≡ Menu

Homemade Croissants

{Disclaimer: I’ve tried to keep it as short and simple as possible. And yet, there are over 50 photographs in the post. Since this is a particularly tricky recipe, I did not want to leave out any step. Scroll to the end of this page if you want to skip the step by step pictorial and just get a Printable version of the recipe for Croissants.}
A croissant is a beautiful, flaky and buttery pastry roll, shaped into a crescent (hence the name) – that is often eaten for breakfast in France and other southern European countries. It is made from a leavened form of puff pastry that is rolled, layered with butter and chilled several times before baking. Its creation, although time-consuming, is well worth the effort. Its a kind of treat that you wouldn’t appreciate fully until you’ve seen or experienced the hard work that goes into the creation of every roll. The croissant succeeds in teaching you techniques that are valued the most in the world of pastry. I find the lamination process, with its series of well-timed folds and turns and chilling – challenging and satisfying. A well-formed croissant, with its stunning, crumbly layers and golden, buttery inside, is the absolute best pastry in the entire universe! Or I’m probably inclined to say it now that I’ve succeeded in the experiment!
To say I was nervous to begin with would be an understatement. I have NEVER (exaggerate on the word NEVER) – in my life – read something with utmost concentration & dedication – AND applied every trick & technique in the book to make this Pastry. Voluminous books on Taxation, Law, Accounting seem like comic books next to a Croissant recipe! Okay, now THAT may be a slight exaggeration of the truth. But if you think you can make a perfect croissant in a day, you’re wrong. But then, ahem… if you’re reading my version of the recipe, you’ll probably nail it in the first attempt…. which will make me the happiest teacher (if I may) in the world! :D

The recipe has to be made over a period of 3 days -

DAY 1: Making the dough
Here’s what you need to make the dough -

In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients & give it a good mix.
 

Add the milk AND water in the center

If you’re using a standing mixer or a hand held mixer, fit it with the dough attachment. Or you can use a food processor with a blade. OR you can do it manually too. Mix everything on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. The flour should come together. (if the mixture feels too tight, add a few drops of milk / water. You need to have a smooth dough)

Once that comes together, mix further on medium speed for 3 minutes. Do not OVER knead t he dough like we do in other breads.

Lightly flour a round baking pan or pie plate or a dinner plate. Place the ball of dough on this. Gently press the ball to flatten out to the size of the plate / pan.
 

Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.

Wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Make sure the saran wrap (plastic) touched the dough. Refrigerate overnight.

 

DAY 2: PART 1 – Making the Butter Layer (make sure the butter is cold)
The next day, cut out 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper into 10” squares each. Use a ruler if you have to.

Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Place these pieces on one piece of parchment/ waxed paper so they form a 5- to 6-inch square. (Place the parchment paper on a baking tin or a square baking sheet. It makes the pounding easier)

Top with the other piece of parchment/ waxed paper.

Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force. Pound the butter until it flattens out evenly into a square that’s approximately 7.5 inches.

Trim the edges of the butter to make a neat square. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate this while you roll out the dough.

 

DAY 2: Part 2 – Laminating the Dough
Round ONE
Take the dough out of the refrigerator & remove the plastic wrap. It wouldn’t have doubled like regular pizza dough. But, the dough will look puffed up. (I don’t know if you can see from the picture)

Place it on a lightly floured surface. In fact, if you have a aluminum baking sheet that fits into your freezer, place your dough on the backside of the sheet. This helps the process of rolling / folding a lot. However, if you don’t have, do it on a clean work surface.

Gently roll it out to around 10.5 inch square, and brush off the excess flour.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. (not for HOMEMADE croissants, anyway! :)) Not for homemade croissants anyway. Just shape the dough into a rough square with your hands as you go.

Take the butter out of the refrigerator. It should be cold but pliable. This so that when you roll out the dough with the butter in it, neither should it be soft enough to melt, or hard enough to break. Unwrap the butter and place it on the square of dough in the center, so that it forms a “diamond” shape on the dough.

Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of the butter square.

Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping the previous one.

Similarly repeat with the other two ends so that the dough forms an envelope around the butter.

Lightly press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough to ensure the butter doesn’t escape when you roll out the dough later.

Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, gently but firmly press along the dough uniformly to elongate it slightly. (do not roll at this point. just press)

Now that it is slightly elongated, begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight. Use your hands to shape the dough if necessary. If the butter seems to be softening because of the warmth, rush the dough to the freezer for 5 minutes until it hardens up again. If not, continue with next step -

Mark the dough lightly equally into three along the longer side. Use a ruler if you have to, but an approximate estimation is alright. Using this as a guideline, pick up one short end of the dough and fold 1/3rd of it back over the dough, so that 1/3rd of the other end of dough is exposed.

Now fold the 1/3rd exposed dough over the folded side.

Basically, the dough is folded like 3-fold letter before it goes into an envelope (letter fold). Put the folded dough on a floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.

 

Round TWO
You have to repeat the same thing again. Remove the dough from the freezer.

This time, gently press and then roll the dough along the longer side. (that is – in the direction of the two open ends)

Keep rolling until you have a rectangle of about 8 X 24 inches.

Once again, roughly mark 3 equal parts. Fold one end in

Then the other.

Again place on the baking sheet, freeze for 20 minutes.

Round THREE

You have to do the EXACT same thing as Round two. This time again, roll it along the longer side, roll in the dough from both ends.

That’s it! You’re dough is ready! Gently wrap the dough well on all sides with a plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

 

DAY THREE: Part 1 – Divide the dough
Take the dough out and cut it into 2 halves along the length – that is, mark the dough on the longer side & cut to make two halves.
In my excitement, I forgot to do this. Instead I “opened” the dough and got 3 parts that I had initially folded in. My mistake. But the croissants eventually turned out amazing – you’ll see! ;)

“Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length with the rolling pin. Don’t widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes.

Slowly roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, approximately 8” by 22”. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour. Also, it is important to work quickly before the butter melts. 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. Trim off any excess so that you have a neat 8 by 20 inches rectangle.

If you’re good at measuring and cutting the dough into triangles, then forget the measuring rule, marking and cutting instructions.  Otherwise, with a ruler, cut the dough into approximately 4 inch squares. (I know mine are more like a rectangle, and that’s okay too)

Cut each square (or rectangle) diagonally to get triangles.

 

DAY THREE: Part 2 – Shaping the Croissants

Now work with one piece of triangular dough at a time. Using your rolling pin, very lightly roll (do not make it thin but only stretch it slightly) the triangle to stretch it a little, until it is about 10” long. This will give your croissants height and layers. You can stretch it by hand too, but if you don’t have the practise, your stretching could be uneven.

With a sharp knife, cut out a very small triangle (V-shape) from the center of the triangle’s base. The notch helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent.

Place the triangle 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.

Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the notched “legs” become longer. Roll the triangle tight enough but not too tight to compress it, until you reach the “pointy” end which should be under 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)

Place the croissants in a baking sheet greased & lined with parchment paper.

 

DAY THREE: Part 3 – Proofing the Croissants
Brush the croissants with milk (or a mix of milk and cream). If you use eggs, make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tsp water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush this on each croissant. (Refrigerate the remaining milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) for brushing the croissants again later.)

Place the croissants in a cool and draft-free place (the butter should not melt) for proofing/ rising for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  They might need longer than 2 hours to proof, maybe as much as 3 hours, so make sure to let croissants take the time to proof. The croissants will be distinctly larger but not doubled in size. They’re ready if you can see the layers of dough from the side, and if you lightly shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. If you live in a humid / hot area, place the baking sheet in a room chilled with Air conditioning.

 

DAY THREE: Part 4 – Baking the Croissants

Just before the croissants are fully proofed, pre-heat your oven to 180C (375F) in a convection oven or 220C (425F) in a regular oven. Brush the croissants with milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) a second time, and place your baking sheets on the top and lower thirds of your oven (if regular) or bake one tray at a time in the convection oven.

Bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes till they’re done and golden brown on top and just beginning to brown at the sides. In a regular oven, remember to turn your baking sheets halfway through. If they  seem to be darkening too quickly during baking, lower the oven temperature by 10C (25F). Cool the croissants on the baking sheets on racks.

