There are various recipes and techniques to prepare nice croissants, and there is no perfect one, what matters at the end is the result. During the lockdown of COVID-19, I decided to try to prepare croissants (after a first trial a few months back), and I couldn’t stop trying and trying until I got a satisfying result, i.e. croissants with a nice volume, beautiful regular layers, but most importantly with the amazing honeycomb texture.

I wanted to share with you the recipe that works for me, and all the dos and don’ts to make croissants at home, without lamination machine or any specific material. You will definitely need to adapt it, according to your ingredients (check below), the weather in the place you live in, your oven… All what you need is patience, perseverance and precision to achieve a final product according to our requirements.

Planning

Here is a sample schedule, that I follow in general to prepare croissants.  

Day 1: in the evening, around 8 or 9 p.m. prepare the détrempe and let it rest overnight.

Day 2:

8 a.m. prepare the butter

8:20 a.m. start lamination and give first fold

9:15 a.m. do the second fold and pre-roll the dough

10:30 a.m. roll dough out to the required size (this may take some time!)

11:15 a.m. shape the croissants and/or chocolate croissants

11:45 a.m. brush with egg wash and start proofing

1:30 p.m. brush again with egg wash and bake

The détrempe

The détrempe is simply the initial dough to which is added at a later stage, to form together the laminated dough. Its preparation is easy if you have a stand mixer with a hook attachment, but you can of course knead it manually.

It’s crucial to chose the right flour(s) (please check the Ingredients section above) and you may have to try many types/brands before finding the one(s) that meet(s) your requirements. I personally use a mix of two flours: all purpose one and Manitoba one (very rich in proteins i.e. gluten).

Please note that it’s very important to work in a cool room (below 23°C) and with very cold ingredients (I place all of them in the fridge/freezer before using them). In fact, the dough will get warmer during the kneading, and you need to make sure that its temperature stays below 24°C (otherwise the fermentation process will start).

Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 mins
Resting Time 12 hrs
Total Time 10 hrs 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 900 g
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Bowls
  • Stand mixer equipped with the dough hook
  • Rolling pin
  • Cling wrap

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g All purpose flour
  • 250 g Manitoba flour Brand Caputo, 14.5% proteins
  • 60 g Sugar
  • 10 g Table salt
  • 110 g Mineral water
  • 130 g Full fat milk
  • 25 g Fresh yeast Divide by 3 if dry one, but not recommended
  • 15 g Acacia honey
  • 50 g Butter

Instructions
 

  • Place the bowl of the stand mixer and the hook in the fridge (or freezer if you have space)*.
  • Sieve the two flours together and place them in the freezer*.
  • Place the sugar and salt in a small bowl in the freezer*.
  • Place the water in the freezer.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and let it soften at room temperature.
  • Place the fresh yeast in the (cold) bowl of the stand mixer.
  • Add the COLD water on the yeast and dilute.
  • Add the flours, then the rest of the ingredients (it's important to seperate the yeast from the sugar and salt, that's why I always prefer to isolate it with the flour)
  • Make sure to work in a room with temperature below 23°C*.
  • Start kneading at low speed (1 on Kitchenaid) for 3 minutes until the dough is just combined.
  • At this stage, the dough is not very smooth.
  • Increase to medium speed (4 on Kitchenaid) and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough at this stage becomes smooth and a bit elastic.
  • At the end of the kneading, the temperature of the dough should be below 24°C (at this stage we do not want the fermentation to start).
  • During the kneading the gluten net will start develop: you can test it by stretching the dough, it should not break quickly. This is important for the integration of the butter.
    But do not over-knead the détrempe otherwise the gluten will develop too much and the dough will become too elastic (or "strong") and will fight back during the lamination.
    The gluten net will continue develop further on during lamination, and this is what will give the volume during the baking.
  • Flatten the dough and wrap it tightly with a cling wrap.
  • Place the détrempe in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for 6 hours). This will allow the flavors to develop and the gluten to relax which will allow an easier lamination.
  • It's key to avoid the fermentation of the dough at this stage, and ideally the temperature of the fridge should be below 6°C.

Notes

* Please check the comments above.
Keyword Croissant, Lamination

The butter

The butter is obviously a key ingredient of the laminated dough, and its quality and flavor will have a direct impact on the taste of the final goods.

I prefer to work with a special «dry» butter specific for puff pastry, for many reasons:

– it has a percentage of fat of 84% (instead of 82% for regular butter), which makes it more malleable, but more importantly will retain better the steam of the dough during the baking (check the Lamination part below),

– it has a melting point higher than regular one (34°C vs. 28ºC for standard butter). This allows a faster proofing (at 27°C max.) without melting the butter, and a better trapping of the steam during the baking.

