My Recipe Box

Classic Croissants

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Yields 15

  • To learn more, read:
    Homemade Croissants
  • by Jeffrey Hamelman from Fine Cooking
    Issue 97

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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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
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.

Variations

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.

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

Photo: Scott Phillips

What a great recipe! I did however use 25g fresh bakers yeast and bread flour with protein percentage of 10.3% and it worked perfectly. I also realized that after each roll out, the access flour should be wiped off before folding, because the flour keeps the butter from creating air pockets. Keep an eye on the temp cause it browns very easily. This recipe is 99% the same as the croissants I've had in France, a real keeper.

Make 6 oz of water instead of 5.

These were fantastic! I love making them. If a 14 year old(congrats!) and I, a 10 year old can make them, I think that this recipe is almost foolproof!

I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious, although very time consuming. Also the dough was pretty dry and very hard to roll out. I am not sure whether it was worth the amount of time but it was rather good. The recipe was very easy to follow And if a 14 yr old (me) can make these, I'm sure anyone with basic baking skills can too.

I just baked these up yesterday. They were a total hit! They were flaky, puffy, buttery & light the way a croissant should be. Family & friends absolutely loved them. I made a sweet butter glaze to go over them & that just elevated them even more! Wouldn't change a thing, aside from just making 2 batches from here on out--Thank You for posting this recipe to share with us ;)

I didn't bake these for as long as the recipe called for. I used convect at 400 and rotated at 7 minutes, they were done to my liking by 14 minutes. This was my first attempt and my very picky family can't keep their hands off of them. Wonderful recipe. Thank you.

Here are my thoughts on these - I just popped them out of the oven. First off, they're a pain to make. All the measuring and rolling and freezing and folding, etc. IS no doubt, a pain. 2. I think the "pain" is worth it for the result you get - these are not in ANY way like the garbage in a can and can be rather impressive for yourself or a large crowd. 3. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the crappy croissants you get out of the can and 10 being croissants from Paris, I'd say these are a 7 1/2.

Perfect recipe for perfect croissants. Came out divine the first time I ever made them.

This was my first attempt at croissants. I followed directions to the letter. OMG ! They came out excellent ! My only suggestion is to put oven racks in center of oven, as cooking on Conventional, the per-heater kicked on when I was switching racks at 10 minutes, and slightly over browned top croissants, but still awesome. Bravo to recipe and to me ! ;-))

The instructions were easy to follow. My croissants were perfect just like the picture. My family loved them. This was my third recipe and attempt. Finally, success! I'm so happy, thank you!

Very clear instruction I think I can try and make my own croissant soon

I want to thank you for writing and providing such a well-written recipe. I have always wanted to try making croissants, but was always afraid to do it. No more! I couldn't have asked for better instructions for my first attempt at croissants. The recipe was perfect, easy and the flavor of these is magnificent! I did have to lower the baking time for my Samsung oven, just as an FYI for anyone who wants to bake these. It's a good idea to check them every couple of minutes in that last 8-10 minutes. Total, ours baked for 15 1/2 minutes at 425 degrees and they came out perfect. Thank you again Fine Cooking!

Phenomenal! So empowering to make something that looks so daunting. Made for the first time for a ladies luncheon and the croissants rec'd RAVE reviews. Step-by-step with pictures was awesome. My value add to the process - on the wrong side of the bottom parchment paper for the butter, I drew a red 7.5" x 7.5" box with red magic marker. Didn't have to keep measuring, just lifted off the top sheet and knew where I had to roll and move it to. Easy breezy!

The step-by-step guide here is great but the dough came out very crumbly for me and hard to work with. I tried this recipe twice, hoping I was just missing something, used the kitchen scale to weigh out the ingredients exactly, and still -- unmanageable, unworkable dough. Terrible, bready croissants that I threw out. For my third attempt I used another recipe from Cooks Illustrated -- they promised it was foolproof, and it was. The dough was silky smooth and rolled out like a dream with the butter, and my first attempt came out perfectly. I can't understand all the rave reviews; I almost just gave up on croissants altogether because of this recipe.

Wow! I have never attempted to make croissants as the thought of them failing was too great! I followed this recipe exactly.... Except when rolling the triangles I added some almond creme. They came out AMAZING. Will be making these again! I highly recommend this recipe.

These were delicious. Definitely a project- I do this kind of thing because I love big cooking/baking projects but if you don't, it's not for you. I've made this three times and my technique improved every time, so i had less butter leakage and higher rise. A tasty treat.

