Before, hearing that making croissants at home is easy, seemed to me out of the world and something super-hard to accomplish. Having croissants on my “to bake” list still had me hesitant and I always used to postpone trying to make them. Now, finally, after studying the whole process of how to make and shape them, I started practicing and, well, I failed twice. My latest attempt has given me some wings finally and I realised what the previous attempts were lacking my patience. It is really easy to make croissant dough as it appeared. I’d say it’s one of the easiest laminated doughs, as it is yeasted and hence doesn’t require as many turns as non-yeasted types of dough.
These croissants are totally worth every single attempt because, well, home baked stuff is so much better that store-bought. These pretties with shatteringly crisp on the outside and that pleasantly chewy and buttery interior make a great family breakfast or brunch.
I’ve tried my best not to miss a single detail on how to make them.
A few tips before getting started.
European-style or cultured butter with high butterfat content (not less than 82%) works best here. It’s best for layering as it makes the dough more pliable and easier to roll into thin sheets without breaking,
Do not try to make the dough in smaller batches. It’s really easier to handle bigger amount of dough and the results are normally better. It is better to freeze the leftover dough or baked pastries (see freezing notes below).
Croissant dough is sturdy type, so allow plenty of room for rolling and use a long and heavy rolling pin.
This dough is easiest to work with when chilled. It’s easy to make it in the evening, chill it overnight then shape and bake the pastries in the morning. But keep in mind that it must not be refrigerated for more than 24 hrs, or it could develop a fermented, slightly sour flavour.
The recipe makes 16-18 croissants/ ~2½ lb./ 1.2 kg dough.
Adapted from Model Bakery recipe.
- 3 2/3 c/ 18.7 oz/ 530 g all-purpose flour
- ¾ c/ 6.35 oz/ 180 ml lukewarm water
- ½ c/ 4.23 oz/ 120 ml lukewarm milk
- 3 T/ 1.6 oz/ 45 g sugar
- 2 T/ 1.4 oz/ 40 g European-style unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 2 t/ 0.25 oz/ 7 g instant dry yeast
- 1 t salt
At least 6 hrs and up to 24 hrs before baking, place all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl and mix to make a soft, rough, tacky dough, adding more flour only if necessary. There’s no need to work the dough at this point, as it will be worked during the rolling and folding process.
Tuck the ends of the dough underneath and form a ball. Wrap it in cling film, refrigerate for 2-4 hrs. The dough will not rise much, but will become smooth, elastic and not so tacky anymore.
While the dough is chilling, make a butter block:
- 2 sticks/ 8 oz/ 225 g European-style unsalted butter, chilled, remove from the fridge 30 min. before using
Place the butter between 2 large sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, shape the butter into a 10×6″ rectangle 1/4″ thick. Wrap it in the baking paper and chill in the fridge until needed.
After resting time, remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it.
Lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough into an 18×10″/ 45×15 cm rectangle with a long side facing you. !Always roll the dough with a lot of upper body strength, to the same size and follow the same folding sequence! Place the butter block right in the centre of the dough with the short side facing you. Fold the dough over butter into thirds like business letter: first fold the right spare side of the dough over the butter, then the left one. This is called a turn.
Rotate the dough 90º so the long open seam faces you. Roll out the dough again into an 18×10″/ 45×25 cm rectangle. If at any time some of the butter oozes through the dough, sprinkle some flour over the area to seal it. Repeat the folding into thirds, brushing excess flour off the dough as needed. Make a thumb print on one of the corners of the dough so you remember this was the first turn.
Wrap the dough in cling film, refrigerate for 20-30 min. This brief resting period will relax the gluten and lightly chill the butter, making the dough easier to roll and keeping the butter layers from softening.
Unwrap the dough, repeat the rolling and folding in the same sequence like during the first turn. Brush excess flour off the dough as needed. Make two thumb prints on one of the corners of the dough to mark the second turn. Wrap the dough in cling film, refrigerate for 20-30 min.
Unwrap the dough, repeat the rolling and folding in the same sequence like during the last two turns. Brush excess flour off the dough as needed. Make three thumb prints on one ot the corners of the dough to mark the third turn. Wrap the dough in cling film, refrigerate for at least 30 min. or up to 18 hrs before using. At this stage I left my dough in the fridge overnight.
After chilling, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface with the long open seam facing you. If the butter in the dough feels too stiff, let the dough rest, covered, for 5 min. before continuing. Roll out a rectangle ~1 cm thick. Cut the dough in half vertically, so you have 2 portions with open seams. Leave one of them, long side facing you. Wrap and refrigerate the other portion of dough, if you are going to use it right after you are done with the first one. Otherwise freeze it up to 1-2 months.
Roll out the dough into a 14×8″/ 36×20 cm rectangle ~5 mm thick. Starting at the bottom corner of the base of the dough, mark it with the tip of a knife at 3½”/ 9 cm intervals. Repeat making notches along the top long side of the dough at 3½”/ 9 cm intervals as well. Starting at the upper left corner of the dough, connect the top and the bottom notches with diagonal straight lines. You must have 8 triangles.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Take one triangle og the dough, gently stretch the base of the triangle, then stretch the triangle from its tip to make it a bit longer. Fold the two triangle corners at the base of the triangle, then roll the croissants tightly to the end. The croissant must have 5 segments. Lightly flatten the croissant to keep it from rolling on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining triangles. Space the criossants well apart on the tray. The end must stay under the croissant, so it doesn’t unroll during baking and rising.
Cover the tray loosely with cling film and let stand at room temperature until croissants look puffed, about 1½ – 2 hrs.
Heat the oven to 400ºF/ 200ºC.
Make egg wash:
- 1 small egg
- 1 T milk
Lightly beat the egg and milk in a small bowl. Just before baking, brush the croissants with the egg wash.
Bake in the hot oven 20-30 min. or until golden-brown. If necessary, switch the tray front to back 15 min. into baking, for even baking.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooking rack and let cool for at least 20 min. Serve warm or cool.
Freshly baked croissats are best on the day of baking. They can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. They also can be frozen: loosely pack completely cooled pastries in a plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. When needed, remove them from the bag, and bake them, unthawed, in a preheated 300ºF/ 150ºC oven for 10-15 min, or let them stand at room temperature until thawed, ~1½ hrs.