If there is one thing you need as a baker (amateur or otherwise) it's patience. Although I tend to steer towards one-bowl, under an hour recipes, I do like to challenge myself sometimes.
Personally, I think the epitome of baking lies in the realm of the French. Especially when it comes to pastries. And nothing else spells French pastry like a croissant. So of course, after a conversation with a friend and baker where it was discussed that challenging oneself was important - I decided to embark upon making croissants.
The recipe I used I found online and it was from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Small Breads.
Let's just say after reading it through, I realized that this was not simply a recipe - it was an undertaking. A 2-day undertaking. But I was game and not a little motivated to try something so outside my comfort zone. Allons-y!
I used a lot of flour and butter for this thing. In fact, your butter component is a mixture of flour and butter pressed into a block and then chilled until firm.
After placing my butter square to chill, I made the dough. It needs to rise for a couple of hours until doubled in bulk. Then the rolling and folding commences. About three different maneuvers with several hours of proofing in between. Patience is something one learns when one attempts making croissants.
The final roll had me using rulers and rollers to cut out perfect triangles. This is precision work people!
And...apparently this is what a raw croissant looks like?
Alas, I forgot the final rising of the croissant once the dough was cut into little 5-inch triangles. So I ended up with lovely...dinner rolls.
However, due to my small work surface - I ended up cutting my batter in half. All was not lost when I realized that I ended up goofing on the first batch - and the second batch was proofed properly before being fed to the oven. They ended up as Pain Au Chocolat.
Would I make these again? I am not sure. While I was excited to be doing something so involved, I find that I like to bang out my baked goodies. But, if I need to be challenged again...maybe puff pastry?