EASY HOMEMADE CROISSANTS
This simple Homemade Croissant recipe and easy method will have you baking flaky, buttery and deliciously authentic French Croissants like a pro! With just a few simple and wholesome ingredients, you won't believe how satisfying it is to make these classic French pastries with your own two hands. Incredibly rich, with a buttery taste and so many flaky layers - perfect fresh and warm from the oven, with a spoonful of your favorite jam. Apricot, fresh strawberry or raspberry? Every layer and bite is heavenly!
I dream of lazy sunny mornings sitting at a Parisian outdoor café and enjoying warm croissants, homemade jam, and sipping on French-pressed coffee or honest to goodness hot chocolate with my handsome Skipper. Oh how I dream of this! But in the meantime, I'll bake up some perfect Homemade Croissants and we'll enjoy them at home on a relaxing day. These are the perfect French pastry to make for a special Valentine's breakfast with your honey!
WHAT EXACTLY ARE CROISSANTS?
Classic croissants are a "laminated pastry", with a cold butter square encased in the dough, and with the dough folded over and over again to create dozens of layers. When baked in a hot oven, the cold butter creates steam, and the layers puff up into an incredibly light and flaky crescent-shaped pastry. Croissants contain yeast, sugar and milk. Croissants have a yeasty, stretchy texture with just a hint of sweetness, and are extremely light and airy.
Don't confuse croissants with puff pastry, which has no sugar, and has water rather than milk. Croissant dough is similar to Danish Dough, which contains eggs - croissants are only brushed with an egg wash before baking to give you that delicate golden brown top.
SEVEN SIMPLE & WHOLESOME INGREDIENTS - THAT'S ALL!
While we're talking about wholesome ingredients, for the lightest, flakiest croissants you will want to use the best kind of butter that you can! Whether you prefer European style or Land O'Lakes or other premium butter is really a matter of personal preference, but please don't use cheap butter, which usually contains more water and will alter the end result.
IS IT HARD TO MAKE CROISSANTS?
Classic French croissants have a lot of steps - lots of measuring and counting, folding and waiting. But if you take it step by step, you can do it! To make this recipe simple, we're going to slice cold butter into thin chunks right into the dough, rather than being layered separately onto the dough as a cold butter square.
The dough is chilled, rolled and folded over and over again. The secret is to keep the dough cold at all times, working as quickly as you can. Any time that the butter starts to get soft, you'll wrap it up and chill it until it's stiff again, as cold butter is the key to success for laminated pastry dough. REMEMBER: COLD BUTTER AND COLD DOUGH ARE THE SECRETS! The result is an incredibly rich, buttery taste with dozens of flaky layers.
HOW MANY TIMES DO I NEED TO "FOLD" THE DOUGH?
Classic croissant recipes will have you folding the dough more times than you can count. It really is pretty basic - the more times you fold it, the more layers you will have. The secret really is to have lots of thing, even layers, with lots of butter streaks that you can see. For this simplified recipe, you'll see fabulous layers of dough after about 4 to 6 folds. With all the folding and rolling, you really will end up with dozens of layers!
HOW DO I CUT THE CRESCENT SHAPES?
With a sharp pizza cutter, trim the edges away and cut the dough into long, skinny triangles (about 5-inches at the wide end). Cut a small slit about ½-inch in the middle of the wide end of each triangle, then tightly roll up into a crescent shape, tucking the tip underneath. If you want a more rounded croissant, slightly bend the ends towards each other to make a crescent shape.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to proof for 30 minutes at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for an additional 1 hour. It’s best to have shaped croissant go into the oven cold – when you poke the dough with your finger, it will slowly bounce back, which means they are ready to be baked!
Brush them with egg wash and bake them in a preheated oven until they are perfect and golden!
Now it's time to indulge! Warm and fresh with the oven, these Homemade Croissants are perfectly wonderful all by themselves. I like to serve fresh fruit spreads with warm croissants - fresh raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and apricot are all wonderful!
I also love filling Homemade Croissants with salad fillings - egg salad, ham salad, smoked turkey salad...the list goes on and on!
At the end of the day, this is the perfect recipe for a small batch of Homemade Croissants. You can also cut the croissants a bit tinier to make miniature croissants, just adjust your baking time and watch carefully!
Hope that you enjoy these Homemade Croissants - they truly are a labor of love!
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (Red Star Platinum)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (cold)
1 cup whole milk (cold)
egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of whole milk)
HOW I MAKE THESE:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast – whisk together until mixed. Slice the butter into 1/2 tablespoon size slices and add to the bowl. Shake the bowl lightly so that each butter slice is completely covered in the flour mixture.
2. Place the dough hook attachment on your mixer and turn on low-medium speed to gently combine ingredients for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the cold milk. One all of the milk is added, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl - and if you poke it with your finger, it will bounce back. If the dough is too sticky, keep the mixer running until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Remove dough from the bowl, and with floured hands, work it into a ball. Gently flatten the dough and cover tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
4. On a lightly floured surface or floured silicone baking mat, roll the dough into a long rectangle shape to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (approximately 10x22-inches). The dough is very cold, so it will take a little bit of arm muscle to roll - use your fingers if you need to help shape it.
5. Fold the dough into thirds (like you would fold up a letter), turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat 4 to 6 more times, or until the dough has large streaks of butter in it but is smooth and flat. The dough should lie flat and smooth and not have a lot of rough bumps. NOTE: If at any time the butter starts to feel soft, chill it in the refrigerator until stiff. You want lots of thin, even layers with large streaks of butter running throughout.
6. With a sharp pizza cutter, trim the edges away and cut the dough into long, skinny triangles (about 5-inches at the wide end).
7. Cut a small slit about ½-inch in the middle of the wide end of each triangle, then tightly roll up into a crescent shape, tucking the tip underneath. If you want a more rounded croissant, slightly bend the ends towards each other to make a crescent shape.
8. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to proof for 30 minutes at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for an additional 1 hour. It’s best to have shaped croissant go into the oven cold – when you poke the dough with your finger, it will slowly bounce back, which means they are ready to be baked!
9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
10. Remove croissants from the refrigerator and brush each lightly with egg wash.
11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffy, golden brown and flaky.
12. Remove croissants from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving. They will deflate slightly as they cool.
13. Croissants taste best the same day they’re baked. Cover any leftover croissants and store at room temperature for a few days in an airtight container. You can also refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months (to defrost, thaw on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator).
YIELD: 16 croissants
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