How to Make Croissants--homemade & delicious! (recipe w/pictures)

I prefer them piping hot and plain. They're plenty buttery on their own.
I prefer them piping hot and plain. They're plenty buttery on their own.

Long-time HubBuddy jimmythejock asked me how I made some croissants, the pictures of which I had posted on Facebook. I can not claim the recipe—that goes to a Canadian baker named Sarah living in Poland—but I can attest, from personal experience, that this recipe and technique do indeed yield some pretty amazing croissants: flaky, buttery, delicate on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Just take a look at the picture to the right, and tell me your stomach isn't growling!

The recipe is definitely time-consuming, but it is not very difficult, if you follow the instructions below carefully. I learned that each of the steps really exists for a reason. Yes, there are a lot of steps involved, but none of them are particularly difficult. You'll thank me for taking the time for each step when you bring out some golden brown croissants for your loved ones to scarf down.

Ingredients

For 12 medium-sized croissants (smaller than the huge ones you typically see in cafes):

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used olive, but something not terribly strong-tasting)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or any "milk" - I used rice milk and it turned out fine)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 packet active dry yeast (or 1 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

Click on each picture for full-size

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start with flour in a bowl.Add oil.Mix the oil well into the flour.Add sugar and yeast to warm (but not hot) water.Mix in the yeast liquid, and milk with salt, and develop into a dough.Knead well, including several slams onto your countertop. Yields a soft, tender ball of dough.Cover twice and allow to rise for 3 hours (first rise).Punch down dough.Roll out into a large square.Fold like a letter you're putting into an envelope (thirds).Cover twice with plastic wrap, and allow to rise (second rise).(After second rise).
Start with flour in a bowl.
Start with flour in a bowl.
Add oil.
Add oil.
Mix the oil well into the flour.
Mix the oil well into the flour.
Add sugar and yeast to warm (but not hot) water.
Add sugar and yeast to warm (but not hot) water.
Mix in the yeast liquid, and milk with salt, and develop into a dough.
Mix in the yeast liquid, and milk with salt, and develop into a dough.
Knead well, including several slams onto your countertop. Yields a soft, tender ball of dough.
Knead well, including several slams onto your countertop. Yields a soft, tender ball of dough.
Cover twice and allow to rise for 3 hours (first rise).
Cover twice and allow to rise for 3 hours (first rise).
Punch down dough.
Punch down dough.
Roll out into a large square.
Roll out into a large square.
Fold like a letter you're putting into an envelope (thirds).
Fold like a letter you're putting into an envelope (thirds).
Cover twice with plastic wrap, and allow to rise (second rise).
Cover twice with plastic wrap, and allow to rise (second rise).
(After second rise).
(After second rise).
Keep your eyes on the prize...
Keep your eyes on the prize...

Make the dough

Croissant dough is a yeasted dough, meaning you have to let it rise a couple of times.

  1. Put the yeast, 1 tsp of the sugar, and 3 tbsp of warm (105F/40C or cooler) water in a small cup. Mix together and set aside.
  2. Put the flour in a large bowl.
  3. Warm up the milk in a small bowl or cup, either using the microwave or on your stovetop. It just needs to be warm, not hot.
  4. Add the salt to the milk and dissolve.
  5. Add the oil to the flour and mix well.
  6. Check the yeast mixture. It should have started foaming up a bit. Add it to the flour & oil mixture.
  7. Add the milk & salt.
  8. Mix it all together with a spoon or spatula until you have dough that holds together.
  9. Take the dough out of the bowl, and begin kneading it. Knead it with the heels of your hands until the dough is uniform and sticky. Then, slap the dough hard against your counter about 8-10 times, until the dough is not sticky and has softened.
  10. Clean out your bowl, and place the dough back in the bowl, Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, and then cover the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap.
  11. Set in a warm place (about 75F/24C) for about 3 hours, until it triples in size.

    ----3 hours later----
  12. Pull out the dough and place it on your counter. Either using a rolling pin or your hands, roll/press it out into a square or rectangle, about 8-10 inches (20-30 cm) per side.
  13. Fold the square into thirds, like you're folding a letter to put in an envelope.
  14. Place this folded dough back in the bowl, cover it loosely, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise for another 1 1/2 hours or so, or until it has doubled in size.