If the dry butter is not available, make sure you use a tasty and rich butter of good quality with a minimum of 82% fat (forget about shortening or low fat ones…).

Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 mins
Resting Time 0 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 250 g
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Wax paper
  • Rolling pin

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g Lamination butter Dry butter, 84% fat*

Instructions
 

  • Cut out a piece of wax paper 30x60cm.
  • Fold it to get a rectagle 15x28cm.
  • Unfold the paper and place the slab(s) of butter COLD, directly from the fridge, in the middle of the rectangle.
  • Beat the butter with the rolling pin to soften it. DO NOT let it soften at room temperature. After this step, the butter will be more "flexible" and will prevent it from breaking and tearing during the lamination.
  • Fold back the wax paper to enclose the butter and roll it evenly.
  • Make sure to get a perfect rectangle by pushing the butter to the corners. The thickness should be around 5mm, and the temperature of the butter at this stage should be around 12/14°C.
  • If the temperature of the room you are working in is below 18°C, no need to refrigerate the butter, but you need to start the next step right away. Otherwise place it back in the fridge for a couple of minutes.

Notes

* Please check the additional comments below.
Keyword Butter, Croissant, Lamination

The lamination

The lamination consists in enclosing the butter in the détrempe, and rolling out the dough several times, in order to create an alternation of solid butter/dough. Those layers of butter will create “barriers” during the baking and trap the steam (evaporating from the dough). This is what allows the layers of dough to puff up and creates a flaky texture.

Here are a few tips that I would like to share with you in order to maximize the chances to success for lamination:

– Try to use a lamination butter, as it will be easier to roll out and provide (slightly) better results (check the section above).

– Work in a cool environment (less than 22°C) as the butter has to stay cold and solid all the time (but not too hard!) and same for the détrempe otherwise the fermentation will start during the lamination, and this is not what we want (it will be very difficult to extend it anyways). 

– Try to work on a cool working surface, ideally on a marble board (best material to keep the cold) that you can place in the fridge a few hours before starting the lamination. But stainless steel works well as well. You can also have some freezer blocks ready to be placed on your work surface to keep it cold between the folds.

– Control the temperature of the butter/détrempe at all the steps (details in the recipe below). It’s important to understand that the butter and the détrempe have to have the same texture. If the butter is too soft, it will be integrated to the dough instead of forming a distinct layer between each two layers of dough. This will result in a croissants with “brioche” texture (instead of flaky one). If the butter is too hard, it will be broken and you will have small lambs of butter instead of one even thin layer. You may still get flaky texture but without the regular layers. 

– Do not fight the dough and stop rolling it out if you notice any resistance to get extended. By putting more pressure you would just heat it up, and it will keep on shrinking every time you try to extend it. Moreover, you will break the layers. Just wrap it in a cling wrap and chill it for 10 to 20 minutes, this will relax the gluten and it will be much easier to work the dough afterwards.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 12 croissants
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Rolling pin
  • Cutter
  • Cling wrap
  • Brush