After making these, I would say that 1. I am proud that these came from my two hands. 2. I have had some better and many worse croissants than these. 3. It is worth the effort for the experience and accomplishment, but if I was hosting a brunch, probably wouldn't add this project to the stress of hosting. Recipe notes: 1. I used active dry yeast rather than instant bc it is what I had, turned out fine (activating it in water of course) 2. I don't have a stand mixer, used a combination of hand blender and old fashioned wooden spoon and elbow grease- also turned out fine 3. During the second and third dough lamination, my butter broke into shards visibly in the dough when rolling it out (though the bf was thoroughly entertained by the 'my butter sharded' comment). Not sure if it made a difference in the final product, though next time I think I will let the dough rest in the fridge rather than the freezer. Even with the adaptions and issues, I still managed to come out with 15 tasty croissants and 3 mini's from the scraps. Made mostly plain and a few chocolate. Used the 3 day guide though next time would opt for 2 days or the commenter's guide who assembled the croissants the night before and then baked them off in the AM

OK some people may exaggerate. I think if you live in a metro area that has professional bakeries (with professional grade ovens), you can find a better croissant. However, after making these, I would say that 1. I am proud that these came from my two hands. 2. I have had some better and many worse croissants than these. 3. It is worth the effort for the experience and accomplishment, if you are hosting a brunch, probably don't need to add this project to the stress of hosting. Recipe notes: 1. I used active dry yeast rather than instant bc it is what I had, turned out fine (activating it in water of course) 2. I don't have a stand mixer, used a combination of hand blender and old fashioned wooden spoon and elbow grease- also turned out fine 3. During the second and third dough lamination, my butter broke into shards visibly in the dough when rolling it out (though the bf was thoroughly entertained by the 'my butter sharded' comment). Not sure if it made a difference in the final product, though next time I think I will let the dough rest in the fridge rather than the freezer Even with the adaptions and issues, I still managed to come out with 15 tasty croissants and 3 mini's from the scraps. Made mostly plain and a few chocolate. Used the 3 day guide though next time would opt for 2 days or the commenter's guide who assembled the croissants the night before and then baked them off in the AM

I too used this recipe and instruction for my first attempt at croissant making, and these are the best I've had since being in Paris. My question to anyone who can answer is, can i use a pasta roller for the lamination process - i feel like it may be quicker. any thoughts?

Done it. Liked it. A bit of classical patisserie... I tried it with some pearl sugar through it which made it exceptional.

I have always wanted to try making croissants so I tested my wings with this recipe. The instructions were detailed and easy to understand. The croissants were outstanding. I used Plugra as others suggested. My mom is from Europe and loves fine pastries. She said these were the best she had ever eaten. That is high praise from her. Will definitely make these again.

I love love LOVED this recipe! It's my first time making Croissants and it came out soooo good. I was naughty and I baked it in the night round 9pm just to taunt my neighbors lol! I had to give them some cause it smelled great, it was soft, buttery sweet. The only thing I did not do was after the 3rd fold was chill it over night, I chilled it for an hour then rolled it, cut it, brush it and bake it. Great recipe thank you.

The step by step guide and pictures are so wonderful and so helpful! I just made these and they turned out beautifully. This was my first time making croissants, too! I did not have the patience to wait three days to see how these would turn out so I ended up omitting the first night of proofing in the fridge. I only put the initial dough in the fridge for a little over an hour (after researching other croissant recipes) and proceeded to roll out the dough with the butter square the same day. I did leave the dough in the fridge overnight after I was done rolling and folding. I was afraid my impatience would ruin the croissants but they came out perfectly puffed and layered. Right before baking, I chilled the croissants in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up the butter. (I learned from the internet that this can help prevent butter from melting out of the croissants when baking). The 425 temperature was too hot for my oven and I had to turn it down to 415. Baked 10 mins, turned the pan, and baked for another 8 minutes. I left the third tray in over 8 minutes and they started to burn a bit really quickly. So definitely keep watch of the oven at the end.

heyy.. can someone plz help me.!! while i was rolling my dough with the peice of butter .. butter came out from evry side and its a mess now.. wht do i do with it??!! plz help :(

Amazingly easy to make! I always thought croissants would be terribly difficult. I am pleased to say it was easy :) I made 20 croissants from this recipe and had enough dough left over to make 15 small cinnamon (cinnamon/raw sugar/cocoa/almond) rolls. Perfection! Having the step by step guide removed any worries I had.

Made these for the first time for Mother's Day brunch, with great results. I made a change in the timing that made this more approachable for serving at a morning event. I proofed the dough overnight the first night as indicated, then did my butter block & turns early the next day. I allowed the dough to rest for the day in the fridge, then shaped the croissants before going to bed the second night of the process. I proofed them in the fridge overnight, allowed them to stand at room temp for an hour or so, then baked them off before guests arrived. I would have had to get up at 4AM to shape & proof them in the morning. I had excellent results, no butter leakage. I used Plugra. Addendum - I made these again, this time using organic cultured butter. Some of my family thought the Plugra batch was slightly better, others liked the cultured butter results more. Both were equally attractive.

Considering what an intimidating project this is I was pleased with the results. The whole time I was wondering "Is this really going to come out as flaky croissants?". I can firmly say yes. I want to give it another go because the first time through I was just trying to make sure I was following the directions without having a clear picture of what each step should look like. Now I have a better idea of what I should be aiming for with each step. Nevertheless, at the end I had flaky croissants! Next time I might make fewer croissants so each one would be a little bigger, but maybe that's just because I didn't make them expand enough when proofing? A lot of butter leaked out during baking. The rolling out of the dough was difficult! But worth it. Looking forward to setting aside another weekend to this project in the future. Also-I put ham and cheese in half and chocolate in half. Good but I'd probably try just plain ones next time too.

