Real French Croissants

Making croissants has been on our food bucket list for a while. We were waiting for an opportunity to have an evening and morning together to collaborate on them, and it finally happened! And, oh, they were worth the wait. So buttery and flaky and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. These really need to happen on more weekends that aren't booked solid.

The interesting thing about croissants is that you probably think they are a tricky thing to make, but that's just not true. Time consuming, yes, but not hard. You just need to be around to tend to the dough for a few minutes every few hours, but most of the time that goes into them is just waiting. You can do it!

Also: this recipe is based on Julia Child's. So you know it's going to be fantastic.

Real French Croissants

servings: 12 croissants
time: plan on 24 hours start to finish - but it's only about 1 hour active labor time

  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 sticks high-quality butter
  • 1 egg (for eggwash)
  1. Mix yeast, water, and sugar in a large bowl to let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour and salt in the stand of your mixer.
  3. Add milk and oil to yeast mixture, then add that to your flour.
  4. Mix until well combined, then attach your dough hook attachment and let your machine knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a bit more flour during the kneading process if your dough seems too sticky, but don't overdo it.
  5. Grease your large bowl and place your dough in. Cover tightly and set aside until dough has tripled in size, roughly 3 hours.
  6. Lightly flour your counter, turn the dough out, and fold over several times. Place back in the bowl, cover tightly, and let rise for another 2 hours.
  7. Turn dough out and fold several times again. Return to bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
  8. In the morning, take out your cold butter and roll it out between two sheets of wax paper (you may need to warm it slightly with your hands to soften it enough for rolling).
  9. Flour your counter and turn out the dough. Roll dough out to about 14"x 8" and cover with rolled out butter.
  10. Fold dough into thirds as you would fold a letter.
  11. Flour dough lightly and roll out again. Fold into thirds again, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  12. Flour counter and roll dough out again. Fold into thirds. Roll again and fold again, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  13. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  14. Flour counter and roll dough into a roughly 20"x 5" rectangle. Cut it in half so you have two strips that are 10"x5". Refrigerate one of the strips while you work with the other.
  15. Roll strip out to 15"x 5". Cut it into thirds so you have three 5"x 5" pieces.
  16. Cut each square diagonally to make two triangles. You should have six triangles.
  17. Roll each triangle out to be about 7"x 6".
  18. Roll the dough around itself, starting with the wide base of the triangle and ending with the tip on the outside of your roll. Curve the ends to make a crescent and place on your prepared baking sheet.
  19. Repeat this process with all remaining dough.
  20. Cover the baking sheets and let rise for about 2 hours, until the dough has tripled in size.
  21. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  22. Uncover croissants, brush with eggwash, and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  23. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then eat!
Note: If you have leftover croissants, wrap them in foil and reheat them in a toaster oven.

Some pictures from the process:

If you worry about your milk being too hot or too cold when making bread, heat it on the stove and use a candy thermometer.

The dough rises for so long that it becomes hugely poofy!

There will be lots of folding throughout this project. Thankfully, it's easy.

Let's hope you like rolling dough, because you'll be doing that a lot, too. ALL WORTH IT. And this dough rolls out very easily, it's really not hard.

We laid our rolled out butter on top of the rolled dough and carefully removed the wax paper. It worked well.

Layers are joined and ready for folding!

Just in case some of you don't know how to fold a letter...first one third...

Then the other! Easy-peasy.

Wrap tightly. Repeat these steps many times - rise dough, roll dough, fold dough.

We're finally read to start shaping our croissants! Cut dough into 5"x 5" squares...

Then cut them on the diagonal to make the triangles that we will roll into crescents.

Don't forget to roll out your triangles to make them a little larger.

Now roll them tightly over themselves, starting with the wide triangle base and ending with the tip. Then curve the ends to make a crescent shape.

We made a double batch because we wanted lots of croissants. This recipe makes twelve, but feel free to follow our example and double it!

Ta-daaaaa! Fancy french croissants!



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