Here is a recipe for traditional French croissants. Before you begin, know that it takes three days start to finish and requires a lot of butter. If you worry butter is unhealthy, which it’s not, don’t try this recipe. If you’re in a hurry, this recipe is not for you. But if you like to treat baking the same way that an artist treats canvas and brush, this is an incredibly satisfying recipe.
The trick to making good croissants lies in how you fold the dough. There are many different schools of thought on this subject. For example, I made croissants once with a chef from the French Cordon Bleu Academy and we were good until it came to folding the dough and butter, then things got a bit testy. I still tease him that mine turned out better, and he still reminds me that we used the wrong butter, which is a topic for another day; but seriously, why do American dairy producers only make one grade of butter?
- 250g regular flour (farine tradition)
- 250g cake flour (farine T-45)
- 53g sugar
- 10g salt
- 8g active yeast (or 23g fresh yeast preferable)
- 63g butter for dough
- 20g powdered milk
- 75g egg white (~3 eggs whites)
- 203g water – cold
- 250g butter for folding
- Mise en Place – get your ingredients premeasured and prepared.
- Put dry ingredients into mixing bowl and mix on low to spread.
- Add butter, egg whites, and water. Mix for 7mins on low (#1) speed.
- Knead dough for 4mins on medium (#4) speed.
- First proving:
- Roll dough onto floured surface and into a rectangle about 3mm thick.
- Fold once using a simple fold
- Cover with film and let rise 1 hour at room temperature.
- Wrap in film and put in fridge overnight.
- Folding with butter.
- Roll dough to roughly 15″x 7″. Try to keep the edges straight and the corners rectangular.
- Put cold butter between to sheets of film and gently beat with a roller until ~3/16″ thick and slab is ~7″x10″.
- Place butter so that it covers 2/3rds of the length of the dough and all the width. Make sure the plastic is off.
- One simple turn: Fold the 1/3rd of dough that’s not covered with butter over the butter.
- One double turn: Fold the 1/3rd from the other end over the simple turn. You should now have a stack of dough + butter + dough + butter + dough.
- Roll stack to 12″ x 20″. Roll from the middle and keep edges square. Brush off any excess flour. Note: make sure to brush off excess flour before turning.
- Repeat simple and double turn and put dough in fridge 1 hour to rechill the butter and to let the dough gluten relax.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 three more times. By now you should 10 layers of butter and 12 layers of dough.
- After final proof, roll out dough to a 22″x11″rectangle (56cm x 26cm)
- Along one length, make a knife mark every 4″ (10cm). On the opposite side make a knife mark at 2″ (5cm) and then very 4″ (10cm). Using a straightedge, slice dough from the first two tick marks on the first edge to the 2″ tick mark on the opposite edge. This is your first triangle.
- Repeat pattern for other triangles.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C fan (350°F).
- Roll triangles into croissants. Start with wide end and roll to a point.
- Place on baking tray so the tip touches the tray (to prevent unraveling). You should also brush with tip with an egg wash to keep the tip in place.
- Bake for 15-18 mins.