    ----1 1/2 hours later----
  15. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a cold plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer (only for about 10-15 minutes, max).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roll out the dough into a square or rectangle.Smash out the butter but don't let it melt.Place the smashed-out butter in the top two-thirds of the dough square.Fold the bottom third up, and then the top third down.Make sure the dough is sealed along all the open edges, so butter doesn't squirt out.Roll out the "folded letter" into another square. Fold into a "folded letter" again. Rinse & repeat!You'll see faint blobs of yellow butter underneath the dough surface. There are many alternating layers of dough and butter now.Fold into thirds again.Double-cover and put in the refrigerator to cool down.
Roll out the dough into a square or rectangle.
Roll out the dough into a square or rectangle.
Smash out the butter but don't let it melt.
Smash out the butter but don't let it melt.
Place the smashed-out butter in the top two-thirds of the dough square.
Place the smashed-out butter in the top two-thirds of the dough square.
Fold the bottom third up, and then the top third down.
Fold the bottom third up, and then the top third down.
Make sure the dough is sealed along all the open edges, so butter doesn't squirt out.
Make sure the dough is sealed along all the open edges, so butter doesn't squirt out.
Roll out the "folded letter" into another square. Fold into a "folded letter" again. Rinse & repeat!
Roll out the "folded letter" into another square. Fold into a "folded letter" again. Rinse & repeat!
You'll see faint blobs of yellow butter underneath the dough surface. There are many alternating layers of dough and butter now.
You'll see faint blobs of yellow butter underneath the dough surface. There are many alternating layers of dough and butter now.
Fold into thirds again.
Fold into thirds again.
Double-cover and put in the refrigerator to cool down.
Double-cover and put in the refrigerator to cool down.

Incorporate the butter and start folding

  1. Place the butter on your counter, and beat it with a rolling pin (yes, smack it). The goal is to beat it into a "sheet" of cold, but pliable, butter. It doesn't have to be a perfect sheet at all, just without huge lumps. Make sure it doesn't get so warm that it melts - it should stay a solid. (Pro tip! Place the stick of butter between two sheets of wax paper, and use your rolling pin to spread it out into a thin layer of cold butter. Avoids a lot of mess!)
  2. Take the dough out of the freezer, and using your rolling pin, roll the folded-into-thirds dough into a square of similar size as last time.
  3. Spread the butter into the top two-thirds of the dough square. Then fold the top third of the dough (with the butter) down, and then the bottom third up (just as you did before, but this time, you're encasing the butter in it). Ideally, both the butter and the dough should be the same temperature (cold but not freezing) and same texture (firm but pliable). Pinch the sides so the butter is full encased inside the dough.
  4. Turn this "folded letter with butter in it" around 90 degrees. Flour your counter and the dough a little, and then using your rolling pin, very carefully roll out the dough into another square. You have to do this carefully to avoid liquefying the butter and having it squirt out! Take it slow and make sure your countertop is not warm!
  5. Fold this square into thirds again, and, if the butter is still clearly firm inside the dough, roll it out again. If the butter has softened, cover up the "folded letter" and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes so it firms up again.
  6. Repeat this process 2 more times, cooling the dough in the freezer if you need to, to make sure the butter doesn't melt. After putting the butter in the dough, you should fold it into thirds and roll it out into a square four times. Naturally, the colder your kitchen and countertop, the less time you'll need to do this, since you'll need to toss your dough in the freezer less often.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cut the rolled-out dough into thirds.Notice the "bloom" of butter right beneath the surface! This is why it needs to stay cool.Cut each third in half, and then each of those halves into triangles.Flour each triangle and roll it out into a large, long isosceles triangle. (The original above for comparison).Roll from the short end to the tip.Curve into a crescent and place on the parchment paper.Cover and let it rise for 1-3 hours.(After rising)Apply beaten egg wash with a brush.(Egg washed applied)Into the oven they go......and pull out 15 minutes later when golden brown!
Cut the rolled-out dough into thirds.
Cut the rolled-out dough into thirds.
Notice the "bloom" of butter right beneath the surface! This is why it needs to stay cool.
Notice the "bloom" of butter right beneath the surface! This is why it needs to stay cool.
Cut each third in half, and then each of those halves into triangles.
Cut each third in half, and then each of those halves into triangles.
Flour each triangle and roll it out into a large, long isosceles triangle. (The original above for comparison).
Flour each triangle and roll it out into a large, long isosceles triangle. (The original above for comparison).
Roll from the short end to the tip.
Roll from the short end to the tip.
Curve into a crescent and place on the parchment paper.
Curve into a crescent and place on the parchment paper.
Cover and let it rise for 1-3 hours.
Cover and let it rise for 1-3 hours.
(After rising)
(After rising)
Apply beaten egg wash with a brush.
Apply beaten egg wash with a brush.
(Egg washed applied)
(Egg washed applied)
Into the oven they go...
Into the oven they go...
...and pull out 15 minutes later when golden brown!
...and pull out 15 minutes later when golden brown!

