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How To Bake a Croissant Recipe | French Pastries

Updated on January 26, 2016
Croissant on a Plate
Croissant on a Plate | Source

Making Croissants at Home

This page gives you detailed instructions in the fine, and somewhat complicated art of making French croissants from scratch. This yeast bread is neither fast nor easy but it is a delicious treat you can serve with pride.

A continental breakfast doesn't get any better than a fresh croissant, a dish of fresh fruit salad and, of course, a cup of steaming cappuccino.

This article honors the croissant in all its glory. Admittedly, these wonderful pastries are not the easiest thing to make. Nor are they necessarily low calorie nor good for us. They're not that economical to make either, given the high butter content.

But they're so good.... especially when you make them yourself.

Do you make croissants at home?

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Croissant Beside a Cup of Espresso
Croissant Beside a Cup of Espresso | Source

An Authentic Croissant Recipe

I never promised this would be easy

Let's not waste any more time. Let's move right along to our preparation for this most yummy French pastry.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce fresh yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, unbleached all purpose (approximately)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk, approximately
  • Butter
  • 4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter-1 lb 2 oz -- cold-cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons flour, unbleached all purpose

Croissants

  • 1 recipe-croissant dough -- well chilled
  • Flour -- for rolling dough
  • 1 large egg

Method: Dough

Fit a dough hook onto your mixer bowl, and add the yeast, flour, sugar salt and one cup milk. Using the lowest speed possible, mix for somewhere between one and two minutes. A soft, moist dough will form on the hook. Add more milk, a wee bit at a time if the dough seems too dry. Be sure all the flour is moistened, so check carefully and stop adding as soon as you reach this point. With the mixer stopped, inspect the bottom of the bowl. If there is a bit of flour there, add a drop or two of milk.

Now turn the mixer on high and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should take about four minutes for the dough to become the consistency of soft butter. Stop and remove the dough after three minutes. Inspect this and return any plum sized pieces to the bowl and mix until fully blended. The dough is ready when these pieces come together.

Remove the dough. Wrap it in plastic then put it in a plastic bag. Leave a little room for it to expand. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for thirty minutes, then refrigerate for eight hours or more. Overnight is fine.

Method: Butter

Using your mixer's paddle blade, and with the machine set to the highest speed, beat the butter and flour together. Beat for about two minutes, or until it resembles the croissant dough in consistency. Poke around to be sure the butter and flour are evenly blended. Squash any lumps between your fingers.

Push the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, slapping it down to remove air bubbles. Shape it into an oval that is about one inch in thickness and perhaps five or six inches long. Wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator until you need it.

Croissants on a Baking Sheet Ready to Go in the Oven
Croissants on a Baking Sheet Ready to Go in the Oven | Source

Recommended Cookbooks

Special and Decorative Breads (The Professional French Pastry Series)
Special and Decorative Breads (The Professional French Pastry Series)

Bake bread the way the professional French chefs do.

 

Assembling and Baking the Croissants

You need a large work surface. Marble is perfect because it keeps the mixture cold better than other surfaces. You will need to work quickly and keep this as cold as possible.

Flour your work surface and sprinkle the top of the croissant dough with flour as well. Use a long rolling pin.

Roll the dough into an oval shape that is about ten inches wide by seventeen inches long. Brush away the extra flour. Place the cold butter across this dough oval. Fold the top and bottom of the dough over the butter. Gently stretch the folded layers out to the sides. Press the edges down firmly to form a sealed rectangle.

For this next step, a French rolling pin is ideal. Hold the dough steady with one hand and slap the other side gently with the rolling pin so the butter distributes evenly.

As you slap the croissant dough with the rolling pin, you can observe the butter moving out into the cracks and ridges. Strike the other side of the dough in the same fashion. You should end up with a rectangle that is about 14 inches by six inches in size.

Being sure to keep the work area and the dough top well floured, roll the dough. Place it on a prepared baking sheet. The sheet should be covered with parchment paper and sprinkled with flour. Cover the dough with plastic at this point and refrigerate it for one or two hours. Ensure that the plastic is well sealed each and every time you do this procedure.

