French Women Don't Get Fat - Recipe for Croissants

Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Prepare France's Favorite Bread

Croissants are to the French as apple pie and ice cream is to Americans. It is a part of their diet and their life and it is allowed on the recasting diet.

French Women Don't Get Fat was first published in 2004 and has been translated into 40 languages. It has sold over 3 million copies and the main premise is that it is okay to eat and enjoy, but to eat slowly. French women do eat bread and this book teaches the dieter to learn to eat for pleasure.

When eating bread there are some rules attached though. The slices are counted and they do not eat before the first course is served. The art of making croissants can be mastered rather quickly, but they do take time to make. It will take several days to complete.

Mireille suggest that you start on a Friday evening, so that they can be enjoyed on Sunday for breakfast. This step by step guide will teach how to make these croissants simply and easily and then the entire family will be so happy. This recipe is reprinted with permission from Mireille Guiliano's website.

How to Make Croissants the French Women Don't Get Fat Way

  • 260ml milk plus 2 tablespoons to brush over croissants
  • 250 grams sifted plain or strong white flour plus 3 tablespoons (measure and reserve in separate bowls)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 180 grams unsalted butter


Directions on Preparing Croissants

  1. On Friday evening (day 1), heat 65ml milk to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm milk, stir in about 6 tablespoons of flour (from the 250 grams of flour), and whisk until there are no lumps left.
  2. Cover with cling film and let stand at room temperature until doubled in volume (it will take about 20 minutes).
  3. Mix sugar and salt into the remaining flour.
  4. Heat the remaining 195ml of milk to lukewarm. Transfer the raised dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add lukewarm milk, with the mixer at high speed, start adding the sugar, salt and flour mixture, a little at a time. Lower the speed to low-medium on the mixer and continue to mix until the dough is sticky soft.
  5. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
  6. On Saturday Morning, bring the butter to room temperature and work with the heel of hand to incorporate the 3 tablespoons of flour until smooth and shaped into squares.
  7. Sprinkle the working surface (marble is best) with flour, shape the cold dough into a 38 x 15cm rectangle and spread the softened butter square on the upper 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving a 1cm border around the sides and top.
  8. Fold the dough like a letter in thirds, folding the bottom third up first. Turn the dough anti-clockwise (it will look like a notebook with the open flap on your right). Then again roll out the dough into a 38 x 15 cm rectangle and fold as before.
  9. Transfer the dough unto a baking pan and cover with cling film. Refrigerate the dough overnight for 6 hours.
  10. On Saturday afternoon (day 2), roll out the dough two more times, wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  11. On Sunday morning (day 3), about 1 1/2 hours before baking time, remove the dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle flour on the working surface. Roll the dough into a 40cm circle, working as quickly as possible. Using a knife, cut into quarters and then each quarter into 3 triangles.
  12. With both hands, roll the base of each triangle towards the remaining corner. Do not curl the ends in a croissant shape. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons of milk. Let stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes or until the croissants have doubled in volume.
  13. Preheat oven to gas mark 6 or 200 degrees C. Brush croissants with the glaze and bake for 15-20 minutes. If the croissants brown too fast, cover them loosely with foil. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
The first time this recipe is tried, it may seem daunting, but with practice the art of making croissants will be second nature. It is a pleasure very few can actually enjoy daily or even yearly, but it is indeed more satisfying than a stale diet cracker.

Photo courtesy of Photobucket/Soggy_waffle