French Croissants


Happy Bastille Day!   The perfect excuse for baking French Pastry.  I generally don't do a lot of baking during hot summer months, but a fresh hot croissant was calling my name.  Making croissants really isn't hard, it's just labor intensive and takes a few days.  So Worth the effort.


My first Bastille Day celebration was when I was 12 years old.  My family had saved money for several years for a trip to Tahiti (French Polynesia).  My father served as a missionary in Tahiti in the early 1950's for 2 1/2 years.  He fell in love with the islands and the people.  When we arrived Bastille Day was in full celebration mode with parades and island dance competitions, which were amazing.

I was browsing through my instagram when I found this darling Bastille Day crown created by Brittany Jepson (partially pictured above) of the darling and crafty blog The House That Lars Built.  She has a free printable available on her site for this Paris Crown and invitations.  Just click on that link for instructions and while you're there browse around for some amazing ideas.


Hot homemade croissants...take a deep breath.  Let's do this!


Day 1:  You will need

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 cup cold milk


For making croissants I prefer to use active dry yeast over an instant or quick rise yeast.  I prefer the fermented flavor in breads that are refrigerated and proofed over a few days.

Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and let sit undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir to fully dissolve


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.



Pinch of small pieces of the 1/4 cup of butter, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients, then rub them into the flour by hand until they are almost fully dissolved.


Make a well in the flour mixture then add the yeast and cold milk.


With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix wet and dry ingredients just until evenly combined and all the dry spots have disappeared.  The dough will be of a medium stiffness.




Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.


  Place dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic food storage bag.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours; preferably overnight.


Day 2:
Remove the 12 ounces of butter from the refrigerator .  Allow to soften.  Line a baking pan with plastic wrap, add softened butter and press into a 7 x 7 inch square.  Refrigerate until firm but not hard.  


Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured table, and roll it into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle.


I keep a dry pastry brush handy to brush off any excess flour that remains on the dough.


Place the cold butter on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the butter.  Pinch the edges to seal.




With the folded edge on your left, roll the dough out lengthwise so that it measures 22 x 10 inches.



Next fold the bottom third up


Fold top third down.  This is the beurrage.


Place dough on a parchment line baking sheet.  Always keep the folded side on the left.


Cover the dough and refrigerate for 45 minutes


For the turns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Position the dough so that the fold edge running the length of the dough is on the left.  Make sure the pinched edges are still sealed.


Roll the dough out lengthwise so it measures approximately 22 x 10 x 1/2 inches.



Fold the dough in thirds, beginning with the lower third as before.  (You have completed one turn.)



Place the dough on a baking sheet.  With your finger, make one small indentation on an edge of the dough to indicate one turn has been made. (Keeping track of how many turns have been made is critical.)  Cover and refrigerate  for 45 minutes.

Remove dough from the refrigerator, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, and repeat the process to complete the second turn.  After another 45 minutes, repeat the process to complete the third turn, always making sure the dough remains cold but not too cold.

**Remember you will need to complete this process THREE TIMES before the dough is refrigerated over night. For more detailed instructions for all of these turns check out my post for Pain Au Chocolate

 Cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours, but overnight is preferred.



Day 3:

To form the croissants, roll the dough out to exactly 25 x 16 x 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 7-inch-wide strips.  using a pastry wheel , cut the strips into triangles, each with a base of 4 to 5 inches.




Starting with the base of one triangle, fold 1/4-inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point.  Gently stretch the dough by pulling on the strip as your roll it ; this will result in more rolls and make a prettier croissant.



At this point you can cover the croissants and refrigerate overnight.  This process means that it will take FOUR DAYS!  However, I really like the more fermented flavor of this process, but it's not necessary.



For the egg glaze you will need:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.  lightly brush each croissant with the glaze and let rise, uncovered, in a cool place for 2-3  hours.  This will take longer if they are refrigerated overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The croissants will be slightly puffing and have almost doubled in size and have the feel of a soft marshmallow when they are ready to be baked.

Brush the croissants with a second coat of egg wash.  Place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.




 So worth the effort.


I love raspberry jam with my croissants.  If anyone has been to Paris it's more than likely that you have visited Angelina for amazing hot chocolate.  I had a fabulous breakfast and they served our croissants with raspberry jam.  I bought a jar to bring home and saved the jar because it was so awesome.  I just refill the jar each year with some fresh homemade raspberry freezer jam.


