Most croissants served in the U.S. are an absolute abomination. In other words, they suck.
Food corporations, bakeries, coffee shops, and grocery stores take shortcut after shortcut, and fill croissants with God-knows-what kind of additives.
The HOLY French croissant has been turned into a lifeless, sad excuse for a pastry. But we’re about to change that…
Making homemade croissants can be one of the most difficult baked goods to master.
An authentic French croissant recipe, the base of which can be formed into luscious chocolate croissants and an array of the most mouth-watering pastries you’ve ever eaten in your whole entire life, is a bit labor-intensive and can seem like too much work to be worth the effort.
Let me dispel this myth right here, right now.
With over 40 step-by-step photos you will learn how to make croissants that could be served in any of the finest pâtisseries in France!
After just ONE bite of these buttery, flaky babies hot out of the oven, you will never be able to eat a crappy store-bought croissant ever again!
LEARN HOW TO MAKE CROISSANTS FROM A PROFESSIONALLY-TRAINED BAKER
I don’t say this to gloat, but merely to explain how I learned to make the holy grail of French pastries. I had the great pleasure of attending The French Pastry School’s artisan bread and pastry program in Chicago a few years back and be taught by master bakers from France. I had eaten croissants before going to school here, but never could have imagined the life-changing experience of trying an authentic artisan croissant.
HOW TO MAKE CROISSANTS AT HOME
Professional bakeries use dough sheeters which actually role the dough out for you in a matter of seconds. This allows for less time for the gluten to be manipulated, and less time time for the dough to get too warm in between “folds”.
The result is the flakiest, most perfect pastry dough imaginable.
After making croissants at home 20 -30 times, I knew I needed to make adjustments to the recipe to accommodate for several issues I was constantly running into. The extra time it takes to roll out the dough by hand can result in the dough tearing because the gluten gets overworked or the dough is too warm and butter oozes out of the dough, which can keep it from becoming flaky.
A croissant that isn’t flaky is not a croissant!!!
On top of the adjustments to the croissants recipe, I also wanted you to visually see what the dough should and shouldn’t look like each step of the way.
This post might seem a bit overwhelming, so I set out to create my own video course to show you that making croissants is TOTALLY possible no matter your baking experience. From novice bakers to professional chefs, my video course will walk you through the process and make you feel like I’m right with you in the kitchen!
Photos can only show so much. What you need is someone showing you exactly how the dough moves in your hands.
THE SECRET TO ACHIEVING A FLAKY CRUST
When you bite into a croissant, it should be so flaky that you get crumbs all over you and should also have that intense CRUNCH when you bite into it. This experience is nirvana! The trick to getting the flakiest texture comes from two main components:
- The temperature of the dough and the temperature of the butter folded inside the dough should be cold, but not so cold that the butter breaks into pieces when you roll it out.
- The gluten in the flour should not be over-worked. The more you fight against rolling out the dough, the longer it will take (which causes the dough to become too warm), and the tougher the croissant will be.
As you will see in the photos below, getting to that sweet spot in between too warm and too cold will make the dough easy to roll out, in turn making the process of making croissants MUCH easier.
WHAT KIND OF FLOUR, BUTTER, YEAST, AND SALT SHOULD I USE FOR CROISSANTS?
If you are a professional baker making the most authentic croissants, chances are you are using a flour that has a protein content around 11-12%. The percentage of protein in flour is important because it tells you the strength of the gluten structure.
Too much protein (around 13%) yields a really chewy texture which is better for bagels. Too little protein yields a structure that is too weak for croissants, but is great for certain cakes where a lighter-than-air texture is desired. When baking croissants at home, I always use 100% Organic Bread Flour from King Arthur Flour.
Per a reader comment, I updated the recipe to half bread flour and half all purpose flour. Non-organic flour works, but with the over-usage of toxic pesticides in wheat crops today, it’s much better for the planet (and for the wheat crops) to buy only organic flours.
As for butter, the higher the fat content, the better.
In France, cows are grass-fed. They are eating the food nature intended, and when this happens they make the most incredible butter.
Butter from grass-fed cows has a higher fat content, but also contains CLA which is a powerful antioxidant. Like organic flours, if you are going to buy butter, I recommend it be from grass-fed cows.
Even if a butter says “organic” on the label, that doesn’t mean the cows are grass-fed. Kerrygold butter is one of the best butters available. I know it’s more expensive, but buy less, and enjoy higher quality if possible.
If you are going to bother making croissants from scratch, then get the best butter you can afford.
SALT & YEAST
I like to use sea salt exclusively for baking because of its clean flavor, especially celtic sea salt, but any sea salt will do.
Yeast can be more confusing, as there are several different kinds to choose from. For at-home baking, active dry yeast is generally best because it’s most readily available at grocery stores.
However, this type of yeast needs to be activated with warm water for a few minutes before adding to your dough. Professionals mostly use instant dry yeast (or instant yeast) because it doesn’t need to be activated with warm water. You just add it in with the rest of your ingredients, and the water will activate it.
The measurements for both are the same, so there are no adjustments to the recipe.
Grocery stores in the U.S. now carry Rapid Rise Yeast, which is the same thing as instant yeast. Just chck the label to ensure you don’t have to activate it with warm water.
No need to worry if you are confused. Just remember, active dry yeast needs to be activated with warm water, while instant dry yeast is activated instantly with any temperature of water. In the recipe, I give you options for both.
YOU CAN ADD A SOURDOUGH CULTURE TO THE DOUGH!
You can actually make this recipe with a sourdough culture too. You will have to make sure that you still use dry baker’s yeast too, because otherwise your croissant will be like a brick. The extra butter in the recipe will make it hard for the dough to rise enough with a sourdough culture alone.
The recipe will be exactly the same, just simply add 60 grams of sourdough culture (about 1/4 cup) to the dough when mixing.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS FOR BAKING CROISSANTS
I have included U.S. measurements (cups, teaspoons, etc) and measurements by weight.
Weighing your ingredients instead of measuring with cups and teaspoons is actually MUCH easier and way more accurate. When I bake croissants and artisan bread at home, I ALWAYS use a digital scale. It can measure in grams, ounces, and pounds.
Just remember to “tare” or zero out your scale after weighing each measurement so you get the right amount. I have been using this digital scale for a few years now and I love it!
Ok now let’s get to baking those croissants, shall we?!
Making the best authentic French croissants requires a one and a half to three day process.
This is because you are letting time and long fermentation add the most amazing natural sweet flavor.
Long fermentation not only yields unmatched flavor, but it also helps to create enzymes in the dough that actually help your body to digest it. I could go on and on about this topic, but I won’t bore you today.
The first day, you are only mixing the dough and making the butter book or “beurrage”, and time does the rest of the work. The second day is where you fold in the butter into the dough with 30 minutes in between to rest in the fridge. I like to start this recipe late in the evening, then finish it the next morning.
A “fold” or “turn” is the term used for rolling out the dough and folding it like a book to create layers and layers of buttery dough. Three single folds (which is what we use for croissants) lends 163 layers of butter and dough!
This recipe is the maximum quantity you should use in a 5 qt. Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. However, a Kitchenaid won’t do a good job creating a soft gluten structure. It can overwork the dough and make it tough.
I have found that it’s best to start the dough in the mixer and mix only until the dough comes together. Next, take the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is soft and the butter is incorporated. We only add a small amount of butter to the dough while mixing, and the rest will be folded in the next morning.
Add the dough back to the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let ferment at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will activate the fermentation process.
It then ferments overnight in the fridge. The long fermentation time will create a lighter croissant texture.
While the dough is resting at room temp., make the butter book or “beurrage”. Parchment paper works great for this. You can fold the parchment paper to an exact size and form the butter inside the rectangle. You just need to overlap the parchment paper and fold in the edges to seal it so the butter doesn’t ooze out while you are rolling it.
