Don’t be fooled. This recipe took me 4 times to get right. It is important to make sure you follow each step correctly and even if you do- it still might not work. This is the reality of baking. It can be so frustrating, and you can do it over and over again and still not do it right and then a week later, *poof* you get it right. It just happens like that sometimes. The reason I love baking is simply this. It can be so frustrating, but when you finally get it right, you end up with a delicate, beautiful creation that you can be endlessly proud of. And I can now say that I can successfully make croissants!
This is a lengthy process, it takes a few days to do it properly and it is important to not rush the process. I think a lot of people are intimidated by baking and pastry. I understand that it can be daunting, but there are so many aids out there to help us out each step of the way. There’s YouTube, the Food Network, Cookbooks, Pinterest, Blogs, Courses, it’s all out there at our fingertips. I am also a believer that we should constantly be pushing ourselves to be better- and if you have the thought in your mind that you can’t bake, or that you are a mess in the kitchen- the only person getting in your way is you. (Inspirational baking rant over).
The classic croissant was one of the “big dogs” that I wanted to conquer along my blogging/school/baking journey. Does anyone else have a baking bucket list? Just me?
I am proud of myself for not getting down and continue trial and error until I got these right. One other profound baking tip- don’t try too hard. It’s like the pastry’s just know that you are struggling and they just won’t work. Relax, put on some music, make sure your kitchen is in good clean condition, your ingredients are ready and measured and you have ample time and space to lead yourself to success.
I also wanted to take this time to thank everyone for your continued support. This is the happiest I have ever been and I cannot believe I can do this everyday and finally embrace what I have been wanting to do for so long. All of your kind words mean the world to me.
What is one thing that you would LOVE to be able to bake for yourself at home? Your grandmother’s famous cookies? A fresh loaf of sourdough? Petit little cream puffs? Let me know! Comment down below. The next one on my list is a classic Mille-Feuille with my own puff pastry (A little daunting, but I’ll get there).
Now, for the recipe-
Classic Butter Croissants
- 4 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (500g)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (62g)
- 3 + 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (10g)
- 6 + 1/2 tbsp cold milk (90g)
- 7 tbsp soft butter – room temperature(100g)
- 2 tsp salt (12g)
- 1/2 cup + 1 tsp cold water (140g)
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp cold butter (255g)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
In a large mixing bowl, with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a dough hook stir together flour, sugar, yeast, milk, soft butter, and salt. Watch out, that the yeast and the salt don’t get in touch. Stir on low speed until it starts to come together. Slowly add water while mixing the dough. Knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a 9.85×6.7 inches (25x17cm) rectangle. Wrap tightly with plastic foil and refrigerate overnight 8-12 hours.
Place the cold butter between 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin pound butter into a 7.1×7.1 inches (18x18cm) rectangle. Straighten the sides with the outer edges of your hands by pushing towards the center. Roll evenly thick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze butter and the croissant dough for 20 minutes.
Remove dough from the freezer and roll on a very lightly floured surface with a very lightly floured rolling pin into a 15×7.9 inches (38×20 cm) rectangle, 0.3 inches (7-8mm) thick. Place butter slab on one half of the croissant dough that there is about 0.4 inches space around three edges and fold the other dough-half over the butter. Completely seal the butter inside the dough by pressing the edges together. Make sure that there are no air bubbles between the layers. Rotate 90°.
Just use as much flour as needed that the dough doesn’t stick. Firmly but carefully press the dough with the rolling pin starting on both sealed ends. Then stop pressing and begin rolling the dough. Be careful and don’t work the dough over that the butter doesn’t incorporate with the dough. Roll the croissant dough just in one direction into a 15×7.9 inches (38×20 cm) rectangle, 0.3 inches (7-8mm) thick. Rotate the dough 180° while rolling to keep it even, if needed. Make sure that you lengthen the dough instead of widening it and keep the edges as straight as possible. Shape the corners with your hands to a square.
Remove all excess flour from the dough before folding it, if there is any. Take one short side and fold one-third of the dough over itself that about 2/3 of the dough is covered by itself. Then take the other short side and flap it over itself that it touches the edge of the previously folded part. The croissant dough has now 1/3 of its original size. Then fold it in half. You should have a rectangle with 4 layers of dough. Be sure that you remove all excess flour between each layer. Cover with plastic foil tightly and freeze for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough in the direction of the two open ends with the fold to your right until it is a 15×7.9 inches (38×20 cm) rectangle, 0.3 inches (7-8mm) thick. Be careful, not to overwork the dough and take as little flour as possible. Keep the edges as straight as possible. Rotate 180° while rolling to stay even, if needed. Pick up one short end and fold one-third of the dough on itself. Pick up the other short end and fold on top that it covers itself (letter style). You should have a 3-layered dough. Cover with plastic foil tightly and freeze for 30 minutes.
Turn the dough again by 90° from the previous position, and roll into a 26×10.6 inches (66x27cm) rectangle, 0.12-0.15 inches (3-4mm) thick. And again, take as little flour as possible, keep the edges as straight as possible, and don’t overwork the dough. Shape the corners with your hands to a square.
With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut off 0.4 inches all around the rectangle to reveal the multilayered puff pastry. The croissant dough should be 25.2×9.85 inches (64x25cm) in size. Transform it into a parallelogram by picking up 2 corners of the dough opposite the diagonal and stretch gently. Use a tape measure or yardstick and measure both long sides of the dough (should be still 25.2 inches / 64cm) and divide each side through 7-8. This makes sure that your croissants are all the same size. Depending on your parallelogram and the precision of your cut, you get 14 or 16 croissants. Then cut triangles with the tape measure. The cut croissants should be between 3.15-3.55 inches (8-9cm) wide and 9.85 inches (25cm) long. Cover with plastic foil and freeze for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to the lowest possible temperature for 15 minutes. Then turn off the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove croissants from the freezer and cut with a knife 0.2-inch (5mm) slits in the middle of the short sides. Place croissants with the notched side towards you. Roll the dough up and away from you, moving your hands outward from the center. Lightly press the tip to close the croissants. Place croissants on prepared baking sheets (a maximum of 6 croissants per baking sheet) with enough space between each croissant. They will triple in size. Place the dough tip underneath that they don’t unroll during baking.
Combine egg and egg yolk in a small bowl and lightly brush croissants. Your oven should have a temperature of 80-85°F (26-29°C). Maybe you need to open the door for 1-2 minutes if it is warmer than that.
Pour boiling water in a heat-proof bowl. Arrange all baking sheets in the oven and the boiling water on the bottom of the oven. Close the door and let the croissants rise for 2.5 hours. This trick can simulate a professional oven. It lets the croissants rise high and prevents them from drying out.
Remove croissants from the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Carefully brush croissants a second time with eggs. Bake one sheet at the time for about 16-20 minutes until they have a brown and even color. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Even if the croissants are best eaten fresh on the same day, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.