The Perfect Homemade Croissants
One of the most delicious pastries you can prepare from scratch is the croissant. I’ve tested several recipes for homemade croissants over the years. Every time I try a recipe, I get a good result but not ideal. Therefore, I’ve created my own recipe for the perfect homemade croissants by adjusting the recipes I’ve already tried.
Therefore, I present to you my detailed, step by step recipe. Yes, making it requires a lot of determination and patience, but it is totally worth it. Also, I don’t think that creating the perfect homemade croissants is hard, but it is time consuming. Once you take a bite of that buttery flaky pastry you will forget that it took a whole day and twenty-four steps to achieve this perfection.
Why should you make homemade croissants?
Most people wouldn’t attempt this recipe because it is easier to buy croissants than make them, but unless you live in France you won’t be able to find a croissant on the market that can compare to the homemade. In order to extend their shelf life, the store-bought croissants are usually wrapped in plastic and filled with preservatives. Those delicious pastries lose their crunchy, buttery flaky qualities once they are wrapped and put in a box. Many bakers add questionable fats and ingredients into croissants to make them last longer. I personally want to know what I put in my body. So, when I crave a croissant, I make it on my own.
I know that as a nutritionist I shouldn’t recommend you croissants, but they are a food for the soul. I believe that a good food is the one made with real ingredients. My advice is to nourish the body with nutritious foods every single day and to feed the soul once in a while with irresistible pastries like the croissant. I prepare these croissants several times in a year. When I make them, I try to enjoy every little bite. I close my eyes and I imagine that I own a bakery in France and I’m testing the first batch of croissants before I display them.
The Perfect Homemade Croissants
For the dough
- 1 cup slightly warm whole milk (100-110F) no other milk would work
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 ½ cups flour I use all purpose, bleached, pre-sifted
For the butter layer
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- flour for dusting while rolling the dough
- 1 egg yolk for the egg wash
- 1 Tbsp whole milk for the egg wash
- 1 Tbsp melted butter for greasing the ziplock bag
- In a mixing bowl add the milk, sugar, melted butter, yeast, one cup of flour and the salt. Do not add all the flour at once.
- Using a stand mixer knead on medium speed for a few minutes or until it is mixed well.
- Stop the mixer and add another cup of flour to the mixing bowl.
- Start kneading on low and gradually increase the speed to incorporate all the flour. The dough should look slightly sticky at the end of this step.
- Reduce the speed of the stand mixer to low and gradually add the rest of the flour (1/2 cup). The dough should be firm. Not sticky. All flour should be incorporated. If the dough sticks to your fingers a lot add a little bit more flour.
- Melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter and pour it to ziplock bag. Grease the whole bag with butter. Add the dough to the greased ziplock bag and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- To make the butter layer. Slice the butter into thin strips and place them in the center of a piece of parchment paper, forming a rectangle (about 9 x7 in). Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the butter and using a rolling pin, roll the butter into a rectangle to fill the gaps between individual strips. Trim the edges and place them in the middle of the butter layer.
- Form an envelope from the parchment paper around the butter layer. Put it in a ziplock bag and into the fridge.
- Once the dough has rested for at least 3 hours remove it from the refrigerator and roll it on a floured surface to a rectangle (about 20 inches long). Dust with flour and flip the dough to prevent it from sticking to the surface during rolling.
- Add the butter layer in the middle of the dough rectangle and fold the edges towards the middle to enclose the butter.
- Rotate the dough and roll it to a rectangle (about 20 inches long and 10 wide) one more time. Make sure you flour the dough and your surface to prevent sticking.
- Once rolled to the desired length fold the dough in thirds (each end towards the middle). Wrap it into the parchment paper that was used for the butter and put it in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
- Repeat the rolling out (into a 10×20” rectangle) and folding it in thirds method 2 more times making sure to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes in between (wrapped in parchment paper and ziplock). In total, you should have have rolled and chilled at least 3 times.
- On the last roll and fold, place the dough in the fridge overnight.
- On the next morning the dough should be slightly larger in size. Cut the dough in half and you should be able to see all the buttery layers you've created.
- Put one half of the dough back in the ziplock and in the refrigerator and roll the other half to a 10 x 20'' rectangle.
- Cut the rectangle to 6-8 triangles (depending on how big you want your croissants). Cut the base of each triangle.
- Roll the croissants. Pinch the ends together.
- Repeat the same process with the other half of the dough.
- In a small bowl whisk an egg yolk and a tablespoon of whole milk together. Brush each croissant and place them in a slightly warm oven (about 110 F).
- Let them proof for 60 minutes.
- Remove the croissants from the oven and preheat it to 400F. Keep them away from drafts and vents while the oven is preheating.
- Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. (If you can resist them for so long).