Watch Cooking Channel

Baking Croissants with Sarabeth Levine

Sarabeth Levine's Croissants

Notice the layers in this side shot of Sarabeth Levine's perfectly flaky croissants, from her book Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours.

Sarabeth's BakeryI once considered signing up for a croissant-making class but I decided to buy a cookbook instead. Then I bought more cookbooks and subscribed to more magazines and I bookmarked recipe after recipe online, and still I had never baked croissants. . . I’m quite the recipe hoarder. But when I flipped through my latest cookbook acquisition, Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours (recently nominated for a 2011 James Beard Award), I was inspired to chat with Sarabeth Levine about the secrets to making those flaky, buttery croissants I occasionally snagged from her bakery in Chelsea Market.

“You have to flip to the first pages of my book and make them,” said Sarabeth, when we met and I blurted out the truth about my croissant-making procrastination. She explained that most people are intimidated by the final product, but croissants really aren’t that difficult to make. They only take a few ingredients and time-wise, you spend most of your time waiting for the dough to chill, freeze and proof. “Making a pound cake takes more focus,” she said.

Sitting in her cozy bakery office, Sarabeth walked me through the steps, pantomiming the bashing of butter-laden dough with a huge rolling pin stashed by her desk. Her obvious passion for these pastries was infectious. So, armed with her no-fail recipe, I decided it was time for me to bake some croissants already.

Croissants

My first batch of croissants, rolled, proofed and baked.

Here are a few tips to go along with the step-by-step guide:

  • Timing is Everything: The croissants really do need to be eaten the day they’re baked, so plan ahead. They need to freeze for 24-hours to 4-days, and then defrost for 8-hours, so do some math before you start mixing up dough.
  • Don’t Over-Mix the Dough: A few lumps of flour are fine, and Sarabeth says it should look like lumpy mashed potatoes.
  • Don’t Fear Sticky Dough: If you’re in doubt, as I was, go ahead and add all the flour called for in the recipe. When shaping, flour your counter, flour the top of the dough, and if your hands still get goopy, just wash them off and jump back in. This was the hardest part of the whole process for me.
  • Temperature is Important: Before folding them together, the butter and the ball of dough should be the same temperature.
  • Use Two Rolling Pins: A large one is great for bashing the butter-filled dough into a flat sheet and a smaller one works best for making the small clover shape required when wrapping the dough around the butter.
  • Be Precise: Have a yardstick and a pizza wheel handy for precise measuring and easy cutting.
  • Don’t Over-Bake: Keep an eye on them and get an oven thermometer. After all the time invested, you don’t want to over-bake them.
  • What About the Next Day?: Use day-old croissants to make Michael Chiarello’s Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding or Nigella’s Caramel Croissant Pudding.
croissants

I even served my beautiful croissants with Sarabeth's jam.

And all that dough-waiting was worth it when I finally opened my oven and pulled out a tray of my very own toasty brown croissants. I couldn’t wait – Were they done? Were they as good as they looked? Steam scorched my fingers as I eagerly tore one apart straight off the cookie sheet and bit into the soft, fragrant goodness. Thin shards of crispy crumb littered the counter, leaving faint stains of butter when brushed away. Sigh. . . I ate three (okay, four) in a row, slathered in butter and spoonfuls of jam. And I emailed a picture to the “goddessofbakedom” herself the next day. “They’re beautiful,” Sarabeth replied. “Job well done!”

croissants

Here's one all dressed up with butter and jam.

Here is Sarabeth’s recipe for perfect Croissant Dough and her Croissant Recipe, both from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours. And before you start baking, flip through my complete step-by-step guide.

You can keep up with Sarabeth by checking her fantastic baking blog and following her on twitter.

Tags:

Comments (3561)

  1. Facebook Marketing Strategies posted 12/17/2013

    Looking around…

    I like to look in various places on the internet, often I will just go to Digg and read and check stuff out…

  2. Earn with Mike Review posted 12/18/2013

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around online and realized…

  3. governmental posted 12/18/2013

    Cool sites…

    […]I came across a nice site that you might be interested in. Check it out[…]……

  4. UGG Suburb Crochet posted 12/18/2013

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG today I noticed this…

  5. how to lose man boobs posted 12/18/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    […]below you’ll see the link to some sites that we think you could see[…]……

  6. Aplikasi Sepakbola posted 12/18/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  7. Men Down Coats posted 12/18/2013

