Classic French croissant recipe – Weekend Bakery (2024)

Classic French croissant recipe – Weekend Bakery (1)

It’s all about the layers…

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With this recipe we want to give you the exact directions on how we go about making classic French croissants. The recipe is an adaptation from the recipe for Classic Croissants by Jeffrey Hamelman. We started out largely following the instructions for his recipe, changed everything to our beloved metric system and found out some worthwhile croissant knowledge of our own along the way. Hopefully enough to justify sharing it all with you and inspiring you to give croissant baking a shot yourself.

Before you start we can recommend watching our croissant making video to get a general feel for the recipe. You can also check out our croissant making log where we keep track of our own croissant baking adventures. For answers to your croissant questions you can check out the Frequently Asked Croissant Questions section.

This recipe will yield about 15 good croissants plus some leftover bits which you can use to make a few, slightly odd shaped ones, or other inventive croissant-like creations.

If at first you don’t succeed, maybe you can take comfort from the fact that our first efforts were not very ‘croissant worthy’. But as you can see we persevered and got better…But we have to admit it is and always will be a tricky process. You have to work precise and be focused to get good results. So away with screaming children, hyperactive animals and all other things distracting! Put on some appropriate croissant making music and lets get to it…

Please read the following tips;

There is no way to hide little mistakes in your technique when making croissants. Do not expect to get perfect croissants the very first time you try our recipe, most people need to make them 3 to 4 times to get the general feeling for the process. There is no substitute for practice and experience. But best of all and most important, enjoy the process!

Please try this recipe exactly as written down at least 3 times before starting experimenting with spelt, freezing, retarding, margarine, timing, sourdough etc. If you can make a croissant resembling the ones you see in the pictures you are ready for the next step. Learn to walk before you try to run!

Every type / brand of flour and butter type also makes a difference. Try a few flours to find the one in your area which hits the balance between strength and flexibility. The same with butter, it needs to be pliable but not too soft. We use an organic butter with a low water content. A higher water content tends to make butter hard, which promotes tearing and breaking and ruins the layers. The butter we use has written on the package ‘at least 82%’ butterfat’. So please if possible use the right butter!

According to Raymond Calvel croissants laminated with margarine are formed into the crescent shape, while croissants laminated with butter are left in the straight form. We say, use whichever shape you like best, but do use butter!

The croissant recipe

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Ingredients for the croissant dough

500 g French Type 55 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour / plain flour (extra for dusting)

140 g water

140 g whole milk (you can take it straight from the fridge)

55 g sugar

40 g soft unsalted butter

11 g instant yeast

12 g salt

Other ingredients

makes 15

280 g cold unsalted butter for laminating

1 egg + 1 tsp water for the egg wash

First time croissant baker? Choose a cold day with a room temperature below 20 ºC / 68 ºF . This way you will have more time for the whole process and less chance of your precious butter being absorbed by the dough. The key is to keep the butter solid between the layers of dough, this is what gives the croissant its flaky layers.

Day 1

Making the croissant dough
We usually do this part in the evening. Combine the dough ingredients and knead for 3 minutes, at low to medium speed, until the dough comes together and you’ve reached the stage of low to moderate gluten development. You do not want too much gluten development because you will struggle with the dough fighting back during laminating. Shape the dough like a disc, not a ball, before you refrigerate it, so it will be easier to roll it into a square shape the following day. Place the disc on a plate, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight.

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Day 2

Laminating the dough
Cut the cold butter (directly from the fridge) lengthwise into 1,25 cm thick slabs. Arrange the pieces of butter on waxed paper to form a square of about 15 cm x 15 cm. Cover the butter with another layer of waxed paper and with a rolling pin pound butter until it’s about 19 cm x 19 cm. Trim / straighten the edges of the butter and put the trimmings on top of the square. Now pound lightly until you have a final square of 17 cm x 17 cm. Wrap in paper and refrigerate the butter slab until needed.

Use just enough flour on your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. However keep the amount to a minimum, otherwise too much flour will be incorporated between the layers and this will show in the end result.

