Serious Eats: Recipes

Bread Baking: Easy(er) Croissants

[Photographs: Donna Currie]

There may not be such a thing as croissants that are truly easy to make, but I guarantee these are easier than any of the more traditional recipes.

The first time I made croissants, it was quite a production: first I read the instructions, then measured the dough exactly, then folded it different ways at different stages. And of course, the dough had to be refrigerated in between the different rolling and folding stages. Those resting stages in between meant that I had to make croissants on a day I'd be around to work on the dough at intervals throughout the process. The resulting croissants were good, but it was definitely a recipe for special occasions or for days when I had nothing else to do.

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After a few batches of croissants made according to a few different recipes, the process got a little easier, and I got a little sloppier with the measuring. I have learned that the croissants are not going to fail if you roll the dough a half-inch longer or shorter than the recipe demands.

But why not make the entire method easier? The important thing is the flaky, buttery layers, and that doesn't require military precision or strange folding rituals. This dough recipe is a cross between pie dough, sweet flaky pastry dough, and traditional croissant dough, and easy enough to make just about any time you want it.

If you've always wanted to make croissants but the idea has intimidated you, give these a try. They're just as buttery and flavorful, with beautiful layers, a shattery crust, and tender insides.

Since croissants are best the day they're made, keep this in mind: you can make this recipe up to the point where the dough is folded and refrigerated, then bake it off over the next few days as needed. I think these are even better after the dough has had a full day's rest.

You can make some plain croissants and fill others with chocolate, almond paste, or whatever you dream of.

About the author: Donna Currie has been cooking for fun and writing for pay since the days when typewritten articles traveled by snail mail. When she combined those talents in a food column for a newspaper in her area, she realized that writing about food is almost as much fun as eating. She most recently launched the blog Cookistry and has now joined the Serious Eats team with a weekly column about baking.

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