scratch-made croissants

i swore after making croissants from scratch in pastry class that i’d rather shell out $3.50 for a single croissant from ceci-cela than make croissants from scratch again.  but then, somehow in the past few months, i seem to have accumulated all the special ingredients for making really good chocolate and almond croissants — plugrá european style butter, bâtons boulangers, mandelin almond paste — and making croissants from scratch didn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore.  plus, i had hubby around on the weekends to enlist as a human dough-rolling machine.

ps1. the resulting croissant from the scratch made dough below is a lot flakier and crunchier than the pillsbury pre-made croissant dough.

ps2. and yes, your home will smell like a french bakery afterwards.

Croissant Dough
(adapted from the french culinary institute; makes 20-24 croissants)

Bread Flour 500g
Sugar 65g
Salt 2 tsp
Beurre en pomade 40g (take the butter and squish it between the palms of your hands until it feels like the consistence of hair pomade; lovely, no?)
Yeast 25g
Warm Water 125g
Milk 125g
Butter 300g (european-style highly recommended)
  1. Dissolve the yeast in water.  It is ready to use when the yeast starts to froth and foam.
  2. In the bowl of you stand mixer with the dough hook set at a medium speed, combine the flour, sugar, salt and beurre en pommade.
  3. Add the milk and yeast water. Mix the ingredients together until it forms a fairly cohesive piece of dough.  (It will appear lumpy at first).
  4. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is a rectangle about 3/8 inch thick (roughly, 12 x 20 inches or so).
  6. Place the 300g of european-style butter between plastic wrap.  Roll out the butter until it fits over 2/3 of the croissant dough (you’re aiming to make a 12 x 14 inch rectangle or so).  [Note: it’s often times easier to roll out the butter if you press down or whack the butter block at first to flatten it slightly].
  7. Fold the unbuttered top 1/3 of dough down on the middle 1/3 of the buttered dough.  Then fold the bottom 1/3 buttered dough on the top of the other 2 sections.  Turn dough so that it is perpendicular to you.  Gently, press down on the dough to press it together.  You’ve just finished your first “turn” of the dough.
  8. Return the dough to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
  9. Fold and roll the dough while chilling in between turns 2 more times.  Make sure when you’re folding the dough that you are tucking the seams of the prior turn inside the dough (i.e. the seam should be facing you as you make your new fold).
  10. When the turns have been completed, the croissant dough can either be frozen until ready for use or rolled out to make croissants.

Shaping and Baking Croissants

  • Take the croissant dough from above and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 3/8 inch thick. [Yes, a dough rolling machine would be really useful for this step.  It is laborious]
  • Place the rolled out dough on a piece of parchment paper and chill it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Chocolate Croissants

  • Rectangular shaped chocolate croissants are quite a bit easier to make in my humble opinion than the crescent ones.
  • I use chocolate batons (like these from cacao barry) that can be ordered from a specialty store in the US.  I’ve seen them carried in well-stock supermarkets and gourmet stores in both europe and japan.   Regular chocolate isn’t made for withstanding the high temperature of baking and will readily ooze out of the croissant when you bake it.
  • To shape a chocolate croissant, cut out a piece of dough using a sharp knife that is as wide as the chocolate baton that you are using.
  • Place the first baton near the edge of the dough and roll the dough over the baton to cover it.  Next, place a second baton next to the dough covered first baton.  Roll the dough over the first baton.  Cut off the excess dough at the end.  Use some egg wash to stick the tail end of the croissant to the body (make sure the tail end is tucked under the body).  Set the croissant aside on parchment paper and let it rise until it has roughly doubled in size.

Crescent Shaped Croissants

  • Cut your dough into long and narrow isosceles triangles with a base that is roughly 3 inches and a length of 7-8 inches.
  • Make a one inch incision at the center of the base of the triangle.
  • Lifting the edges closest to the incision, fold the 2 flaps upwards.
  • At this point, you can stuff the croissant by placing a bit of almond paste, cheese or whatever, at the top of the incision and alongside the fold flaps.  Then, continue to roll the dough upwards.  The tip of the triangle should be securely tucked under the croissant.  You can either leave the 2 ends of the croissant straight for curve them together for a more rounded croissant.
  • Set the croissant aside on parchment paper and let it rise until it has roughly doubled in size.

Baking the Croissants

  • When the croissants have doubled in size,  brush them lightly with egg wash.
  • Bake at 380ºF for 20 minutes until golden brown.
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23 responses to “scratch-made croissants

  1. You’re brave — croissants are quite a project. I wish we had ceci-cela as an option. Here in Houston, there are a few French bakeries, but I think they’re all buying pre-made stuff. It’s much easier to find housemade tortillas than croissants.

  2. I’m impressed! Beautiful baking.

  3. I have been looking for an easy croissant recipe. Thanks for sharing this… I will make one!! I am bookmarking this…. U

  4. so funny that you posted this today. i just got done eating a chocolate croissant that i made in pastry school last night. and i agree- i say i’d much rather go buy one than go through all the folding & rolling, but they’re so much better when they’re homemade.

  5. thanks for commiserating!! indeed, half my class started to look around for a dough rolling machine while we were making croissant dough. don’t know if you’ve gotten to puff pastry dough yet but that’s even more fun! can definitely see why dufour charges an arm and a leg for their product!

  6. Haven’t made croissants from scratch in years. I prefer mine savory (Ham and Cheese).

  7. Brave person – although, as I sit here in a January Minnesota winter – I think – what a good pick-me-up project. It has to warm the kitchen and anything is bgetter than griping about below zero weather. And most importantly – they look heavenly.

  8. these look amazing, tomato!!

  9. impressive! i’ve always wanted to make croissants, but i have who just finished culinary school who repeatedly says its not worth to just go to a good bakery…i may have to forego her advice. thanks for the inspiration! great pictures!

  10. I will try these. I firmly believe life is too short to eat a bad croissant.

  11. Hello Tomatointribeca. I have been trying to make your croissant but making ‘bready’ stuff and not flaky on top as you (sometimes) get in Ceci-cela. I am using a type 45 low gluten flour, I hope that’s okay. And also, the water you specify seem to make a very dry dough at the end of the initial mixing, is this normal? I had to add perhaps 20% more liquid (milk+water mixture) to turn it silkier.

    And I am mixing everything by hand as I don’t have a mixer. Is this okay?

    • tomatointribeca

      Hi Nik:

      The moisture content really varies based on where you live. You’ll need less water in humid areas and more in dry areas and/or on dry days.. The consistency I look for in croissant dough tends not to be silky. I look for something that has got the consistency of “play-do.” If you press it with your finger, it will leave an impression; however, it won’t stick to your hands.

      I use King Arthur Bread Flour to make my croissants. It has protein content of 12.7%. This probably equates (very roughly) to a type 65 french flour. I do think you need a higher gluten flour to achieve a flakier crust.

      Kneading by hands is fine as long as you achieve the right consistency in the dough. Sometimes if you have too much flour on the surface on which you’re kneading, you might end up with a dough that is too dry.

      Hope that helps and happy baking!

  12. Thanks for the hints. I am on my 7th trial (silky), alongside my 6th (much less silky, more even less than play-do). — Does your croissant have a very light middle? Thanks again!

  13. I see. I think my all-purpose dough worked! It does have a crunchy shell. Thanks!

  14. Pingback: HOT CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS | The Green Beet

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