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Recipe

Classic Croissants

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Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 15

Making your own croissants is not difficult; there’s no special equipment or hard-to-find ingredients required. What is necessary is good technique. Once you understand the basics of creating multilayered dough like this, you’re well on your way to wowing your friends with delicious croissants. 

Recipe Slideshow: Get inspired to make more homemade breads, including Authentic Brioche and Buttery, Knotted Dinner Rolls.

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Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 5 oz. (1/2cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold water
  • 5 oz. (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cold whole milk
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs.) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. plus scant 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2-1/4 tsp. table salt

For the butter layer

  • 10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cold unsalted butter

For the egg wash

  • 1 large egg

Nutritional Information

      Calories (kcal) : 310
      Fat Calories (kcal): 160
      Fat (g): 19
      Saturated Fat (g): 12
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
      Cholesterol (mg): 60
      Sodium (mg): 360
      Carbohydrates (g): 32
      Fiber (g): 1
      Protein (g): 5

Preparation

Make the dough

  • Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured 10-inch pie pan or a dinner plate. Lightly flour the top of the dough and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.

Make the butter layer

  • The next day, cut the cold butter lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Arrange the pieces on a piece of parchment or waxed paper to form a 5- to 6-inch square, cutting the butter crosswise as necessary to fit. Top with another piece of parchment or waxed paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to adhere, use more force. Pound the butter until it’s about 7-1/2 inches square and then trim the edges of the butter. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.how  to make croissants

Laminate the dough

  • Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-1/2-inch square. Brush excess flour off the dough. Remove the butter from the refrigerator—it should be pliable but cold. If not, refrigerate a bit longer. Unwrap and place the butter on the dough so that the points of the butter square are centered along the sides of the dough. Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the center of the butter. Repeat with the other flaps . Then press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough. (A complete seal ensures butter won’t escape.)how  to make croissants
  • Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press the dough to elongate it slightly and then begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.how  to make croissants
  • Roll the dough until it’s 8 by 24 inches. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush any flour off the dough. Pick up one short end of the dough and fold it back over the dough, leaving one-third of the other end of dough exposed. Brush the flour off and then fold the exposed dough over the folded side. Put the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.how  to make croissants
  • Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends until the dough is about 8 by 24 inches. Fold the dough in thirds again, as shown in the photo above, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover and freeze for another 20 minutes.

    Give the dough a third rolling and folding. Put the dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides. Refrigerate overnight.

Divide the dough

  • The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, “wake the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length—you don’t want to widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes. Roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, 8 inches by about 44 inches. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour. Once the dough is about half to two-thirds of its final length, it may start to resist rolling and even shrink back. If this happens, fold the dough in thirds, cover, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes; then unfold the dough and finish rolling. Lift the dough an inch or so off the table at its midpoint and allow it to shrink from both sides—this helps prevent the dough from shrinking when it’s cut. Check that there’s enough excess dough on either end to allow you to trim the ends so they’re straight and the strip of dough is 40 inches long. Trim the dough.how  to make croissants
  • Lay a yardstick or tape measure lengthwise along the top of the dough. With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 5-inch intervals along the length (there will be 7 marks in all). Position the yardstick along the bottom of the dough. Make a mark 2-1/2 inches in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 5-inch intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough. You’ll have 8 marks that fall halfway between the marks at the top.how  to make croissants
  • Make diagonal cuts by positioning the yardstick at the top corner and the first bottom mark. With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough along this line. Move the yardstick to the next set of marks and cut. Repeat until you have cut the dough diagonally at the same angle along its entire length—you’ll have made 8 cuts. Now change the angle of the yardstick to connect the other top corner and bottom mark and cut the dough along this line to make triangles. Repeat along the entire length of dough. You’ll end up with 15 triangles and a small scrap of dough at each end.how  to make croissants

Shape the croissants

  • Using a paring knife or a bench knife, make a 1/2- to 3/4-inch-long notch in the center of the short side of each triangle. The notch helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent. Hold a dough triangle so that the short notched side is on top and gently elongate to about 10 inches without squeezing or compressing the dough—this step results in more layers and loft.how  to make croissants
  • Lay the croissant on the work surface with the notched side closest to you. With one hand on each side of the notch, begin to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end.how  to make croissants
  • Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the “legs” become longer. Press down on the dough with enough force to make the layers stick together, but avoid excess compression, which could smear the layers. Roll the dough all the way down its length until the pointed end of the triangle is directly underneath the croissant. Now bend the two legs towards you to form a tight crescent shape and gently press the tips of the legs together (they’ll come apart while proofing but keep their crescent shape).how  to make croissants
  • Shape the remaining croissants in the same manner, arranging them on two large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets (8 on one pan and 7 on the other). Keep as much space as possible between them, as they will rise during the final proofing and again when baked.

