Classic French Croissant Recipe
With this recipe we want to give you the exact directions on how we go about making classic French croissants. The recipe is an adaptation from the recipe for Classic Croissants by Jeffrey Hamelman. We started out largely following the instructions for his recipe, changed everything to our beloved metric system and found out some worthwhile croissant knowledge of our own along the way. Hopefully enough to justify sharing it all with you and inspiring you to give croissant baking a shot yourself.
Before you start we can recommend watching our croissant making video to get a general feel for the recipe. You can also check out our croissant making log where we keep track of our own croissant baking adventures.
This recipe will yield about 15 good croissants plus some leftover bits which you can use to make a few, slightly odd shaped ones, or other inventive croissant-like creations.
If at first you don’t succeed, maybe you can take comfort from the fact that our first efforts were not very ‘croissant worthy’. But as you can see we persevered and got better…But we have to admit it is and always will be a tricky process. You have to work precise and be focused to get good results. So away with screaming children, hyperactive animals and all other things distracting! Put on some appropriate croissant making music and lets get to it…
Please read the following tips;
According to Raymond Calvel croissants laminated with margarine are formed into the crescent shape, while croissants laminated with butter are left in the straight form. We say, use whichever shape you like best, but do use butter!
The croissant recipe
Ingredients for the croissant dough
500 g French Type 55 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour / plain flour (extra for dusting)
140 g water
140 g whole milk (you can take it straight from the fridge)
55 g sugar
40 g soft unsalted butter
11 g instant yeast
12 g salt
280 g cold unsalted butter for laminating
1 egg + 1 tsp water for the egg wash
Making the croissant dough
Laminating the dough
Take the dough out of the fridge. With a rolling pin roll out the dough disc into a 26 cm x 26 cm square. Try to get the square as perfect as possible and with an even thickness. Get the slab of butter from the fridge. Place the dough square so one of the sides of the square is facing you and place the butter slab on it with a 45 degree angle to the dough so a point of the butter square is facing you. Fold a flap of dough over the butter, so the point of the dough reaches the center of the butter. Do the same with the three other flaps. The edges of the dough flaps should slightly overlap to fully enclose the butter. With the palm of your hand lightly press the edges to seal the seams.
Now the dough with the sealed in butter needs to be rolled out. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling out, on a lightly flour dusted surface, the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 60 cm. Start rolling from the center of the dough towards the edges, and not from one side of the dough all the way to the other side. This technique helps you to keep the dough at an even thickness. You can also rotate your dough 180 degrees to keep it more even, because you tend to use more pressure when rolling away from you than towards yourself. You can use these techniques during all the rolling steps of this recipe. Aim at lengthening the dough instead of making it wider and try to keep all edges as straight as possible.
Fold the dough letter style, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (fold one third of the dough on top of itself and then fold the other side over it). Repeat the rolling and folding two more times (ending up with 27 layers of butter in total), each time rolling until the dough is about 20 cm x 60 cm. After each fold you should turn the dough 90 degrees before rolling again. The open ‘end’ of the dough should be towards you every time when rolling out the dough (you can see this in our croissant making video at around 3:40 minutes). After the second turn, again give it a 30 minute rest in the fridge. After the third turn you leave the dough in the fridge overnight until day 3, the actual croissant making day!
- Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm
Also see complete time table at bottom of page
Dividing the dough
When your dough has reached its intended shape, carefully lift it a few centimeters to allow it to naturally shrink back from both sides. This way it will not shrink when you cut it. Your strip of dough should be long enough to allow you to trim the ends to make them straight and still be left with a length of about 100 cm.
Shaping the croissants
Now make diagonal cuts starting from the top corner cutting down to the first bottom mark. Make diagonal cuts along the entire length of the dough. Then change the angle and make cuts from the other top corner to the bottom mark to create triangles. Again repeat this along the length of the dough. This way you will end up with 15 triangles and a few end pieces of dough.
Using your pizza wheel, make 1.5 cm long notches in the center of the short side of each dough triangle.
Now very gently elongate each triangle to about 25 cm. This is often done by hand, but we have found that elongating with a rolling pin, very carefully, almost without putting pressure on the dough triangle, works better for us. You can try both methods and see what you think gives the best result.
After you cut a notch in the middle of the short end of the triangle, try and roll the two wings by moving your hands outwards from the center, creating the desired shape with a thinner, longer point. Also try and roll the dough very tightly at the beginning and put enough pressure on the dough to make the layers stick together (but not so much as to damage the layers of course).