I didn't realize what I hassle these would be to make, but they turned out deliciously! I originally just read the top portion of the recipe that said you had to refrigerate overnight, not realizing this was a 3-day process! I only set the dough in the fridge for one night, and the two day recipe turned out just fine. Give yourself lots of time to roll out the dough...it definitely got my muscles working! Absolutely scrumptious!

The croissants came out absolutely delicious! In general, it is fairly difficult to get fresh, delicious croissants in the U.S., even in NYC where I live. I just came back from Las Vegas where I had a mediocre one from Payard at Caesar's Palace and it was $4 + tax for a single croissant. Nothing compares to the taste of croissants using real, European-style butters (European butters have higher fat content compared to other butters). Thank you so much for the recipe!

These are the best croissants I've made yet. Using European-style butter is key to great results. Nowhere in my house was 75-80 degrees, but at about 70 degrees for two hours the final proof went fine. Be sure to bake these thoroughly so you bake through all of the layers.

This is a great recipe. The croissants came out beautifully. I'm a big fan of Hamelman's book "Bread" and was eager to try these once I saw that he was the author of this article. I made half regular and half chocolate. They were a big hit. It takes about 3 hours on the final day to roll out, shape, proof and bake them, so you have to wake up early to have them ready for breakfast (they're also better when they've cooled for 30 minutes or so), so plan accordingly.

Stunning result! I've made croissants before but this is the ultimate recipe. Maybe the best I have ever tasted and I have travelled all over France! The problem with many recipes is that they are designed for a professional kitchen which is usually much warmer than the domestic one, consequently, instructions tend to veer toward making the butter package too cold. If, like mine in winter it is only about 16-18 c, the butter can sit for a while before becoming too soft.

I love this recipe ! Best one i've ever found. Thank you so much for posting this one, Huge appeciation !

Loved the flavor & texture, the european butter made a big difference from my previous recipe. However, mine were not perfect the first time. My previous recipe used warm water and the dough did rise between steps, but these didn't rise at all until baking (nor during proofing - perhaps it wasn't warm enough)? Also, I had a fair amount of butter leak out during baking. It seemed as if the butter was too cold to roll out and stayed in clumps, but the recipe even mentioned freezing the dough, so I'm unsure what the problem was. I will try again, but if there are things I missed - please let me know! (I'm an occaisional baker).

Yea Bunnycucina, How can you rate a recipe when you are too lazy or uncapable of making it? The whole idea here is for cooks to give feeback on the recipe that they have made. Not to say how hard it is or to suggest buying them instead of making them. You are missing the whole point!

Great recipe!!! Great instructions, very easy to follow. My first attempt and they came out. Light and flaky, the outside shatters into crispy shards and the inside is soft and buttery. I used European style butter and it was well worth it! Made my second attempt this morning and the results were the same. This time I rolled Guittard's Bittersweet chocolate squares inside of them. They were divine when they came right out of the oven. I have made so far 7 batches of croissants from this recipe and the best batch was made with a block of Lactantia's "Cultured Butter" that we had picked up on our recent trip to Canada.

Maybe no-knead bread has made me lazy, but I'm impressed with anyone who would bother to make these at home. I guess if I lived somewhere that didn't have wonderful French bakeries to go to I'd consider this, but to me this type of baking is best left to the professionals. It's a fuss and a mess and I'd prefer to gladly just fork over my $2 to Pain Perdu for one of their wonderful butter croissants. (Key word, ONE. Having dozens of those things lying around your house is an invitation to overindulge!)

Looks very simple. Looks like I will be doing Croissants tonight! I have a new gadget that is going to make my cooking a lot easier and I want to play with it. Here is the video if anyone is interested http://tinyurl.com/b4vq7j THANKS FOR A GREAT RECIPE! Fine Cooking is awesome!

Excellent recipe, good instruction... do not skimp on the quality of the butter, I used a store brand and could tell the difference right away.Still delicious and gorgeous to look at! I've remade this recipe last week and have a recommendation. Proof in a colder temperature than posted in the recipe (60 degrees). Before baking off, place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. The results are spectacular and there is no butter leakage.

If I could rate these more than five stars, I would. They were flaky, delicate and looked like croissants you'd see at a fine French bakery. It was worth the work. I used European butter and made an almond paste to put in some of them; fine chocolate in others. Sublime!

Makes a glorious, authentic croissant! A bit painstaking, requiring patience (even with the 2 rather than 3 day version)- worth it when you bite into the exquisite results. Worth the effort, though I won't be doing it weekly :)

I have always wanted to make homemade croissants and these were so worth it! My friend and I made chocolate and regular. The layers were beautiful, they were so flaky. When they sit overnight they get a bit hard so it's nice to reheat them. We ended up getting 18 out of the scraps of dough,

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