Serve Warm with any sweet or spicy condiment you like! :)

 

(for MANY MANY points to keep in mind, check the recipe below)

Homemade Croissants
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Buttery, Flaky Croissants
Recipe type: Pastry
Cuisine: French
Serves: 15-20 croissants
Ingredients
  • All the ingredients can be halved proportionally
For the dough:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, and a little more for dusting/ rolling out dough
  • ½ cup + 2 TBsp cold water
  • ½ cup + 2 TBsp cold milk
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2.5 TBsp (40 grams) Soft Unsalted Butter (if using salted butter, reduce the salt)
  • 1 TBsp + scant ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1.5 tsp salt
For the butter layer:
  • (2 cups) 250 grams/ 9oz Cold Unsalted Butter (** important to be cold)
Others
  • ¼ cup of cold milk (or ⅛ cup of cream + ⅛ cup cream) to brush the dough
  • Or 1 egg for egg wash
  • Parchment paper
To serve
  • Sweet sides - chocolate sauce, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, Chantilly cream etc.
  • Spicy sides - tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, pestos etc.
Instructions
DAY 1: Making the dough
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients & give it a good mix.
  2. Add the milk AND water in the center
  3. If you're using a standing mixer or a hand held mixer, fit it with the dough attachment. Or you can use a food processor with a blade. OR you can do it manually too. Mix everything on low speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl once if necessary. The flour should come together. (if the mixture feels too tight, add a few drops of milk / water. You need to have a smooth dough)
  4. Once that comes together, mix further on medium speed for 3 minutes. Do not OVER knead t he dough like we do in other breads.
  5. Lightly flour a round baking pan or pie plate or a dinner plate. Place the ball of dough on this. Gently press the ball to flatten out to the size of the plate / pan.
  6. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.
  7. Wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Make sure the saran wrap (plastic) touched the dough. Refrigerate overnight.
DAY 2: PART 1 - Making the Butter Layer (make sure the butter is cold)
  1. The next day, cut out 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper into 10” squares each. Use a ruler if you have to.
  2. Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Place these pieces on one piece of parchment/ waxed paper so they form a 5- to 6-inch square. (Place the parchment paper on a baking tin or a square baking sheet. It makes the pounding easier)
  3. Top with the other piece of parchment/ waxed paper.
  4. Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force. Pound the butter until it flattens out evenly into a square that’s approximately 7.5 inches.
  5. Trim the edges of the butter to make a neat square. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate this while you roll out the dough.
DAY 2: Part 2 - Laminating the Dough
  1. {{{Round ONE}}} ----- Take the dough out of the refrigerator & remove the plastic wrap. It wouldn't have doubled like regular pizza dough. But, the dough will look puffed up. (I don't know if you can see from the picture)
  2. Place it on a lightly floured surface. In fact, if you have a aluminum baking sheet that fits into your freezer, place your dough on the backside of the sheet. This helps the process of rolling / folding a lot. However, if you don't have, do it on a clean work surface.
  3. Gently roll it out to around 10.5 inch square, and brush off the excess flour.
  4. It doesn't have to be perfect. Not for homemade croissants anyway. Just shape the dough into a rough square with your hands as you go.
  5. Take the butter out of the refrigerator. It should be cold but pliable. This so that when you roll out the dough with the butter in it, neither should it be soft enough to melt, or hard enough to break. Unwrap the butter and place it on the square of dough in the center, so that it forms a “diamond” shape on the dough.
  6. Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of the butter square.
  7. Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping the previous one.
  8. Similarly repeat with the other two ends so that the dough forms an envelope around the butter.
  9. Lightly press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough to ensure the butter doesn’t escape when you roll out the dough later.
  10. Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, gently but firmly press along the dough uniformly to elongate it slightly. (do not roll at this point. just press)
  11. Now that it is slightly elongated, begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight. Use your hands to shape the dough if necessary. If the butter seems to be softening because of the warmth, rush the dough to the freezer for 5 minutes until it hardens up again. If not, continue to the next step.
  12. Mark the dough lightly equally into three along the longer side. Use a ruler if you have to, but an approximate estimation is alright. Using this as a guideline, pick up one short end of the dough and fold ⅓rd of it back over the dough, so that ⅓rd of the other end of dough is exposed.
  13. Now fold the ⅓rd exposed dough over the folded side.
  14. Basically, the dough is folded like 3-fold letter before it goes into an envelope (letter fold). Put the folded dough on a floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.
  15. {{{Round TWO}}} ---- You have to repeat the same thing again. Remove the dough from the freezer.
  16. This time, gently press and then roll the dough along the longer side. (that is - in the direction of the two open ends)
  17. Keep rolling until you have a rectangle of about 8 X 24 inches.
  18. Once again, roughly mark 3 equal parts. Fold one end in and then the other.
  19. Again place on the baking sheet, freeze for 20 minutes.
  20. {{{Round THREE}}} ---- You have to do the EXACT same thing as Round two. This time again, roll it along the longer side, roll in the dough from both ends.
  21. That's it! You're dough is ready! Gently wrap the dough well on all sides with a plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
DAY THREE: Part 1 - Divide the dough
  1. Take the dough out and cut it into 2 halves along the length - that is, mark the dough on the longer side & cut to make two halves.
  2. “Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length with the rolling pin. Don’t widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes.
  3. Slowly roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, approximately 8” by 22”. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour. Also, it is important to work quickly before the butter melts. 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.
