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Classic French Croissants

Thebakingchronicles
Light and airy and crisp, with a deeply caramelised buttery flavor
Prep Time 12 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 13 hrs
Servings 16 croissants

Ingredients
  

  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 350 ml milk

Butter Layer

  • 340 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 15 g all-purpose flour
  • egg wash
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 ml milk

Instructions
 

Make The Dough

  • Cut the butter into pieces and place in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer or no mixer). Add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Gently combine the ingredients. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the milk. Once all of the milk is added, beat the dough for at least 5 full minutes. The dough will be soft.If after 5 minutes the dough is too sticky, keep the mixer running until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Remove dough from the bowl and, with floured hands, work it into a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured silicone baking mat lined, lightly floured parchment paper lined, or lightly floured baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough out, as I do in the video above, and cover with plastic wrap. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Shape The Dough

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Begin flattening out the dough with your hands. Roll it into a rectangle. The dough isn’t extremely cold after only 30 minutes in the refrigerator, so it will feel more like soft play-doh. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working the edges with your hands and rolling pin until you have a rectangle.

Rest

  • Place the rolled out dough back onto the baking sheet, cover the rolled out dough with plastic wrap, place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the covered dough to rest in the refrigerator for 5 hours.

Butter Layer

  • Butter layer: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and flour together until smooth and combined. Transfer the mixture to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Using a spoon or small spatula, smooth out into a rectangle. Place the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the butter layer for 30 minutes. You want the butter layer firm, but still pliable. If it gets too firm, let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes to gently soften. The more firm the butter layer is the more difficult it will be to laminate the dough.

Laminate The Dough

  • You need to roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Do this on a lightly floured surface. Remove both the dough and butter layers from the refrigerator. Place the butter layer in the centre of the dough and fold each end of the dough over it.
  • Seal the dough edges over the butter layer with your fingers. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Roll back and forth with the shorter end of the dough facing you. Use your fingers if you need to. The dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. This was the 1st turn. If the dough is now too warm to work with, place folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 2nd turn. 

2nd Turn

  • Turn the dough so the short end is facing you. Roll the dough out once again into a rectangle, then fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. The dough must be refrigerated between the 2nd and 3rd turn. Place the folded dough on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before the 3rd turn.

3rd Turn

  • Roll the dough out once again into a rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds as if you were folding a letter. 

Rest

  • Place the folded dough on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5 hours.

Shape The Croissants

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into rectangle. Use your fingers. Once again, the dough is very cold, so it will take a lot of arm muscle to roll. The dough will want to be oval shaped, but keep working it with your hands and rolling pin until you have the correct size rectangle.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the dough in half vertically. Then cut 3 even slices horizontally, yielding rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles. Work with one triangle at a time. Using your fingers or a rolling pin, stretch the triangle. Do this gently as you do not want to flatten the layers. Then tightly roll up into a crescent shape making sure the tip is underneath. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the shaped croissants on 2 lined baking sheets.
  • Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour, then place in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C.
  • Egg wash: Whisk the egg wash ingredients together. Remove the croissants from the refrigerator. Brush each lightly with egg wash.

Bake The Croissants

  • Bake until croissants are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. Remove croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. Croissants taste best the same day they’re baked. 

Notes

Croissants are perfect for getting started ahead of time. The dough can rest for 4 hours or overnight. You can also freeze the dough after the 3rd turn in the lamination process. Instead of the 4 hour rest in the refrigerator, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, place in a freezer zipped-top bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. 
Keep dough cold, Make sure the dough is always cold. If it warms up too much, stop what you’re doing and place the dough back in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.