The entire process takes about 20 hours, though luckily not all of that is hands on. Mike and I had plans to go see a movie on Saturday, but I talked him into getting a couple from Redbox instead so I could babysit my croissant dough. Dreams take sacrifice, right?
Julia Child's recipe (who else), as explained by Barbara Bakes. I recommend reading through the steps several times to get familiar with it. For instance, she links to this video in step 44, which told me that I had been folding the dough wrong the whole time. It turned out OK anyway, but it was a great reminder to be thorough in my prep next time.
The dough comes together really easily and almost immediately starts its first rise. I started it around 4 PM on Saturday, which put me through step 32 by midnight. Mike and I fell asleep on the couch and I had to set an alarm so I'd get up and do the last step before putting the dough in the fridge for the night. If you're not crazy for croissants, then this recipe might not be for you. By noon on Sunday, I had hot croissants fresh out of the oven.
It was definitely worth it, and I finally crossed something off my list of baking goals (that's a thing, right?), so I'd say it was a rainy weekend well spent.
I'm one of those people who's scared by the labels on a can of spray paint (I once returned a can of spray chalk paint because of the explosion warnings on the bottle), so I threw open all the windows, turned a fan on, turned the oven off (and pulled the croissants out), then proceeded to sit on the back porch in my pajamas while reading the back of the smoke/carbon monoxide detector. After a little research and panicked texts to Mike, I realized that I had put the thing in test mode, and the carbon monoxide warning was a false alarm.
Luckily there were croissants waiting inside to comfort me.