These light and flaky buttery croissants are a labor of love but the end result is totally 100% worth the work…and you can say that you have made croissants (check that off the bucket list).
I’ve always held a wonderment of croissants. Growing up, my European father would take us to little bakeries on the weekends, always in search of the perfect croissant. We would eagerly wait at the counter for the beautifully wrapped box, and then get excited because he’d get an extra one in a bag that we got to share on the way home. One would be covered in flaky crumbs (not in the car of course), and after one bite into the light and buttery layers, one wouldn’t have a care in the world.
Since my fathers birthday just so happens to fall in the month of November AND since there’s a special little holiday coming up (Thanksgiving) that is all about family and sharing, I just knew that now was the perfect time to dive in and make these buttery croissants.
But truth be told, I am no bread baker extraordinaire like my father-in-law. So I enlisted his help (ok fine, since we’re being honest I’ll tell you that he did all the manual work like the rolling and then more rolling and then even more rolling of the dough) and together we made the croissants for my father.
There are a lot of pictures to go with this, because I really do want to show that while there may be rest periods and lots of steps, these are totally do-able! So roll up your sleeves, and lets get baking, because you NEED to try making croissants, the end result is incredible!
Like with any good bread, it’s all about the yeast, and the brand that I use that has consistently given me the best results is Red Star Yeast. So with your yeast in hand, we’re going to start making the croissants, and the first step is making the dough. To do so you’ll heat the milk, stir in the yeast, add the sugar, salt, eggs and beat with a whisk until smooth, then slowly add in the flour and mix with your hands until well combined. Then you’ll turn it out onto a floured surface, knead it until smooth, and then put it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. This slow rise in the refrigerator is what really helps develop the dough flavor!
The next day the real fun begins! Take each stick of butter and cut it into 4s lengthwise. You want to touch your butter at little as possible because you don’t want it to get warm. Then you’re going to have a little pile of flour and then dredge each piece of butter through the flour, then grab a spoon and press each piece of butter to flatten it (you do it with a spoon so that you’re not touching the butter and keeping it cool, I even called in the big guns). Next pile the butter pieces on top of each other and knead it together and form it into a ball and put it in a bowl.
Now take the dough out of the refrigerator (it will have really increased in size!) and shape the dough in a rectangle on a well-floured board (you want to be very gentile when handling the dough, if you stretch it or pull at it it will make the croissants tough and not light), and then roll it out gently to a 8 x 14 inch rectangle, it will be about half an inch thick. In your mind divide the rectangle into an upper, middle, and bottom third. Now take the butter and roll it out to about 2/3 thirds the size of the rectangle, and then place it on the dough, and then remove any butter pieces that are too close to the edge (this will ooze out later and you don’t want that!)
Now it’s time for the foldathon! And the time that takes the longest. Because you don’t want the dough to be overworked or the butter to get soft, you’ll do a fold (or ‘turn’) and then refrigerate it for two hours, and then repeat. So you’ll start by folding the top third of dough over the butter slab, then you’ll fold up the bottom third. Now turn the dough so the seam is on the outside in a 90 degree angle. Then roll out the dough, and fold it again in thirds, and ‘turn’ it in a 90 degree angle again. Then let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
You will repeat the fold and roll and turn process 3 times, between each time refrigerating it at least an hour. On the final roll, the dough should be 18 inches wide by 21-24 inches long. Then cut the dough into thirds, then into little triangles, then roll up each triangle and fold the ends in, then place on a greased pan. Brush with an egg wash, then put in the oven to bake. Our yield was 24 croissants.
After the croissants are removed from the oven, allow them to cool a little on a wire rack.
And then enjoy!!
And you know the incredible part? If you do the folding and turning, there are over 100 layers of butter, and just look at how gorgeous the insides are:
Disclaimer: This deliciousness was sponsored by Red Star Yeast, all opinions are as always my own, and thank you for supporting the brands I love that make the Sweetphi blog possible!