Prepare yourselves, y’all. Because today I bring you the most simplified and dummy-proof croissant dough recipe you will ever find. How do I know this? Well, because I attempted to create these bad boys from scratch at least 6 times (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that it was probably more) before I reached FINAL success.
So my job is now to demystify the infamous layered pastry dough that kicked my butt for weeks. Let me tell you, the first time I tried making these it turned out just short of a disaster. Brick biscuits, anyone? The second, the dough was too soft and turned into a giant pile of mush. After trying again (and again…and again), I can say with confidence that I have finally found a recipe that works and the most important TIPS so this pastry is accessible to the average Joe.
- Use a kitchen scale instead of measuring cups/spoons. I know… what a PAIN. Can’t I just scoop and measure then go? The short answer is, eh, not really. Trust me, as someone who wants cooking extravagant things to be as simple as possible I tried this a few times. The problem is that it just isn’t exact enough. Sometimes your flour might be packed more than others, cups slightly under filled or overfilled. Unfortunately, this could be just enough to sabotage your croissants. So while it might seem unnecessary, I promise this is the first major step towards success. You might even end up liking using a scale more. Maybe?
- Use bread flour. AGAIN a pain! I must be killing you, here. Can’t I just use my normal old bag of flour from the cabinet? Well, you can. You could also forgo layering the dough and butter and just mush it all together with your hands. Point is that it makes a difference. Bread flour has a higher level of gluten making it nice and strong. So while it’s a bit harder to roll out, it makes your dough less likely to break and bleed the butter and dough together. We are going for layers here people! Bread flour will make your process just a little bit more fool-proof.
- Patience. *Giant sigh here*. I. Am. So. IMPATIENT. Like honestly probably one of the most impatient people you will ever meet. It is not a trait I am proud of but it’s a fact. So telling me that I have to wait THIRTY MINUTES between each fold-and-roll? Torture. Pure torture. But, this is probably the biggest and absolute most important tip. Trust me, TRUST ME, I tried to cut corners with this. I tried waiting 10 minutes, sticking it in the freezer for 5. You name it to cut wait time to chill and I promise you that I tried it on this croissant journey. I have to tell you, folks. You just cannot cut corners with this step. You can’t skip. You can’t rush. The reason is that if the butter and dough get warm and are not nice and stiff, they start blending together into a mush and those layers you were folding so intricately to achieve? Well they practically melt away into nothing. So seriously, go into this recipe with a relaxed mindset knowing that you must be patient and it will take a while. What is that old saying? It’ll be worth the wait? Plan this for a weekend-long recipe with a few bottles of wine and mimosas. Start on a Saturday morning, have a few glasses and relax between each rolling giving the dough the full time it needs to rest. Let it sit in the fridge overnight and shape and bake them Sunday.
Another small tip that might help you with this is not to stress TOO much about the letter folds and rolling blah blah blah nonsense. There are plenty of videos on this ol’ internet machine for how to laminate pastry dough. And keep in mind that the end goal is for layers, so don’t get too finicky about doing it exactly to perfection.
So with that, I wish you all good luck! Let me know how these turned out for you. Do you have any tricks of your own? Please share!
200 grams whole milk
258 grams half&half
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp salt
43 grams sugar
75 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
794 grams bread flour
37 grams bread flour
454 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp whole milk
Dough hook attachment
11×16 inch baking sheet
Natural bristle brush
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Wait Time: 7 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Make the Dough::
Start by combining all of the dough ingredients into the stand mixer. Mix on the lowest setting with the dough hook for about 10 minutes until it is all combined into a fairly firm dough. Take it out of the bowl and knead it a few times to make a smooth ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes
Make the Butter Layer::
Wash out and dry your stand mixer. Dump the butter and flour into the mixer and combine with the paddle attachment on a medium speed until smooth. This will take about 2 minutes.
While the butter is combining, cut a piece of parchment paper that fits perfectly into your baking sheet. When the butter is done mixing, spread it onto 2/3 of the parchment paper, staying about 1 inch away from each of the edges. You should have a slab of butter about 10×9.5 inches. Cover it lightly with plastic wrap and let set for about 20 minutes.
Make the Layered Dough::
While keeping the butter in the refrigerator so it stays nice and firm, take the dough out and lightly flour your clean work surface. Roll out the dough to as close the size of the baking sheet as you can get. This part will take some muscle, but keep working at it and eventually you’ll get it there! It helps to gently keep pulling out the corners as you go so it stays in a rectangle shape and not an oval.
Once your dough is rolled to the proper size, take out the butter slab. Place it onto the dough, aligning it with the bottom edge so it covers 2/3 of the dough just like it covered 2/3 of the baking sheet. Fold the top of the dough (the portion with no butter) over, then the bottom up so there are 3 layers of dough. This is called a letter fold. Your dough should have it’s longest side going left to right. Turn your dough 90 degrees so that the long side is now going in the up-down direction. Once again, use some strength to roll the dough into the size of the baking sheet again. If butter starts globbing out of the edges (yes, I’ve decided globbing is a word), put it back in the fridge for a few minutes. This happens when the butter is warmer and therefore softer than the dough. If it is basically impossible to roll out, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes as this means the butter is colder and then too hard for the dough.
Once you have the dough rolled to the size of the baking sheet, again create a letter fold by folding down the top 1/3 then up the bottom 1/3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, repeat the rolling and folding process 2 more times so that is has gone through the process 3 times total. This folding and rolling process is called laminating the dough. If you need more assistance with visualizing the process, try looking up videos titled “How to Laminate Croissant Dough”.
After the third time of rolling and folding the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. If you can, allow it to set overnight.
Forming the Croissant Rolls::
After the dough has set a minimum of 3 hours, roll it out again to be the size of the baking sheet. Now it’s finally time to make your rolls!! You can make a traditional croissant, by cutting the dough into rectangles then each rectangle from corner to corner to make a triangle. Roll the triangle on itself from the long end to the tip. You can also punch out circles of the dough to make more of a biscuit. My personal favorite is to cut the dough into long rectangles and then tie it in a knot. Play around with different shapes and have fun finding the one that you like best! After the dough is formed, place the rolls into the DoveWare or onto a baking sheet, keeping them far enough away from each other so that they have some room to rise. Lightly cover in plastic wrap and let the rolls rise again for about 3 hours until they are nice and puffy.
Once the rolls have risen for about 3 hours, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating, beat the egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush over the rolls and allow them to sit with the wash on them for at least 5 minutes. Transfer as many rolls as you can fit into the casserole dish, baking in batches. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the rolls until they become a nice golden brown on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then gently remove from the dish with a spatula and let cool completely before eating.