When I told people I was going to try making croissants, I got various reactions: skepticism, admiration, excitement, and above all else, they wished me luck. Little did I know it, but I would need it!
If I had to describe my experience making croissants in a few words/phrases, I would say: time-consuming, greasy (lol), patience, hopefulness, and satisfying.
If you’re not familiar with the process for making croissants, I highly recommend you watch this video, and not just because it stars my favourite baker, Claire Saffitz. The process of making croissants involves multiple steps:
- make the détrempe (dough)
- rest the détrempe
- make the (vegan) butter block
- roll the détrempe, enclose the butter block, rest
- roll, fold, rest again
- rest overnight
- roll, cut, roll, rest again
All of these steps add up to about 24 hours of work to make 8 croissants. So is it worth it? I’ll let you be the judge.
In my 6 years of following a plant-based diet, the only place I’ve come across an (accidentally) vegan croissant is Walmart. I know shocking. Walmart actually uses vegetable shortening in their croissants, but have recently transitioned to butter for a more “luxe” product, so even that vegan croissant is no more. Needless to say, it’s been a while since I’ve had a vegan croissant, so I was craving!
If you follow me on instagram you’d know that I recently completed my clinical rotation for my dietetic masters program, which is a requirement to become a registered dietitian. And if you don’t follow me, what are you waiting for! It’s @tracysnutritiontips. As a way to celebrate, I wanted to do something fun and rewarding, so I decided to try making vegan croissants using a non-vegan recipe, specifically the croissants recipe from the New York Times Cooking blog/YouTube channel.
Croissants are made with butter, and using a high quality butter is important to get a flaky croissant. If you’re lactose intolerant, try to avoid dairy, or vegan, using real butter isn’t an option. So instead, I tried using the Becel unsalted plant-based bricks in place of butter. But here’s the thing, vegan butters contain more moisture than real butter, and they don’t always react or behave the same way when used for baking. When it came time to bake my croissants, there were pools of oil around some of the croissants. However, as a croissant novice, this could also have been due to the croissants not being cold enough when baked. As this was my first time trying to make croissants, I’m not sure what was the cause – the butter or the temperature of the croissants going into the oven.
Regardless, making these croissants was a great learning experience and I’m glad I tried it, and not only because I got to eat croissants this entire week as a result! If you’re looking for a challenge that is also rewarding, I highly recommend trying to make croissants at home.
If you want to full recipe, head over to the NYT Cooking’s blog and watch this video for step by step visual cues for how to make some of your own flaky croissants! I’ve included below the adjustments I made to the recipe to make it vegan.
For the Détrempe (Dough)
- 605 grams all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 66 grams granulated sugar
- 12 grams kosher salt
- 7 grams active dry yeast
- 214 grams water, at room temperature
- 120 grams unsweetened almond milk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup Becel unsalted plant-based bricks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
For the Butter Block/Assembly
- 1 ½ cups Becel unsalted plant-based bricks (3 sticks), chilled
- All-purpose flour, for rolling
- 1 tbsp Becel unsalted plant-based bricks, melted
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened oat milk