Give the butter some time to soften at room temperature so it becomes easier to roll out. This way you won’t need to add a lot of pressure and the parchment won’t break.
If the parchment paper breaks, just cover it well with plastic wrap before you put it back in the fridge.
As you can see below, I turned the butter book over after sealing the edges, then gently rolled the butter so it was level and smoothed the butter all the way to the corners. Place the butter book in the fridge overnight along with the dough.
Take the dough and the butter book out of the fridge. Flour a work surface. I used my dining room table because it’s nice and long. You will need to eventually roll out the dough to about 24 inches long, so you need a long space to be able to lean forward into the dough.
Try to work quickly, as the dough will start to warm up the longer it’s at room temperature. Turn the dough bottom side up and flatten it out with your hands and a rolling pin to a rectangle.
Try to add as little flour as possible. Just flour the rolling pin itself if needed.
Before you fold the butter into the dough, place it on top of the rectangle width-wise. You want the dough to fold perfectly over the butter without any overlap. See the two photos below for illustration.
If the dough doesn’t cover the butter completely, roll out a bit more. Keep putting the butter book on top and folding over the dough into the center until it’s a perfect fit.
You can use your hands to pull the dough in an inch or so to seal it. Unwrap the butter on one side and press it into the dough to help it form with the dough. Remove the parchment paper.
Fold the dough toward the center without overlapping the dough and seal the edges together with your fingers. You want the perfect dough/butter layers, so overlapping the dough will mess that up.
Turn the dough a half turn so that the seal is pointing long ways. As you can see below, the dough acts like a book over the butter, without overlapping.
As shown below, seal the ends with your fingers so that the butter won’t ooze out while rolling.
Now wrap it really well with plastic wrap, making sure there are no openings. Otherwise, it will dry out the dough. Place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes, until nice and cold.
WHY DOES THE DOUGH NEED TO REST IN BETWEEN FOLDS?
I know it may be tempting to try to speed up this process, but you will only tear the dough or warm it up so that the butter oozes out and messes up the layers of flaky dough.
You need to let the dough rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes in between the initial folding of the butter into the dough, and in between each of the three folds because the temperature of the dough and the butter needs to be cold.
If the butter is too cold though, the butter will break into pieces inside the dough. You can easily see this happen, so you will know if you need to stop rolling and let it warm up for a few minutes. If you set a timer for 30 minutes to rest it in the fridge, chances are your dough won’t get too cold.
You might also think it’s a good idea to rush the chilling process by popping it in the freezer, but the gluten in the dough also needs to relax. If it’s in the freezer for 30 minutes, it will be rigid when it comes out.
If you only freeze it for 10-15 minutes, the gluten won’t have enough time to relax. When the gluten is relaxed it will roll out with ease and you won’t overwork the dough. So just be patient with this process, IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!
Alright, now we are officially going to start creating those flaky 163 layers of dough!
We are going to roll it out in the direction of the lines in the center of the book as shown above. Remove the dough from the fridge and take the plastic wrap off.
Save the plastic wrap as you will need to recover it after each fold. Flour your work surface and flour the top with a bit of flour, not too much though. Roll it out to about 20-24 inches long, working quickly, but not tearing the dough. Occasionally glide your hands under the dough to keep it from sticking.
Add a little flour at a time underneath as needed. Also roll it out a bit width-wise as well, but not too much.
Again, the dough and butter should roll out uniformly without the butter breaking or oozing out. If the butter starts to break, stop for a couple of minutes and let it warm a bit. If the dough oozes out or the dough tears, you need to cover it with plastic wrap and place it back in the fridge.
It’s ok if you need to fold the dough in order to fit it in the fridge, just unfold it when you finish rolling it out.
The photo below shows a smooth dough with a small tear. These are likely to happen when you are rolling it out by hand, so THAT’S OK. We just don’t want those tears to get much bigger.
When it’s rolled out to 20-24 inches, fold one end of the dough right into the center. Fold the other end of the dough over the top of that. It should look like a book. Brush off any excess flour when folding the dough.
Notice in the two photos below, how all the layers are lined up perfectly. We don’t want any overlapping here either.
Turn the dough a half turn so that the lines of the top of the “book” are going long-ways. All the layers on all sides line up perfectly.
Now, this is a neat trick one of my teachers taught me. For each fold, press your finger into the dough to make an indention. This will help you remember how many folds you have done. You would be surprised how easy it is to forget how many times you have rolled it out, so don’t skip this step.
Remember when we initially folded the butter into the dough? Well, that one doesn’t count as one of the three folds, so don’t put an indention in the dough at that point. Now wrap in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap. Flour the work surface again and lightly flour the rolling pin and the surface of the dough. Roll out to 20-24 inches again the exact same way, also rolling width-wise a couple of inches.
The same rules apply to this turn. Watch for the butter breaking, tears in the dough, and oozing butter. Try rolling it out a bit, then flipping the dough over to check for tears, then rolling on the other side.
Fold the dough like a book again. Below I show an overhead view of the edges of the dough to point out that you also have to watch out for the edges popping out while rolling. This is hard to completely avoid, but keep the layers as aligned as possible. Use your hands to line the layers up. You can try lifting the layers to stretch them a tad, but be careful not to tear!
Now add two indentions with your fingers to represent two folds. Wrap in plastic again and put back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Ok, now we are on the last turn!! Roll out again in the direction of the book to 24 inches long and a couple of inches wider than it is. You might need to pound on the dough to help flatten it out before rolling it.
Because you have been manipulating the dough, the third turn can often result in some tears in the dough. Simply stop, wrap in plastic, put back in the fridge for about 15 minutes, and finish rolling out.
Put three indentions into the dough after rolling it out and folding into a book. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
WHEW, are you tired of waiting yet? We are almost there!! Now flour your surface and roll out the dough to 24 inches again. If the dough is constantly shrinking back, the gluten needs to relax a bit.
Cover and place in the fridge for a few minutes to relax the dough. Roll out to 24 inches long to 8 1/2 inches wide.
Now here is a BIG question.
Do want to bake traditional croissants, chocolate croissants, or a mixture of both?
If the answer is both, then cut the dough in half so you have two pieces of dough 12 inches long and 8 1/2 inches wide. You will get more traditional croissants than chocolate croissants because they are skinnier and weigh less. Wrap one side of the dough in plastic wrap and put back in the fridge. If the other half of the dough is getting too warm, wrap it up and let cool too, otherwise, you are ready to cut into shapes.
In the photo above, you can see the edges of the dough next to the ruler have popped out a bit. Trim the excess edges to make it as straight as possible. As you can see below, I used a ruler to mark where I need to cut the croissants. I cut them 3 inches wide and 8 inches high with a knife.
Make a slit in the center of the bottom of each croissant and stretch the top of the dough a bit to make longer. Roll the croissant into a crescent shape. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees because you will proof them on top of the stove and you want it to be warm.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. If you have extra pieces that are a little oddly shaped, don’t waste them!! Roll them into crescents too. They will still taste wonderful.
Egg wash only the surface of the croissants. Don’t egg wash the layers, this will keep them flaky. In the photo below, I didn’t properly egg wash the front of the croissants, so make sure the whole top is washed. Cover with plastic wrap and place on top of the stove to proof.
Now cut your chocolate croissants! Just look at those cute little chocolate batons (or pain au chocolat sticks). I have a giant box of them from when I used to bake croissants and sell them. You can find these large boxes (they are only $24.95) on Amazon here but if you are just making croissants occasionally, then grab some pain au chocolat sticks on King Arthur Flour’s website.
They sell 8 oz. packages of them, which is about 24-30 chocolate sticks. The nice thing about chocolate batons is they are the exact width you need and aren’t too thick, and are made of really high-quality chocolate. They are great little treats to snack on too! If you don’t have chocolate batons, you can buy 60-70% chocolate bars from the store and cut them into thin and wide pieces. They might break apart when cutting but just patch the pieces together as best as possible.
I use two pieces of chocolate per croissant. As you roll them, you will get the perfect chocolate to buttery/flaky dough ratio! Line the pieces up width-wise very close together. You actually want the chocolate to ooze out of the side of the chocolate, YUM! With a knife, cut them into individual slices, as shown below.
As you can see, I spaced the chocolate batons far enough apart to allow for one roll, then another roll on top. Roll up the rest of the croissant like a jelly roll to create so many beautiful layers!!
Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and press down firmly with your hand to help seal the croissants. Sometimes the croissants unroll a bit as they expand in the oven if they have been over proofed. Sealing them helps reduce this. If you overproof them and they unroll in the oven, there is not much you can do. Just let them finish baking, they will still be flaky and OH-SO-GOOD.
Egg wash only the tops, cover with plastic wrap and place on top of the oven to proof. If you started rolling out traditional croissants first, they will get a head start on proofing and will be ready to bake first.
As I stated earlier, turn on your oven when you are shaping your croissants so the oven is nice and warm. On top of the stove is the perfect place to proof them, and it should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour tops!
Your croissants are proofed sufficiently when you press the surface of the dough gently with your finger and it springs back.
THEY WILL NOT DOUBLE IN SIZE, but increase around 30-40%. They will rise even more in the oven.
BAKING CROISSANTS IN A HOME OVEN
The best way to bake croissants in a home oven is to place the racks at the second lowest position and second highest position. You start by baking them on the lowest rack for 10-15 minutes.
This will help the bottom of the croissants get some nice color and texture. Then place them on the top rack to finish baking. The great thing about this process is that once you transfer the pan from the bottom to the top rack, you can add the next sheet pan to the bottom rack to start baking. This method ensures that your next batch of croissants won’t overproof.
OMG look at those babies baking up!!
When the tops of the croissants get a DEEP GOLDEN color, they are fully baked. To ensure they are cooked in the center, you may want to sacrifice one of the oddly shaped croissants and cut into the middle. Just let them rest for a few minutes before checking as they will continue baking when you take them out of the oven. If the center is underdone, put them back in the oven for 1-2 more minutes and inhale the croissant that you just cut into!!
Place them on a cooling rack, and once they have cooled enough to pick up, take them off the sheet pan and put directly on the rack. You want air circulation under the croissants to keep them from getting soggy on the bottom.
The chocolate croissants take a few more minutes to bake because they are bigger. That deep golden color on top is NOT BURNT. They will be raw in the middle if you don’t let them get that color.
Click the button below to enroll in the croissant video course
HOW TO MAKE CROISSANTS IN ADVANCE, PRESERVE, AND REHEAT CROISSANTS (IMPORTANT!)
To prepare croissants in advance, simply make the batch from start to finish. Once your croissants have cooled completely and you have eaten almost the entire batch yourself in one sitting (please don’t!), you can wrap them up really well individually in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer. They will keep for at least one month in the freezer.
DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE!!!!!
You can keep some on the counter in plastic wrap if they will be eaten in 24 hours or less. Once they have been wrapped in plastic wrap, they will lose their flaky texture.
But no worries! To get that flaky, crunchy texture back, simply pop them in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes or until the top is flaky when you press on it.
SET A TIMER and stand guard because you don’t want to burn your croissants! DO NOT…. I repeat, DO NOT MICROWAVE CROISSANTS TO REHEAT.
You will ruin the flakiness of the texture. Sure they will be buttery and soft, but it completely defeats the purpose of spending all that time rolling out the dough and folding. A croissant is not a croissant if it isn’t flaky.
If you are reheating them from the freezer, let them thaw a bit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Then pop them in the oven 8-10 minutes to reheat and get flaky. Sometimes the center is still cold if you don’t let them thaw a little first.
WHEW, ok I’m finished, I promise. I know this was a looooong post, but it’s so important to see what happens every step of the way, otherwise you might not bother to bake croissants. If you want to be a baking superstar in your family and community, then take the time to bake these croissants! I hope this post has inspired you to give them a shot. I promise, after ONE bite, you will know why you put forth the effort!
YES, YOU CAN DO THIS! ENROLL IN THE VIDEO COURSE HERE
Bon Appetit Ya’ll,
FRENCH CROISSANT RECIPE | CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS (40 STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS)
- 2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. Bread Flour 10.6 oz. or 300 grams
- 2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour 10.6 oz or 300 grams
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tsp. Milk whole or 2% (6.55 oz. or 186 grams)
- 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. Cold Water 5.55 oz. or 156 grams
- 2 tsp Salt 0.45 oz. or 13 grams
- 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast or Dry Instant Yeast (see note in instructions) (0.30 oz. or 8 grams)
- 2 tsp Honey 0.65 oz or 18 grams
- 4 Tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter to mix in the dough in the beginning, 2.10 oz. or 60 grams
Butter for the Butter Book
- 2 sticks plus 6 Tbsp. Butter 11.10 oz. or 310 grams
For the Egg Wash
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream
- pinch of salt
For the Chocolate Croissants
- chocolate batons or dark chocolate bars cut into sticks
Mixing the Dough
If you are using active dry yeast, warm the milk and add the yeast to help activate it for a few minutes. When it's bubbly, it's ready to add to the dough. If you are using dry instant yeast, skip this step, keep the milk cold, and add the yeast straight in with the other ingredients.
In a 5 qt. stand mixer, mix the flour and salt together (if using dry instant yeast, add it at this point). Add the honey to the milk and stir. Add the milk and honey mixture, the cold water and the small amount of butter.
Mix on the lowest speed for about 3 minutes until the ingredients all come together. Turn off the mixer and place the dough on a floured surface. Have a small pile of flour to dip your hands in while kneading the dough.
Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's nice and smooth. Don't dump flour on top of the dough while kneading, rather keep your hands floured as well as the surface under the dough. This will keep you from folding too much flour inside the dough. The butter might ooze out, but just keep kneading. If it starts sticking to the surface, use a scraper to scrape the dough up and add it back to the ball of dough.
When it's smooth, place the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set a timer and let it ferment for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place it in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours.
For the Butter Book or "Beurrage"
While the dough is fermenting at room temperature, make the butter book. Let the butter warm a bit at room temperature. With a large sheet of plastic wrap, place the butter in the center of the plastic wrap. Overlap the parchment paper over the butter to cover. Fold in the edges to seal as well. You want it to measure to 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.
Take a rolling pin and gently pound out the butter to help it flatten out and spread. Gently roll it out so that it's smooth and fills in the entire 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch region, making sure it doesn't ooze out of the sides. If the parchment paper crack while rolling, simply cover it with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. Place it in the fridge overnight.
Folding the Butter into the Dough
8-12 hours later take the dough and the butter book out of the fridge. Place the dough bottom side up on a floured surface and pat it out with your fingers. Roll it out to shape of a rectangle. With the width of the rectangle facing you, place the butter book perpendicular to the dough (see photos for example). Fold the sides of the dough over the butter so that the dough ends meet perfectly in the middle without overlapping. If the dough isn't the right size, remove the butter, and roll out a bit more until it's the perfect fit.
Squeeze the edges together to seal the dough. Press the ends of the dough on both sides with your fingers to seal as well (see photos for example). Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes until nice and cold.
Three Folds For Flaky Layers
Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Place on a well floured surface. Roll out in the direction of the lines of the book on top of the dough. Roll it out to about 24 inches long and a couple of inches wider. While you are rolling out the dough, occasionally run your hands underneath the dough to keep it from sticking. If the butter breaks, the dough is too cold. Stop rolling for a few minutes until it warms a bit. If the dough tears or butter oozes out, the dough is too warm. Immediately wrap the dough in plastic and place back in the fridge until it's nice and cold, about 15-20 minutes. When the dough is about 24 inches long, wipe off any excess flour, then fold one end toward the center, then the other end over the top of that. It will look like a book. Make sure the lines all line up perfectly. See photos for example. Put one indention with your finger on the top of the dough to show that you have completed one fold. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
The dough needs to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge so that it's cold and the gluten gets a chance to relax.
Remove from the fridge, take off the plastic wrap and place on a floured surface again. Roll out to about 24 inches long and a couple of inches wider. Watch for tears, the butter oozing, or breaking. Stop rolling if it's too cold and let warm a bit, or cover and place back in the fridge if too warm. Once it's rolled out, wipe off excess flour and fold again like a book. Put two indentions in the top of the dough to symbolize two folds, cover and place in the fridge for 30 more minutes.
I don't recommend trying to speed up the process of rolling out the dough by placing it in the freezer in between folds. Yes, it will get nice and cold, but the gluten still needs to relax in between folds too, otherwise it will be tough to roll out and the dough will get overworked. If butter is oozing out but the gluten is relaxed, you can place it in the freezer for no more than 10 minutes. Any more and the butter might get too cold and will break when rolling! You will know if the gluten is not relaxed if if the dough continually springs back when you are rolling it out.
Roll out for a third fold the exact same way as the previous two folds. The third fold can often be when you start to get tears or the butter oozes out because it's been manipulated a lot, so be patient and stop rolling if need be.
Wrap again and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make the egg wash by whisking together the whole egg, egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Shaping, Proofing, and Baking Croissants
Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Place on a floured surface. Roll out to 24 inches long and a couple of inches wider, occasionally running your hands underneath the dough with flour to help lift the dough and keep from sticking. Again, watch for tears, and the butter oozing out. Turn the dough over and roll out on the other side as well.
If you want to make half traditional croissants, and half chocolate croissants, take a ruler and cut down the center so you have 12 inches on each side.
Cover one side with plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you are shaping the other side.
With a knife, cut the croissants into triangles 3 inches wide at the bottom by 8 1/2 inches high. Every other croissant will be facing downward (see photos).
In the middle of the base of the croissants, cut a small slit to allow for fanning out while shaping. Stretch each croissant with your hand and roll into a crescent shape and press down to seal. Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and egg wash the surface of the croissants. Don't egg wash the layers. Cover with plastic wrap and proof on the stove top with the oven turned on to 350 degrees. This will help to warm the area while proofing. They should take 45 minutes to 1 hour tops.
To shape the chocolate croissants, line the chocolate sticks up (almost touching) width-wise. You will use two sticks per croissant. Cut the croissants 3 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches high. Roll them like a jelly roll (see photos) and press down to seal. Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and egg wash only the surface (not the sides). Cover with plastic wrap and proof on top of the stove for 45 minutes to 1 hour tops.
The croissants are done proofing when you gently press the surface and it springs back. Whichever sheet pan started proofing first will be the first to bake.
In a 350 degree oven, place the racks at the second position from the bottom and the second position from the top. Place the first pan of croissants on the bottom rack and bake for 10 minutes, this will help the bottoms of the croissants get some color. Move them to the top rack to finish baking for about 20-25 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown.
If the second sheet pan is done proofing, you can place it on the bottom rack to start baking while the other pan bakes on top. Transfer them to the top rack after 10 minutes or when the top pan is baked.
Place the sheet pans on a cooling rack. When the croissants have cooled a bit, take them off the sheet pan and put directly on the cooling rack.
Preserving the Croissants
Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place any croissants in the freezer that won't be eaten in 24 hours or less. DO NOT KEEP CROISSANTS IN THE FRIDGE, it will dry them out!
Reheating the Croissants
DO NOT MICROWAVE CROISSANTS, you will ruin the flaky texture and they won't re-crisp. Rather, remove them from the freezer and thaw for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until warm and crisp.
For Sourdough Croissants:
If you would like to add wonderful flavor, aroma, and the added nutrition of a sourdough culture, simply add 60 grams (about 1/4 cup) of a ripe sourdough culture to the dough when mixing.
You STILL need to use the same amount of dry baker's yeast as well because the dough won't rise enough without it.