Croissants are known for the time they take. Instead of letting the intricacies scare us away, let’s embrace the discovery of making them all our own. In the process, there is space to linger, letting senses take in the touch of dough, the scent of progress, and the flavor of each delicate flake.
a classic croissant
PREP: 1 hour 20 minutes
CHILL: 20 hours 30 minutes
RISE: 2–21/2 hours
BAKE: 28–32 minutes
MAKES: 16 croissants
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (567 grams) plus more for rolling
3/4 cup water (214 grams), at room temperature
2/3 cup whole milk (151 grams), at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (13 grams)
12 oz. high-quality European unsalted butter, chilled
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
make the dough
Combine flour, water, milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Beat on low until a shaggy dough forms, 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 3 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Place butter between two sheets of parchment paper. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften slightly (butter should be pliable but still cold). Continue pounding butter into an 8-inch square, using a bench scraper as needed until all sides of butter are uniform. Chill 10 minutes.
prepare the dough
Transfer chilled dough to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour top of dough and roll into a 12-inch square. Brush off excess flour with a pastry brush. Unwrap butter square and position on dough in a diamond, leaving four corners of dough exposed.
Roll and elongate exposed dough corners to 7 inches from butter edge. Fold dough corners over butter square, overlapping edges. Pinch to seal edges so butter square is completely enclosed.
start lamination process
Lightly flour top of square. Roll into a 24×12-inch rectangle. Fold one short end of dough over, leaving one-third of dough exposed. Fold exposed one-third of dough over the folded portion to complete a letter fold. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Give dough a quarter turn. Repeat rolling, folding, chilling, and turning for a total of three letter folds. After final letter fold, cover and chill 2 hours.
form, cut, + finish
Line two large rimmed baking pans with parchment paper. Unwrap dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour top of dough. Roll dough into a 21×15-inch rectangle, using gentle pressure at first so the cold butter layers do not shatter. Trim edges of dough to form a neat 20×14-inch rectangle. Cut dough into two 10×14-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle into four 10×3 1/2-inch strips. Cut each strip diagonally into two triangles to make 16 total triangles. Gently stretch each triangle lengthwise to about 12 inches long. Stretch the two points of the short edge gently outward and then evenly roll each triangle all the way to the point. Place rolled croissants, point sides down, in prepared baking pans. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Remove croissants from refrigerator and loosen plastic wrap so the croissants are loosely covered. Let croissants rise at
room temperature (about 75°F is ideal) until almost doubled in size, 2 to 21/2 hours. Croissants should jiggle slightly when the pans are shaken.
Preheat oven to 400°F. While oven preheats, chill risen croissants 20 minutes. Whisk together egg, egg yolk, and 2 tsp. water. Gently brush tops of croissants with egg wash, being sure not to brush the cut edges. Place pans in oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake until croissants are deep golden brown and flaky, 28 to 32 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Croissants are best served the day they are baked.
a sweet twist on the classic
To make chocolate croissants, prepare as directed through Step 5. Continue as directed in Step 6 except roll dough to a 15×14-inch rectangle. Trim edges of dough to straighten and form a neat rectangle. Cut dough into ten 7×3-inch strips. Gently stretch each strip lengthwise to about 8 inches long. Place a 3×1/2-inch piece of chocolate bar along a short edge of a dough strip, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll dough around chocolate to just enclose. Place one more chocolate piece on the dough strip and continue rolling.
Place rolled croissant, seam side down, in a prepared baking pan. Repeat with remaining dough and chocolate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Let rise and bake as directed in Steps 7 and 8.
PREPARING THE CHOCOLATE: To easily cut a chocolate bar into even sticks, use a serrated knife to score the bar halfway through before snapping a piece off the bar. Repeat as needed.
STORY BY ELIAS GROUHI
PHOTOGRAPH BY CARSON DOWNING
PRODUCED BY SCOTT J. JOHNSON
FOOD STYLING BY CHARLIE WORTHINGTON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY NEUNSINGER
ILLUSTRATION BY BELLA WALLACE