Have you guys ever wondered if it is possible to make those beautiful, flaky and crispy croissants that are displayed at fancy coffee shops at your home? Good news! It definitely is. You can make them from ingredients that are easy to get at your local supermarket, without any professional equipment, using a technique that is easy to follow for those who are new to baking this delicate pastry.
I have been trying to make perfect croissants for some time now. I have read countless articles and blogs of many bakers and pastry chefs and watched plenty of videos on techniques and tips&tricks. I was signed up for a croissant baking course here in New York a couple weeks ago – unfortunately, that has been postponed… I was really disappointed as I was looking forward to it for long weeks. Well, I did not get a chance to attend a course, instead, I started on my own at my home kitchen. I baked, tried and failed, and tried all over again until I improved my technique, skills, and the recipe that I am now happy to share with all of you guys.
French pastry is a science, craft, and piece of art that requires years to master. I admire all the chefs and enthusiasts who mastered the craft of baking perfect croissants. At the same time, there is no reason why the rest of us can not learn, practice and try to bake as good as we can with the equipment we have at home. Note that baking croissants require some time spent at home (which we all have more than enough right now :)) and plenty of patience. Do not set your early expectations too high but stay positive. If you follow the recipe and perhaps get to know your oven & ingredients, it will work out. Now, let’s start a two day journey. (Please note that this is a basic recipe for those who are just starting to bake croissants)
A couple of words about ingredients:
- FLOUR – needs to be high in protein (in the U.S. – ALL PURPOSE flours work – King Arthur or Whole Foods 365 Organic AP flour are the ones I tried and worked out well; in Europe – try to get Manitoba flour or flours types T530 or T550 – marking differs country to country)
- BUTTER – the higher % of fat, the better. Start with 82% fat and more. In the U.S. use so-called European types of butter. Whole Foods 365 Organic Butter works well.
- FRESH YEASTS – if you don’t have a fresh one, try dry yeasts (not instant). I would use 6.5g of dry yeasts.
- WATER – if you can, use filtered water; if not use tap water
- MILK – I use whole milk, but any milk works
Please read the whole recipe before you start. I added a timeline below so you can divide your time accordingly.
8pm – prepare the dough & butter slab and place them into the fridge overnight
8am – take the butter slab out of the fridge
8.30am – roll out the dough, seal the butter in, and fold it for the first time
9.30am – second fold
10.30am – third fold
11.30am – cut and shape croissants
around 2pm – bake your croissants
9g Fresh Yeasts (or 6.5g dry yeasts)
80g Water (cold)
80g Milk (cold)
30g Butter (softened)
31% of the total dough weight
(For instance, if your dough weighs 544g after kneading, then you’ll need 163g of Butter)
1. In a bowl of your standing mixer combine all ingredients for the dough, except for the butter. Before you start to knead, make sure to disolve fresh yeasts in the liquids in the bowl. Turn your mixer on a low speed and knead for some 3-4 minutes until all ingredients combined.
2. After 4 minutes, add 30g of butter to the bowl and knead for another 3-4 minutes until butter is nicely incorporated into the dough. If you see chunks of butter separated from the dough, help them to incorporate by the hand. Do not knead your dough for too long (no more than 8 minutes), but make sure that ingredients are well mixed and that you can’t see any butter chunks. Wrap the dough in a cling wrap and ziploc bag and place in the fridge overnight.
3. Making a butter slab – cut off a piece of baking paper and in the middle of the paper draw a square with each side 17cm long. Cut your butter for the butter slab into small equal pieces and place them on the baking paper. Fold the paper around the outside edges of the marked area and roll the butter out (with rolling pin) into a perfect shape of square envelope. Store it in a cling foil and ziploc bag in the fridge overnight.
1. Take the butter out of the fridge some 20 minutes before you take out the dough.
2. Lightly drizzle some flour on your working surface, unwrap the dough and start rolling it out – always from the middle out, and always in one direction. Roll it out until you’ll get the dough long approximately 35cm (or twice the length of your butter slab). You can cut off uneven parts at the end of the dough (do not throw them away, you can still bake them).
3. Unwrap your butter slab and place it in the middle of the rolled out dough. Seal the butter slab with the dough and paste it together with your fingers so that you can’t see any butter (see the far right picture below)
4. FIRST FOLD – Now, roll out the dough again, making sure that one of sealed sides is facing you (picture below, first from left). You need to roll out the dough from the middle out applying only little pressure (you don’t want to break the butter inside – you want to spread it, not to break it). Roll the dough out to approximately same length as before – some 40cm. Again, if you’ll get uneven ends – cut them off and save them. Now fold your dough letter style as shown on pictures below. First, fold third of the dough and then place other third over it. Wrap it into the foil, place into ziploc bag and into the fridge for some 40 minutes.
5. SECOND FOLD – Repeat the process. Slightly flour your work desk and place the dough in the middle with folded side facing you (like on the picture below, first from left). Roll it out to the same length as before, always rolling from the middle out, always applying little pressure. Fold your dough again using the same technique as before. Cover and place to the fridge for some 40 minutes.
6. THIRD FOLD – Repeat the same process as you did in step 5. (second fold). Cover and place to the fridge for some 40 minutes.
7. CUTTING & SHAPING – Finally, roll out your dough to same length as before (one of folded sides must be facing you). Now, for the first time you can roll your dough not only lengthwise but also into widthwise. Take a meter and mark 10cm at the top of the dough and 5cm at the bottom. Connect the lines to create triangles. You can slightly prolongate your triangles with a rolling pin. Now roll the triangles from a wider part to narrower with your hand (do not apply too much pressure). Place your croissants on the baking tray covered with a baking paper. Keep a good distance between each croissant – give it enough space to grow. Cover tray with a cling foil to protect croissants from drying and place them into a turned off oven. Place a bowl with hot water at the bottom of the oven (level below the crossaints) and close the oven. Let the croissants prove for 2-3 hours. Croissants need to grow at least twice in size. Be patient.
8. BAKING – Once your croissants are proved you’re ready to bake them. Turn on your oven to 370 Degrees Fahrenheit (175ºC). Make sure to heat it up properly before placing croissants inside. Do not rush. If you put croissants into the cold oven they will not grow as much. In the meantime, combine 1 egg yolk with a few drops of milk and mix it together. Brush your croissants lightly. Put them into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes (until the top is getting brown). Do not open the oven earlier than after 15 minutes because the croissants can fall down and loose its volume easily. After some 20 minutes of baking, they should be ready. Now wait (if you can :)) for some 10 minutes and enjoy your hard work. You should have lovely buttery and flaky croissants with visible layers and crispy crust. Enjoy your homemade croissant and let me know how it went 🙂 Fingers crossed and Happy Baking 🙂
- Do not flour your work desk too much, use just as much flour as necessary. Brush off any residual flour from your dough before each folding.
- If your dough does not stretch when you’re rolling it out, simply put it back to the fridge for some time. Dough can not be warm at all.
- Try to keep your kitchen as cold as possible when making croissants. Room temperature is pretty important. The colder, the better.
- Great blogs & sources of information from where I get inspired and where I learn about croissants: weekendbakery.com, gourmetier.com, maskrtnica.cz