As I was wandering around the grocery store the other day, I came to the bakery section which had this huge table full of boxes of croissants. I looked at those poor tasteless bread products jammed tightly into those small plastic containers, and thought about the unfortunates who actually consider this a croissant. While although it is true that these generic flavorless rolls are ‘technically’ classified as a croissant, they are nothing in comparison to the buttery flaky goodness achieved by making them at home. For those of you who have never had a fresh baked-from-scratch croissant, once you try this recipe you will never again look at the store-bought croissant as desirable.
Now, making croissants at home is not as difficult as most people initially think. The most common assumption is that croissants are extremely labor intensive. This just isn’t true at all. It is true however, that there is no short cut in baking croissants. There is a lot of inactive sitting and waiting for the dough with very small bursts of action, followed by more sitting and waiting. But when all is said and done, it is unbelievable what you can accomplish with a little butter, flour and patience. Follow these instructions exactly, and I promise – you will have perfect croissants every time.
1/4 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Powdered Milk + 1 Cup Water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
4 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
Soften yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Mix together 1/3 Cup Powdered Milk with 1 Cup Water.
In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Place 1/4 cup cold butter into bowl of dry ingredients and mix with hand until the butter is fully incorporated into dry ingredients. There should be no detectable lumps of butter in the flour mixture.
Add dry ingredients and powdered milk mixture to yeast. In a stand mixer, mix with dough hook until all ingredients are incorporated together. Continue mixing for approximately 30 seconds, or until the dough sticks together but is still crumbly. Comparable to a sugar cookie or shortbread dough. DO NOT OVER KNEAD. If you over knead the dough, the dough will be too elastic and will be impossible to roll out. If you are doing this by hand, mix milk into flour mixture until incorporated, then knead on floured surface for about one minute.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, or place into a gallon sized Ziploc bag that is left one-third open. Place dough into fridge for 6 hrs, or overnight.
After 6 hours place cold butter on countertop with wrapper still on, take rolling pin and smash butter until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure that butter remains cold; if it warms up, return it to fridge for 15 min. (In case you have noticed that I have extra butter hanging out in these pictures, I was making an extra large batch this day. Just follow the recipe 🙂 )
Take dough out of fridge and roll out into 12″ by 6″ rectangle. Place smashed butter cubes onto one half of the dough rectangle and fold over other side of dough. With folded edge on the side, roll out dough to 22″ by 10″ rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds. Place dough back into baggy and into fridge for 45 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge and roll out dough into 22″ x 10″ rectangle and fold into thirds. This completes the first turn. Return to fridge for 45 min. Repeat this step two more times for a total of three turns. It is crucial that there are three turns, not including the initial roll out. I mark with finger after each turn, so I can keep track of how many turns I have done. After you have completed the three turns, return the dough to the fridge for 6 hrs., again, I just leave it in overnight.
Next morning roll out dough into 25″ x 14″ rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or very sharp knife, cut rectangle length wise in half. Then zigzag cut each half into long triangles. Be sure dough stays cold. So if this process is taking a bit longer than expected, longer than about 10 minutes, return one of the halves to the fridge. Once triangles are cut, roll from fat end to short end. Before you roll however, gently pull dough to elongate, or roll very lightly with rolling pin to elongate. This will give a more pleasant croissant shape. Once rolled, attach the two ends together to give crescent shape.
Make eggwash by mixing together egg with 1 Tablespoon water. Place rolls onto parchment lined baking sheets and brush with eggwash. Let rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs or until rolls have doubled in size. Brush on another coat of eggwash.
Bake croissants at 400 degrees for 20-23 minutes or until a very deep golden brown hue is achieved.
I have tried other croissant recipes without much success, but with this recipe you can’t fail. They come out absolutely perfect – every. single. time. A quick note: You can always use salted butter instead of unsalted, if you do just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by 1/2. Also, you can substitute regular milk for the powdered milk, although if at all possible you really should use powdered milk. Powdered milk adds depth to the flavor of these croissants.
The Perfect Croissant Recipe