Thursday, 6 March 2014

Classic Croissants

It has been one full year, that members at 'We Knead to bake' put their trembling hands on Classic Croissants. Well some of the expert bakers had already dealt with the long and tedious process of Croissant making. We were to follow a recipe which was three page long and explained with utmost details. Charged up to get rid of my fear and try these French beauties, I was left bereft to realize that I did not carry my packet of instant yeast to Allahabad, where I had come to spend a lovely time with my In-laws. I made up my mind to reach Kolkata and try them for sure especially after seeing everyone loving the bake and calling it their best. 
One thing led to the other and I never got around making them. The humid weather of Kolkata further added to my grievance and I waited for winters to nail them. 
This February when Aparna announced that her oven had broke down and all members were given the choice to bake a bread of their own, I pushed myself to put my hands on Classic Croissants. I was still scared of the lengthy process and of the butter leaking from the dough horror but this oppurtunity was my true Croissant Calling. I reduced the recipe to half and jumped onto the beautiful, magical, butter laden world of Croissants. 
Croissants are basically yeasted puff pastry that is baked in the shape of crescents.There are stuffed versions too. The ones stuffed with chocolate is called Pain au Chocolat. The basic process involves enveloping a slab of butter with the dough, rolling it out and then folding and resting the dough repeatedly before shaping it.
Frankly speaking, I am super happy at my attempt and glad I got the fear out. This bake is certainly a feather on my cap. Though butter leaking can be an issue, it can easily be taken care of following Aparna's detailed instructions and notes. Do check her blog post for more detailed pics of the process.

Recipe Source : Jeffrey Hamelman's Classic Croissants adapted by Aparna Balasubramanium

Ingredients : I reduced the recipe to half and yielded about 7 Croissants and some scraps

For Dough :
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, and a little more for dusting/rolling out dough
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cold milk 
  •  2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 20gm soft unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1tsp salt
Butter Layer
  • 100 gm cold butter (I used Amul)
To Brush the dough
  • 2 tbsp milk/1 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp cream 


Day 1:Make the dough and refrigerate overnight

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in the bowl. Mix till it comes together. Lightly flour a 10-inch pie pan or a dinner plate.  And place the ball of dough on this.  
Gently shape the dough into a flat ball by pressing it down before storing it in the fridge, this makes rolling out next morning easier. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and wrap well with plastic so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight.  
Day 2: Make the butter layer and Laminate the dough

The next day, cut out 2 pieces of parchment or waxed paper into 10” squares each.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Place these pieces on one piece of parchment/waxed paper so they form a 5- to 6-inch square. Cut the butter further into pieces as required to fit the square. Top with the other piece of parchment/waxed paper.
Using a rolling pin, pound the butter with light, even strokes. As the pieces begin to stick together, use more force. Pound the butter until it flattens out evenly into a square that’s approximately 7-1/2”. Trim the edges of the butter to make a neat square. Put the trimmings on top of the square and pound them in lightly with the rolling pin. Refrigerate this while you roll out the dough.
Unwrap and lay the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to a 10-1/2-inch square, and brush off the excess flour. Take the butter out from the refrigerator-it should be cold but pliable.  If it isn’t refrigerate it till it is. This so that when you roll out the dough with the butter in it, neither should it be soft enough to melt, or hard enough to break. Unwrap the butter and place it on the square of dough in the centre, so that it forms a “diamond” shape on the dough.
Fold one flap of dough over the butter toward you, stretching it slightly so that the point just reaches the middle of the butter square. Bring the opposite flap to the middle, slightly overlapping the previous one. Similarly repeat with the other two so that the dough forms an envelope around the butter. Lightly press the edges together to completely seal the butter inside the dough to ensure the butter doesn’t escape when you roll out the dough later.
Lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough. With the rolling pin, firmly press along the dough uniformly to elongate it slightly. Now begin rolling instead of pressing, focusing on lengthening rather than widening the dough and keeping the edges straight.
Roll the dough into an 8” by 12” rectangle. If the ends lose their square shape, gently reshape the corners with your hands. Brush off the excess flour. Mark the dough lightly equally into three along the long side. Using this as a guideline, pick up one short end of the dough and fold 1/3rd of it back over the dough, so that 1/3rd of the other end of dough is exposed.
Now fold the 1/3rd exposed dough over the folded side. Basically, the dough is folded like 3-fold letter before it goes into an envelope (letter fold). Put the folded dough on a floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 15 to 20 minutes to relax and chill the dough.
Repeat the rolling and folding, this time rolling in the direction of the two open ends (from the shorter sides to lengthen the longer sides) until the dough is about 8” by 12”. Once again fold the dough in thirds, brushing off excess flour and turning under any rounded edges or short ends with exposed or smeared layers. Cover once again with plastic wrap and freeze for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll and fold the dough exactly in the same way for the third time and put it baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic under all four sides and refrigerate overnight. 
Day 3: Shape the dough

The next day, unwrap and lightly flour the top and bottom of the dough.
“Wake up the dough up” by pressing firmly along its length with the rolling pin. Don’t widen the dough but simply begin to lengthen it with these first strokes. Slowly roll the dough into a long and narrow strip, approximately 8” by 11”. If the dough sticks as you roll, sprinkle with flour.

