This croissant doesn’t make sense.

Our senses play an important role in baking and cooking.  Taste is obviously a factor, but in order for a baked good, like a croissant, for example, to be classified as such, it needs to also be a croissant in appearance, a croissant in weight and texture, and a croissant in scent.  This past week, I attempted to bake croissants from scratch for the first time (hence the example).  It was a long process, that the recipe described as, “not difficult, so long as you use the right techniques.”  Still, techniques aside, I found it to be difficult indeed and much more challenging than a simple drop cookie recipe.  After two days and many techniques later, I had to “freeze the dough overnight” one more time.  The next day, I was supposed to roll out the dough flat until it was 44″ in length.  I couldn’t understand how the instructions didn’t even mention to thaw the dough first, so I allowed it to thaw, then rolled it out, and when it was still too frozen, I allowed it to thaw some more.  By the time it was pliable enough, the dough was very moist, not like the pictures in the recipe displayed.  It was also sticking to the counter top, and I was forced to use a spatula to lift it up, even though the recipe warned against any compressive force on the dough.  I reviewed a YouTube video to see their techniques in action to try and figure out where I had gone wrong.  Why was my dough moist and hard to work with but theirs was dry, cool, and easy to roll?  Then, my mistake dawned on me.  I double checked my recipe, and sure enough, I had misread one crucial instruction.  It didn’t say freeze the dough overnight, it said refrigerate the dough.  Merde!  The reason croissants are light, fluffy, and plump is because the butter in the dough is cold before going into the oven, then it pops when baked, creating the air pockets that you see after you bit into a fresh croissant.  Because my dough went from being frozen to completed thawed, the butter melted inside the dough and seeped out, which explains the sticky, wet texture.  So, instead of getting croissants that looked like this:

P7190021 (Pic from

I got ones that looked like this:

IMG_2527 IMG_2529

No flaky layers whatsoever.

I called my boyfriend over to be my moral support during this mishap.  He still enjoyed the ham and cheese ones that I made for him, even if they were heavy and compressed and not crescent shaped.  The next morning, I noticed a croissant was missing from my batch.  I texted my pop asking if he had tried one for breakfast before heading to work.  He just responded with all the reasons why it was NOT a croissant ending with “try again” — his way of saying, I believe in you.

The taste of my “croissant-inspired pastries” were still pretty delectable regardless.  I mean, how can it not be with all of the butter that had melted into the sweet dough?  I brought some of my butter pastries to my friends who were at work, explaining, “These were meant to be croissants, but I messed up the recipe, so now they’re just pastries.”  My one friend tried to argue, “No, no!  I can see it!  It looks like a croissant!”  It was like when I was five years old and I’d show my mom one of my paintings that was supposed to be a sailboat but really looked like a party hat, yet she would still take my word for it.  Then, it got me thinking, So long as the taste of the croissant is in tact, who’s going to argue with you on what to call it?  I guess my heavy croissants could just be my interpretation of the classic.


2 responses to “This croissant doesn’t make sense.

  1. Your first croissant is better looking than mine. I called my first one “sea shell bread”.

    It’s not the cold butter that make the croissant fluffy and flaky but the perfect proofing with perfect laminating technique is the one responsible for the flaky fluffy croissant. Don’t discourage, keep doing it then you will get the best croissant.

    You put the dough in the fridge or freezer to “relax” the gluten after messing around with it while you laminate it. So it can stretch again the next round of rolling. If you dont’ do that, you will get stubborn dough that will fight your rolling, which is stretch but pull back, no fun at all.

    I use the recipe from Bouchon by Thomas Keller these days but I started with Joan Chang at Flour. She explained in very detailed in her book. I followed that until I get a hang of it then I switch because Bouchon has a much faster process and a much better tasting croissant for my taste.

    Don’t stop! Keep doing.

    • omg, Bouchon… Why didn’t I think of looking up that recipe! I will definitely try again, my dear. Thank you for your encouragement! If it comes out flat again, I just might have to call it “sea shell bread” when I serve it to my friends. 😉

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