The French Bakery – first attempt!

For Christmas day we went out for lunch so it seemed like a good time to try making croissants; I had the time, the inclination and the skill (maybe – just go with it for now).

I did some research on this and there are a lot of ‘quick’ recipes out there on the usual sites, but this was not what I was after, I wanted traditional, get-up-at-stupid-o’clock croissants made with love and dedication.

Croissants cooling

I eventually settled on this recipe by Jeffrey Hamelman, it was recommended on various other blogs and the photos were universally good. I started the dough on 23rd December after we got back from The Hobbit (overrated and overlong btw), that bit was fairly straightforward, just mix it altogether with your dough hooks and whack it in the fridge, bosh. I was slightly concerned the dough was not completely smooth but I chose to ignore this concern.

Christmas eve saw me rolling out a big fat layer of delicious organic butter from the deli and then adding to the dough and rolling and folding, rolling and folding, rolling and folding. I found this quite enjoyable to be honest, I really like precision processes, and using a ruler to get the dough to the right size appeals to the geek in me :).

I couldn’t sleep Christmas eve (no, I am not a child waiting for Christmas with like it will never come, I had a cough which kept me up) so I was up in plenty of time to get the croissants ready in the morning.

Egg washed and ready to go!

Once again rolling out with a ruler, marking, cutting, rolling, egg-washing, proving. Oh the never-ending proving… But finally we ate and IMHO it was worth the wait.

They were incredibly buttery and flaky, and we had homemade strawberry jam, and more butter of course, to accompany them. Total yumgasm.

Tray of delights

So, lessons for next time:

  1. I should have proved for longer. It said 1.5-2hrs but I was impatient and I don’t think the house was warm enough so I might put them in the oven to prove next time.
  2. They are quite small, even allowing for extra expansion with the extended proving I think I’d make them bigger.
  3. When rolling the croissants up you need to be quite firm. The first six were messy and undercooked in the middle due to my poor rolling, but I got better and the second six were perfect.
  4. Give them a bit of time to cool, we ate them straight out of the oven and the insides were still a bit doughy but they were fine later.
  5. My oven is a massive liar! Turn it down and/or buy an oven thermometer.


Here they are displayed on my beautiful festive runner, handmade by the wonderful Lizzy Ruffles of course! (Apologies for the MANY photos, got a new camera for Christmas! :))

Posted in Eat

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