Proofing and baking
Proof the croissants draft-free at an ideal temperature of 24ºC to 26.5ºC / 76ºF to 79ºF (above that temperature there is a big chance butter will leak out!). We use our small Rofco B20 stone oven as a croissant proofing cabinet by preheating it for a minute to 25ºC / 77ºF. It retains this temperature for a long time because of the oven stones and isolation. The proofing should take about 2 hours. You should be able to tell if they are ready by carefully shaking the baking sheet and see if the croissants slightly wiggle. You should also be able to see the layers of dough when looking at your croissants from the side.
Preheat the oven at 200ºC / 390ºF convection or 220ºC / 430ºF conventional oven.
Right before baking, give the croissants their second thin coat of egg wash. We bake the croissants in our big convection oven for 6 minutes at 195ºC, then lowering the temperature to 165ºC, and bake them for another 9 minutes. Hamelman suggest baking the croissants for 18 to 20 minutes at 200ºC, turning your oven down a notch if you think the browning goes too quickly. But you really have to learn from experience and by baking several batches what the ideal time and temperature is for your own oven. Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Latest way of baking; We heat up our double fan big convection oven at 200ºC, when heated up put the croissants in the oven and directly lower it to 175ºC. We bake them for 10 minutes at 175ºC, they will have a nice brown color by now, then lower the temperature to 150ºC, and bake them for another 6 minutes.
Best eaten while warm and fresh of course. Croissant we don’t eat or share within a day we freeze. We put them in the preheated oven (180ºC / 355ºF) for 8 minutes straight from the freezer. Nothing wrong with that, croissants eaten nice and warm, almost as good as the fresh ones…almost!
Croissant Time Table
Day 1 - Make initial dough
- 21.00 h - Knead for 3 minutes and store in fridge for 12 hours
Day 2 - Laminate the dough
- 09.00 h - Make butter slab and refrigerate till needed
Day 3 - Dividing, Shaping, proofing and baking
- 09.00 h - Roll out to 20 cm x 110 cm - part 1
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1. Will F. says
November 2, 2017 at 16:55
I made these last weekend as my first ever attempt…repeat, ever…making croissants. I got to the last lamination stage and seriously thought they were going to fail as the 30 minutes in the fridge just wasn’t enough to re-harden the butter…and it started breaking through when I rolled it. Panic set in as croissants are my wife’s favorite pastry and these were a surprise for her birthday breakfast in bed the next morning. Needless to say, i persevered and they came out perfectly. I honestly don’t think that we’ve ever had better…my wife now refuses to buy croissants ever again unless it’s from a genuine Parisienne patisserie…in Paris no less. EXCELLENT recipe and instructions. Thank you! You’re to be commended for a great and detailed post. Perhaps it might help other nubies to add that not enough time in the fridge between the final 3 laminations will result in the softened butter breaking through…just a thought. About to make my second batch. Now with so much more confidence.
2. Tuomas Torvinen says
October 31, 2017 at 20:49
I tried your recipe and it was perfect, I ended up resulting like your first post. Looking great but inner layers were a mess, had some trouble with the third lamination, I should have rest the dough when it was not stretching enough.
But my question is that when I double the dough, will I always double the yeast amount also? What about when doing four times the normal dough?
Thank you for your excellent work!! ߘ
-Tuomas from Finland
3. Louis Correra says
October 29, 2017 at 06:21
Thank you for the great croissant recipe! My first time baking these turned it great thanks to the descriptive instructions and the video!
November 1, 2017 at 19:43
Happy pastry baking!
4. Miles says
October 26, 2017 at 12:31
I have been using your recipe to great success, and now am thinking of making a bigger batch. If i made double the amount in this recipe, what would be the process of lamination? Should i split the dough in 2 or simply do it all in one batch.
October 30, 2017 at 19:18
Good luck with it!
- Miles says
October 31, 2017 at 10:18
In the end i was lazy and just did it in one big batch. I slightly increased all the dimensions for the folds and was extra carefull not to tear the dough. Then split the dough in half for the final rolling out, then rolled each piece to 60x40cm and cut in half before cutting the triangles. They turned out great!
October 31, 2017 at 10:33
Great to read your method worked Miles.
Enjoy the pastry!
5. Caio says
October 25, 2017 at 04:45
Thank you for replying.
I wonder what is the temperature of your freeze when you leave the dough overnight.
October 30, 2017 at 14:43
6. Hamza says
October 23, 2017 at 11:47
I was wondering if you guys have a method for freezing croissants before proofing and baking?
I’ve tried to freeze mine many times, but after shock freezing them… it seems as though the butter breaks apart when I defrost them the next morning.
Should I be adding any antifreeze/malt-extract additives?
- Weekend Bakers says
October 30, 2017 at 14:18