BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Bringing a Bite of Paris Back Home

42 Comments

Paris. If anyone can sum up that city in just a few succinct paragraphs, I would be highly suspicious of how much they actually went out and experienced there. Overwhelmed by all of the words that could be said, the myriad of stories that could be told, after a mere 5 1/2 days of total immersion in the capital of France, I found it impossible to pick and choose the right ones at all.  (However, if you want to know more about the photos I posted, you can now see a few brief descriptions and explanations on Flickr.)  Speechless, stunned, and yet brimming with inspiration, I was back at work in the kitchen again as soon as we walked through the door.

Suitcases still stuffed, with both dirty laundry and happy memories, the familiar scent of buttery pastries began floating through the air, as if we had never left Paris at all. This time, however, I could actually enjoy those flaky delicacies, instead of solely photographing them.

I’ll be the first to admit that these are no where near as grand as those massive breakfast confections, but for a first try, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Cut into miniature sizes, each croissant was but two bites each, but unarguably rich enough to quell any further hunger.

Despite how intimidating the hundreds of paper-thin layers may seem, croissants are actually quite simple to make; it’s the waiting and repetition that might become a bit trying. Luckily, I found a recipe for “quick” croissants, which can produce fresh, homemade pastries from start to finish in about 3 hours. Adapting it to better suit my American cups and teaspoons, while also easily veganizing it, this is definitely a good starting place for anyone who wants to give croissants a try for themselves.

Basic Vegan Croissants

Dough:
2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour
1 Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup + 2 Teaspoons Water
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Melted Margarine

“Butter” Block:
9 Tablespoons Margarine, Frozen

To make the dough, start by combining all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well distributed. Mix everything together and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Let rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Add in the water and melted margarine, and stir thoroughly to incorporate. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and kneed by hand for about 10 – 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

While the dough chills, you can go ahead and prepare the “butter” block.

It helps to start by cutting the margarine into sizable chunks and arranging them right next to each other in as even of a rectangle as possible on top of a silpat or piece of parchment paper. Sandwich the margarine in between another silpat or sheet of parchment paper, and using your rolling pin, whack it into submission. You want to flatten the block out to about 1 cm or so high, and try to keep the sides even and rectangular. Allow it to chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Once properly chilled, roll the dough out into a rectangle about twice as large as your “butter” block. Place the “butter” block in the center, diagonal to the sides (not parallel.) Enclose the block like an envelope, bringing the corners of the dough in to meet at the center. Roll the whole thing out gently to a thickness of about 1 cm again, and fold the short sides in by thirds. Return it to the fridge so that it can chill for another 20 minutes before proceeding. Don’t be tempted to hasten this time, as the heat from your hands and the rolling pin will make all of the margarine melt and run out. It’s essential to keep this dough as cool as possible before it hits the oven!

The folding and shaping process is rather difficult to describe in words, so don’t worry if you’re a bit confused. Just check out the very helpful photos over at WikiHow and Joe Pastry if you need a visual aid.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle yet again, and fold in thirds as before. Chill for the same amount of time, and then repeat this process once more. Chill the dough for 20 more minutes before shaping it.

To shape your croissants, roll the dough out into a rectangle as before, but cut it with a very sharp knife into equal triangles. If you want mini croissants, cut the dough in half lengthwise first, and then cut your triangles. Roll each triangle up, starting at the widest side, and the place each one on a fresh silpat or piece of parchment paper. Once all the croissants are cut and rolled, let them rise in a warm place for about 75 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.

After rising, move the croissants into a preheated 415 degree oven. As soon as they’re safely inside, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and do not open the door again until 15 minutes has elapsed. They should be golden brown, but if not, bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes as necessary. Let cool before enjoying the fruits of your labor!

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

42 thoughts on “Bringing a Bite of Paris Back Home

  1. You read my mind! I was about to research some croissant recipes to veganize one–I can’t wait to try this (especially stuffed with chocolate chips and tofutti…)!!

  2. Yum! I love crossants. Ive made them a couple of times, although i agree they are easy to make, they are awfully time consuming. I only make them for special occasions, because they are worth the effort.

    Rose

  3. Croissants are one of the most delightful things to hit my taste buds. This looks excellent. Your photos from Paris are beautiful! And I really enjoyed seeing them.

  4. Nice! They sure looks flaky & lovely.

  5. I love this. Finnaly, a proper vegan croissant recipe that I can make to share with friends!

  6. Oh wow! I love a good croissant, but I don’t think I’ve had one since going vegan. Thank you SO much for this recipe and welcome back from you trip.

