Croissants | Bake the Book

Photograph: Keller & Keller

To enjoy that delicately flaky French pastry known as a croissant, you have two options: Stopping by your local bakery and picking up a few, or the road less traveled—making them yourself. The difference between these two options is really a matter of time, the first taking just a few minutes, and the second, around 14 hours. While heading to the store is a good option for most of us, making croissants at home is a project for intrepid bakers, those who have a need to know just how all of those buttery layers come to be.

Since this is such an involved baking project, it's a smart idea to plan at least two days ahead of time, making sure that you've got plenty of time for the resting and proofing that great croissants need. Once you've got your croissant baking time alloted, familiarize yourself with Joanne Chang's recipe from Flour; it's a long one but it will hold your hand throughout the whole process, with fantastically in-depth instructions that won't leave a single step to the imagination. You'll be rolling and folding like the pros.

Chang's croissants ended up being a little less perfect-looking than store bought but those countless layers of flaky, buttery pastry were spot on. And perhaps the best part of this recipe is the pride the comes along with pulling a tray of warm, homemade croissants out of your oven.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Flour' to give away.