Ingredients
  

  • 900 g Détrempe
  • 250 g SHPAED lamination butter Check section above

Instructions
 

  • Roll the détrempe into a rectangle 32cm (horizontally) x 30cm (vertically). Its temperature should be around 8/10°C.
  • Open the wax paper wrapping the butter. The butter is still cold (around 12/14°C), pliable and malleable (it can be bend without breaking).
  • Please note the difference of temperatures between the détrempe and the butter. This is normal as we want them to have the same texture/plasticity for the lamination, and if they had the same temperature the butter would be much harder than the détrempe.
  • Place the butter (15cm horizontally and 28cm vertically) in the middle of the the détrempe and peel off the wax paper.
  • Wrap the butter with the détrempe and press the edges to seal them. It's important that the détrempe fully encloses the butter.
  • At the contact with the cool détrempe, the butter will crystallise.
  • Lighly flour your work surface.
  • With a sharp cutter, cut the sides of the dough. This will allow an easier rolling out of the dough (we reduce the strength of the dough and its resistance). And it will also allow an even disctribution of the butter (it will reach the edges of the dough).
  • With the rolling pin, press gently on the dough from the bottom to the top, to ensure a full adhesion of the butter to the dough.
  • Roll out the dough gently, from the center to the top, and from the center to the bottom. Lift the dough from time to time to make sure it doesn't stick to the surface. Flour your work surface if needed.
  • The aim is to lengthen the dough instead of making it wider. Make sure the edges stay as straight as possible. You should get a rectangle approx. 20x60cm.
  • The thickness of the dough is around 8mm.
  • Trim the ends of the dough (to have a neat finishing).
  • Give a double fold: start by folding up the dough from the bottom approx. at 10cm.
  • Fold down to meet at 10cm. Make sure to join the two ends and press.
  • With a brush, remove the excess flour, if any. Fold in half and press gently.
  • Cut the dough with a sharp cutter on the two folds at the bottom.
  • Do the same for the fold at the top (make sure to cut all the layers).
  • With the rolling pin press gently on the edges to seal the folds.
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise (the folds that were at the bottom are now at your left hand side).
  • Make sure the work surface is dusted with flour.
  • Pre-roll the dough, in order to facilitate the second fold.
  • Wrap it with cling wrap and chill it for 15 to 30 minutes. You can meanwhile cool your work surface by placing freezer blocs on it.
  • The dough temperature should be around 8/10°C after the resting time, and most importantly it should be flexible and the butter not too hard. If it is too cold, leave it at room temperature for 3/5 minutes before using it.
  • Continue rolling out the dough the same way as the first time (thickness approx. 10mm). Trim the edges.
  • Brush the excess flour and give a simple fold: fold up the bottom at approx. 18cm.
  • Fold the top down to overlap the bottom fold (make sure the upper edge of the dough is exactly on the bottom fold.
  • Cut the folds with the cutter (at the bottom and the top).
  • Turn the dough 90°C clockwise and start rolling it out by pressing first on the edges (to make the layers visible).
  • Wrap tightly with cling wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Check the temperature of the dough before rolling it out: it should be around 8/10°C. Leave it if needed for a few minutes at room temperature.
  • Roll it out into a rectangle approx. 20x40cm. If at any time you feel that the dough resists to get extended, wrap it and chill it for 10 to 15 minutes. It's really important to roll out the dough gently, without pressing too hard, to avoid breaking the layers and heating the dough even more, which would make it more resistant...
  • Cut the rectangle in 2 squares 20x20cm. If your lamination is made properly, you should see distinct alternated layers of butter/dough
  • Wrap the two squares and chill for 15 minutes.

Notes

* Please check the additional comments below.
Keyword Butter, Croissant, Lamination

Shaping croissants

Shaping the croissants is a bit more technical than chocolate croissants, as they are rolled more, are very sensitive to the dimensions and thickness of the triangle (they need to be stable!) and the pressure to elongate them… I am still trying various dimensions, but I am satisfied with the ones below.

Before starting the shaping of the croissants, it’s important to keep in mind the following:

– Work in a cool environment (less than 22°C). 

– Keep your work surface cool to shape the croissants, by using freezer blocks for instance.

– Be gentle when elongating the dough, otherwise you may break the layers.

If you wish to prepare your croissants in advance, you can freeze them once shaped. You just need to wrap them tightly with cling wrap (I prefer individually, once they are very cold) and place them in an airtight container.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Resting Time 0 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 6 pieces
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutter
  • Ruler (30cm or more)

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g Laminated dough

Instructions
 

  • Roll out the dough into a 32x30cm, approx. 5mm thickness. If you have more or less dough, you still need one side of 32cm and a thickness of 5mm.
  • As soon as you notice the dough is becoming too soft and shrinking, cover it place it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Once the dough has reached the required size, trim the edges in order to get a rectangle 30x28cm and 5mm thickness.
  • Place the dough the 30cm sides vertically and the 28cm sides horizontally.
  • With the cutter mark the UPPER side of dough every 8cm, starting from the LEFT. So you should end up with 4cm on the right.
  • With the cutter mark the LOWER side of dough every 8cm, starting from the RIGHT. So you should end up with 4cm on the left.
  • So the upper and the lower marks do not align with each other, and they will form the basis for the triangles.
  • Place the dough 5 minutes in the freezer.
  • Make diagonal cuts with the cutter from the upper marks to the lower ones, to form triangles (8cm base, and 30cm height)
  • You should end up with 6 triangles (about 80gr each) and a few end pieces of dough*.
  • Place these triangles on a cold surface (for example on a metallic baking tray placed on freezer blocks).
  • Before rolling the dough, elongate it gently, until reaching 42/45cm (the thickness will be around 3mm). You have to be delicate and the dough should be cold but not hard, otherwise you will break the layers.
  • Cut a 1cm notch at the base of the triangle (here I stuffed it with homemade almond paste)*.
  • Make sure there is no trace of flour on the dough before shaping the croissants. I pass a humid brush gently on the surface to make sure the layers will be sealed once I roll the dough.
  • Press the tip and finish shaping the croissant.
  • Place them on the baking tray, and make sure to leave enough space between them.

Notes

* Please check the additional comments below.
Keyword Butter, Croissant, Lamination

Shaping chocolate croissants

The same comments mentioned for the croissants apply here.