Final rollout, cutting, and twisting

  1. Refrigerate your dough a final time (30 minutes in the freezer, or 2 hours in the refrigerator).
  2. Roll it out into a larger rectangle: 10x15 inches (25x40 cm)
  3. Cut it into 3 rectangles of approx 5x10 inches (12x25 cm) each.
  4. Place 2 of the rectangles on a plate and into the refrigerator.
  5. Flour your counter, and roll the 5x10 rectangle into a larger rectangle of about 8x15 inches (20x40cm)
  6. Cut that rectangle into half, and then each half into two triangles.
  7. Roll each triangle into an isosceles triangle (two long equidistant sides, and a short third side)
  8. Starting on the short side, roll up your dough triangle until you hit the tip.
  9. Curl into a crescent shape.

Fresh out of the oven!
Fresh out of the oven!

Final rise, egg wash, bake & cool

  1. Allow your shaped crescents to rise for 1-3 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).
  2. Preheat your oven to 475F (245C) - yes, pretty hot!
  3. Place your crescents onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  4. Beat the egg with 1 tbsp of water.
  5. Brush your crescents with the egg wash.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the croissants have taken on a nice golden color.
  7. Allow to cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
  8. ENJOY! I personally love them plain, but some like them with a pat of butter, some jam/jelly, or even Nutella.

Nutritional information on croissants

 
 
per batch
per croissant
calories
 
1980
170
protein
g
32
3
fat
g
123
10
carbs
g
181
15
sodium
mg
3600
300
Assuming: lowfat milk, olive oil, medium egg

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Comments 53 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

You were not kidding when you said there were a lot of steps. I'll have to set aside a full day to attempt this recipe. The pictures are very helpful.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

SOOO worth it, though! While it's time consuming, "work time" is actually not that long at all. You just have to wait several times: twice for the dough to rise, and a couple of times for the dough to cool down in the fridge/freezer.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

You've blown my mind, livelonger! I can't WAIT to try this!!! It looks like it'll take a whole weekend, with all the different risings and whatnot, but the process looks fun, and since you've shared such helpful images and tips, I don't think I could screw it up!! Gosh, and I bet they smell DIVINE when they're baking. Also, huzzah for the nutritional info! That's a neat feature. Croissants are... indulgent, but well worth it!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, Simone! It's actually lots of little, easy steps, with lots of waiting in between. Not a lot of work. But, you do have a bounty that you're going to have to share (although apparently the finished croissants do freeze nicely). They do smell awesome, and they taste even better!


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

Quite the project! I'll have to set aside some time for this in the near future... or maybe Simone and I can get together and share the load... and the bounty!!!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Hey, a two-person team making a huge bounty of fresh croissants...sounds like a great way to get *really* popular with your friends! ;)


xcubist profile image

xcubist 5 years ago

Just had dinner and still makes me hungry looking at these, though I do have a weak spot for fresh bread substances. Sounds fairly easy to make as well, think I'll have to give this a go the next time I'm b-b-q'ing to use instead of rolls.


michifus profile image

michifus 5 years ago

I was always put off making these because of the time it takes, but since I love them and I cant buy lactose free croissants anywhere, I'm going to give it a go. Thanks for the great hub and easy to follow steps!


