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Homemade Croissants

Make the Beloved French Puff Pastry at Home Easy and Perfect

by Shirley
homemade croissants recipe

I am always fond of French-style croissants, called “Yang Jiao Mian Bao {羊角面包}” in Chinese, which translates as “Goat Horn Bread”. Perhaps the shape of croissants resembles the goat horn. The layered buttery puff pastry with a savory flavor is simply unstoppable. Nevertheless, they are notoriously difficult to make at home. That’s why I am beyond ecstatic to share my proven & tested recipe for homemade croissants.

Because making croissants requires precision and executing the plan according to the blueprint. I have sketched out the “how to make croissants at home” step-by-step diagrams. With this, along with the detailed tutorial, I can make croissants using organic wholesome ingredients any time I want! So can you.

homemade croissants recipe

Homemade Croissants Tips and Tricks

Almost all croissant recipes will label the difficulty level as “advanced”. True, it is a complex process involving 13 steps lasting about 7 hours. See below “Homemade Croissants Work Flow Diagram” for more details.

homemade croissant work flow step by step diagram

In addition, it is also a long process. To avoid the butter from getting too warm, you need to chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes between steps. Also, once you’ve done with the folding, it takes about 2 hours to rise.

homemade French Croissant Recipe

Because of the lengthy process, some people suggested spreading the work to 3 days. I usually like to commit a full day to do it, starting early in the morning and being done around the evening time.

How to Make a Perfect Dough for Croissant?

The croissant is a type of leavened puff pastry, therefore yeast is required. For yeast, you have the choice of active dry yeast or instant yeast. They usually work interchangeably. The only caveat is that for active dry yeast, you will have to dissolve the active dry yeast in room temperature water and turn it into a smooth paste first before mixing it with the flour. Whereas for instant yeast, you can mix the instant yeast powder directly with the flour.

croissant dough ingredients

Using instant yeast would be easier for making croissants since we use milk as the liquid to make the dough. It saves you effort trying to manage the water amount to dissolve the active dry yeast.

I like the iconic semi-sweet savory taste of croissants, therefore opt to use a tiny bit of honey, organic unrefined cane sugar, along with a pinch of salt. My favorite salt is Himalayan pink salt, which is perhaps the most natural wholesome nutritious salt on the planet.

Using a stand mixer to mix the dough is easier and more effective. In my kitchen, I use organic unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 cups are about 330 g. It matches 3/4 cup of whole milk, about 190 g.

Add everything to the mixer and use a spatula to fold the liquid into the flour, and then set it to low and let it run for about 3 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and soft.

If you are using a different type of flour, I suggest adding milk gradually until you have a soft dough.

soft dough

How to Encase the Butter for Homemade Croissants?

I found out the most productive and effective way of creating a butter block is by first cutting the butter into tiny cubes, envisioning the area of 12cm x 17cm, forming an even layer and then pressing the layer to compact and flatten the butter.

This set of stainless baking pans is especially handy for making croissants. I use the smaller one for making the butter block.

cut butter into tiny cubes and form an even layer in the stainless baking pan lined with parchment paper

Layer the stainless pan with this heavy-duty unbleached parchment paper. Once you have the layer of tiny butter cubes, cover it with another piece of parchment paper. Using both hands to organize the corners, and using palms to firmly press down to compact the butter. Then level the butter flat by sweeping while pressing down hard using your thumbs.

make a butter block in the baking pan for making croissants

Try to make the butter block as smooth and level as possible. Take your time to press, organize the corners and sides, and then store it in the refrigerator.

butter block for making croissants

Next, take the dough out from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured dough mat.

rested dough on the dough mat

Use a heavy rolling pin to press down and gradually roll out to a rectangle. In terms of how to roll out a perfect rectangle, remember to organize the corners along the way. It also helps you start from the center and then roll out diagonally to four corners, and then roll across up and down in the center.

The goal is to roll out the dough to an approximately 25cm x 18cm rectangle. See below “Homemade Croissant Diagram 1” for more details. This dough shall enclose the previously made butter block nicely. If you are not sure, just take the butter out of the refrigerator and compare the size.

how to encase butter diagram

Once you have the 25cm x 18cm dough sheet, remove the butter block from the fridge and place it on one side, see the champagne-colored block in the above diagram. Then fold the other part of the dough sheet over to cover the butter. Last but not least, seal the edges and ensure the butter is completely sealed.