I recommend to use good quality baking sticks (I use those of Cocoa Barry), as they have a higher melting point than standard chocolate.

If you wish to prepare your chocolate croissants in advance, you can freeze them once shaped. You just need to wrap them tightly with cling wrap (I prefer individually, once they are very cold) and place them in an airtight container.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 7 pieces
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Scale
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutter
  • Ruler (30cm or more)

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g Laminated dough

Instructions
 

  • Roll out the dough into a 52x22cm, approx. 4mm thickness. If you have more or less dough, you still need one side of 22cm and a thickness of 4mm.
  • As soon as you notice the dough is becoming too soft and shrinking, cover it place it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Once the dough has reached the required size, trim the edges in order to get a rectangle 49x18cm and 4mm thickness.
  • Place the dough the 18cm sides vertically and the 49cm sides horizontally.
  • With the cutter mark the UPPER and LOWER sides of the dough every 7cm.
  • Place the dough 5 minutes in the freezer.
  • Make vertical cuts with the cutter from the upper marks to the lower ones, to form rectangles (7x18cm)
  • You should end up with 7 rectangles and a few end pieces of dough*.
  • Place these rectangles on a cold surface (for example on a metallic baking tray placed on freezer blocks).
  • Make sure there is no trace of flour on the dough. I pass a humid brush gently on the surface to make sure the layers will be sealed once I roll the dough.
  • Place the first chocolate stick at 2cm from the edge, and cover it with the dough.
  • Place the second chocolate stick and press gently.
  • Roll thre dough tightly to make sure the layers are sealed (but do not press too much otherwise you may damage them)
  • Place them on the baking tray, and make sure to leave enough space between them.

Notes

* Please check the additional comments below.
Keyword Butter, Chocolate, Croissant, Lamination

Proofing

If you are a homemaker like me and you don’t have a proofer, you can simply use your oven, or a large  box in which you can fit your baking tray.

As mentioned above, you need to arrange the shaped croissants by leaving enough space between so they will not touch during the proofing or baking. For example, with the sizes of croissants mentioned above, I place 6 or 7 pieces on a perforated baking tray 28x38cm. 

Do not try to accelerate the proofing process, this step is really key (I already ruined a beautiful lamination by neglecting the proofing…). Make sure the temperature of your “homemade proofer” does not exceed 27°C otherwise the butter will start to melt (especially if you are not using lamination butter), and you will end up with a dry brioche.

If your croissants were frozen after shaping, just unfreeze them at room temperature before proofing them.

Print Recipe
Prep Time 5 mins
Resting Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 6 pieces
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

  • Brush
  • Stainless steel pan / mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 6 Croissants / Chocolate croissants
  • 1 piece Egg
  • 1 pinch Table salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat approx 0.5L of water.
  • Prepare the egg wash by combining the egg with the salt. You can also add 5gr of whipping cream or full fat milk (but in this case you need to do the egg wash only one time: after proofing).
  • With a soft brush, coat the croissants/chocolate croissants with a thin layer of egg wash.
  • Pour the hot water into the stainless steel pan/mixing bowl and place it at the bottom of the oven. We aim to creating a very humid (70 to 80% humidity rate) and warm (25 to 27°C maximum) environment. You can measure these parameters with special thermomter*.
  • Let them proof for 90 minutes.
  • They are ready to be baked when their initial volume almost doubles, and when you shake your baking tray gently they are wiggling. I prefer not to touch them to do the fingertip test.
  • You have to see clearly the different layers, and the butter is not melting.
  • Preheat the oven at 170°C (conviction mode). You can adjust depending on your oven.
  • Pass the second layer of egg wash (I use a very thin brush for croissants). Make sure it doesn't leek on the layers otherwise it will stick them and they won't puff properly.

Notes

* Please check the additional comments below.
Keyword Butter, Chocolate, Croissant, Proofing

Baking

Preheat your oven at 170°C. Bake your croissants/chocolate croissants for 18/20 minutes. It has to have a nice dark golden color. I do not recommend to bake them at a higher temperature otherwise they will get colored quickly on the outside but the crumb on the inside won’t be baked properly and it will be falling down.

Once baked, place them immediately on a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cooled before cutting them. They should be crunchy and have this typical honeycomb texture.

Additional comments

– You can use the end pieces to prepare rolls, sometimes I add almond cream with cinnamon or chopped hazelnuts, or pink pralines…

– If you wish to stuff the croissants, you can prepare for example almond paste (check recipe here). You can flavor it with orange blossom, or rose water, or pistachio paste… For the size of croissants mentioned above I use 8gr of almond paste per croissant.

 

Thermometre infrared et humidity 

Once properly cooled, store the granola in an airtight glass jar to preserve the crispiness and freshness.  

Bon appétit!