Related recipes for Bastille or any celebration...or no celebration at all:

Crepes
Peaches, Crepes, & Fat Sauce
Crepe Cake with Fall Stone Fruit
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Pain Au Chocolat
Croque Monsieur



French Croissants

Croissant dough:
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, at room temperature
1 cup cold milk

_________

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) cold unsalted butter

Egg glaze:
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk


Day 1:
Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top and let sit undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.  Stir to fully dissolve

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Pinch of small pieces of the 1/4 cup of butter, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients, then rub them into the flour by hand until they are almost fully dissolved.  Stir the yeast mixture and add it to the flour mixture.  Add the cold milk.

With a wooden spoon or your hands, mix wet and dry ingredients just until evenly combined and all the dry spots have disappeared.  The dough will be of a medium stiffness.  The dough may be mixed in a an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook; just be careful not to over mix or it will be too elastic to roll out.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for about 1 minute.  Place dough on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic food storage bag.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours; preferably overnight.

Day 2:

Remove the 12 ounces of butter from the refrigerator .  Allow to soften.  Line a baking pan with plastic wrap, add softened butter and press into a 7 x 7 inch square.  Refrigerate until firm but not hard.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured table, and roll it into a 16 x 8-inch rectangle.  Place the cold butter on the right half of the dough, then fold the other half of the dough over the butter.  Pinch the edges to seal.

With the folded edge on your left, roll the dough out lengthwise so that it measures 22 x 10 inches. Next fold the bottom third up and the top third down.  This is the beurrage.

Cover the dough, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

For the turns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Position the dough so that the fold edge running the length of the dough is on the left.  Make sure the pinched edges are still sealed.  roll the dough out lengthwise so it measures approximately 22 x 10 x 1/2 inches.  Fold the dough in thirds, beginning with the lower third as before.  (You have completed one turn.)

Place the dough on a baking sheet.  With your finger, make one small indentation on an edge of the dough to indicate one turn has been made. (Keeping track of how many turns have been made is critical.)  Cover and refrigerate  for 45 minutes.  Remove dough from the refrigerator, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, and repeat the process to complete the second turn.  After another 45 minutes, repeat the process to complete the third turn, always making sure the dough remains cold but not too cold.  Cover the dough and return it to the refrigerator to rest for at least 5 hours, but overnight is preferred.

Day 3:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  To form the croissants, roll the dough out to exactly 25 x 16 x 1/4 inch.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise to make two 7-inch-wide strips.  using a pastry wheel , cut the strips into triangles, each with a base of 4 to 5 inches.

Starting with the base of one triangle, fold 1/4-inch of the dough over onto itself and begin rolling the triangle up to the point.  Gently stretch the dough by pulling on the strip as your roll it ; this will result in more rolls and make a prettier croissant.

Repeat with remaining triangles.  If this process takes more than 10 minutes, return half of the triangles to the refrigerator and remove them a few at a time.

Place the croissants at least 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.  Turn each end toward the center (the tip of the rolled-up triangle should be tucked under) and pinch them firmly together to form the croissant shape.

Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.  Lightly brush each croissant with the glaze and let rise, uncovered, for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  The croissants will be slightly puffing and have almost doubled in size and have the feel of a soft marshmallow when they are ready to be baked.

Brush the croissants with a second coat of egg wash.  Place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Note:
Croissants can be formed, proofed and baked the same day, or they can be formed and stored in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day.  If you wish to bake the croissants the next day, place the formed but unrisen croissants on the bake sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and store overnight in the refrigerator.  The next morning, remove them from the refrigerator, uncover, and let rise, then bake as directed.  Croissants formed and baked the same day a a bold appearance and flaky crust. Next-day croissants are less yeast tasting, more buttery, and have the nuances of a richly fermented dough.

Recipe from The Village Baker's Wife , but I made a few changes.

Print recipe

Apricot Ginger Beer Glazed Ribs


I have this reoccurring dream where I have a huge amount of people coming over for dinner and I'm not prepared.  It's generally feeding members of my church.  Everyone is at my door waiting for food. I panic because I haven't even completed the grocery shopping.  How am I going to feed all these people?

The lesson I take from this is to always be prepared.  I try to have enough of my favorite ingredients on hand so that I'm not always rushing to the grocery store in order to pull off a meal.  Well, Father's Day crept up on me fast and needless to say I wasn't very prepared.  I did have a rack of ribs in my freezer, but no bbq sauce.  I opened my cupboards and created these tender ribs with homemade bbq sauce in a little more than an hour.  Booya!


