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.
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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.
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A word to new bakers trying to make croissants at home: I've made croissants in several bakeries around the US, and I've made croissants at home. Without question, it's harder to make croissants at home. When you come up against some inevitable road bumps, don't give up.
1) If your dough is solid or heavy, it means your yeast didn't activate. For me, it's hit or miss with commercial yeast, so just keep trying. For best results, store your yeast in the fridge or freezer after buying. I also buy the jar instead of the packages.
2) If your croissant turns out more like regular bread, your butter likely incorporated into the dough. This means the butter got too hot, melted, and the butter layers that you were working hard to make disappeared into the dough. To avoid this, you'll want to lean on the fridge. I made my butter sheet in advance and refrigerated it. When I took it out, it was too hard, so I waited about 25 minutes for it to soften (you want it to be cold but pliable). Then I folded my dough around it, locked it in, rolled it out, folded it, and then refrigerated it. In bakery rollouts, you barely touch it with your hands, which is key to keeping the butter cold. In home rollouts, you have to touch it. Every time you touch the dough, the dough and butter heat up. If your dough sticks to the table, it means the butter heated up, broke the layer, and stuck to the table. This is undesirable, but just do the best you can. The quicker you work, the less you have to worry about your butter melting. Dust the pan, throw your dough on it, put it in the fridge. Rolling too much is not good because every roll heats up the butter. If your home is hot, this also works against you. For each rollout including the final one, coldness is your friend.
3) For the bakers complaining about the amount of flour... I also found that there was a touch too much flour. But because I also eyeballed other parts of the recipe, I shrugged and rolled with it. Just add a few tablespoons of cold water and keep going.
4) The baking temperature depends on your oven. I've got a less than stellar oven, so 425 degrees was fine. I even baked for 25 minutes. Dark brown, not burnt. But I've also used ovens that were so strong, temperatures of 375 and 400 were adequate. You know your oven. Plan accordingly.
Great recipe and instructions overall. Hope these extras help all the beginning home bakers out there. Cheers!
I've used this recipe more than a dozen times and the croissants and other baked goods based on the raised puff pastry have always been delicious.
A word to beginners (and I still am one), the recipe is actually very simple. Croissants are all about technique and that takes lots and lots of practice. Don't give up.
Fortunately, when you mix butter and flour you always end up with something delicious.
The only thing better than this croissant recipe are the comments underneath it.
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