Once the dough is chilled, face the long side of the dough and roll it sideways, forming a rectangle that is 24 by 14 inches. Shake off extra flour, fold it inwards into thirds so it resembles a brochure. You end up with a package about eight by fourteen inches in size.

Move the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Put a note on the parchment that says First Turn. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for two hours or more.

When thoroughly chilled, you are ready to do the second turn. Place the croissant dough so the long side is running left to right. The dough may have cracked slightly, which is okay. Flour the work surface well and roll the dough into a shape that is 24 inches by 14 inches.

Again, fold into thirds. Place the dough on the parchment. Leave a note saying "Second Turn", cover well with plastic and refrigerate for two hours or more.

To make the third turn, position the croissant dough so the 14 inch side runs from left to right. Roll the dough into a rectangle that is 24 inches by 14 inches. Fold the left and right sides into the center but leave a little space in the center. Fold one side over the other, as in shutting a book.

Brush off the flour, wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least two hours.

You are now ready to shape the dough.

Flour your work area well. Place the dough so it reminds you of a book, with the spine to your left and the opening to your right. Cut the dough in half horizontally. Wrap and chill one half and work with the other.

Flour the dough. Roll it into a rectangle that is 24 inches by 15 inches, approximately. This requires patience and a lot of flouring.

Fold the top half down to the bottom.

To cut the dough, use a sharp knife and cut triangles. Start out by making a diagonal on the left side. Measure a three or four inch base and start cutting the triangles, working from top to bottom.

Save the scraps that you have from the cuts at each end.

Unfold each pair of triangles and cut them in half to separate. You will end up with about ten to fourteen triangles.

Set them aside and remove all flour from the work surface.

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.

To shape, dampen your hands and work with one triangle at a time. Stretch the base to widen a little. Holding the base in one hand,run the fingers of the other hand down to the point. Using your thumb, pull and stretch the dough until it is almost twice the size. Do not be afraid to tug.

Place this triangle with the point toward you. Break off a small piece of the scraps of dough that you saved. Mold this little piece into a football shape and place it on the top part of the triangle, centered.

Fold about a half inch of the wide end over itself and push the ends down to secure. Position your hands over the flattened ends of the croissant with the heel of your hands on the flat work surface. Roll the croissant towards you, with your hands always moving out to the sides during the roll. You end with the point tucked under the croissant.

A perfect croissant - not easy to accomplish - will have six clearly identifiable sections from the rolling.

Place the croissants on the baking sheets, far enough apart so they can triple in size.

Repeat these steps with the other part of the dough.

Plump the croissants gently by turning the ends down and towards the center. Brush the croissants with egg wash and refrigerate the remaining egg wash. Permit them to rise at room temperature until they are three times the size. This takes about three or four hours. Test by wetting your fingers and squeezing the end of a croissant. If it is risen enough, there should be no resistance and it should feel hollow.

Place the oven racks so the oven is divided into thirds. Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brush the croissants with the remaining egg wash. Bake for about twelve minutes, then rotate from front to bake. Bake for additional four to six minutes. The croissants should have a deep bronze color.

Remove from the oven and cool them on racks. Avoid the temptation to eat them immediately. The layers need time to set.

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Croissant
Croissant | Source

The History of the Croissant Recipe

a myth debunked

Perhaps you've heard the wonderful story about the origins of the croissant recipe. As the story goes, a Budapest baker, back in 1686, was working late one night. This was during the time when the Turks and the Hungarians were having at one another. Anyway, the baker heard noises that night and notified the city's miliary officials. They discovered that the Turks were trying to dig a tunnel under the city's wall. The baker had saved everyone's skin.

In return, he asked for the sole right to bake a crescent shaped pastry that commemorated his peoples' victory. The cresent is the symbol of Islam, so apparently this signified that the Hungarians had devoured the Turks.

Heartwarming as this story is, there's not a word of truth to it.

According to OChef (www.ochef.com) the croissant showed up in France in the very early nineteen hundreds.

The Hungarian story is so much better.

Leave a Comment, S'il Vous Plait - (please)

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    • profile image

      LadyDuck 

      5 years ago

      Interesting recipes, I often make croissant but I am still searching for the "perfect recipe", I am going to try your soon.

