I am very good at eating croissants, I made those above this morning well last night and this morning actually. I have made quite a few in my time as well, my first real job after I left catering college was in the pastry kitchen of London's Mayfair hotel, one of my scheduled shifts started at 05.30am and we had to have the first couple of trays of croissants ready by 07.00am we made hundreds, exactly how many depended on how busy the hotel was.
The dough was always made the evening before usually by someone else so you were always relying on their skill to make it just right you had to trust them, although we followed a recipe there was a certain amount of know-how as well, the dough had to have the right consistency a bit more or a bit less milk, the time of year was a factor too, less yeast in the summer and a bit more in the winter and then the timing, not too much mixing on the machine but enough. Proving time as well, not too long but long enough, how do you know? You know because you do it every day and you were taught by someone who did it every day before you came along, you poked the dough and knew it was ready, right consistency.
The right stuff
We used good quality ingredients, the same brand all the time so we could rely on them as well, you get to know your ingredients too. The butter had to be bashed with a rolling pin to make it soft, how soft? you just knew. If someone got it wrong the night before with the dough it was you who suffered the consequences in the morning, it happened (thankfully very rarely)
Making croissants at home is not the easiest thing to do, why? because you don't do it every day and with all of the variables in there, time, consistency, temperature, ingredients etc etc but it's not impossible.
The recipe or method is not that complicated they are to be found in most good pastry books but you have to approach it with the right frame of mind and don't be put off if the first time they don't come out of the oven perfect, just try again, those around you will certainly encourage you to try again and again because the smell of them and enjoying a croissant you have made yourself, well it does take some beating.