When you make homemade croissants, you’ll instantly transport yourself to France. And by instantly, I mean over the course of two days because the pastry dough for homemade croissants sits in the refrigerator overnight. So while this certainly didn’t provide instant gratification, I felt so satisfied having conquered one of my baking fears: laminating pastry.
And there’s nothing better than a buttery, flaky, croissant, right? Especially when you are feeling pretty darn smug about the fact that you made them yourself.
- 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons warm water
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 cups cold milk
- 5 cups flour, plus more for working
- 2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- To mix the dough by hand in a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk, the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a sticky ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge until chilled, about 40 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling make the butter. I put all 4 sticks of butter in a gallon sized ziplock bag, and then using a rolling pin, beat the butter on a work surface to flatten it. Continue to gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to shape the butter into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle. Once the butter is in the shape of a rectangle place it back in the fridge to stiffen up again. (About 45 minutes).
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, place the butter in the middle of the dough. Fold the ends up like a letter. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then fold over the remaining lower half and press the edges together to seal. Turn dough again so the short side is facing you, and use the rolling pin to press down equally on the dough to help flatten it. Roll dough into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. Then fold the dough like a letter again, with a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down. Use your hands to pull the dough into a rectangle shape. You should now have a roughly 11 x 6 inch rectangle. This completes the first turn. Repeat the process then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes. Return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 2 more turns, rolling, folding and chilling the dough each time, for a total of 4 turns. After the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight (I refrigerated mine overnight).
- To form the croissants, cut the dough in half and place one half in the fridge while working with the other half. Roll out one half of the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 9-by-18-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife cut the dough in half lengthwise, and then cut the dough into triangles. Then roll the croissant up, pushing the sides out to either side.
- Place on a baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. The croissants don't grow large like other doughs do. After one hour, preheat to 425 F (218 C). Lightly brush the tops of the pastries with the egg mixture. Bake the pastries, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. (I topped mine with Nutella, unsurprisingly.)
- If you want to see a step by step guide with photos, Half Baked Harvest has a really helpful photo guide!
I ate mine with a very generous helping of Nutella.
Have you ever tried making croissants? Or would you rather just get them from the bakery?