Classic French Croissant

This recipe is an adaptation from the recipe for Classic Croissants by Jeffrey Hamelman. Before you start I recommend watching any croissant making video to get a general feel on laminating and shaping.

This recipe will yield about 15 good croissants plus some leftover bits which you can use to make a few, slightly odd shaped ones, or other inventive croissant-like creations. Keep in mind that the type / brand of flour and butter also makes a difference. Try a few flours to find the one in your area which hits the balance between strength and flexibility. The same with butter, it needs to be pliable but not too soft. I used Amul butter.

Lastly, don’t get scared with the recipe or with the time. Croissants are time consuming but fairly easy if you get the technique right.

PS- I have shared pictures of the process for you all to understand. All those pictures that are not watermarked are taken from Internet for reference purposes.

Ingredients for the Croissant Dough:

  1. 500 g all-purpose flour / plain flour (extra for dusting)
  2. 140 g water
  3. 140 g whole milk (you can take it straight from the fridge)
  4. 55 g sugar
  5. 40 g soft unsalted butter
  6. 11 g instant yeast
  7. 12 g salt

Other ingredients:

  • 280 g cold unsalted butter for laminating
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp water for the egg wash or milk wash
  • Amul Cheese + mozzarella for stuffing
  • Garlic Powder, thyme, oregano and chilli flakes for sprinkling over hot croissants.

Choose a cold time of the day with a room away from direct sunlight or any heat. This way you will have more time for the whole process and less chance of your precious butter being absorbed by the dough.
The key is to keep the butter solid between the layers of dough, this is what gives the croissant its flaky layers.

DAY 1: Making the croissant dough:

I usually do this part in the evening. Combine the dough ingredients and knead for 5 to 6 minutes by hand, or for 3 mins at low to medium speed, until the dough comes together and you’ve reached the stage of low to moderate gluten development. You do not want too much gluten development because you will struggle with the dough fighting back during laminating. Shape the dough like a disc, not a ball, before you refrigerate it, so it will be easier to roll it into a square shape the following day. Place the disc on a plate, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.

DAY 2: Making the butter slab:

Cut the cold butter (directly from the fridge) lengthwise into thick slabs. Arrange the pieces of butter on waxed paper to form a square of about 15 cm x 15 cm. Cover the butter with another layer of waxed paper and with a rolling pin pound butter until it’s about 19 cm x 19 cm. Trim / straighten the edges of the butter and put the trimmings on top of the square. Now pound lightly until you have a final square of 17 cm x 17 cm. Wrap in paper and refrigerate the butter slab until needed.

Laminating the Dough:

  • Take the dough out of the fridge. With a rolling pin roll out the dough disc into a 26 cm x 26 cm square.
  • Try to get the square as perfect as possible and with an even thickness.
  • Get the slab of butter from the fridge. Place the dough square so one of the sides of the square is facing you and place the butter slab on it with a 45 degree angle to the dough so a point of the butter square is facing you.
  • Fold a flap of dough over the butter, so the point of the dough reaches the centre of the butter. Do the same with the three other flaps. The edges of the dough flaps should slightly overlap to fully enclose the butter. With the palm of your hand lightly press the edges to seal the seams.

  • Now the dough with the sealed in butter needs to be rolled out. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling out, on a lightly flour dusted surface, the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 60 cm.

  • Start rolling from the center of the dough towards the edges, and not from one side of the dough all the way to the other side. This technique helps you to keep the dough at an even thickness.
  • You can also rotate your dough 180 degrees to keep it more even, because you tend to use more pressure when rolling away from you than towards yourself.
  • You can use these techniques during all the rolling steps of this recipe. Aim at lengthening the dough instead of making it wider and try to keep all edges as straight as possible.

Fold the dough letter style, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (fold one third of the dough on top of itself and then fold the other side over it). Repeat the rolling and folding two more times (ending up with 27 layers of butter in total), each time rolling until the dough is about 20 cm x 60 cm. After each fold you should turn the dough 90 degrees before rolling again. The open ‘end’ of the dough should be towards you every time when rolling out the dough. After the second turn, again give it a 30 minute rest in the fridge. After the third turn you leave the dough in the fridge overnight until day 3, the actual croissant making day!

Sometimes the dough will resist to get any longer than for example 45 cm, stop rolling and pressing the dough, it will only hurt your layers. At any stage when the rolling of the dough gets harder you can cover the dough and let the gluten relax for 10 to 20 minutes in the fridge before continuing.

In short do this :
  1. Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm, fold
  2. Refrigerate 30 minutes
  3. Rotate 90 degrees
  4. Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm, fold
  5. Refrigerate 30 minutes
  6. Rotate 90 degrees
  7. Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm, fold
  8. Refrigerate until day 3
  9. Rotate 90 degrees
  10. Roll out to 20 cm x 110

Each laminating step should not take more than a few minutes. However if, due to initial inexperience for example, it should take you longer, you can fold your dough letter style, cover it and refrigerate it for 20 minutes and continue the rolling process after this rest. It is very important the butter stays solid.

DAY 3: Dividing the dough:

Take the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface. Now very gently roll the dough into a long and narrow strip of 20 cm x 110 cm. If the dough starts to resist too much or shrink back during this process you can fold it in thirds and give it a rest in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes before continuing. Do not fight the dough, when the dough refuses to get any longer, rest it in the fridge.

When your dough has reached its intended shape, carefully lift it a few centimeters to allow it to naturally shrink back from both sides. This way it will not shrink when you cut it. Your strip of dough should be long enough to allow you to trim the ends to make them straight and still be left with a length of about 100 cm.

Shaping the Croissants:

  • For the next stage you will need a tape measure and a pizza wheel. Mark each strip into triangles that are 5 cm wide at their bases. You could make bigger croissants as well. Basically Cut the triangles of equal size.
  • Using your pizza wheel, make 1.5 cm long notches in the center of the short side of each dough triangle.
  • Now very gently elongate each triangle to about 25 cm. This is often done by hand, merely by stretching or you could do it with a rolling pin. You can try both methods and see what you think gives the best result.

  • After you cut a notch in the middle of the short end of the triangle, stuff cheese and roll the two wings by moving your hands outwards from the center, creating the desired shape with a thinner, longer point. Also try and roll the dough very tightly at the beginning and put enough pressure on the dough to make the layers stick together (but not so much as to damage the layers of course).

Proofing and baking:

  • Arrange the shaped croissants on baking sheets, making sure to keep enough space between them so they will not touch when proofing and baking. Combine the egg with a teaspoon of water and whisk until smooth. Give the croissants their first thin coating of egg wash. Or give milk wash if you don’t want to use egg.

  • Proof the croissants draft-free at an ideal temperature of 24ºC to 26.5ºC / 76ºF to 79ºF (above that temperature there is a big chance butter will leak out!). I just leave it anywhere on the kitchen counter away from direct sunlight . The proofing should take about 2 hours. You should be able to tell if they are ready by carefully shaking the baking sheet and see if the croissants slightly wiggle. You should also be able to see the layers of dough when looking at your croissants from the side.

Preheat the oven at 200º C.

  • Right before baking, give the croissants their second thin coat of egg wash and sprinkle garlic powder. Then I baked the croissants in my oven for 10 minutes at 200ºC, then lowering the temperature to 160ºC, and bake them for another 8 to 9 minutes. You want them to be golden brown on top. Take out of the oven, sprinkle the oregano and thyme leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Serve warm with a cup of coffee!

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s