Who doesn’t love a croissant? Layers of buttery flaky goodness that are somehow decadent simplicity. And by simplicity, I mean that a good croissant can stand on its own. No filling or jam or chicken salad needed. However, it is one of those recipes that requires time, patience and a bit of skill. Certainly not something you whip up every week. A treat, a decadence, a labor of love. But, there is something very satisfying about making your own. So if you like a good weekend baking project, perhaps it’s time to tackle croissants. Also included is how to form chocolate croissants and what to do with those leftover dough scraps.
This is a very procedural recipe. Patience and time are needed more than baking skills. You will need two days from start to finish, so just plan accordingly.
First off, let’s start with the butter. Laminated dough (which croissants are made of) consists of a dough that is rolled out, a slab of butter is placed on half of it, and then the dough is folded over it. Next begins a series of rolling out and folding, creating layers upon layers of butter and dough. That being said, the type of butter you use is important. Splurge a little, it will be worth it.
Now most croissant recipes have you taking cold butter (and sometimes flour) and pounding it out into a square. This always seemed a bit of wasted energy to me when I could just whip up room temperature butter and flour, spread into the desired shape and refrigerate. Done! No rolling pin workout needed.
Once the butter block is shaped and chilling in the fridge, start in on the dough. The dough is going to go through a little pre-ferment first. Basically you mix up the yeast, some of the flour and all the water and let it sit for awhile before continuing on. Why? Because flavor. The longer you allow dough to develop the more flavor it is going to have.
After all the mixing the dough will need to rest in the fridge for a bit. Make sure you have plenty of space in the fridge, because you will be using it constantly with this recipe. Because of all the butter in the recipe, the dough will need to be chilled continually in order to it to laminate properly and not turn into a buttery mess.
After the dough has rested, it is going to be rolled out into a rectangle. A ruler or measuring tape is very helpful at this point, as precise measurements are given in the recipe. Then the butter is placed on half and the rest of the dough is folded over and sealed around the butter.
GENTLY start to pound the dough back out into a rectangle. Don’t roll, the butter might rip through the dough. Using your hands and the rolling pin, bring the dough back into the original rectangle. Then fold into thirds. This is the first turn. You will do this 4 more times. But, before any more rolling, the dough has to go back in the fridge for about an hour. Between each turn (rolling and folding) the dough has to be chilled again in order for it to be easy to work with. By the second or third turn, rolling instead of gently pounding the dough will be possible as the butter starts to be worked into the dough.
After all the turns are complete, the dough is going to go into the fridge for 12-24 hours. This gives the dough ample time to rest and let flavors develop. But don’t go over 24 hours or the yeast will have fizzled out and you won’t get a good rise.
The next day, all the shaping begins. Work with one half at a time, keeping the other in the fridge to stay chilled. A ruler and a bench scraper are ideal when rolling out and cutting the dough.
Once you have neatly rolled and cut out a rectangle from the dough, a series of notches are going to be cut into the bottom and the top using precise measurements. Those notches will be the guide to cutting out triangles.
Once all the croissants are shaped, let them rise until doubled in size.
Hopefully you’re still with me at the end of all that! Whew. Like I said, it is a bit of an undertaking, but a pretty tasty one. And saying you made homemade croissants is kinda impressive. Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Happy baking!
Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Inactive Time: 18-30 hours
403 g. ( 1 3/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
30 g. (1/4 cup) all purpose flour
240 g. (1 cup) water, room temperature
4 g. (1 tsp.) instant dry yeast
450 g. (3 3/4 cups) all purpose flour, divided
115 g. (1/2 cup) heavy cream, room temperature
4 g. (1 tsp.) kosher salt
On a large piece of wax paper or parchment paper, trace an 8 inch square, making sure the piece of paper is large enough to fold over and completely cover the square.
In the Ankarsrum plastic whipping bowl with the single wire whisks, mix together the butter and 30 g. all purpose flour on medium speed (3 o’clock) until combined, about 30 seconds. Spread butter mixture into an even layer on the traced out square. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold and firm.
Add the water, yeast and 120 g. (1 cup) all purpose flour to the stainless steel mixing bowl with the roller and scraper. Mix on medium speed (3 o’clock) just until combined. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Add the rest of the flour, cream and salt and mix on medium-low speed (2 o’clock) until flour is fully incorporated. Lock arm in place about 1 inch from side of bowl and set timer to knead for 10 minutes.
Once dough is done kneading, gather into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
After dough has chilled, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 9 x 17 inch rectangle. Place the square of chilled butter on one end, leaving about a 1/2 inch border of dough around the butter. Fold the rest of the dough over the butter and gently seal the edges all around. Gently pound the dough with a rolling pin, using your hands as needed, to shape back into a 9 x 18 inch rectangle. Starting with a narrow end of the rectangle, fold the bottom third up, and fold the opposite end down. This is one turn. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Once chilled, roll it into another 9 x 18 inch rectangle and tri-fold again, making sure that what was once the top and bottom of the rectangle are now the sides. Chill dough for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Repeat this process until at least 4 turns have been done, and up to 6 if desired. Make sure between each rolling and folding session to chill dough so that the butter doesn’t become too soft and start to seep out.
Once final turn is done, wrap fully in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Divide crossaint dough in half. Cover and place one half back in the fridge until ready to work with.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough half into a 6 1/2 x 25 inch rectangle, trimming sides to get an exact rectangle shape. On the bottom of the rectangle, make a notch every 5 inches in the dough. On the top of the rectangle, make a notch 2 1/2 inches from one side, and then make notches every five inches after that first notch.
Use the notches as a guide to cut out rectangles of dough. If dough begins to soften and become hard to work with, place back in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Make a notch in the middle at the bottom of each rectangle. Push dough away from the notch and then begin to roll up and out, ending with tip tucked under. Shape into a crescent and place on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough.
Cover loosely and let rise until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375º F.
Once croissants have risen, brush with egg wash and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before eating.
Yield: 18 croissants
-For chocolate, cut a large bittersweet chocolate bar crosswise into 16 sticks or use chocolate batons.
-For chocolate croissants, follow the recipe above until you get to the final shaping.
Divide dough into 4 sections, refrigerating each section until ready to work with. Roll each part into a 3 1/2 x 18 inch rectangle, trimming sides to get a precise rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half so you have two (3 1/2 x 9 inch) pieces.
Place a chocolate baton or stick crosswise 1 1/2 inches from one end of the rectangle. Fold the dough over the chocolate so it is covered and the end of the flap is two inches from the end of the fold. Place another chocolate baton or stick on dough and fold the whole thing over it. You now have a flattened roll of dough with three layers and a piece of chocolate in each of the 2 folds.
Cover loosely and let double in size. Brush with egg wash and bake as instructed above.
Yield: 8 croissants
-Generously dust scraps with a mixture of sugar and cardamom or cinnamon. Twist scraps into somewhat uniform shapes and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Cover loosely and let rise 1 hour. Bake for 30 minutes at 375º F.