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

I have been hoping to get the croissant recipe since my son loves it. Thank you!! Wow, it is a lot of work. I think I will try it together with my son during the coming school holidays. It'd be an achievement for us when it turned out well.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

xcubist: Yes, they're a flaky version of rolls and I think your BBQ guests will love them.

michifus: Have fun! Yes, substitute any non-dairy milk, and you're probably fine with butter--it has a negligible amount of lactose--or substitute some sort of margarine.

Ingenira: It's time-consuming but actually not a ton of work (and not difficult at all). I suggest doing a big batch and then freezing them, to get the most out of your effort.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

Well, can I order some? They sound absolutely warm and delicious! Don't think I'll bake...but would surly love to eat them. They do look delightfully crispy on the outside and that's my favorite. Thanks for interesting read!


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

this is an excellent and descriptive hub on these rolls!! I love bread and these are a fav but Ive never been able to get it right...but I think its cause I haent put the dough in the fridge...so the butter and the ough weren't the same temp! thank you for such an excellent instruction! I will try again


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

frogyfish: You're welcome! Thanks for your comment. Hope you reconsider trying to bake them.

RNMSN: I know...that was my problem the first time I made them. The butter was too soft, and came squirting out of the sides. Fortunately, tossing it in the freezer for a half-hour did the trick and I was able to salvage them. Good luck next time!


wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Okay I really need to graduate to making homemade croissants. My kids love them, we make veggie pigs in a blanket. But, I always buy the store-bought dough that's not nearly as healthy. Great directions, too. I wonder if it would work with soy milk?


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

wordscribe43: Yes, absolutely you can use soy milk! (I used rice milk and they turned out perfect) You can also roll them around veggie hot dogs and turn out a great pigs in a blanket, too - hadn't thought of that.


wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

They're yummy! We just use Not Dogs, partially because I love the name!


rwelton profile image

rwelton 5 years ago from Sacramento CA

Incredible...there was no way I would of hazarded a guess on the number of step necessary when I started the read. Thanks for the photos as the visuals were a perfect fit.

rlw


HONEYSTAR profile image

HONEYSTAR 5 years ago from Malaysia

Delicious and Yummy Yummy...

Thanks for sharing !


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

I tired this once but don't think they turned out so well. A lot of work, but they sure are beautiful. Must try again.


felicitylovespari profile image

felicitylovespari 5 years ago

There is a terrific little french bakery next to where I live where I buy yummy croissants, but I would certainly love to tackle your croissants recipe sometime to see if I could pull it off.


AnesaK profile image

AnesaK 5 years ago from USA

I will have to try this sometime! Great hub- especially the step by step descriptions and pictures of the baking.


SJKSJK profile image

SJKSJK 5 years ago from delray beach, florida

Thanks I love to try new recipes


lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

Oh they sound really yummy! I will have to try and find time to make them at work! as I am a cook and my folks would love them.


lois sunday profile image

lois sunday 5 years ago from manila,philippines

thanks! will try it soon...


collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 5 years ago

Wow! These are beautiful-- the picture of the light, flaky insides make me want to go start baking. The nasty, greasy kind you get at the grocery store just don't cut it once you've made or had a fresh one prepared correctly.


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 5 years ago from Scotland

Jason, Thanks for sharing your recipe, the croissants look great and very tasty indeed, I am sure the kids will love helping me make them.

You did say there was a lot of steps though and you weren't kidding lol but the end product looks like it is all worth the work and the wait.

I will let you know how they turn out lol if the kids don't eat them before i get a chance to taste them.....thanks again.....jimmy


bushraismail profile image

bushraismail 5 years ago from ASIA

This is so useful but please tell me how many tablespoon is half a packet of yeast?

for me its 1 tablespoon.