    Digg this…

    While checking out DIGG yesterday I found this…

  8. jobs posted 12/18/2013

    Title…

    […]usually posts some really exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]…

  9. UGG Knightsbridge Boots posted 12/18/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to quality articles that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  10. big idea mastermind login posted 12/19/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While searching Yahoo I discovered this page in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  11. big idea mastermind login posted 12/19/2013

    Just Browsing…

    While I was browsing yesterday I saw a great article concerning…

  12. Looking around…

    While I was browsing yesterday I noticed a great post concerning…

  13. uk franchise posted 12/20/2013

    Title…

    […]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[…]…

  14. sync opinie posted 12/20/2013

    Title…

    […]here are some hyperlinks to websites that we link to since we believe they are really worth visiting[…]…

  15. Title…

    […]just beneath, are quite a few completely not connected web pages to ours, however, they may be surely worth going over[…]…

  16. criação de sites posted 12/20/2013

    Informative and precise…

    Its hard to find informative and precise info but here I noted…

  17. Forex strategy posted 12/21/2013

    Title…

    […]Here is a good Weblog You might Find Fascinating that we Encourage You[…]…

  18. home improvement posted 12/21/2013

    Bored at work…

    I like to browse around the internet, regularly I will go to Stumble Upon and read and check stuff out…

  19. buy seo services posted 12/22/2013

    Title…

    […]Here is an excellent Blog You may Obtain Fascinating that we Encourage You[…]…

  20. iherb coupon code posted 12/22/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While searching bing I discovered this page in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  21. σεξ σοπ posted 12/23/2013

    Related……

    […]just beneath, are numerous totally not related articles to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[…]……

  22. imacros addmefast posted 12/23/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    […]Here are some of the blogs we recommend to our visitors[…]……

  23. best tablets posted 12/23/2013

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here yesterday, so I just took to messing around online and found…

  24. best tablets posted 12/23/2013

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

  25. Reduce anxiety posted 12/23/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    […]beneath you’ll see the link to few sites that we think you should visit[…]……

  26. newest tablets posted 12/23/2013

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around on the internet and realized…

  27. children's swing sets posted 12/23/2013

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

  28. best women's handbags posted 12/23/2013

    Online Article……

    […]The information mentioned in the article are useful […]……

  29. anti-aging posted 12/24/2013

    Related……

    […]just beneath, are numerous totally not related bogs to ours, however, they are surely worth going over[…]……

  30. Kill brad breath posted 12/24/2013

    Sources…

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]……

  31. best cellulite creams posted 12/24/2013

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to piddeling around on the internet and realized…

  32. clean my pc posted 12/24/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While browsing bing I discovered this article in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  33. how to win the lottery posted 12/24/2013

    Websites you should visit…

    […]below you will find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]……

  34. get rid of bad breath posted 12/24/2013

    Informative and precise…

    Its hard to find informative and precise information but here I found…

  35. Designer handbags posted 12/25/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While searching amazon I discovered this site in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  36. medical coding schools posted 12/25/2013

    medical coding schools…

    […]although internet websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually really worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[…]…

  37. fix dry skin posted 12/25/2013

    Dreary Day…

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around online and realized…

  38. kaminski technology…

    goalsample controlor klub nellospazio fbigroup prospectsto poets….

  39. get rid of under eye circles posted 12/25/2013

    Yahoo results…

    While searching youtube I discovered this page in the results and I didn’t think it fit…

  40. egigs posted 12/25/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    […]here are some links to blogs that we link to because we think they are worthed[…]……

  41. ecigarettes posted 12/25/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  42. treat hemorrhoids posted 12/25/2013

    Its hard to find good help…

    I am regularly proclaiming that its hard to get good help, but here is…

  43. under eye treatments posted 12/25/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    […]here are few links to blogs that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[…]……

  44. muscle building supplements posted 12/26/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    […]Here are few of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]……

  45. Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  46. Pension Tracing Service posted 12/26/2013

    Looking around…

    While I was surfing today I saw a great post about…

  47. xbox live generator posted 12/27/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  48. tao of badass review posted 12/27/2013

    Visitor recommendations…

    […]one of our visitors recently recommended the following website[…]……

  49. wake up now scam posted 12/27/2013

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other blogs, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some of them worthed to try[…]……

  50. full version Free pc games posted 12/27/2013

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other articles, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some of them worthed to try[…]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c