Now you shall have an approximate 12cm x 17cm dough sheet with butter encased. Place this dough sheet in a ziplock bag and lay it flat in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you proceed to fold the dough.

How to Fold the Dough for Making Homemade Croissants?

We altogether fold the dough twice, one quad-fold and one tri-fold, and chill the dough for 30 minutes between each fold and afterward.

homemade croissant work flow step by step diagram

After 30 minutes, remove the dough sheet from the frige and lay it on the lightly floured dough mat. Let the short side (~ 12 cm) facing you. Using a similar technique to roll out the long side (~17 cm) to about 40 cm. See below “How to Make Croissants Diagram 2” for reference.

how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough

Find the center line, fold down the top part fold up the bottom part, and then fold over the center line. Now you shall have 4 layer-dough sheets, an approximately 12cm x 20cm rectangle. Store this dough sheet rectangle in the same ziplock bag and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the dough sheet from the fridge, flip the dough 90 degrees, and lay it flat on the lightly floured dough mat. Now the long side (20 cm) should face you. Using a similar technique to roll out the short side (~12 cm) to approximately 36 cm. See below “How to Make Croissants at Home Diagram 3” for your reference.

how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough

Imagine dividing the rectangle dough sheet’s long side into three equal portions. First, fold down the top 1/3, and then fold up the bottom 1/3 by overlapping each other. This is a tri-fold, also known as a letter fold. Now you have a rectangle dough sheet approximately 20cm x 12 cm.

Store the dough sheet in the same ziplock bag lay it flat in the fridge and let it chill for 30 minutes.

How to Cut the Puff Pastry Dough Sheet for Homemade Croissants?

This recipe makes 1.5 dozen (18) regular-sized croissants. Each croissant uses an equilateral triangle dough sheet with a base of about 8 cm and a height of about 15 cm. See below “How to Make Croissant at Home 4” Diagram for more details.

how to cut puff pastry dough sheet for croissants

Cut the dough sheet according to the yellow line in the diagram. Use a stainless dough cutter via an up-and-down chopping motion. Do not drag the dough sheet. It will be helpful to roll out the dough sheet on a floured dough mat.

  • I usually first measure and mark the short side (30cm) of two center points and then connect the center line.
  • Secondly, I then mark the 8cm, 16cm, 24cm, and 32 com points on both long sides (40cm).
  • Lastly, I connect the two diagonal points and then cut accordingly.

How to Fold Homemade Croissants?

Make a small cut on the center of the equilateral triangle base. With the left hand (or less dominant hand) gently hold the triangle center to the dough mat, use the right hand (or dominant hand) to gently pull the dough sheet to stretch out the triangle bottom part just a little bit.

triangle puff pastry dough sheet for making croissants

Then starting from the base, tightly roll up and place the roll on the parchment-lined baking pan. The end of the dough sheet should face down. The small cut on the base makes it easier to roll it tight. It also helps form this cute crescent shape.

freshly folded croissant on the parchment paper lined baking pan

How to Bake Homemade Croissants?

After you’ve done with all the croissants, place the baking pan in a closed area, such as the oven to let it rise until it doubles its size. This usually takes about 2 hours.

croissants double their sizes in the baking pan

Remove the baking pan from the oven. Turn on the oven to bake and set to 400 F (205 C) degrees. While waiting for the oven, make the egg wash.

Add one large egg yolk and 1/2 tbsp milk to a small bowl, and whisk to blend. I usually use a pair of chopsticks to do so. Using only egg yolk instead of the whole egg gives the croissant a more pigmented color. Use an egg separator to separate egg yolk from egg white.

egg wash

Use a pastry brush to gently dip the egg wash and apply to the croissants.

brush croissants with egg wash

By now the oven should be ready. Place the pan in the middle rack, bake for 10 minutes at 400 F (205 C), and then reduce the temperature to 350 F (177 C) and bake for 20 minutes.

