Why did I figure out how to proof frozen croissants in my oven? Well… sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! This post has affiliate links that help support my blog when you click on them.
Here’s how my life works: Sunday night I see a post on Facebook that Monday is National Croissant Day. I get excited and decide I want the best chocolate croissant available locally. Then I realize I don’t know where to get one… After asking for recommendations I realize that I can go to a somewhat obnoxiously expensive local bakery or I can try the Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants that multiple friends assure me are amazingly good.
The problem? This all happened at about 10pm Sunday. Trader Joe’s is closed, which means I can’t buy those frozen croissants until Monday morning, the day of the croissant “holiday” I need to celebrate. The instructions note that you have to proof them overnight before baking. Until I invent that way back machine, I don’t have those nine hours to wait.
I tried googling to determine whether I could proof frozen chocolate croissants in my oven and – if so – how to proof frozen croissants. I came up with nothing. Fortunately, the four pack of Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants are $4.49 at my local store. If I fail, it isn’t a huge waste – and I still have that expensive local bakery I can visit.
I’ll admit, when I first looked at the frozen croissant, I had my doubts. This doesn’t resemble any croissant I’ve ever enjoyed.
Wait, what’s proofing?
When you bake with yeast, you need to proof your dough. That means it needs to rise prior to baking. Did you know that when you’re making these frozen croissants, you’re baking with yeast?
It is not a step you can skip. If you put a frozen croissant into the oven and baked it, it would not rise as well or nicely as you want. You’d end up with a dense croissant, which is where proofing comes in. The amount of time it takes to proof dough varies based on the temperature of the dough and of your environment. In a cold house, it’ll take longer to proof than in the middle of summer.
How to Proof Frozen Croissants in Your Oven
The instructions state to leave them out overnight to proof for nine hours. Well, I found you can speed that up. I’ve used my oven to proof dough before when baking bread that I wanted to finish faster. The challenge with croissants is that part of what makes croissants that light, flaky pastry is the layer after layer of butter in the dough. If I proof the frozen croissants, I risk melting that butter and losing flaky layers. Hello, balancing act!
If your oven has a proofing setting, you’re golden. If your oven doesn’t have a proofing setting, it’s harder but still doable.
With the proofing setting, turn your oven to proofing and set it to 90 degrees for 110 minutes. Place your croissants in the oven seam side down on a silpat covered baking sheet. Let it proof in the oven. Once your timer goes off just under 2 hours, remove the croissant(s) from the oven. You may notice a little bit of butter just starting to melt out, but that’s fine.
If you have no proofing setting, preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature. If you have space, I highly recommend a countertop oven for quick dinners and specialty applications like this! Once it reaches that temperature, turn off your oven and open the door for 30 seconds to a minute. Place your croissants in the oven and shut the door. Turn on the light inside your oven to give it a little extra heat. Start checking your croissants at the two hour mark to see if they’ve proofed properly. It may take up to three hours with this method, depending on how well insulated your oven is.
Baking Your Frozen Croissants
Regardless of the method you used to proof frozen croissants, once they’ve risen, remove the baking sheet with your croissants from the oven. Place your tray on the counter and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Return the croissant(s) to the oven and bake for 22 minutes, until golden brown.
The hard part now is waiting for the croissant to cool enough to enjoy. Remember, you just heated that chocolate in a 350 degree oven. Let it cool 5 minutes so you don’t burn yourself!
I may not have had fresh chocolate croissants first thing in the morning, but I didn’t have to wait anywhere near the nine hours (plus baking time!) prescribed in the instructions. If you wake up early, you can still enjoy these for breakfast. If you’re like me, enjoy your sleep because they make a great mid morning brunch. This was so good, I sacrificed and made another one just to test my theories and to write this post. You’re welcome.
Now go enjoy that croissant because you know you can proof frozen croissants in your oven when you have a croissant emergency! Do you see all those gorgeous flaky layers? Heaven!
Did you ever try to proof frozen croissants in your oven? Check out my other baking hacks for more great ideas!
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