Julia Child’s Croissants

Still on my week off of break so I’ve had a lot of time to experiment. The last two days I’ve attempted to make croissants from Julia Child’s recipe, and let me tell you I do not wish that kind of horror on anyone. Slightly hyperbolic, but not too far from it. It was extremely time consuming and a lot of muscle and sweat put into rolling out the dough and folding it many times to get all those 86 layers of buttery flakiness a croissant has. My inspiration was to try to make my own cronut (half croissant, half donut, all delicious). But, if you ever want warm, homemade croissant, Trader Joe’s croissants are THE best way to go. They are the perfect “homemade” croissants you can get. They’ve got buttery and flakiness down to a par and all you have to do is let is sit overnight then bake for 20 min the next day! You’ll never buy those old Costco croissants every again!

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How my croissants turned out

Surprisingly, Julia Child’s recipe came out to be more like Viennese croissants rather than French, which is slightly more bread-ier than the French version, but still delicious! A bit of history: croissants actually originated from Vienna and brought to Paris and popularized by Marie Antoinette. To be honest, I’m pretty sure even Marie Antoinette would enjoy some fresh baked Trader Joe’s croissants! They’re that good!! And no, I’m not a spokesperon for Trader Joe’s. Below is the recipe just in case you are brave enough (and have enough time) to try it. Good luck!

What I would recommend

What I would recommend

Julia Child’s Croissants

Servings: 12 small croissants

Prep Time: 9-10 hours, Total time: 9-10 hours + 15 minutes

Bonus Videos: You might want to watch Julia before attempting: Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups of flour – both Julia Childs and I agree her flour mixture comes out much nice: 2 parts pastry flour, 1 part all purpose. It has a lower gluten content in it which will make rolling out dough MUCH easier and less likely to spring back on you.
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups Tepid (warm) milk
  • Vegetable Oil – unbleached = use 2 Tbsp , bleached = use 4 Tbsp
  • 1 stick (4oz) of chilled butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1. Mix the first 4 ingredients together (yeast, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup warm water). Allow the yeast to start bubbling which tells you the yeast is active.

2. Mix together your the flour, sugar and salt. Incorporate your milk, oil and yeast mixture.

3. Knead your dough. I used a kitchen aid dough hook for about 5 minutes. If you’re using your hands, you can use Julia Child’s slap down method, which includes a lot more fun (and work).

4. Let the dough sit in a bowl and snip a small “X” on top of the dough with scissors.

5. Cover the bowl with a bowl and let it rise for 1hr-1 1/2 hr at room temperature.

6. When your dough has doubled in size, punch down your dough, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.

7. Time to soften your butter! Take out your chilled butter and whack it down with your rolling pin until it is flat and not lumpy. You can use the palm of your hand to work out the lumps. You want the butter to have the same consistency as your dough. You need to work FAST so the butter does not get warm.

8. Flatten your dough to a disc larger than your butter. Place your butter in the center and fold the dough into the center and pinch it to make your “dough package”. You don’t want pieces of butter sticking out!

9. Flour your board very lightly. Roll out your dough package into a rectangle about 14″ inches long, and about 6-7″ wide.

10. Fold it into 3 by folding the top third in, then folding the bottom third over it like a business envelope.

11. Turn the dough envelope so the folds face you and roll it out again to your same rectangle. Repeat step 10.

12. By this time, your dough will be too warm to work with, so you want to chill it again in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

13. Take your dough out after it’s chilled and repeat steps 9-12, but this time chill for 2 hours. (ie roll out twice and chill another 2 hours)

Croissant making time!

14.  After 2 hours, take your croissant dough on a lightly floured board. Roll out a rectangle this time about 20″ long and 5″ wide. Cut this piece in half and chill 1 half.

15. Take the other half and roll it out to a rectangle about 12″ long and 5″ wide.

16. Cut this piece into 3 sections and chill 2 sections.

17. Take your one square section and cut it corner to corner so you make 2 triangles. An isosceles triangle is ideal where 2 sides are equal.

18. Start from the bottom of the triangle and start rolling towards the point. Pull the 2 sides of the croissants in.  Make sure the point of the triangle is tucked well to the bottom of the croissant and set aside on a baking sheet. You will have 2 croissants made at this point. Do not be distressed if your croissants don’t turn out as beautiful as you normally see them….it takes practice and precision to roll out the dough right! They will still taste yummy!

19. Take your other 2 sections and repeat step 17-18 to make 4 more croissants.

20. Take your other half and repeat steps steps 15-18 to have a total of 12 croissants.

21. Let the croissants rest for 1 hour at room temperature. They will puff a little bit at this time.

22. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Make an egg wash of 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, beating it. Brush this over the top of your croissants. This will give it a beautiful glazed appearance.

23. Bake your croissants for 10 minutes or until golden brown. They will puff up even more and fill your house with yummy smells. Let them cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes.

And voila! as Julia Childs like to say. Bon appetite!

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2 thoughts on “Julia Child’s Croissants

  1. Julia Child has some amazing recipes, and some are easy, some are difficult, but they’re all quite authentic French recipes. I wouldn’t recommend the croissant recipe to anyone though, unless they have a lot of time on their hands haha. I have found some great Julia Child recipes that are not so difficult though! You should try!

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