the first time i made croissants was two years ago. i took a random recipe off a blog and it turned out very badly - leaking butter, layers not distinctive, blisters on the surface after baking. i wasn't sure if it were due to my lack of skill or what but after that i was pretty scarred i felt i just wasn't cut out to make laminated dough of any sort. i've been getting my fix from paul and maison kayser and recently, JOHAN, a japanese bakery inside isetan. since japanese recipes all worked out for me somehow and never once had i failed from it, i decided to try out once more. japanese are damn good at making artisan breads by the way, their standard is on par with the european counterparts, if not better.
i was still feeling apprehensive so i wasn't expecting a lot from this attempt. the only "researches" i did was to read up more on other people's croissant-making experiences on thefreshloaf and also, went to the grocery store and check out all the butters. i held each brand in my palm and see which one would make a dent quicker, therefore conclude that it wasn't suitable for croissant making. i didn't have access to a dry croissant butter hence this was the only test i could do. i was disappointed that all my favorite brands like lurpak, flechard, elle et vire, president and emborg didn't make it. i'm somewhat of a snob when it comes to baking ingredients. i ONLY use european butters, they taste better and have a slight acidity to them, even though they're not cultured. they're also not disgustingly rock hard and oily like some. i ended up using a non-european brand, either from NZ or australia i wasn't exactly sure.
honestly would you believe if i said i breezed through the entire baking process? i did just that because i didn't want to give myself pressure, plus i'm comfortable with japanese recipes so i'm less worried. and when i cut the croissant into half i was totally surprised to see this - distinct honeycomb structure and large holes! i was elated. the feeling was simply like when i saw feet developing on my macarons for the first time. indescribable. i don't think everyone gets that when they make croissants. some didn't have the honeycomb structure and ended up with a mere crescent-shaped butter roll and some, while providing lots of step-by-step photos and instructions, had miraculously "forgotten" to include a picture of the cross section (lol) so i know its not easy to achieve this. i guess my laminating skill is alright, i definitely did the lamination correctly even though i wished the layers were thinner and more distinctive than this. they also turned out rather smallish so i would cut each triangle bigger next time.
i really like this shot, taken using my iphone and a vsco filter. this is closer to the actual color of the croissants, which i baked them til very dark brown like what the french and japanese bakeries do. sometimes i prefer taking pictures using my phone instead since its easier to do an aerial shot and capture more details.
recipe is taken from cookpad and i think this is a pretty good one because the dough is not wet and the butter sheet is relatively smaller than the dough so its easier to enclose and not have the butter leak out. i followed the recipe exactly except for the resting time in the fridge between each book-turn which i reduced from 30 mins to 15 mins and up the proofing time from 1 hr to 2. i also used a metal rolling pin that i froze beforehand until it was nice and cold. i find it better than using a wooden one. now, i think i'm ready to make other variations, like the croissant ispahan or matcha croissants!