Baker’s Croissants

Photo by Kaley Dykstra on Unsplash
Croissant baking is pretty advanced stuff. So much so that baking these gems is its own trade in France and they're sold in dedicated bakeries. I figured out a way to simplify the process a bit though it's still a two-day process.

Laminating dough, layering pastry and fat that is, is an Arabic technique that found its way to Europe by way of the Ottomans at the edges of Austria and the Moors of Spain. Croissants get their shape to commemorate an Austrian rout of the Ottoman Empire. After the smoke of the battle cleared, the Austrians took a Turkish baking technique, shaped it after an Islamic crescent and and the croissant was born.

The croissant made its way to Paris with arrival of a 14-year-old Marie Antoinette in 1770 and the French adopted it as their own.

Baker’s Croissants
(Croissants de boulangerie)



2 large eggs plus enough warm water to make 2 cups of liquid
1/4 cup sugar
630g to 720g all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 scant tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Butter inlay

1 7/8 cups unsalted butter, cool to the touch
3/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
60g all-purpose flour


  1. To make the dough: Make a sponge by cracking the eggs into a 2-cup liquid measure and adding enough warm water to equal 2 cups. Beat until blended, and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended. Cover and set aside.
  2. To prepare the butter: While the yeast begins its work, set up the butter inlay. Mix the butter and 1/2 cup flour in a the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix just until the mixture is smooth and well blended (no hard lumps). Be careful not to beat the mixture at high speed; you don't want to incorporate any air. Lightly flour a piece of wax paper, place the butter mixture on it, and use a dough scraper to pat it into an 8-inch square. Wrap the butter and put it in the refrigerator on a flat surface for at least 30 minutes.
  3. To finish the dough: Stir the melted butter into the sponge. Whisk together the remaining 2 1/2 cups of the remaining flour, the rest of the sugar and the salt. Add to the sponge and mix until you have a soft but kneadable dough. Check the dough after kneading for 4 to 5 minutes, adding more of the measured flour if the dough is still sticky.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a square shape, wrap it loosely and refrigerate it overnight.
  5. To laminate the dough: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and put it on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a square about 12" across. Unwrap the butter slab and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in the square.
  6. Fold the flaps of the dough over the edges of the butter until they meet in the middle. Pinch and seal the edges of the dough together; moisten your fingers with a little water, if necessary.
  7. Dust the top with flour, then turn the dough over and tap it gently with the rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Pick up the dough to make sure it isn't sticking underneath, dusting under with more flour if necessary, then roll from the center out until you have a rectangle 20" long by 10" wide.
  8. When you've reached the proper size, take a dry brush and lightly sweep off any excess flour, then fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center, and the top third over that (like a business letter). Line the edges up on top of each other, and even up the corners so they're directly on top of each other. Take a dab of water if you need to, to tack the corners together. You've now made your first "turn."
  9. Rotate dough package 90° to the right, so it looks like a book ready to be opened. Do another “turn” the same way: rotate, roll into a 20" x 10" rectangle, sweep off excess flour, and fold. Return dough to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Repeat above — rotating, rolling and folding — two more times, for a total of four turns. Once completed, wrap dough well and refrigerate it for at least an hour, and preferably overnight, before using.
  10. To shape the croissants: Using half the dough at a time, roll it to a 12" x 18" rectangle. Trim the edges of the dough on every edge using a ruler and pizza wheel. This cuts off the folded edges that would inhibit the "puff." Review my diagram before you start cutting. Cut the dough in thirds lengthwise and in half through the middle. This will give you six 4" x 9" pieces. Cut each piece in half diagonally, and arrange them so the points of the triangles are facing away from you. It's okay to roll them out gently to elongate them when you do this. Cut a 1/2" notch on the short side of the triangle.
  11. Roll up the dough, starting with the notched edge and working toward the point. Make sure the point is tucked under the bottom of the croissant. If you have to stretch the dough a little to make that happen, it's OK. You can also use a drop of water on the tip to help it stay in place. Form the crescent by bending the ends toward the center where the tip is tucked underneath. Place the croissants on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. You could also freeze the unbaked pastries at this point.
  12. To bake the croissants: Take the croissants out of the refrigerator, and let them warm and rise for 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature. They should expand noticeably, and when you gently press one with your finger, the indentation should remain. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. When the oven is hot, brush the tops of the croissants with an egg well-beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, and put them into the oven.
  13. Bake the croissants for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven's temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. The croissants should be a deep golden brown, even where the dough overlaps; you don't want any raw dough in the center. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.