Julia Childs Croissant Recipe
Why I Love This Recipe
One day I decided to answer my question "what makes a truly amazing croissant"? Boy I didn't know I was in for such a long and hard task. Who better to get the Croissant recipe from other then the amazing and talented Julia Childs. Now, for some, this may seem easy. But let me just tell you, I had to watch 2 PBS webisodes with absolutely NO recipe posted. I had to tediously sit there and write notes.
Then I went home and decided to tackle it! So I give you below, the Julia Childs Croissant Recipe with my notes when I accomplished the task! Let me tell you, it is WORTH THE TIME and effort you have to put in. These were the best croissants I have ever tasted in my entire life!
Ingredients You'll Need
1lb & 2oz Cold Unsalted Butter cut
3 ¼ Cups Flour
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 ½ teaspoons Instant Yeast
2 teaspoons Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Egg White
1 Teaspoon water
Put 1lb. of flour in Kitchen Aid (hook attachment), add yeast, add salt, add sugar. Then add milk and turn machine on to a low speed until ingredients are kind of mixed. If too dry still, add a bit more of milk (eyeball it). When all ingredients are mixed, take out of the bowl and hold in hands. Turn the mixer back on with empty bowl and tear off a piece at a time from the dough and add it back into the bowl. You can increase the speed of the mixer to medium-low at this point. Let it work a bit longer until you can tell it is unified. Take the dough out, pound it a little, roll with hands, knead a bit and repeat a few times. Wrap in plastic (be sure to cover well) and then put it in a bigger sealed plastic bag. Leave at room temperature for about a half an hour.
In the meantime, change Kitchen Aid attachment to the paddle. Add butter to the bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of flour and beat on high. Make sure you watch it as you do not want to let the butter get oily. Take the butter out of the bowl and pack it in your hands to get all the air pockets out. Plastic wrap butter and place both the butter ball and dough (in plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours (you can leave overnight as this is what I did).
Take dough out of fridge and place on a floured surface for rolling (I used a marble slab so it stays cold while you are working). Roll out dough evenly. Make sure you are kind yet have authority with it. When rolled out, take butter out of fridge and unwrap. Place butter ball in the middle of the dough. Fold right side of dough over butter, followed by left side so butter is completely covered by dough. Kindly take your rolling pin and beat the dough/butter down until the butter is evenly spread inside the dough to all sides. Then gently roll with pin evenly. Place dough on cookie sheet (lightly floured) and let rest for 2 hours in the fridge (make sure to cover the entire cookie sheet with plastic wrap and seal dough in).
After 2 hours (I did this in the morning, went to work, and came home at lunch 6 hours later to do next step), take out of fridge, re-flour surface and out dough out. Put a tad of flour on top of dough so that the rolling pin does not stick. Roll dough again, trying to keep as even as possible. Then fold into 3 (left side in, then right side like you are folding a letter), brush some flour off and roll one last time (at this point it should measure about 15”x9”). Put on cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and back in the fridge for at least 1 hour (I went back to work and did the next step when I got off work about 4 hours later).
Do step above one last time from start to finish except this time after rolling out, fold another 3 times and roll for a 2nd time before placing on the cookie sheet, covering, and back in the fridge for at least 1 more hour. (I let stay in there overnight again).
Take out of fridge and cut lengthwise in half giving you 2 squares. Take one square at a time and roll out evenly to cut. Work fast because you do not want the dough to warm (a marble/granite top will help dough stay cooler longer). If you feel it is starting to get warm, you can always put back in fridge for 5 minutes at a time. Roll dough to about 20” x 15”. Fold in half long ways and brush flour off. Cut dough with pizza cutter in triangles with bases approximately 4” wide or larger if you want larger croissants. Then unfold them to have single layer triangles. TIME TO ROLL!
Take a triangle in hand and hold the base. Lengthen gently (be careful not to tear it) and pull the pointed side down over and over until it is longer. You can set it down at this point. Tear a little piece of dough from any left over scraps from cutting and roll into ball and place on the base of the croissant (this will give the croissant a little extra “dough” in the middle for some fullness). Roll the base over that piece of dough and seal it in. Then continue with the palms of your hands to roll the base to the point. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with point side up. If you would like, you can curl the ends towards you to make a “crescent” shape. When all are rolled, take a egg wash (1 egg white added with 1 teaspoon of water) and brush outside of each croissant with lightly. This will give it that nice glisten when cooked. Place in oven that is turned off, turn the light of the oven on, and place a pot of boiling water in the oven with it to proof for 3 hours. Do not cover the croissants at this time.
Then take all out of oven, turn on to 350 degrees. When oven reaches temperature, bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Watch closely as when they start to get closer to being done, they will cook fast. Also, be careful as a lot of butter will drain out while cooking, so be sure you have them on a high side cookie sheet, not a flat one. VIOLA! You have yourself croissants! Yes, this seems all intimidating and a lot of work, but well worth it. These are the way a croissant SHOULD be made…
Just to let you know…the folding steps are very important as this is what gives the croissant the layers and flakes. If these processes are skipped, you will not get croissants. Also, if you want to do chocolate or almond, all you have to do is instead of adding the piece of dough in the base, add a piece of dark chocolate or almond paste and roll. You can then add sliced almonds to the top and bake… when done you can sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with the remaining chocolate. ENJOY!
PS…I used to tell people to watch the episodes I did as well, but they took them down! :( Happy Baking! Would love to here how yours all turn out!