  4. Trim off any excess so that you have a neat 8 by 20 inches rectangle.
  5. If you’re good at measuring and cutting the dough into triangles, then forget the measuring rule, marking and cutting instructions. Otherwise, with a ruler, cut the dough into approximately 4 inch squares. (I know mine are more like a rectangle, and that's okay too)
  6. Cut each square (or rectangle) diagonally to get triangles.
DAY THREE: Part 2 - Shaping the Croissants
  1. Now work with one piece of triangular dough at a time. Using your rolling pin, very lightly roll (do not make it thin but only stretch it slightly) the triangle to stretch it a little, until it is about 10” long. This will give your croissants height and layers. You can stretch it by hand too, but if you don’t have the practice, your stretching could be uneven.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut out a very small triangle (V-shape) from the center of the triangle's base. The notch helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent.
  3. Place the triangle 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.
  4. Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the notched “legs” become longer. Roll the triangle tight enough but not too tight to compress it, until you reach the “pointy” end which should be under the croissant.
  5. 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)
  6. Place the croissants in a baking sheet greased & lined with parchment paper.
DAY THREE: Part 3 - Proofing the Croissants
  1. Brush the croissants with milk (or a mix of milk and cream). If you use eggs, make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tsp water in a small bowl until very smooth. Lightly brush this on each croissant. (Refrigerate the remaining milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) for brushing the croissants again later.)
  2. Place the croissants in a cool and draft-free place (the butter should not melt) for proofing/ rising for about 1½ to 2 hours. They might need longer than 2 hours to proof, maybe as much as 3 hours, so make sure to let croissants take the time to proof. The croissants will be distinctly larger but not doubled in size. They’re ready if you can see the layers of dough from the side, and if you lightly shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle. If you live in a humid / hot area, place the baking sheet in a room chilled with Air conditioning.
DAY THREE: Part 2 - Shaping the Croissants
  1. Just before the croissants are fully proofed, pre-heat your oven to 180C (375F) in a convection oven or 220C (425F) in a regular oven. Brush the croissants with milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) a second time, and place your baking sheets on the top and lower thirds of your oven (if regular) or bake one tray at a time in the convection oven.
  2. Bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes till they’re done and golden brown on top and just beginning to brown at the sides. In a regular oven, remember to turn your baking sheets halfway through. If they seem to be darkening too quickly during baking, lower the oven temperature by 10C (25F). Cool the croissants on the baking sheets on racks.
  3. Serve Warm!
IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER
  1. Ensure that your butter is cold – cold enough that it is pliable enough to smoothly roll out; not hard (or it will break) or soft (it will melt). If the butter is too hard and breaks while rolling out the dough, you will not get the layers in the croissants.
  2. If, at any point you find the butter melting - immediately return the dough to the freezer until the butter hardens again. - this is why working on the back of a baking sheet will give you the flexibility to pop the dough in and out of the freezer whenever you want.
  3. If you live in a humid/hot area, work in a cool (air conditioned) room and work quickly.
  4. Do not over-knead / develop the dough too much, too much gluten will not help during the lamination process. The lamination process itself is a kind of stretch and fold anyway and will strengthen the dough. So keep to the 3 minutes the recipe says. You want a soft dough, not an elastic one.
  5. When you cover the butter square with the dough, make sure you seal the dough well, otherwise the butter will leak out when you roll out the dough, and there’s no way you can manage to put the butter back in. You will also end up with butter leaking during the baking.
  6. Always, always make sure your dough and butter inside it are cold. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Once the butter has melted, it is difficult to get the dough to produce layers because the dough tends to absorb the butter and will make greasy croissants. So, while working with the dough, or when rolling it out, if at any point you feel the dough becoming warm and soft, put it back in the fridge immediately. Also work as quickly as you can so the butter stays cold.
  7. During the lamination of the dough (rolling and folding repeatedly), chill the dough in the freezer and NOT the fridge. The overnight refrigeration is to be done in the fridge NOT in the freezer. Resting the dough is an important part of the croissant making process.
  8. Plan ahead and make sure you do all this when you have the time for it. You will need more time than you think you, believe me. You cannot leave this and attend to something else, unless you want to set yourself for failure!
  9. You also need a lot of patience to keep rolling out the dough with just enough pressure to stretch it. The rolled out dough before shaping should be somewhere between ¼” and ⅛” thick.
  10. Make sure your dough is shaped with straight lines and square-ish corners. All the time you are rolling your dough out, keep this in mind. This way you will minimize waste of dough. More importantly, the edges where there is no butter would get folded in during lamination and affect your layers. So trim off those bits if you have any of them.
  11. Keep lightly flouring your work surface (not too much), just enough to keep working smoothly without tearing the dough. However, dust with a light hand or you could end up adding more flour than desirable.
  12. Do not be tempted to fold more than three times. A fourth fold will give you more layers, but thinner butter layers between them, and your croissants will not puff of as much as you would like them to.
  13. And most important, as funny as it sounds. If you like to and do wear rings on your fingers like I do, take them off while working with this dough and the dough will thank you! Rings have a habit of inadvertently tearing the dough. If the butter comes out, patching it up by dusting a little flour can help but doesn’t always work.

