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FRENCH CROISSANT RECIPE | CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS (40 STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS)

I'll teach you everything you need to know about making authentic French croissants and chocolate croissants with over 40 step-by-step photos!
Course Pastries
Cuisine French
Prep Time 16 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 16 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 -14
Author Bessie Bakes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Mixing the Dough

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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"

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. The dough needs to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge so that it's cold and the gluten gets a chance to relax.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Wrap again and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover one side with plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you are shaping the other side.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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.

Recipe Notes

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.