Combine first seven ingredients and blend well.
Scoop 1 cup of this flour mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar to this cup of flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Combine milk and eggs and add them to this mixture. Add melted butter and beat until smooth. Reserve.
In a separate bowl, cut cold butter into remaining flour mixture until butter pieces are the size of large peas. Pour in liquid batter and stir or beat until moistened throughout. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Remove dough from refrigerator and press into a compact ball on a surface that has been lightly covered with rice flour. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each third into a 12-inch circle with a rolling pin. Cut each circle into 8 pie-shaped wedges.
Separate wedges and roll out each wedge through the length of the piece so that it is about 1/8th-inch thick.* Brush each wedge with gently warmed fruit spread, if desired. Then roll up each wedge toward the point. Shape into a crescent by curving the edges.
Set croissants on an ungreased baking sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic and let them rise at room temperature until doubled. (This may take 2 hours if the room is cool.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each croissant wedge with egg beaten with cold water. Place croissants in preheated oven and immediately lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.