Today was a bank holiday in this part of Germany, which gave me the time to finally take up a project I’ve been thinking about since returning from France.
I wanted to make croissants. I gave them up when I went vegan. No, that is not true. I gave them up when I moved away from my parents. Because our local bakery used to make the best croissants ever. They were always big, soft, delicious, and fresh. They were fresh the whole day, which is not always the case.
The croissants I tried in many other places often where just assembled dust shards, if there is such a thing. They were dry and not at all delicious. So I haven’t had a proper croissant in a long time. After I went vegan, I sometimes bought prepared puff pastry and tried to make croissants, but that didn’t work out at all. Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know much about how to make them. I then learned that there are different kinds of puff pastry. One version is not only made from layers of dough and fat, it’s also made with yeast. That is the one used for croissants. The combination of a yeast dough and puff pastry makes croissants extra tender and also is responsible for most of the flavour.
Homemade croissants require a lot of time and work. I started to work on them yesterday evening at eight and finished today at six p.m. Okay, most of the time is passive, but you have to return to your kitchen for a couple of times to work on the dough.
I found several good recipes online, but finally decided to use this one (in German). It calls for a pre-ferment, which I prepared yesterday evening. After a two-hour rise, I put the dough in the fridge to ferment for 15 hours. This morning I made the croissant dough and rolled out the margarine. That was almost the most difficult part of the whole process!
When you make croissants, you start by placing the flattened margarine in the middle of a piece of dough shaped into a rectange and wrap the dough around the butter. It will look like and envelope. Then you seal the edges and roll out the dough. It is very important that both the margarine and the dough don’t get too warm. Because if the butter is too warm, the dough might tear and the butter will squeeze out.You also have to work slowly, to avoid tearing. And you have to let the gluten relax from time to time.
After you rolled out the dough, you fold it in a special way. Then you roll it out again and place it in the fridge for 60 to 120 minutes. You repeat this three times. Then you roll out the dough very thinly and cut it into triangles. You roll them up and shape them into crescents. Then you brush them with butter and let them rise. Mine rose for 2 hours. Then you bake them. And then you enjoy them. Croissants are a lot of work, but they are really worth the effort. Seriously. They are crispy, flaky, soft, and light at the same time. They are a really great treat and you’ll appreciate them even more if you know how much time it takes to make proper croissants.
I didn’t add sugar to my croissant dough, because I wanted to reserve some of it for a special treat. The bakery I told you about at the beginning od this posts sold regular croissants, croissants with a cheese crust, and sesame ham croissants. Yes, you heard that right. They were filled with a thin slice of smoked ham. Today I made a vegan version of these, using a vegan sausage. I know this may look and sound weird, but it tastes really great!