All done! Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool on the wired rack for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

Homemade Croissants Recipe
homemade croissants recipe

Homemade Croissants Recipe

Yield: 18 croissants
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

I am beyond ecstatic to share my proven & tested recipe for homemade croissants. Making croissants requires precision and execution of the plan according to the blueprint. I have sketched out the "How to Make Croissants at Home" step-by-step diagrams just for that.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, organic unbleached, 330 g
  • 12 tbsp butter, unsalted organic {2 tbsp for the dough, 10 tbsp for making butter block}
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, 190 g
  • 12 g cane sugar, organic unrefined
  • 5 g honey
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt, such as Himalayan pink salt

For Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp milk, whole milk

Instructions

Reference below the "How to Make Croissants at Home" diagram and familiarize yourself with the croissants-making process.
homemade croissant work flow step by step diagram

Make the Dough:

  • Gather ingredients for the dough - 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp butter (softened), 3/4 cup milk, 12 g cane sugar, 5 g honey, 2 tsp instant yeast, and 1 tsp salt.
    croissant dough ingredients
  • Add everything to a stand mixer bowl, using a kitchen scale to help measure the amount. Use a silicone spatula to fold the flour into the wet ingredients. Attach the mixer with the dough hook and turn the stand mixer to low, let it run for about 3 minutes, or till it forms a soft dough. If you are using a different type of flour, then add milk gradually.
    soft dough
  • Place the dough in a glass container or ziplock bag and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • At the same time, put the 10 tbsp organic unsalted butter in the freezer to chill.

Encase the Butter:

  • After 30 minutes, we can start making the butter block. First, we cut the butter into tiny cubes.
  • Remove the butter from the freezer, and cut it into super thin slices per the long side. Flip the stack of butter slices 90 degrees and cut again super thin slices per the long side. Lastly, cut the butter across along the short side into tiny cubes.
    cut butter into tiny cubes
  • Line the small stainless steel baking pan with the unbleached parchment paper. Eyeball the area of 12cm x 17cm, and then pile it with an even layer of tiny butter cubes.
    cut butter into tiny cubes and form an even layer in the stainless baking pan lined with parchment paper
  • Cover the butter with another piece of parchment paper, and then use both palms to press down to compact the butter. Remember to organize the corners and sides along the way to maintain a 12cm x 17cm rectangle shape. Also, level the butter by sweeping while pressing down using your thumbs.
    make a butter block in the baking pan for making croissants
  • Place the baking in the fridge to chill.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured dough mat.
    rested dough on the dough mat
  • Use a heavy rolling pin to press down and gradually roll out to a rectangle of 25cm x 18cm. See the below Diagram for your reference. In terms of how to roll out a perfect rectangle, remember to organize the corners along the way. It also helps you start from the center and then roll out diagonally to four corners, and then roll across up and down in the center.
    how to encase butter diagram
  • Once you have the 25cm x 18cm dough sheet, remove the butter block from the fridge and place it on one side, see the champagne-colored block in the above diagram. Then fold the other part of the dough sheet over to cover the butter. Last but not least, seal the edges and ensure the butter is completely sealed. Now you shall have an approximate 12cm x 17cm dough sheet with butter encased. Place this dough sheet in a ziplock bag and lay it flat in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you proceed to fold the dough.
    how to encase butter diagram

Fold the Croissant Dough:

  • We altogether fold the dough twice, one quad-fold and one tri-fold, and chill the dough for 30 minutes between each fold and afterward.
    homemade croissant work flow step by step diagram
  • After 30 minutes, remove the dough sheet from the fridge and lay it on the lightly floured dough mat. Let the short side (~ 12 cm) facing you. Using a similar technique to roll out the long side (~17 cm) to about 40 cm. See below “How to Make Croissants Diagram 2” for reference.
    how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough
  • Find the center line, fold down the top part fold up the bottom part, and then fold over the center line. Now you shall have 4 layer-dough sheets, an approximately 12cm x 20cm rectangle. Store this dough sheet rectangle in the same ziplock bag and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough
  • After 30 minutes, remove the dough sheet from the fridge, flip the dough 90 degrees, and lay it on the lightly floured dough mat. Now the long side (20 cm) should face you. Using a similar technique to roll out the short side (~12 cm) to approximately 36 cm. See below “How to Make Croissants at Home Diagram 3” for your reference.
    how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough
  • Imagine dividing the rectangle dough sheet's long side into three equal portions. First, fold down the top 1/3, and then fold up the bottom 1/3 by overlapping each other. This is a tri-fold, also known as a letter fold. Now you have a rectangle dough sheet approximately 20cm x 12 cm. Store the dough sheet in the same ziplock bag lay it flat in the fridge and let it chill for 30 minutes.
    how to make croissants diagram how to fold the dough