  7. Man, I haven’t had a croissant in years. I used to get them every Sunday for breakfast when I was in…maybe HS, but but I want to say even earlier. Yummy!

  8. When I visited Paris back in 2003, I ate croissants with jam EVERY morning – thank you for this delectable vegan version!!

  9. This looks so delicious. Something about croissants makes me feel so fancy and now I can make them whenever!

  10. But..margarine is One Molecule away from being plastic

  11. my heart loves you but my thighs…yeah, not so much! they look so good and buttery and flaky! awesome job!

  12. Glad to hear you had such a great time Hannah! I totally love Paris too, it’s been too long since I last visited! I’ve enjoyed your photos in the meantime and these croissants look delicious!

  13. I have also made vegan croissants once!It is actually easy!

  14. I’m torn between trying these and the Pain au Chocolat in Vegan Brunch…or I could do both :)

  15. Oooh – what a guilty pleasure! Good job veganising such a buttery delight!

  16. Your croissants look wonderful! I really really enjoyed all your photos from your trip. What an amazing vacation for you.

  17. this slathered with my homemade vegan “nutella” would be just too good for words!

  18. Can see you enjoyed your trip, Hannah. This is the easiest croissant I’ve seen and I’m bookmarking it to make.

  19. I’m assuming this is all in preparation for vegan pain au chocolat, non? ;) Tes croissants semblent si bon!

  20. Hannah, have you read “the sweet life in Paris” by David Lebovitz? It is part recipes, part anecdotes. If you like Paris, you will laugh with David. His blog is terrific too.

  21. Those look amazing… however I think croissants are one of those foods that I would just rather not know how much butter goes into them.

  22. Hannah, you are simply amazing! I last ate a croissant in Paris when I was 13 (there on an exchange program), and I can still conjure up the taste in my memory. Yours look just as delectable!

  23. These look so flakey and delicious! Gorgeous Paris photos too.

  24. I made similar vegan croissants before. Very nice! I love the whole process. Your photos, of course, are gorgeous as usual. I enjoyed all of your France photos. Welcome back!

  25. They look very flaky and delicious. Good stuff.

  26. Whoa. I don’t even want to mess with all that. They’re beautiful, though! Glad you enjoyed your vacation.

  27. Oh, my darling. I miss you! And I am so happy to hear that your trip to France went delightfully well! Your photos are, as always, quite mesmerizing.

    :) <3

  28. Whenever I return from a vacation, I start making food from that place too! Fantastic that you made your own croissants. It is really not as difficult as most people think. Just some work. It’s awesome to see a whole post on this topic and yay for vegan croissants.

  29. it sounds a bit like making puff pastry, which it is i suppose. i’ve never made my own but might have to give it a go now, it sounds like fun! i love croissants too.

  30. Now that’s amazingly flaky! Great job!

  31. You amaze me! I bow down to your greatness! :-)

  32. Wow, I am impressed. I always thought vegan croissants were an urban legend!

  33. A dear friend of mine used to make vegan croissants on the weekends, and while they were very yummy, they didn’t have the desired flakiness that you have mastered! I’m forwarding him your recipe!

  34. Hannah, I am new to your blog, and am delighted to find your recipe for vegan croissants, and eager to try it! I have one question: Is it possible at any stage of the preparation to let the dough sit overnight in the fridge? I am thinking it would be amazing to have fresh croissants for breakfast – my wife will probably want to marry me all over again after tasting them if they come out well – but I don’t want to have to get up at 4am to have them ready for breakfast, lol.

    Here in NYC where I live, lots of delis have packaged croissants (both plain and with fruit and chocolate and such) made with margarine – not as good as fresh or anything you would get in Paris I am sure, but a nice easy alternative.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • I’m so happy you’d be willing to give it a shot! You can definitely proof them overnight to have them ready to bake off in the morning and enjoy. Just shape the individual croissants on silpats as described, and at that stage, place the whole sheet pan in the fridge. First thing upon rising, take the sheets out and allow the croissants to return to room temperature, and then bake in a preheated oven right along with the original instructions. Hope you enjoy!

  35. Pingback: Dairy-free in Paris, France: a progress report | The Dairy Free Traveler

  36. These were REALLY good! I tried them on tuesday and let them rest overnight in the fridge, they turned out awesome :-)
    Thank you so much for this recipe :-)

  37. Pingback: 6. Fork Friday – Croissants & Pain au Chocolat | The Green Cuisine

  38. Pingback: 6. Fork Friday – Croissants en Chocoladekoeken | De Groene Keuken

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