Thank you for the hub. sometimes i am scared to try recipes thinking it will not come out well but your pictures give me enough proof. thanks again.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thank you for the suggestion! I just added it: each packet is 2 1/2 tsp of yeast, so a 1/2 packet is 1 1/4 teaspoon (or less than half a tablespoon, which is 3 teaspoons).


bushraismail profile image

bushraismail 5 years ago from ASIA

Thank you..


Sara 5 years ago

its really explained in details. i will try very soon.

love sara


bushraismail profile image

bushraismail 5 years ago from ASIA

Send some for me too sara I live quiet close to ur place.


InTuneWithCooking profile image

InTuneWithCooking 5 years ago from Australia

Great pics! I have never tried making them before, but this may well change now, thanks to the pics. Voted up


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

Thanks for all the great detail in your croissant recipe. The pictures are excellent and make me want to try and wade through all the different steps to enjoy a tasty homemade croissant.


Drax profile image

Drax 5 years ago from NYC....

can I just order a dozen of these from you and let FedEx take care of the detail.... lol ;-)


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 5 years ago from Western NC

I just added your site to my "favorites"! I can't wait to try this. I'm getting ready to publish a "No-Knead Wheat Bread" recipe. I love making bread products. YES! YES!!! Voted up!!!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

CZCZCZ: Lots of steps, but really not difficult. Give 'em a shot!

Drax: They *do* freeze really nicely, but I swear if even I can pull this off, anyone can.

cclitgirl: Let me know how they turn out! I'll have to check out your Hub. Our challenge this month is to make sourdough with natural yeast. Looking forward to it!


ChanellChilds profile image

ChanellChilds 5 years ago

Thanks for the yummy recipe. This sounds like a perfect appetizer for Christmas. Croissants are my favorite.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco Author

Chanell: They are, and wait till you tell people you made them from scratch! I think they're much better than dinner rolls, too.


ChanellChilds profile image

ChanellChilds 5 years ago

I love it!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

How I missed this hub I do not know! It is awesome! I love the picture by picture directions, it makes it so much easier to follow. Those finished flaky croissants, warm and fresh out of the oven look divine! This is going on my to-do list immediately. A perfect yeasty-good hub!

Shalom and HubHugs~

K9


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

It's an honor! I modeled this Hub on yours, K9keystrokes. I hope your croissants turn out as delicious as they did for me. They are worth every calorie!

Shalom and HubHugs!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

:)Thanks my Friend~


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

You make it all look so easy with those step by step directions and pix and ooooh how I love croissants. What a fabulous hub. I'm drooling :-)


sabrani44 profile image

sabrani44 4 years ago

Great hub, they look so yummy! I have to try this recipe :)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

robie2: Believe me, if it weren't easy, I could not have done it (I'm currently in the process of royally screwing up sourdough, so don't underestimate my lack of talent in the baking department!). Give 'em a shot sometime!

sabrani44: Let me know how it turns out for you!


Aleenabroonee profile image

Aleenabroonee 4 years ago from California

Its really nice recipe will try as soon as possible.


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

wow, inspiring! I also had a good chuckle in the directions that included "several slams to the counter"...


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 4 years ago from Atlanta

Livelonger, OMG you were not kidding that is one long recipe, and may I add one I would never attempt to make myself. They do look yummy, thanks for sharing! Voted up!


Journey * profile image

Journey * 4 years ago from USA

This is very interesting. I've never known how to make croissants. Thanks for the recipe and the nutritional information too!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

The pictures make my mouth water. We have to make breads without dairy due to allergies so this would be one to experiment with in making great tasty croissants. True to your word, it's simple but takes time. Thanks for writng.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

Wow, this is a really helpful hub. I've never considered making croissants myself...I'm just really good at eating them! Voted up and useful.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

You are a hardcore cook, livelonger! I've read about this process but thought it too difficult. Now you've inspired me! I plan to fill mine with chocolate.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco Author

Thanks, vespawoolf. I actually participate in a monthly bakers' challenge (Daring Bakers) and this was the challenge late last year. It is far easier than you'd expect, although time-consuming. Chocolate croissants sound delicious!

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