    • profile image

      penmypage 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the recipe for croissant. I am still practising to get the right texture and shape. My shaping is progressing nicely but my croissants taste more like eating a bread roll. I would like to get it to be very flaky like the ones you get in some of the boulangeries in france.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      5 years ago from United States

      Wishing you a year of many new blessings starting with this one! Happy New Year!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I make a refrigerator dough for my croissants, divide it into four sections, and have fresh croissants for the week with a minimum of work. Croissants truly are delicious hot out of the oven. Oh now I am craving them.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      J'aime croissants!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @InnaTsv: I'll just bet those authentic French croissants were mouth watering.

    • InnaTsv profile image

      InnaTsv 

      6 years ago

      That might sound funny but before my first trip to Paris my biggest anticipation was the taste of real croissants! Even now i remember the first French breakfast I had when we arrived in Paris in the morning. So delicious! Thanks for bringing back those lovely memories with this lens :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 

      6 years ago

      I might actually try to make these thanks to your lens.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @TonyPayne: I guess there really is too much of a good thing. LOL

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      The best croissants I ever had were in a hotel in the centre of Asuncion in Paraguay. There wasn't a lot of choice for breakfast, but they did have these wonderful large freshly baked croissants, plus really nice ham and cheese to stuff inside them. Really great for a week, but I have to admit the following week I was desperate for something different to eat.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @anonymous: Yummy indeed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I love Croissants... yummy.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @DebMartin: Yes, butter makes it better! LOL Croissants are not for those who must keep their cholesterol down.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 

      6 years ago

      Oh, my. Now I know why I love croissants so much. All that butter. ;-) Thanks, d

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @theoxingyi lm: LOL! I hear ya!

    • theoxingyi lm profile image

      theoxingyi lm 

      7 years ago

      I'll probably try this once just for the bragging rights. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @elyria: They are not easy, that's for sure. Good luck with the next batch.

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 

      7 years ago

      I tried to bake croissants at home once and it came out totally blah..so I never tried again. But perhaps I should try again!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @TravelingRae: I agree. Croissants are much work and much complicated. LOl

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 

      7 years ago

      Very rarely does a recipe daunt me, but I'm going to keep buying croissants from the local baker!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Johanna Eisler: Deal! See you there!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 

      7 years ago

      I'll come over here for croissants, you pop over to my Coffee House for the cappuccino. Deal?

      Seriously, thanks for a wonderful treatment of a complicated but marvelous recipe. Mmm...

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @myshelle01: Thank you for dropping by.

    • profile image

      myshelle01 

      7 years ago

      I will really give this a go. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @sorana lm: It does trigger the imagination, doesn't it? Thanks for commenting.

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the recipes and the stories. I agree with you: the Hungarian story is more interesting. :)

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @poutine: The bakeshops have excellent offerings for those who don't bake! LOL

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      I love croissants, but I would never attempt to bake some.

      I am not very adventurous in the kitchen.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      @junecampbell: Thanks so much!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: They are tricky, alright. Good luck with the recipe

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      I love the idea of fresh croissant's straight out from the oven, and I have baked a lot of bread. But, and here's the big one, making the croissant dough to actually work has always been a stumbling block for me. I will have to try this one and see if my luck has changed.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 

      7 years ago

      I love croissants, although have never tried to make them myself. They are especially good with a chicken salad and some fruit.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Spook LM: Merry Christmas to you also and many thanks for the blessing.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      I prefer the good old fashioned 'fry' but this is right up my wife's street. Merry Xmas. Blessed by an Angel.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      7 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Sylvestermouse: Canned croissants? That is a new thing to me. I'll have to look this up. Thanks for commenting.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Fabulous and delicious! We love croissants and I will be the first to admit that I have started using the "canned" kind just to make my own life easier, but when there is time, there is nothing that compares to the real homemade thing!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @MargoPArrowsmith: Yep. Real people. Real cooking. LOl

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 

      8 years ago

      Wow! You mean real people can make these at home?!?

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @RoundTrip: Thanks for clarifying. Whoever is responsible, I am grateful to them for this yummy delicacy.