Take the dough out of the fridge. With a rolling pin roll out the dough disc into a 26 cm x 26 cm square. Try to get the square as perfect as possible and with an even thickness. Get the slab of butter from the fridge. Place the dough square so one of the sides of the square is facing you and place the butter slab on it with a 45 degree angle to the dough so a point of the butter square is facing you. Fold a flap of dough over the butter, so the point of the dough reaches the center of the butter. Do the same with the three other flaps. The edges of the dough flaps should slightly overlap to fully enclose the butter. With the palm of your hand lightly press the edges to seal the seams.

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Now the dough with the sealed in butter needs to be rolled out. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling out, on a lightly flour dusted surface, the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 60 cm. Start rolling from the center of the dough towards the edges, and not from one side of the dough all the way to the other side. This technique helps you to keep the dough at an even thickness. You can also rotate your dough 180 degrees to keep it more even, because you tend to use more pressure when rolling away from you than towards yourself. You can use these techniques during all the rolling steps of this recipe. Aim at lengthening the dough instead of making it wider and try to keep all edges as straight as possible.

Fold the dough letter style, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes (fold one third of the dough on top of itself and then fold the other side over it). Repeat the rolling and folding two more times (ending up with 27 layers of butter in total), each time rolling until the dough is about 20 cm x 60 cm. After each fold you should turn the dough 90 degrees before rolling again. The open ‘end’ of the dough should be towards you every time when rolling out the dough (you can see this in our croissant making video at around 3:40 minutes). After the second turn, again give it a 30 minute rest in the fridge. After the third turn you leave the dough in the fridge overnight until day 3, the actual croissant making day!

Sometimes the dough will resist to get any longer than for example 45 cm, stop rolling and pressing the dough, it will only hurt your layers. At any stage when the rolling of the dough gets harder you can cover the dough and let the gluten relax for 10 to 20 minutes in the fridge before continuing.

  • Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm
  • Fold
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes
  • Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm
  • Fold
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes
  • Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm
  • Fold
  • Refrigerate until day 3
  • Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out to 20 cm x 110 cm

Also see complete time table at bottom of page

Each laminating step should not take more than a few minutes. However if, due to initial inexperience for example, it should take you longer, you can fold your dough letter style, cover it and refrigerate it for 20 minutes and continue the rolling process after this rest. It is very important the butter stays solid.

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Day 3

Dividing the dough
Take the dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface. Now very gently roll the dough into a long and narrow strip of 20 cm x 110 cm. If the dough starts to resist too much or shrink back during this process you can fold it in thirds and give it a rest in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes before continuing. Do not fight the dough, when the dough refuses to get any longer, rest it in the fridge! It is such a shame to ruin two days of work.

When your dough has reached its intended shape, carefully lift it a few centimeters to allow it to naturally shrink back from both sides. This way it will not shrink when you cut it. Your strip of dough should be long enough to allow you to trim the ends to make them straight and still be left with a length of about 100 cm.

Shaping the croissants
For the next stage you will need a tape measure and a pizza wheel. Lay a tape measure along the top of the dough. With the wheel you mark the top of the dough at 12,5 cm intervals along the length (7 marks total). Now lay the tape measure along the bottom of the dough and make a mark at 6,25 cm. Then continue to make marks at 12,5 cm intervals from this point (8 marks total). So the bottom and the top marks do not align with each other and form the basis for your triangles.

Now make diagonal cuts starting from the top corner cutting down to the first bottom mark. Make diagonal cuts along the entire length of the dough. Then change the angle and make cuts from the other top corner to the bottom mark to create triangles. Again repeat this along the length of the dough. This way you will end up with 15 triangles and a few end pieces of dough.

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Using your pizza wheel, make 1.5 cm long notches in the center of the short side of each dough triangle.

Now very gently elongate each triangle to about 25 cm. This is often done by hand, but we have found that elongating with a rolling pin, very carefully, almost without putting pressure on the dough triangle, works better for us. You can try both methods and see what you think gives the best result.

