Iowa City Scratch Cookery

In-Home Cooking Lessons From An Expert

Homemade Croissants

A couple weekends back, I decided to take on a fairly involved project, make my own croissants. To make croissants, one must first make a laminated dough or puff pastry and, as the name implies, it puffs up when baked at high temperatures. The reason it puffs is due to the many miniature layers of butter and dough. When the high heat of the oven melts the layers of butter, they bubble and lift the layers of dough. The butter is then absorbed by the dough, leaving miniature pockets of air in the structure of the pastry. How is this effect achieved? There is a block of butter that is sandwiched between the layers of dough; the dough gets rolled out, re-folded, and rested in the fridge three different times before a final rest in the fridge overnight. In the morning the dough is rolled out to a large rectangle and cut to the desired shapes. The pastries are then proofed for an hour or two and baked. I had never done this at home; my only experience was in a professional kitchen using a sheet roller. My only tools were a rolling pin and a yard stick, but I made up for my equipment disadvantage by using cultured butter and King Arthur flour. I was really happy with the results of all my hard work. I made croissants and kouign Amann.