For ANY doubts, questions, queries – drop a comment! Nothing is “too silly” when it comes to Croissants! :)

Check out the amazing croissants my friends are baking today!

About the author: Food Blogger, Recipe developer, Meal Planner .. and Chief Eating Officer! ;-)

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • chitra December 16, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Hi kavitha,
    croissants look awesome.Its a great effort.I have a question.Shall i follow this dough recipe to make puff pastry sheets ? Is it the same ?

    • Kavitha | Foodomania December 16, 2013, 5:48 pm

      Hi Chitra,

      Puff Pastry involves a few more times of folding and rolling.. But YES, you can conveniently use this dough to make Puff pastry sheets… I’ve made a ton of different fillings and the Puffs came out pretty good!

  • roha March 3, 2013, 4:56 pm

    I would like to invite you to ongoing Giveaway event
    Announcing My First Giveaway !!

    Don’t miss the chances to win the giveaway- Fall in love with the Coffee Maker or Sandwich Toaster or Coffee Mugs its your choice which one you want to go with :)

    http://hyderabadicuisinerecipes-angel.blogspot.com/2013/02/announcing-my-first-giveaway.

  • Swathi March 2, 2013, 4:37 am

    Delicious croissants you made it perfect Kavi.

  • SonyaB March 1, 2013, 2:42 am

    Wow! You’ve been so meticulous, and patient with the step-by-step pictures. I don’t think anyone reading your post can go wrong! Awesome job!

  • Sangeetha February 28, 2013, 10:16 pm

    wow…Kavi Hats off to u, such a detailed post and ur croissants looks so flaky & delicious…

  • Vidhya Viju Govind February 28, 2013, 6:18 pm

    hi kavita – a detailed post , well documented appreciate ur efforts to do it and take pics at the same time :)

  • Janani February 27, 2013, 2:06 am

    Hi kavitha nice to know you too. What a perfection in croissants they look perfectly baked. I can smell it from here.too good.

  • sharanya February 26, 2013, 3:10 pm

    well made kavitha

  • Rashida Shaikh February 26, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Well done Kavi, hats off to your patience and helpful post to newbie’s.

  • Sarojini February 25, 2013, 9:51 pm

    Kavi, I’m seriously impressed!That takes patience and skill :)

  • Amelia February 25, 2013, 10:23 am

    Hi Kavi, your croissant look so delicious and well baked. Thanks for sharing your recipes. Nothing beat the homemade, I prefer to make my own croissant too.

    Have a nice week ahead.

  • Priya Sreeram February 25, 2013, 6:03 am

    omg- so much efforts but it must have tasted swell. Lovely

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe: