Homemade croissants, aka the best (and maybe only successful) yeasted baked good I can make. If you have been following along for a while, you know about my love-hate relationship with yeast. I like eating yeasted baked goods, but have struggled to get them right when I make them. Cookies, cakes and brownies – no problem; yeast rolls, doughnuts, babka – forget it. But croissants, one of the most time consuming yeasted breads out there, total success. How? Why? I don’t understand how that works, but it gives me hope that you can all make them too!
Back at the beginning of the month we prepared for lots of snow. While most people ran around the grocery store stocking up on milk and bread, we made sure we had enough eggs, butter and flour. I highly suggest this method of snow preparation. Instead of milk sandwiches (or whatever you do with gallons of milk and loaves of bread), we had warm croissants and cookies when we came in from the snow. Win.
This recipe is perfect for a snow day, weekend, or a few weeknights because, in the nature of good yeasted breads, it takes a long time. Do not let this deter you – most of the time is just for the dough to rest or rise, so, while the overall length of the project can take a while, the recipe is broken up into multiple steps that, individually, don’t take much time.
As someone who doesn’t make yeast breads often (or well), it was so exciting to see the dough rise and act according to the directions. I took before and after pictures each time I covered the dough so I could track the progress and see if it was actually rising. Every time I expected it to look the same and every time it had doubled in size. I would jump up and down with the excitement of a child on Christmas, take my photo, compare it to the first photo and run to show Will the difference. It’s the little things, right? ;)
This dough is amazing. You can actually see the layers on layers on layers when you roll it out and cut it and the baked croissants flake apart when you pull them. I saved half of our dough in the freezer to whip out when we have guests or just on a Saturday morning when we want it. I really expect the feeling of whipping freshly thawed homemade croissant dough out of the fridge to make me feel like Ina and Martha, and I will likely be sorely upset if it doesn’t. Don’t you imagine that’s how they live, with homemade croissant dough in their freezers at all times, ready for the unexpected houseguest? I like to think so.
I made plain, chocolate and funfetti croissants and cut the dough into triangles about half the size that the original recipe calls for. This gave us more croissants that were smaller, so we could try the different variations without feeling gluttonous. I highly recommend making the smaller version. The baked croissants keep in an airtight container for about a week and heat up wonderfully in the oven or a toaster oven. Alternately, you can make the dough and freeze what you don’t use before cutting or after cutting and rolling. To bake, place the frozen dough in the fridge to thaw overnight and bake according to recipe instructions.
I used the croissant recipe from Tartine (via Food52), but halved it and still ended up with plenty of dough. If you have a kitchen scale I recommend using the weight measurements, as that will be more precise, but I converted them into standard US measurements as well. The instructions on Food52 are very detailed, and I’m not sure I could explain the process better, so I linked their instructions below my halved, converted ingredients.
3 ounces nonfat milk
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/8 ounces (11 ¾ tablespoons) flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
7 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) whole milk
14 ounces (3 cups) flour
1 ¼ ounces (1 tablespoon + 2 ¾ teaspoons) sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons butter, melted
11 ounces (21 2/4 tablespoons) butter
1 tablespoon cream or milk
Optional add-ins: chocolate; colorful cylindrical sprinkles, like jimmies (not nonpareils – the colors bleed)
Follow these instructions.
For chocolate croissants: place chopped chocolate in the center of the wide end of the dough triangle and roll the dough from the wide end to the tip, tucking the tip underneath the rolled croissant.
For funfetti croissants: pour sprinkles in the center of the wide end of the dough triangle (not too close to the edges), and roll from the wide end of the triangle to the tip, tucking the tip of the triangle under the rolled croissant. If you want sprinkles throughout the dough for even more of a funfetti effect (not pictured here), roll sprinkles into the butter before laminating the dough.