After you cut a notch in the middle of the short end of the triangle, try and roll the two wings by moving your hands outwards from the center, creating the desired shape with a thinner, longer point. Also try and roll the dough very tightly at the beginning and put enough pressure on the dough to make the layers stick together (but not so much as to damage the layers of course).

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Proofing and baking
Arrange the shaped croissants on baking sheets, making sure to keep enough space between them so they will not touch when proofing and baking. Combine the egg with a teaspoon of water and whisk until smooth. Give the croissants their first thin coating of egg wash. You do not need to cover the croissants with anything, the egg wash will prevent the dough from drying out.

Proof the croissants draft-free at an ideal temperature of 24ºC to 26.5ºC / 76ºF to 79ºF (above that temperature there is a big chance butter will leak out!). We use our small Rofco B20 stone oven as a croissant proofing cabinet by preheating it for a minute to 25ºC / 77ºF. It retains this temperature for a long time because of the oven stones and isolation. The proofing should take about 2 hours. You should be able to tell if they are ready by carefully shaking the baking sheet and see if the croissants slightly wiggle. You should also be able to see the layers of dough when looking at your croissants from the side.

Preheat the oven at 200ºC / 390ºF convection or 220ºC / 430ºF conventional oven.
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Right before baking, give the croissants their second thin coat of egg wash. We bake the croissants in our big convection oven for 6 minutes at 195ºC / 385ºF, then lowering the temperature to 165ºC / 330ºF, and bake them for another 9 minutes. Hamelman suggest baking the croissants for 18 to 20 minutes at 200ºC / 390ºF , turning your oven down a notch if you think the browning goes too quickly. But you really have to learn from experience and by baking several batches what the ideal time and temperature is for your own oven. Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Latest way of baking; We heat up our double fan big convection oven at 200ºC, when heated up put the croissants in the oven and directly lower it to 175ºC. We bake them for 10 minutes at 175ºC, they will have a nice brown color by now, then lower the temperature to 150ºC, and bake them for another 6 minutes.

Best eaten while warm and fresh of course. Croissant we don’t eat or share within a day we freeze. We put them in the preheated oven (180ºC / 355ºF) for 8 minutes straight from the freezer. Nothing wrong with that, croissants eaten nice and warm, almost as good as the fresh ones…almost!

We used the excess dough we trimmed from the edges to make, a bit odd shaped but still very delicious, ‘pain au chocolat’, using our favorite Valrhona Caraïbe dark chocolate. The trimmed dough parts are still worth using, it would be a shame to throw them away!

Croissant Time Table
Times are an indication and also depend on your experience with the recipe
Try to work swift but precise and take extra fridge time if needed!

Day 1 – Make initial dough

  • 21.00 h – Knead for 3 minutes and store in fridge for 12 hours

Day 2 – Laminate the dough

  • 09.00 h – Make butter slab and refrigerate till needed
  • 09.05 h – Roll dough disc into square
  • 09.10 h – Seal butter in dough
  • 09.15 h – Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm and fold
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes
  • 09.50 h – Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm and fold
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes
  • 10.25 h – Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out to 20 cm x 60 cm and fold
  • 11.00 h – Refrigerate until day 3

Day 3 – Dividing, Shaping, proofing and baking

  • 09.00 h – Roll out to 20 cm x 110 cm – part 1
  • 09.05 h – Often needed! Take 20 min. fridge time if length not in one go
  • 09.25 h – Roll out to 20 cm x 110 cm – part 2
  • 09.30 h – Divide and shape the croissants
  • 09.40 h – First coat of egg wash
  • 09.45 h – Proof to perfection (indication 2 hours)
  • 11.45 h – Second coat of egg wash
  • 11.50 h – Bake for 15-18 minutes
  • 12.10 h – Ready!

We have decided to close the comment section for the croissant recipe after 7 years and 2100+ comments and replies. We have answered most of the questions many times below and we hope you will find your answers in the recipe description, the comments below and on our frequently asked croissant questions page.