Lay a measuring rule or tape measure lengthwise along the top length of the dough.
With a knife, mark the top of the dough at 5-inch intervals along the length. Now place the rule or tape measure along the bottom length of the dough and make a mark 2-1/2 inches in from the end of the dough. Make marks at 5-inch intervals from this point all along the bottom of the dough.
Make diagonal cuts by positioning the yardstick at the top corner and the first bottom mark. Use a pizza wheel/ pie wheel or a bench scraper and cut the dough along this line which connects each top mark to the next bottom mark and then back to the next top mark and so on. This way you will have 7 triangles and a scrap of dough at each end.  

Shape the croissants
Now work with one piece of triangular dough at a time. Using your rolling pin, very lightly roll (do not make it thin but only stretch it slightly) the triangle to stretch it a little, until it is about 10” long. This will give your croissants height and layers.
Using a sharp small knife, make a 1/2- to 3/4-inch-long notch in the centre of the short side of each triangle. The notch helps the rolled croissant curl into a crescent.
Place the triangle on the work surface with the notched side closest to you. With one hand on each side of the notch, begin to roll the dough away from you, towards the pointed end.
Flare your hands outward as you roll so that the notched “legs” become longer. Roll the triangle tight enough but not too tight to compress it, until you reach the “pointy” end which should be under the croissant.
Now bend the two legs towards you to form a tight crescent shape and gently press the tips of the legs together (they’ll come apart while proofing but keep their crescent shape).
Shape all the triangles like this into croissants and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet leaving as much space between them as they will rise quite a bit. 
I stuffed some choco-chips in the side scraps and roughly rolled them too.

Proof the croissants

Brush the croissants with milk (or a mix of milk and cream).
Refrigerate the remaining milk/ milk+cream (or egg wash) for brushing the croissants again later. Place the croissants in a cool and draft-free place (the butter should not melt) for proofing/ rising for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  
They might need longer than 2 hours to proof, maybe as much as 3 hours, so make sure to let croissants take the time to proof. The croissants will be distinctly larger but not doubled in size. They’re ready if you can see the layers of dough from the side, and if you lightly shake the sheets, the croissants will wiggle.  

Bake the croissants

Just before the croissants are fully proofed, pre-heat your oven to 220C (425F). Brush the croissants with milk/ milk+cream a second time.
Bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes till they’re done and golden brown on top and just beginning to brown at the sides. Cool the croissants on the baking sheets on racks.

The choco-chips stuffed dough scraps

Do not be scared of the lengthy procedure, it is just explained well for your understanding. 
Take a look at how Vaanya enjoyed these buttery yummies 

Happy 'Croissant Calling'


  1. Fantastic, croissants came out extremely prefect as much as like professionals..Well done.

    1. Thank you Priya, this was a first attempt. I sure need to try them again.

  2. Buttery and rich,looks so yummy

  3. Looks amazing! Have tried before but did not get such nice results...perhaps I shall try again sometime in the future:D

    1. You must try them again Jeannie. They are so yum

  4. Perfectly textured, soft, yummy croissants!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Femi, I had loads of fun making them.

  6. The croissants look so soft, buttery and yummy.

  7. wow so perfectly made croissants :) looks fabulous and so professional dear !! and your daughter is cute :) I wud love to grab those buttery yummies right away !!

    1. Thank you Manjula. Wish I could send you some.

  8. Wow such beautiful crossants! I need to learn how to make these sometime.

    1. Thank you Mich, I am sure you will love making them.

  9. Hello Amrita, I always thought that making Croissants was an easy affair your post in detail and now I know what it is like. You've done a great job. They've turned out great! Vaanya has been loving your bakes. Now you'll have a reason to try out newer recipes. Has she adjusted well now? Is she in her school uniform? She is very sweet..... (like her mom) :)

    1. Namita, croissants making is not hard, it is just time consuming and requires lots of patience. Vaanya is such a sweetheart, she always love to eat what I make. Thank you for the sweet words



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