Today I am sharing with you how I conquered my fear and made croissants! If you’re about to run away and hide, I get it. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: CROISSANTS ARE NOT EASY. They require time, patience, and a lot of rolling. But you know what? I attempted them, and I freakin’ did it, on my 1st try. You can absolutely handle this recipe.
Let me walk you through the whole process. I will be sharing a step-by-step guide, with plenty of tricks based on what I’ve learned. I researched a lot of recipes, watched a lot of tutorials and read so many different tricks on how to simplify the process of making croissants, so, I am going to share them with you, aren’t you just lucky? You have me as your guinea pig.
Good news! You need zero fancy equipment and zero special ingredients. I believe in you, you can do this!
- 5 grams instant yeast (about 1 & 1/2 teaspoons)
- 250 ml warm milk (1 cup)
- 60 grams of sugar (4 tablespoons)
- 1 Egg yolk (Yes, you have to separate the yolk from the egg white.)
- 400 grams all purpose flour (3 & 1/4 cups)
- 200 grams room temperature unsalted butter (I don’t know if this recipe will work with margarine, I didn’t try it, but if you do, let me know how it turns out.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg & 1 tablespoon of milk (for the egg wash)
- Optional – Zest of half of an orange (you won’t taste it, but it really brings out the flavour)
To the warm milk, add the yeast, sugar and egg yolk and stir. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to be activated. Ensure your milk is warm, not hot, if it is hot, it will kill the yeast.
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour, the orange zest (optional) and combine until nicely mixed. No need to knead the dough (hehe, that rhymes ) .
Cover your dough with plastic and leave it to rise for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Once your dough has risen, lightly flour a surface, and transfer the dough to the surface.
Deflate the dough by slightly punching it (yes, I said punch it!), this is to remove any excess air from when the dough was rising.
Using a rolling pin, slightly roll out the dough. Roll it once or twice, it should still be thick. (Flour your rolling pin so that the dough doesn’t stick to it.)
Roll your dough into a log. (as if you are making swiss roll). Then, cut it up into 12 equal pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into the shape of a disc. It should be approximately 16-18 cm in diameter and not more than 2 mm in thickness.
Generously layer the butter on 11 of the 12 rolled out discs (and I do mean generously – like you are spreading butter on a slice of bread). Then, stack the discs one on top of the other, with the butter side facing up, and then add the disc without the butter on top. (This creates those beautiful layers in a croissant.)
Cover the stack with plastic film (cling wrap, if you prefer), and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes for the butter to firm up.
On a lightly floured surface, place your stack straight from the freezer, and roll it into long rectangular sheet that is 5mm in thickness. (Careful not to roll it too thin, that will ruin the layers – use a ruler, if you have to.)
With a knife, cut your dough in half, going from the width of the rectangle, down the length. This will give you 2 rectangular sheets, with the same length as it was before you cut it, and half the width. (Maths, amiright?)
Cut each rectangular piece into 6 small and equal rectangles, giving you 12 in total. (I know, I know, we are almost there.)
Cut each small rectangular piece diagonally, dividing it into 2 triangles. This will give you 24 right angle triangle pieces. ( I am sorry, there’s really no other way to explain it.)
Cut a little incision, about 1 cm long (now we are surgeons, again, sorry, my nerd brain is really enjoying this) in the middle of the opposite side of the right angle. This helps to prevent the croissants from unraveling when baking, by making sure the middle isn’t too thick once rolled.
Roll up the triangles from the base to the tip, and transfer the croissants to baking sheets, ensuring that the tip is tucked under so it does not unravel. (I use parchment/baking paper for easier cleanup, but you can grease your baking sheets, if that’s what you prefer.) Leave ample room between the croissants for expansion.
Mix the egg with the tablespoon of milk to make the egg wash. Brush your croissants with the egg wash.
Cover the croissants loosely with plastic and leave to rise for 2 hours, until they are quite puffy.
Brush your croissants with the egg wash again.
In an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius, bake the croissants at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 degrees Celsius for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the croissants are golden brown. The duration and temperature allows the croissants to have a nice, flaky interior, with the delicious and crispy exterior.
And voila! You, my friend, are a mathematician, a surgeon and a baker just from 1 recipe. Who said maths can’t be delicious? Check out those layers. I am so proud of myself. This has to be the most intimidating thing I have ever baked. I promise to take more pictures of the process in my next recipe, whatever it will be.
TIP: You can add chocolate pieces or chocolate chips just before you roll them into the croissant shape to make chocolate croissants. Yum!
I really hope you try this. They really taste as good as they look!
Let me know if you do try it. Enjoy.