I love pastries, and indulging in a buttery, flaky croissant is definitely on my list of favorite things. Croissants are just so delicate and fancy, and the process for making them is so involved, that I almost feel obligated to take tiny nibbles and write down my feelings after each bite.
To be honest, I’ve only made my own croissants a few times. Like I said, the process is rather involved—laminating dough literally makes my arms sore. Also, the temperature of the kitchen can’t get too warm because (spoiler alert) lamination requires butter, and it’s important that the butter doesn’t melt while you’re working with it.
Now, many recipes will tell you to refrigerate your dough overnight. The croissants might turn out better if you do this, but if you’re reading this recipe with the intention of eating one today, then I have good news for you: the recipe I’m sharing does not require an overnight cooling of the dough. And, while it’s not going to be instant gratification (there’s some waiting involved), the process is much faster and the result is still very tasty.
So, before we get started on this epic journey of homemade croissants, be sure you’re committed. Check your kitchen temperature (I recommend staying below 71 degrees), and promise yourself right now that you’ll keep rolling out the dough when the time comes, even though you’re probably going to want to quit. And, don’t worry. It’s really not that difficult, I promise.
Alright, let’s do this.
· 1 cup warm water
· 2 ¼ tsp yeast
· 1/8 cup sugar
· 3 tbs melted butter
· 2 ½ - 3 cups flour (plus more for rolling)
· 1 stick butter
· 1 egg
· 1 tbs water
To get started, pour your warm water into a bowl. I used the bowl of my standing mixer, but no worries if you don’t have one—any old plastic or glass bowl will do.
Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the warm water. Stir the yeast into the water, and then add the sugar. Stir again, and then let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the melted butter.
Add the flour to the mixture 1 cup or ½ cup at a time. At this point, attach your dough hook to your standing mixer if you’re using one and set your mixer on low until all the flour is combined. If you don’t have a standing mixer, then add your flour and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
Knead and or let the standing mixer run until the dough is soft and has a consistency similar to playdough. This should take approximately 8 minutes by hand or 5-6 minutes with a mixer.
When you’re dough is the right consistency, grab a pie pan and sprinkle the bottom with flour. Knead your dough into a ball, place it in the pie pan, sprinkle the top with flour, cover with cellophane, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
I let my dough refrigerate for 2 hours, and it almost doubled in size. When I’ve used other dough recipes in the past, the dough has not grown quite as large as mine did, but that’s one of the reasons this recipe doesn’t require an overnight rise.
When you take your dough out of the refrigerator, go ahead and take a stick of butter out as well. Cut the butter length-wise into five or six pieces and arrange into a flat square. Cover butter with parchment paper and pound pieces together.
Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to roll it out into a 10” by 10” square. Lay your butter in the center of the dough. Make sure the square of butter is rotated 90 degrees on top of the square of dough.
Fold the corners of the dough over the butter and pinch ends together. You want to make sure you seal the butter inside the dough really well.
Cover your dough with cellophane or parchment paper and place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes, depending on how cold your kitchen is and how long your patience lasts.
Once your dough has chilled, remove it from the freezer and place it on a lightly floured surface. This is where the real fun begins.
Starting in the center of the square, press your rolling pin into the dough to flatten and stretch it. Continue the process down both sides of the square. Then begin rolling out the dough. You want to make a rectangle that’s approximately 8 inches by 18-20 inches.
Once your dough is rolled out into a rectangle of the desired size, fold one side into the middle, and fold the other side on top. Cover and return to the freezer for another 10-20 minutes.
Repeat the same rolling and folding process once more, and return dough to the freezer for another 10-20 minutes.
After the final chill is complete, roll the dough into another rectangle, but make this one approximately 8 inches by 38-40 inches.
Using some sort of measuring device, make notches every 7 or eight inches along one side of the dough rectangle. Then make notches every 3 inches along the other side of the dough rectangle.
Cut from the 8-inch notches down to the 3-inch notches to make triangles. I got off and some of my triangles came out bigger than others, but I don’t mind imperfection.
Roll your triangles into the classic croissant shape—starting from the base and rolling your way to the tip of the triangle.
I added chopped almonds and chocolate to some of my croissants just to mix things up a bit. This is an optional step.
Place the croissants on baking sheets and coat in an egg wash (whisk an egg and some water). Set any remaining egg wash aside for later.
Let the croissants proof for 20-40 minutes. I placed mine in a 100 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
About half-way into the proofing, remove the croissants from the oven (if you put them in there) and turn the temperature up to 395 degrees. Coat the croissants in the egg wash once more, and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
For added flavor, you could melt some honey and butter together for a glaze once the croissants are finished baking.
When they're out of the oven, let the croissants cool a bit. Then grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the fruits of your labor.