Intro: How to Make Homemade Croissants
A couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at making croissants! And I have to say, even though it was time-consuming and confusing at first, it was well worth it. Many people never attempt it and I say "You should!" It's actually not quite as confusing as it seems and the final product is amazing. I was surprised I made some that looked exactly like the ones in the supermarkets. I used a recipe for laminated dough which makes this croissant has its many layers. The dough's concept is pretty much to layer butter and dough by folding and re-folding it. The butter melts when baked and created the many layers you see. After hours of rolling out the dough, the croissants are then shaped into its crescent form and ready to be baked. The baking process is also essential to croissants, especially if you have more than one tray going in. I made some pineapple jam to go with it and they tasted amazing. Definitely fluffy and the outside was perfectly crunchy.
I love croissants and I suggest you give it a try. The dough recipe is amazing to work with and even though it was the first time for me trying laminated dough, it worked out great! It was awesome to see the finished product. I never thought I could make my own croissants so I'm sure anyone can do it if I can. I'm so proud of this recipe and I hope you give it a try.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups cold unsalted butter (3 1/2 sticks or 14 oz)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of milk
Step 2: Activating the Yeast
In a bowl, mix 1 cup of the all- purpose flour with the water and yeast, just until the flour is mixed evenly and you don't see any clumps. Set the bowl aside and let rise for 1 hour.
Step 3: Making the Dough
Add the remaining flour, the milk and the melted butter along with the salt. Knead the mixture for a minute. Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Kneading
Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. This can also be done in a stand mixer with the dough hook (on low speed) for 20 minutes. The dough should be uniformly mixed, smooth and elastic by the time you finish kneading. Take some plastic wrap and wrap the dough. Refrigerate for half an hour.
Step 5: Making the Butter Square
Place the cold butter between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin, pound the butter into an 8-inch square (the measurements will be important).
Take the dough out from the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 9 x 17-inch rectangle. Take the square of butter and place it gently on the bottom half of the rectangle. If the butter is too soft, put it back into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes. Align the dough and the sides of the butter square so they are even.
Step 6: Making One "Turn"
Fold the top half of the rectangle of dough down over the bottom half. The square of butter should be completely enclosed in the dough. Press together the edges of the square to seal in the butter. Use your hands to even out the dough into a smooth rectangle.
Roll the square with a rolling pin to stretch the dough and the butter in it.The dough dough should be rolled into a 9 x 18-inch rectangle (remember measurements are important!).
Next, fold the rectangle into thirds like a letter. Start with a narrow end and begin folding the bottom third up towards the middle. After, fold the top third down. This is called a "turn." Remember this because you will have to repeat many turns.
These steps could be a bit tricky so refer to the images below. They are in chronological order in this step except for the first picture which shows the dough after the turn.
Step 7: The Second Turn
Turn the dough so the single fold is on your left. You can picture this if you think of the spine of a book. There should be a fold that could flip open, like the pages of a book.
You are ready to start the second turn. Roll out the dough into the 9 x 18 inch rectangle. Repeat the process in the last step (making the rectangle, folding into the thirds with the top and bottom). After you're done, use your fingers to make two marks on the dough to keep track of the two turns you have made.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Once the dough has been refrigerated, take it out and complete two more "turns" along with the refrigeration in between each turn. You should have done a total of four turns in total.
Now the dough is ready to be rolled out and shaped. However, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for up to 24 hours before you shape it. Proofing the dough in the refrigerator lets it rise slowly which actually enhances the doughs flavor. It's completely up to you though.
Step 8: Preparing for Rolling Out the Dough
After you decided to use the dough (either right away or after some proofing/waiting time), take out the dough. You might want to line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and get a ruler handy as well. Cut the dough in half and put one half aside. Look at all those layers!
Step 9: Rolling Out the Dough
On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough into a 6 1/2 x 20-inch rectangle.Trim the edges of the dough if they are uneven. The dough should be about 1/8 - 1/4-inch thick (check to make sure it's easily lift-able). Repeat this for the other half of the dough.
Transfer each large rectangle onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until the dough is firm.
Step 10: First Part of Notching
When the first rectangle is ready to work with, take it back to your work surface with one of the long ends facing you.
The next step is to cut the triangles from the dough that will be made into croissants. However, we have to do this in an uniform way, by notching the dough. Follow the steps carefully and I suggest looking carefully at the pictures.
Starting on the left side of the bottom edge of the rectangle, measure 5 inches from the end. Use a rubber spatula or a knifeto make a tiny notch to mark the beginning of the base of the first triangle.
Measure another 5 inches from that notch and to make a second notch to mark the base of the second triangle. Repeat notching the dough again so that you have four sections that are five inches long.
Step 11: Finishing Notching
Turn the rectangle around so the un-notched side is facing you.
Now we notch this side. Starting on the left side, make a notch 2 1/2 inches from the end. Measure 5 inches from the first notch and make a second notch there. Repeat for the rest of that side, marking five inches from the last notch. The sections at the ends will each be 2 1/2 long and the ones in the middle 5 inches long.
Step 12: Cutting the Triangles
Yay!! We're getting closer and closer to those yummy croissants! Now the dough is ready to cut the triangles which will form the croissants..
If you look at the closely, you'll see that the notches on the far side (the first notchings) are for the bases of the triangles and the notches on the near side form the tips of the triangles (the second notchings). Use a large knife to cut the triangles by connecting the notches on the near and far sides. Six to seven full triangles (5 by 6 1/2-inches to be exact) should be formed. You'll be left with some leftover dough as well. I used the leftovers to form mini-croissants (which were adorable!).
Repeat the notching and the cutting with the second rectangle (don't forget about that one). You should have double the triangles after you finished cutting now. :)
Step 13: Making the Crescents
In each triangle, make a small slit in the middle of the base of the triangle. This allows you to roll the triangles into a crescent shape.
Using both hands, roll the triangle into a crescent by rolling from the base up. One hand should be working with the dough on each side of the slit. A tip to get perfect crescents is to point your hands away from each other as you roll. This will make the classic shape that we're all familiar with. They look so cute!
Step 14: The Rest of Them
The tip of the dough should be underneath and the 2 ends should bend toward each other to form a curved shape. Can see 3 layers the dough makes in the shape of the croissant? Great! Repeat rolling the crescents for the rest of the dough and arrange the croissants on a sheet pan. Cover them with plastic wrap or a wet paper towel to proof.
Step 15: Proofing
Again with the proofing, you can wait as long as you want. You can proof overnight in the fridge, about 3 hours in a cool place, or about 1 hour in a warm place. The longer the proofing time, the better the flavor. I proofed mine for an hour and a half because I proofed mine overnight earlier.
After waiting, preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Combine 1 egg with a tablespoon of milk to form an egg wash and brush the proofed croissants.
Step 16: Baking and Finish!
Once the oven is heated, put one tray of croissants on the top rack of the oven and the other on the bottom rack vertically. Bake for 15 minutes and switch the two racks and rotate them so they're horizontal. Bake for another 15 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown. Wait until they are cool and serve.
You're done! Can you believe it? Fresh baked croissants. These instructions might seem long but it's not as bad as you might think. They are certainly worth the effort, especially when they're fresh from the oven. These are perfectly crunchy on the outside but soft and moist on the inside. Perfect with some jam or coffee, or just plain!
Try out my recipe! If the lure of fresh croissants isn't enough, the first person to make this and post some pictures in the comments will get a 3 month pro-membership! The next two people who attempt this recipe will get a patch from yours truly!