Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

Baking, Cook, Weekend Project

Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

If you’re looking for an extra special touch to a Mother’s Day brunch this weekend, nothing can top a batch of homemade croissants. Buttery, ultra-thin layers of yeasted dough create these delicate French pastries, which are crisp and flaky on the edges but soft and moist on the inside. The process takes some time and patience, but the reward of a freshly baked homemade croissant is unparalleled. You’re in for a treat — and so is Mom.

 

Croissants

 

For the croissant dough:

1/2 oz. (15 g.) fresh cake yeast or 2 tsp. active dry yeast

2 Tbs. sugar

3 Tbs. warm water (105-115 degrees F/40-46 degrees C)

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) cold whole milk

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g.) all-purpose flour

 

For the butter package:

1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) unsalted butter

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

 

1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbs. whole milk

 

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

 

To mix the dough by hand: In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk, the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) flour 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

 

To mix the dough by stand mixer: In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk and the yeast mixture and mix on medium speed until combined. Gradually add the flour 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a stick mass.

 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) thick. Transfer to a half-sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.

 

Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

To make the butter package, using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60 degrees F (16 degrees C). Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into a 6-by-8-inch (15-by-20-cm.) rectangle. If the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60 degrees F/16 degrees C).

 

Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

To laminate the dough (that is, to roll and fold it with butter to create layers), on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm.) rectangle. With a short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm.) border on all sides. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then, with a folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 10-by-24–inch (25-by-60-cm.) rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. This completes the first turn. Return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

 

Return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chill the dough eat time, for a total of 4 turns. After the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight.

 

To form the croissants, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 9-by-18-inch (23-by-45-cm.) rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise, and then cut each half crosswise into 4 squares, for a total of 8 squares. Cut each square in half on the diagonal.

 

Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

Lightly butter 2 half-sheet pans. Working with 1 triangle at a time, gently stretch each triangle to about twice its original length. Then, gently stretch the wide end of the triangle. Lay the triangle on the work surface with the point facing you. Place your hands at the top on the wide end and gently roll the pastry toward you. Just before you get to the end, smear the tip against the work surface with your thumb. Continue to roll until the tip is on the underside. Place, tip side down, on a prepared pan. For the classic shape, turn the ends in slightly toward the center. Repeat with the remaining triangles, spacing them about 3 inches (7.5 cm.) apart. Place in a warm, draft-free spot, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the pastries rise until they double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

 

Lightly brush the tops of the pastries with the egg mixture. Bake the pastries, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. Makes 16 croissants.

 

Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

Don’t have time to make them from scratch? Try our award-winning croissants from Galaxy Desserts, made by hand in the traditional French technique.

 

14 comments about “Weekend Project: Homemade Croissants

  1. Amanda

    Will the dough itself keep in the freezer (obviously not butter package)? I would make the dough and then cut it in half, since there are only 2 of us.

    Reply
  2. Williams-Sonoma

    Hi Amanda, yes, croissant dough freezes very well. You can go ahead and insert the butter package and form the dough into the shape of croissants, then freeze on a baking sheet until you’re ready to use them. Let them thaw and rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours before baking. Enjoy!

    Reply
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  5. Chris

    The croissants turned out quite well with a light airy interior and a buttery flaky crust. If you’re thinking about trying to make croissants, don’t think about it just jump in. Even if the form isn’t perfect the croissants will still be tasty and fresh. I got great results the first time, so now I’ll try adding some almond cream to the interior.

    Reply
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  7. Mindy

    “Place in a warm, draft-free spot, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the pastries rise until they double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.”

    Make sure not to make the same mistake I did, “a warm, draft-free spot” does not mean the oven!

    Reply
  8. aurora

    I just made these and they didn’t turn out at all. Do y’all have a video on these. The outside burned and the inside didn’t cook at all.

    Reply
    1. Williams-Sonoma

      Hi aurora, unfortunately we don’t have a video on this process. All ovens are a little different — you may want to reduce the temperature and/or bake them for a little longer so that the tops don’t become too brown and the inside cooks through. Good luck!

      Reply
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  10. Gabby

    Hi, I’m going to try to do this recipe tomorrow but I have a couple of questions before trying the recipe: 1. It says that if we use a stand mixer, we need to use the paddle attachment. I usually use the dough hook attachment, any particular reason we need to use paddle attachment on this case?

    2. It also says to mix the ingredients including the flour just until the dough comes together as a sticky mass. Does that mean we don’t need to “knead” it until it passes the window pane test (or if it can be stretched to a thin membrane)? Can you give me an estimate of how long we should knead the dough for (on a stand mixer with hook/paddle attachment)?

    3. The temp is at 220C. Since I have a tiny oven and it gets hot really easily, can we drop the temp to 200C? Or is 175C too low?

    Thanks so much, looking forward to hearing your answers.

    Reply
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