Homemade old-fashioned croissants that are soft, aromatic and perfectly flaky. Basic recipe that can be made with or without filling. Made with healthy fresh lard, these croissants melt in your mouth.
WHAT IS LARD?
Lard is a type of fat, derived from pigs. It was a main source of fat (for cooking and creating home products like soap) not so long ago. It’s famous for creating perfectly flaky pastries and crust dough. It’s also ideal for croissants when one is on the Keto diet.
100 plus years ago my great-grandparents and grandparents used lard for cooking, pastries and breakfasts and even making homemade soap. Butter, at the time, was very difficult to come by, so people used lard from their small family farms. In fact, rumor has it that many restaurants use lard instead of butter, as it’s much cheaper, makes dough super flaky and cannot be spotted within the food as far as taste goes.
IS LARD HEALTHY?
The following questions floats around the internet – “is lard healthy”? Many demonize this type of fat as bad, but some recognize it’s qualities as well. “Healthy” is a word that means different things to many. From my stand point, lard is one of the healthier fats our household can use – it has a high burning point, isn’t overly processed ( as canola oil or sunflower oil) and delivers excellent results within the baking department. That being said, everything in moderation is a good principle to follow (with anything in life, really).
HOW TO MAKE OLD-FASHIONED CROISSANTS at home
Prepare all ingredients at room temperate. Lard can be softened in the microwave for a few seconds/minutes.
Let yeast activate. Can I work with instant yeast instead of fresh? Short answer is, yes! However, I do recommend using fresh yeast as flavor and softness of baked croissants is always different depending on the type of yeast used. In general breads made with fresh yeast are more flavorful and stay softer for longer.
In a large bowl combine activated yeast with all other ingredients and knead a soft, non-sticky dough. You can use your bread machine / kitchen robot to do the kneading for you.
Cut dough in triangles and starting from the widest side roll the dough to form a croissant. Repeat for the remaining dough.
Let croissants rise again on non-stick baking sheet. Then sprinkle with sesame seeds – optional. Bake until golden brownish (toothpick should come out clean).
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Homemade Old Fashioned Croissants Recipe
- 2 eggs, medium size
- 1 cup lard, melted, but not hot
- 2 cups milk, lukewarm
- 6 cups / 700g flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 ounce / 30 g yeast, fresh
- 5 tbsp sesame seeds, optional
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil, optional
- In a small cup add 6 tbsp lukewarm milk, sugar and the yeast. Let sit until yeast activates (it needs warm and sugary environment to get active). When it gets bubbly it's ready for use.
- In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, then add remaining milk, melted warm lard and salt. Mix until combined. Then add activated yeast, flour and sesame seeds and knead until a soft, non-stick dough forms. Use stand mixer or knead by hand.
- Then, let dough sit in the bowl, covered with a kitchen towel until it doubles its size (approx. 30 min).
- Then divide dough into 4 smaller balls and roll out each ball onto floured surface (1/2 inch max thickness ).
- Cut dough in triangles and starting from the widest side roll the dough to form a croissant. Repeat for the remaining dough.
- Place all croissants onto non-greased baking paper by leaving breathing space in between (1-2 inches should do).
- Leave dough to rest ( and rise again) for about 15-20 minutes. Then, using a kitchen brush coat croissants with olive oil.
- Bake in preheated oven on 200C / 400F until croissants start to get brownish on top & a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool down and enjoy with a favorite filling.
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