This Croissant recipe is about as minimal equipment as you can get in a recipe. All it requires is some focus, and a little bit of patience. Oh, and a rolling pin helps too. Then you end up with beautifully flakey and buttery croissants that have a glossy crispy exterior, and a soft and rich inside.
130g water @ 100 degrees Fahrenheit
6g active dry yeast
250g bread flour
30g granulated sugar
5g fine sea salt
25g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk (about 18g)
Beurrage (butter block):
138g unsalted butter (ideally high butter fat European style butter like plugra, wuthrich, etc.)
Day 1: (the night before around 8 or 9 p.m.):
Make your dough and prepare it for it's overnight rest.
9:25am - Encase butter in dough, roll and fold
10:30am - Second fold
11:30am - Roll dough out to correct size for slicing and shaping. Rest in the fridge.
12:30am - Cut dough and shape croissants. Brush with egg wash and proof.
2:30P.M - Brush again with Egg wash
2:35 P.M - Bake
First, bloom your yeast by whisking in active dry yeast into water warmed to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Let sit for 10 minutes or until it starts to get foamy on the top.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add bread flour, granulated sugar and fine sea salt. Give a thorough whisk until everything is incorporated.
Add in your bloomed yeast mixture, 1 egg yolk and unsalted melted butter. Mix with a spatula until it begins to form a dough, then use your hands and lightly knead to have it fully come together.
Once the dough comes together, to give the dough a little strength; pick up the dough and slap it against the table and fold it over itself. Continue this process for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You’ll know this process is done when you start to see a smooth surface on the dough.
Once done, gently shape it into a ball and place back into your medium-sized bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Once rested, perform “it’s first turn.” Grab an edge of the dough, gently pull and stretch it, folding it over itself and gently patting it down with the palm of your hand. Repeat this process all the way around the perimeter of the dough, until you’ve stretched all the sides. Flip the dough over and place it seam side down, covering in plastic wrap and resting it in the fridge for 10 more minutes.
After 10 minutes, repeat the process of “turning” for a total of two turns; being careful not to tear the dough when stretching it.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap one last time and let it rest in the fridge for 25 minutes.
Once rested, place the finished dough on a sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough into a 7-inch by 7-inch square using a ruler. Once it is an oval shape, take your wax paper and fold it so that the edges of the wax paper measure to be 7x7 inches. Flip the dough over and roll it into those edges, conforming to the shape of the wax paper.
Make sure your dough is evenly flat.
Do not press too hard, otherwise the dough will burst through the wax paper.
Once shaped, place in the fridge overnight for 12 hours.
*Look at sample schedule above*.
For day 2, lay out your evenly sliced pieces of unsalted European butter on wax paper, until they’re roughly 4x4 inches. Leave about ½-inch of space around the edges for pounding later on. Fold your wax paper over the butter so that the edges of the wax paper measure to be 4x4 inches. Flip over so the seam side is done and using a rolling pin, pound out the butter so it spreads out to the edges evenly. Place in the fridge to chill for 15-25 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface and pull your dough out of the fridge. With your rolling pin, flatten out and elongate all of the edges of your dough. Place your butter in the center of your dough diagonally.
Take each edge of the dough and stretch it over the butter, encasing it. Once it is totally encased and no butter is showing, pinch and close the edges shut. Flip over seam side down.
Lightly flour your rolling pin and the top of your dough. Using your rolling pin, press down multiple times along the entire length of the dough, helping encase the butter. Next, roll with an even pressure and form the dough into a long rectangle, roughly 18-inches in length.
Once rolled, grab the bottom of your dough - the part closest to you - and fold it ¾ of the way up the rectangle. Take the top half and fold it the remaining ¼ of the way until both ends meet evenly. Lightly pat down so they stick. Then fold the longer portion over the short portion, making an envelope shape.
Using your rolling pin, lightly tap down so that all of the layers are stuck together. DO NOT PRESS.
Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for one hour.
Once rested, unwrap your dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough in the same direction; shaping it into a wider rectangle.As before, give the dough a tap along the entire surface and roll it out with even pressure until it reaches about 18-inches in length.
Grab the top portion of your dough and fold it ⅓ of the way down, then fold the bottom part so that it overlaps evenly on the other side.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1-12 hours as needed.
For the final roll, roll your dough into a wider and thicker rectangle. (about 10x10 inches.)
To shape the croissants, make marks along the bottom of the dough at 1 ½ inch intervals. Repeat by following in between the two marks at the top as well.
To cut the croissant, take a long sharp knife and make cuts following along the points you made earlier. These cuts should make 5-6 croissant triangles.
Take a triangle of dough and gently elongate it to make it about an inch longer. Next, roll the dough up very tightly, starting from the longer end up to the point of the triangle. Make sure to not squeeze the layers. Repeat this process with every croissant.
Place croissants tail side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with egg wash (one whole egg whisked together). Cover with a rimmed baking sheet inverted and let proof at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. You can proof these in the lowest rack of your oven with the light turned on, leaving the door open slightly.
Once proofed, give another egg wash brushing and bake at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes. Then, bake again at 330 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until they’re golden brown and puffy.