#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Seven: Croissant!

This week, I decided to try a French staple…croissants! And I was fairly pleased with the results! Overall, they turned out well, but if I were to make them again, I’d need to tweak the recipe for our oven (more on that later…)

What is in a name?
The title for this recipe was ‘croissants au beurre’. You could translate this directly, as ‘butter croissants’, which I have heard used, but I thought just ‘croissants’ was more common. I used Katie Ward’s google tips for translators and put both terms in speech marks to determine which was more common! It turned out I was right and ‘croissant’ had 10 x the hits!

Firstly, the recipe didn’t specify what type of yeast to use, however the image showed dried yeast, so I added this in my translation. Secondly, I discovered that I am not the only person who has had troubles with the different kinds of yeast, as I found this article on the very subject! Interesting…or maybe it’s just me!

The devil is in the detail
As I’ve previously acknowledged (particularly in my recipe last week), French recipes tend to be less detailed than English recipes. In addition to not specifying the type of yeast, it also didn’t specify the type of sugar, though, again, there was an image to help. Hannah has also talked about this on her blog.


Yeast and flour mixture in a glass bowl with flour, salt and sugar in a separate bowl

The trickest part of this recipe was how best to fold the butter into the dough for lamination and how to roll up the croissants themselves. I found this YouTube video to be very helpful in giving a visual representation of how to do this!

Butter on top of croissant dough

I did also notice that the recipe suggested you make the triangles twice, so I omitted the first time as it appeared to be too soon (as you then had to fold the mixture and roll it out several times after…not sure how you would do that with a small triangle of dough!)

Cardboard triangle

I also had real problems working out the size of the triangle…I decided to make a cardboard template, as suggested in the YouTube video I cited earlier, but my first attempt was not succesful…the recipe was very precise and said to make a 10cm x 15cm x 15cm triangle. I misread this and made a 10cm x 10cm x 15cm right-angled triangle, which was definitely way too small and the wrong size for rolling! I attempted it again, still as a right-angled triangle and couldn’t get the dimensions to fit…then I remembered that other types of triangles exist. Who knew cooking involved so much maths?

Raw croissants on a baking tray

Once I’d figured out my maths problem, rolling up the croissants was fairly simple. I also re-rolled the dough and made some extra ones, which turned out fine! (I was uncertain about whether re-rolling the dough would spoil the lamination, but it seemed to work out fine!)

Croissant next to half a croissant

Final Verdict: These were time-consuming, but fairly easy (a bit like the Kouign Amann cake I made a few weeks ago). I even managed to keep the butter inside the dough this time! However, I did notice that these croissants turned golden quite quickly, but remained doughy on the inside. I think this is because our oven is a bit broken (the top heating element doesn’t work), so they weren’t being cooked evenly from all sides. Until we buy a new oven (or one of my lovely readers gifts us one! haha), if I try these again, I would cook them for longer on a lower heat.

Next week: I’ll be trying a Portuguese Christmassy treat on Christmas Eve!

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a Norfolk-based Arabic and French > English translator and languages tutor.

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