Here is the list of ingredients I pulled together for the ribs:

1 (2.5-3 lb) rack baby back ribs
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 12-oz bottle ginger beer or ginger ale
2 teaspoons liquid smoke


Use a butter knife to wedge it underneath the membrane to loosen and lift membrane up from the bone. Use a paper towel to grasp and pull the rest of the membrane off.  



Mix the rub coconut sugar, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper together.  Rub seasoning over the top and bottom of the ribs.


In order to make these ribs tender in such a quick time, I needed to pull out my pressure cooker.  I placed the rack in the bottom and because liquid is needed in a pressure cooker, I added a 12 oz. bottle of ginger beer and 2 teaspoons liquid smoke.

Cut the rack of ribs in half and stand on their sides in the pot,which I did not picture.  I believe two racks will fit into the pot of my pressure cooker, but I cooked one.


Seal the lid and place on high pressure for 30 minutes with a natural release.  This process can take 45-55 minutes.

While the ribs are cooking, make the bbq sauce.


I have found, if I have a bottle of some type of funky soda and a jar of jam, I can make a delicious bbq sauce.  I call it my "dump" bbq sauce.  I have made some sauces that could be bottled and sold. Sadly, I rarely write down the ingredients that I just dump in.

This time I took the time to jot the ingredients down.  This is what I pulled from my drawers, cupboards, and refrigerator:

1 12-oz bottle ginger beer or ginger ale
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic


Whisk together all of the bbq sauce ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil.


Once the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium/low.  Simmer until sauce thickens.


Remove from heat.  Sauce can be made up to a week in advance.  Store in a tightly sealed jar.


Just so you know, I did not cut this rack of ribs.  My local grocer did.  Seriously?  Why on earth would they cut 1/4th of the ribs off and place them under the remaining ribs and pack them???

Remove ribs from the pressure cooker and spread sauce over the tops of the ribs.  Place on a hot grill, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and carefully slice between each rib.  Serve.  If you don't have a grill, place the ribs under a broiler with the rack set in the middle of the oven.


One last treasure I found in my cupboard...Spicy honey.  I drizzled the ribs with the spicy honey and because we love heat in our house, I sliced one lonely jalapeno from my garden to add just a little more zing.  




Apricot Ginger Beer Glazed Ribs

Ribs:
1 (2.5-3 lb) rack baby back ribs
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 12-oz bottle ginger beer or ginger ale
2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Apricot Ginger Beer BBQ sauce
1 12-oz bottle ginger beer or ginger ale
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Use a butter knife to wedge it underneath the membrane to loosen and lift membrane up from the bone. Use a paper towel to grasp and pull the rest of the membrane off.  

In a small bowl combine coconut sugar, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Stir to combine.  Rub ribs all over with the mixture.  Cut the rack in half and rub  a tablespoon of the mixture all over the ribs.  


Place rack in bottom of the pressure cooker.  Pour ginger beer and liquid smoke into the pressure cooker or instapot.  Stand the ribs on the sides and place the lid on.  Set for high pressure and cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes allow pressure to release naturally.  


While the ribs are cooking make the apricot sauce.  Combine all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a medium size sauce pan.  Stir together and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and continue to simmer until mixture is reduced and thickened.  This should take about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Sauce can be made 3-5 days in advanced and refrigerated until ready to use.


Once pressure cooker has completely released steam, remove the lid and carefully remove ribs. Remember the ribs are extremely tender and can easily fall apart.  I like to place them on a baking sheet to transfer to a hot grill.


Preheat a grill to medium heat.  Gently place the ribs on the grill and spread 1/4 cup of the sauce over each 1/2.  Close lid of grill and allow ribs to cook for 10-15 minutes,  Watch carefully so ribs don't burn.  I only glaze top side of ribs.  Once the BBQ sauce is bubbling on the ribs, gently remove to a cutting board. Allow to sit for a few minutes to cook slightly before slicing.  Serve with remaining BBQ sauce.  Serves 2-3.  


*Note:  If a pressure cooker/instapot isn't available, ribs can be cooked in a crockpot for 6-8 hours on low heat.  



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Cherry Cola Glazed Ribs

Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Sticky Coconut Chicken