...

a thought ~ we all 'round a round table...coffee 'n croissanting ~ how delicious would THAT be!

since it feels like a zillion below ~ might even give the gems a go....

'n here I am reading of the heat elsewhere..

sending joyous blocks of ice where needed...

I'll take the fires...of heat...

hgus

I mean hugs
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, I would never choose an innernet-toot-oreo over your advice!

BG--glad you are getting some real feedback about croissants, I was pretty sure it would come. It occured to me, though, that if a chemist can't make croissants work, who can? The Chilling of the Dough seems all-important, I'll bet the air temperature matters too.


Last edited by gingerpale on Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On neat trick that you may already have run across for keeping the butter cold and still being able to work it is to smack several times north/south and east/west with your rolling pin, turning the dough over and repeating. This will soften the butter up without raising the temperature. The dough should roll out more easily for each set of folds.
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BG



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
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Location: Cambridge, MA (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the replies. Reply with quote

Thanks, all, for the replies and encouragement. I think all of you touched on the problem of keeping things cold. Even though we refrigerated the dough between each of the rolling-and-folding stages, I think heat was our nemesis. The final product looked more like a rich dough than a series of flaky layers, suggesting that the butter just mixed in with the layers of dough. Interesting. We've made baklava, using sheets of filo (phyllo) dough, and that has come out beautifully crunchy and flaky (and of course, dripping with honey and walnuts). I wonder if that would be cheating in the quest to make the true croissant?
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Rainey



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using filo instead of dough? You'd get the crunchy aspect but not the tender bread-y one.

I've also never seen filo used more than 4, maybe 5 layers deep. There must be a reason for that so you'd have something quite flat. In addition, although filo also has flour as it's primary ingredient, it doesn't have yeast so there will only be the air that's there structurally from layering while puff pastry has the airy layers that result from yeast rising alternating with the butter layers that allow each bread layer to separate.

Filo is also terrific stuff, just, texturally, very different from puff pastry.
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Deni



Joined: 25 Jul 2006
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Location: Kona, Hawaii

PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was schooled @ LeNôtre, Paris in the early 1980’s and am passionate about my profession.
Here are the fundamentals of Parisian croissants


A combination of 70% hard wheat flour (bread flour) and 30% soft wheat flour (pastry flour)
High quality butter for the roll-in (low moisture content)
Resting your detremp at least 6-8 hours, better if left overnight to develop the flavor profile
When making the detremp mix it until just holding together, wrap well & let rest to finish the gluten build
Form the butter roll-in into a rectangle and return to the refrigerator to harden
Fresh yeast produces better flavor (can be purchased from your local patisserie)
When turning the detremp, use 4 single turns, allowing a resting period or 1 hour between each turn.

If you would like a detailed recipe for the home kitchen I can provide you with a great one
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SarahsWorld67



Joined: 09 May 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We are desparate for real croissants. We've been all over the Boston area searching for the real thing. We got so desparate we tried to make them one chilly Spring morning. We tried to follow Julia Child's detailed recipe; it took all day; and the results weren't bad, but they weren't croissants. They were more like crescent-shaped brioche.


I have made Julia Child's recipe several times, and I find that I have much more success when I modify it, bake them a little longer and at a lower temp. than she specifies. Otherwise they tend to be a little undercooked and doughy in the middle. More like 425F instead of 475F. Also, I have better results letting them rise until very puffy (final rise). The last batch I made turned out extremely flaky and light.

Sarah
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Samsprite



Joined: 03 Nov 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:58 pm    Post subject: Yes please Deni! Reply with quote

Hi Deni,

I'd love to receive your recipe for making croissants in the home kitchen. I've been keen for ages to try my hand at them...

Thanks.

I hope you're having a lovely day,

Sam
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