Cut the Croissant Dough Sheet and Fold the Croissants:

  • This recipe makes 1.5 dozen (18) regular-sized croissants plus 4 haves. Perfect to bake in the larger stainless baking pan. Line the baking pan with a heavy-duty parchment paper.
  • Each croissant uses an equilateral triangle dough sheet with a base of about 8 cm and a height of about 15 cm. See below “How to Make Croissant at Home 4” Diagram for more details.
    how to cut puff pastry dough sheet for croissants
  • Gradually roll out the dough sheet from 20cm x 12 cm to 40cm x 30cm using a gentle but firm technique, and make sure not to let the butter leak out of the dough.
  • Use a dough cutter to measure and mark the short side (30cm) of two center points and then connect the center line. Then measure and mark the 8cm, 16cm, 24cm, and 32 com points on both long sides (40cm). Lastly, I connect the two diagonal points and then cut accordingly per the yellow lines in the Diagram.
    how to cut puff pastry dough sheet for croissants
  • Each of the equilateral triangles in the diagram makes one croissant. For the halves, you can either assemble them into 2 croissants or make a mini croissant out of the half croissant sheet. If you make mini, place them in the lower rack during the baking as they take less time to bake due to their smaller sizes.
    how to cut puff pastry dough sheet for croissants
  • Pick up one triangle dough sheet, and make a small cut on the center of the equilateral triangle base. With the left hand (or less dominant hand) gently hold the triangle center to the dough mat, use the right hand (or dominant hand) to gently pull the dough sheet to stretch out the triangle bottom part just a little bit. Not only this gesture helps rolling, it also facilitates the cooking and ultimately makes the croissants taste better as inner part of the croissants become more airy.
    triangle puff pastry dough sheet for making croissants
  • Starting from the base, tightly roll up and place the roll on the parchment-lined baking pan. The end of the dough sheet should face down. The small cut on the base makes it easier to roll it tight. It also helps form this cute crescent shape.
  • Repeat this until you've done with all croissants.
    freshly folded croissants

Proof and Bake the Croissants:

  • Place the baking pan in the closed oven and let it proof to rise for 2 hours, or till it almost doubles its size.
    freshly folded croissants
  • While waiting, make an egg wash. Separate egg yolk and egg white and place the egg yolk in a small bowl. Add 1/2 tbsp milk and use a pair of chop sticks to whisk to blend & combine. Set it a side.
    egg wash
  • At the end of 2 hours, or till the croissants have doubled their size, remove the baking pan from the oven. Turn the oven on to 400 F (205 C) to preheat the oven.
  • While waiting, use a soft pastry brush to dab the egg wash and gently brush over the croissants. Do not try to get too much egg wash at a time. Rather, two multile rounds of thin layers.
    brush croissants with egg wash
  • By now the oven should be ready. Place the pan in the middle rack, bake 10 minutes at 400 F (205 C), and then reduce the temperature to 350 F (177 C) and bake for 20 minutes.
  • All done! Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool on the wired rack for about 20 minutes and enjoy!
    homemade French Croissant Recipe

Notes

  • I recommend using two types of rolling pins, the classic pin for easier pressing down the dough, and the extra-long wooden rolling pin to roll out the final dough sheet. The 17.7 inches (45cm) extra-long solid wood rolling pin is perfect for rolling out a consistent thickness dough sheet which is 30m x 40 cm.

Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 169Total Fat 8.2gSaturated Fat 5.5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2.7gCholesterol 20mgSodium 132mgCarbohydrates 18.7gFiber 2.9gSugar 1.3gProtein 6.7g

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