Homemade croissants made with fresh puff pastry is the finest thing you can bake. The down-side is the dough takes about 3 days to make. However, once the dough is made, it keeps in the freezer for a very long time. So if you know you want fresh croissants on Easter Sunday morning, you can go ahead and make the dough now and put it in the “freezer bank” for later. On the other hand, if you want them to impress your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, you may want to get started this weekend.
Also puff pastry dough is very versatile. I use it for all sorts of other things besides croissants like Caramel Apple Tarts, Soup Garnishes, Pig –in-a-Puff and many other things.
This recipe originated from a pastry book I bought some years ago – Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads by Ciril Hitz. I’m adding my own tips and tricks below. I weigh out my ingredients for consistency but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, I’m adding the ingredient volumes also.
Scratch Made Croissants
Whole Milk: 310 g or 1 ¼ cups
Flour: 690 g or 5 ½ cups
Eggs: 100 g or 2 eggs
Sugar: 80 g or 1/3 cup
Salt: 13 g or 1 ½ tsp
Yeast: 9 g or 2 tsp
Unsalted Butter: 28 g or 2 Tbsp
330 g or 1 ½ cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 Days Before Baking
Bring eggs and milk to room temperature. Place all dough ingredients, (milk and eggs first to prevent sticking) in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a dough hook mix at low speed until the dough comes together, around 3-4 minutes
Form dough into a ball and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until it has doubled in size (around 2 hours).
On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to a 9×13 rectangle and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Fold a 13”x18” sheet of parchment paper in half like a book. Place softened butter in the middle and, pounding and rolling with your rolling pin, form a 5”x7” rectangle of butter. Fold over the excess parchment paper sides to form an envelope.
Place butter block into refrigerator.
1 Day Before Baking
Remove dough from refrigerator and place in the freezer for about half an hour.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to about 12’x20”. Remove butter block from refrigerator and soften slightly by rubbing the parchment back and forth along the edge of the counter until butter is semi-pliable. Remove butter from parchment and place in the middle of the dough, with the short ends of the butter block meeting the long ends of the dough. Fold the dough edges over to meet in the middle then press the edges together to form a seam.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick. Trim the short edges straight with a knife or pastry wheel. Save the scraps for later use. Fold one end of the dough up two thirds of the way onto itself then fold the remaining third of the dough on top to create a trifold.
Having the shorter end to you, roll out the dough into another long rectangle. Once again trim the edges slightly and make another trifold. Place dough back on the parchment-lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let the dough chill at least 30 minutes (or even over-night if you forget).
Once rested, on a lightly floured surface, using the same technique, make one final trifold. Congratulations! You now have 27 layers of dough and butter!
Return dough to parchment-lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour. Then remove from freezer and put in refrigerator overnight.
NOTE: At this point, if you want to store the dough in the freezer for later use, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a gallon size Ziploc bag. You will want to place dough back in the refrigerator overnight before you intend to use it. It will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.
BAKING DAY – YAY!
Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes then remove and roll dough into a large rectangle about ¼” thickness. If you need a rest while rolling, put the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Going along the long end of the dough, mark out 3” rectangles and cut using a pastry wheel or knife. Then cut those rectangles on the diagonal to form triangles. NOTE: If you want to fill your croissant with something like chocolate or ham and cheese, now is the time – simply place a small portion at the base of the triangle only. Starting at the base of the triangle, roll dough up into croissant shape (don’t roll too tightly.). Place croissants on a parchment-lined sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 360 degrees. Once croissants have risen, brush tops with a well beaten egg. Bake for around 20 minutes. Croissants are done when a nice golden brown develops on the crust.
Cool on a wire rack. These croissants are best consumed within a day of baking so……