Classic French croissant recipe – Weekend Bakery (2024)


What is the best flour for French croissants? ›

What type of flour should I use? Most French croissant recipes use pastry flour (T45) to produce a croissant with a light, delicate texture. Bread flour or All Purpose can be used to produce a chewier, more sturdy croissant.

How many layers does a traditional French croissant have? ›

A classic French croissant has 55 layers (27 layers of butter), achieved with a French fold followed by 3 letter folds. Less layers will mean a different texture (less tender, more chewy, with more defined layers). Too many layers bring a risk of the butter getting too thin and melting into the dough.

What type of butter is best for croissants? ›

First and foremost, you should use European or European-style butter which consists of 83% to 84% of butterfat. It should be 68° Fahrenheit and in the consistency of cream cheese, spreadable with a spatula.

What does egg do to croissant dough? ›

Croissants can contain whole eggs, egg yolks, or egg whites depending on the recipe. Eggs can be added to the dough to help create a tender and flaky texture in the finished product.

Should I chill my croissants before baking? ›

Before baking, chill proofed croissants for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a pastry brush, gently brush egg wash on each chilled croissant, avoiding cut sides that may have exposed layers of dough. Bake for 20 minutes.

What is a substitute for T45 flour? ›

For those of you who are abroad, you may notice that a lot of my recipes calls for T45 flour. If you don't have this on hand, you can mix some all-purpose flour with corn starch to have a quick alternative to cake flour at home. Cake Flour – 1 cup minus 2 tbsp (100g) all purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch.

What is the best improver for croissant? ›

A natural improver for pastry and croissant

LB Improver enhances consistency of the puff pastry in a pleasant balance between crunchiness and softness. This enzymatic improver also intensifies the croissant taste with lactic notes.

Is AP flour or bread flour better for croissants? ›

Bread flour is your go-to for yeast breads—such as brioche, croissant, French bread, and sourdough—which use yeast as a leavening agent.

What is the rule for croissant? ›

By law, only a croissant made with 100% pure butter can wear a straight shape as a badge of honor. A croissant made with any other fat, such as margarine or (sacrebleu!) oil, must disclose its impurity with a curved shape.

How many times should I fold my croissant dough? ›

More than 3x3 turns is not recommended for croissants. For example: 2x3 and 1x4 turns = 36 layers of butter = only suitable for cream pastries due to the tight honeycomb texture. ROLL OUT THE DOUGH IN VARIOUS STAGES. Slice the thicker side after each fold, not just at the beginning.

What is the French croissant law? ›

Sure, curved croissants look fancy, but did you know that straight croissants are the way to go? In fact, there are strict laws in France about straight croissants vs. curved croissants. Seriously! Legally, you can not roll out a straight croissant unless it has 100% butter.

Why does butter leak out of croissants when baking? ›

Your croissants were probably under-proofed. Just let them proof a bit longer so they get wobbly and increase visually in size. When under-proofed the butter tends to leak out from in between the layers and you end up with a butter puddle.

Do the French put butter on their croissants? ›

The only sweet thing you will find on a French table at breakfast is jam, butter, or Nutella. And this is usually spread on a croissant or Pain au chocolat (a type of croissant with chocolate in it) or toasted bread.

Why add flour to butter for croissants? ›

For the best croissants you really do want to use European butter. It truly makes a huge difference. But that's quite an investment on your part. If you're stuck using American butter it's advisable to add some flour to the butter when making the block to help absorb some of the excess water.

What ingredient creates the light and flaky layers in a croissant? ›

When making croissants, butter and dough are folded into hundreds of individual layers. As a croissant bakes, the butter melts and the water content in the butter turns into steam. It's that steam being trapped by the gluten in the dough that creates the delicate, flaky layers in a perfect croissant.

What is the difference between a good and bad croissant? ›

Genuine ones weigh almost nothing, they don't spring at the touch but crumble at the slightest pressure you apply on the crust, they smell of caramelized butter and are not sweet. The final proof is in the “ears“: the croissant's extremities are the best part and must be crispy and crunchy, perfectly golden brown.


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