    • RoundTrip profile image

      RoundTrip 

      8 years ago

      I've heard the marie antoinette connection is also a myth. The man that brought the croissant to France was August Zang who was from Vienna and opened a bakery in Paris. French people enjoyed his kipferl so much they started making their own version, the croissant.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @justholidays: Hi and thanks so much for visiting. You could be right about the origins of croissants. I am certainly no historian! LOL

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 

      8 years ago

      I think OChef is wrong as Marie-Antoinette (Arch Duchess Maria Antonia of Austria, wife to Louis XVI) imported croissants to France, and she lived in the 18th century ;)

      This being said, I bake croissants each and every Sunday - fill them with Belgian chocolate of course as I very much prefer them filled than nature. Oh, I buy them ready-to-bake (Danerolles croissants from Danone); they're delicious. I'll send you a pic the day I don't forget to take one of those splendid and delicious croissants.

      Excellent page here!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @elizajane202 lm: Thanks so much for commenting. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

    • elizajane202 lm profile image

      elizajane202 lm 

      8 years ago

      Great lens, found it linked to mine and had to check it out. I'll be hitting your site in the near future for some of your recipes. (Kids are going to love my new discoveries)

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @norma-holt: Thank you again!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful, *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust - Cooking

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 

      8 years ago

      Great lens. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust - Cooking

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @anonymous: Thank you for posting. I hope you get a chance to try the "from scratch" recipes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I am a fan of croissants and I've had the Pillsbury kind, but now I will try your recipe because I like things from scratch better. Good lens and thumbs up to you.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      8 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I love croissants,if you've never had a hot dog wrapped with one, you just haven't lived! 5*****

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @MartinPrestovic: Okay, that does it. I am officially going off my diet and looking for croissants!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Mickie Gee: Yummy. Its making me hungry just reading about it.

    • profile image

      MartinPrestovic 

      8 years ago

      I love croissants. Love it with butter, love it with jam, love it with sausages and I love it all by itself. The best croissants I've ever eaten were the ones I bought in Bagatelle in London. No doubt about it.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      8 years ago

      The very best croissant I ever put in my mouth was purchased from The Black Dog Bakery on Martha's Vineyard. Thanks for making me think of this.

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @hlkljgk: I love croissants too! Thanks for commenting.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 

      8 years ago from Western Mass

      i love croissants - merci!

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      They are good, aren't they? I love croissants myself.

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 

      8 years ago

      I have to admit that I have a weakness for croissants, but I never thought about making them at home. I will give this a try. Thanks!

      ~Jane

    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      8 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @anonymous: Thank you for your kind comment. I loved your lens, did I tell you?

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I love this lens and the recipe looks so good. Thank you for sharing and you did a great job on this lens. I'm so glad you stopped by and left a message for me. 5 Stars and a Fave.

      I will come back when I'm ready to make some croissants.

      Susie

    • profile image

      jgelien 

      8 years ago

      I adore croissants. I have never attempted to make them myself but I might now that you have provided a good recipe. Yummy lens.

    • PattB LM profile image

      PattB LM 

      9 years ago

      Nice lens, will have to try your recipe sometime.

    • profile image

      MichelleH 

      10 years ago

      My husband has such wonderful memories from his childhood from croissants. His dad was in the army so he spent a lot of time in Germany and France. He remembers a man on a bicycle riding through the streets selling hot fresh croissants out of a basket. He said they would melt in your mouth. Unlike the one's I buy from Walmart : ( Maybe I'll try to make some to surprise him.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 years ago

      Buuuuurrrrp!

    • profile image

      KathleenH 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the inspiration here - croissants are so lovely to eat, but it's true that they are something of a challenge to make (at least, for me!). Great lens!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      Yummy lens. I'm going to have to try your recipe. I love croissants but have never made my own.

    • grassosalvato86 profile image

      grassosalvato86 

      10 years ago

      I would eat hundreds of Croissant! lovely lens!!

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 

      10 years ago

      You have great recipes! And the Hungarian story is much better, oh well!

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 

      10 years ago from USA

      I could scarf down about 2 dozen of them right now! Nice lens! Bookmarking this one for sure! Hope you'll visit Vintage Cookbooks or

      Retro Cookbooks!

    • Happy Helen profile image

      Helen 

      10 years ago

      Welcome to the Home Cook & Baking HQ

    working

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