Proof the croissants

  • Make the egg wash by whisking the egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush it on each croissant.how  to make croissants
  • Refrigerate the remaining egg wash (you’ll need it again). Put the croissants in a draft-free spot at 75° to 80°F. Wherever you proof them, be sure the temperature is not so warm that the butter melts out of the dough. They will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully proof. You’ll know they’re ready if you can see the layers of dough when the croissants are viewed from the side, and if you shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. Finally, the croissants will be distinctly larger (though not doubled) than they were when first shaped.how  to make croissants

Bake the croissants

  • Shortly before the croissants are fully proofed, position racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven and heat it to 400°F convection, or 425°F conventional. Brush the croissants with egg wash a second time. Put the sheets in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheets and swap their positions. Continue baking until the bottoms are an even brown, the tops richly browned, and the edges show signs of coloring, another 8 to 10 minutes. If they appear to be darkening too quickly during baking, lower the oven temperature by 10°F. Let cool on baking sheets on racks.

Make Ahead Tips

The croissants are best served barely warm. However, they reheat very well, so any that are not eaten right away can be reheated within a day or two in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. They can also be wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil and frozen for a month or more. Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat.

Chocolate Croissants: Chop some good-quality bittersweet chocolate and distribute it along the length of the notched end of the dough triangle after you’ve stretched it—use about 1/2 oz. or 1-1/2 Tbs. for each one. Roll it up just like a plain croissant but without stretching out or bending the legs. Proof and bake the same.

Ham and Cheese Croissants: After stretching but before rolling up each croissant, put a thin layer of sliced ham on the dough at the notched end. Tuck it in if it lies more than a little outside the surface of the dough. Put a layer of thinly sliced or grated cheese—good Cheddar or Gruyère is best—on top of the ham. Without stretching or bending the legs, roll the dough tightly. Proof and bake the same.

Reviews

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Reviews

  • UWSDairyAllergy | 09/04/2016

    I literally created an account on this site just to favorably review these croissants! If you want perfect flaky croissants follow this recipe exactly!BUTI have a few extenuating factors that forced me to alter the recipe, with extremely good results.1) I have a dairy allergy. If you or someone you love does too I suggest the following substitutions:-Instead of the milk go with original soymilk (sweetened). Since soymilk has the closest fat content to milk of any substitute it's perfect for baking. Do not use vanilla as it can over-power the other ingredients, and the sweetened gives the yeast a litt-In place of butter you're going to need two substitutes; a soft tub of butter substitute (I prefer smart balance or country crock with calcium) for the dough itself, and a hard unsalted stick form of butter substitute for the butter layer (I use fleishma2) My other extenuating factor is I live in New York, so having 40" of counter space in the kitchen is as much a fantasy as owning my own unicorn. For this work-around I've tried several methods, but the best is, when you're doing your final roll out before cutting, to roll it into a 21"x16" rectangle, then cutting it n half so you have 2 21"x8" rectangles. Because of the cutting instructions one of your croissants will now be turned into 2 mini-croissants but they cook at the same time as the full sized guys so there's no real problem there.3) Finally, I'm a human beng, so rarely do I spend 3 days cooking something, or get up early in the morning in the mood to roll out dough and cut it. So, my method for cutting it down to essentially 24 hours is to combine the dough in the morning (or around noon if you're a night-owl baker like me) let it sit in the fridge for around 8 hours, then in the evening do the laminating process. Once you've laminated just through the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes again and roll out your dough and cut it as per the instructions. Form your croissants and (putting them on 2 separate sheets of parchment paper) cover them with cling film, placing them in the fridge over night. The next morning all you have to do is pop them out of the fridge, give them their first egg wash, let them rise for a little over an hour (won't take as long to rise since they've done a slow proof in the fridge) egg was again and you have fresh delicious croissants perfect for breakfast.Thanks again for the amazing recipe, these things are great with cinnamon, dark chocolate, and as the best sandwich bread ever!

  • ThomasRobb | 03/09/2016

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1275071842508636&id=100000174988011

  • Randy1685 | 02/26/2016

    This is the recipe that got me started in pastry.

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