This quick version of my Classic French Croissants recipe includes a few short cuts, takes only 7 hours to make (with extended inactive period of times) and still gives billowy, flaky, buttery croissants.
In comparison to my 2-Day version or 3-Day version, these croissants are more buttery, with smaller air bubbles inside and a satisfyingly chewy crumb. A great compromise if you don’t have two or three days to create the real deal!
Before you start this recipe, make sure you read this post: Classic French Croissants 101, where I am covering all the essentials you need to know before making croissants for the first time (choice of ingredients, yeast, poolish, laminating, proofing, etc…).
Summary of the timeline:
(ie. Start Sunday morning and get freshly-baked croissants for Sunday afternoon)
Step 1: Make poolish and dough (30 minutes), refrigerate (1 hour)
Step 2: Laminate the dough and shape the croissants (2 hours 30 minutes; inc. 1 hour 30 minutes chill time)
Step 3: Proofing (3 hours), baking (17 min).
Total: 7 hours, over 1 day
- Stand Mixer (optional – easier for kneading the dough; but this can be done by hand too)
- Large working surface (ideally, cold marble top)
- Rolling pin
- Ruler or measuring tape (cm or inch)
- Pizza cutter
- Pastry Brush
- Two baking sheets; parchment paper
- Plastic film
- 8×8-inch (20.3×20.3cm) or 9×9-inch (22.9×22.9cm) square pan
Important note: Making Classic French Croissants is an intermediate to advanced level recipe. It took me several years to get a hang of “laminating” and “proofing”, having several failures along the way. I can’t promise your very first batch of croissants will be a success (mine definitely weren’t). But if you persevere, you will succeed!
For the poolish :
½ cup + 2 tsp (140ml) water
1 cup (125g) French Type 55 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (17g) Instant yeast
For the dough:
3 cups (375g) French Type 55 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour (+ extra for dusting)
2 ½ tsp (12g) salt
1/3 cup (65g) sugar
½ cup + 2 tsp (140ml) whole milk, cold
2 ¾ tbsp (40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubbed
1 cup (250g) unsalted butter, cold
1 egg + 1 tsp whole milk (egg wash)
Make sure you read the Classic-French Croissants 101 before you start this recipe.
Step 1 – Make the poolish.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, bring the water to a lukewarm temperature and turn off the heat immediately (make sure it doesn’t get any warmer than lukewarm or it will kill the yeast). Stir in the flour and yeast and mix until well incorporated. The mixture should be thick and slightly difficult to mix.
Set aside for 30 minutes. The poolish will expand. It should triple or even quadruple in size, and become spongy with bubbles forming at the top. Photos below: Before and After.
Step 2 – Make the dough.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
Add the poolish (make sure you scrape the saucepan to get all the poolish into the dough) and the milk. Stir to combine.
Knead in the cubes of butter in three separate additions. Make sure the butter is well incorporated before you incorporate the next addition.
Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes (in the bowl or you can transfer it to a working surface). The dough should be soft, smooth and slightly sticky. Do not over-knead. The dough shouldn’t be too firm nor elastic.
Cover a 8x8-inch (20.3cmx20.3cm) or 9x9-inch (22.9cmx22.9cm) square pan with plastic film and pat the dough into it. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 3 – Prepare the butter
In the meantime, take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into about ½-inch (1.25cm) thick square slices (if using a block of butter – not sticks - this will give you 4 slices).
Lay a large piece of parchment paper on a working surface. Place the slices of butter flat on the paper to form a 5x5-inches (12.7cmx12.7cm) square.
Lay another piece of parchment paper on top. With a rolling pin, roll out the butter to a large 6.5x6.5-inch (16.5cmx16.5cm) square. Peel off the parchment paper, wrap the butter slab in plastic film and chill until needed.
Step 4 – Laminate the dough
After the 1 hour, take the dough out of the fridge. Take it out of the square pan, unwrap it and place it onto a large, lightly floured working surface (ideally, cold marble top / Do not flour it too much or the dough will absorb too much flour and become too stiff.)
Step 4.1 - Roll out the dough into a 12X12-inch (30.5cmx30.5cm) square – make sure it is even in thickness. Take the butter out of the fridge and place it in the middle of the square at a 45 degree angle. Fold a corner side of the dough over the butter, with the tip of the corner in the middle of the butter (corner side should be triangle-shaped, since the butter is 45 degree diagonal). Repeat with the other other corner sides of the dough, so they all overlap in the center and the butter is totally encased within the dough.
Step 4.2 - Lightly flour your rolling pin and carefully start to roll out the dough (with the butter inside) to a 8x24-inch (20.3cmx61cm) rectangle. Be very gentle when you roll the dough out: apply even pressure and work your way slowly (you don’t want to break the butter into pieces nor squeeze it to the sides – it has to stay enclosed within the dough). Keep it mind that 8-inches (20.3cm) isn’t very wide, so focus on lenghtening the dough to 24-inches (61cm), rolling back and forth, rather then widening it.
Once the dough has reached its intended rectangular size (8x24-inches/20.3cmx61cm rectangle), fold it like a letter lenghtwise (one side on top of the other). Wrap in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and place it onto the working surface with the “open side” facing you (rotate 90 degrees; see photo right below). Repeat Step 4.2 (rolling to a 8x24-inch (20.3cmx61cm) rectangle and folding) and chill again for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, repeat Step 4.2 one last time, starting again with the open side facing you, and chill for 30 minutes. In total, you complete Step 4.2 three times.
Step 5 – Cutting the dough
After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and place it onto the working surface with the “open side” facing you again and roll it out to a 8x43.3-inch (20.3cmx110cm) long rectangle. The dough will resist a bit (this is normal). When the dough is its intented size, make sure it isn’t stuck to the working surface by lifting it gently (it will shrink a bit naturally).
Working along one of the long sides of the rectangle, make small cuts in the dough at 5 inch (12.5cm) intervals (you get 7 cuts in total). Working along the other long side of the rectangle, make small cuts at 5 inches (12.5cm) intervals, but starting at 2.5 inches (6.25cm) from the top of the rectangle, so these cuts don’t align with the ones on the other side – this will form the basis of triangles.
Use the pizza cutter and a ruler (or straight object) to make diagonal cuts (joining the top and bottom small cut marks), to create triangular cuts along the length of the dough. Discard of the two end pieces.
Step 6 – Shaping the croissants
Using a sharp knife or your pizza cutter, mark a small ½ inch (2.5cm) cut in the center of the short side of each triangle.
Grab the shorter side, stretch it out slightly and roll it up toward the pointy end.
Once all rolled up, press gently onto the pointy end to seal the croissant.
Take both ends of the rolled up croissants and slightly bend them to create a crescent shape.
Step 7 – Proofing
Carefully lift each croissant and arrange them on parchment-lined baking sheets (6 croissants/sheet), leaving enough space between them to expand.
Whisk the egg with the milk and brush a first generous coat of egg wash onto the croissants.
Proof the croissants for 3 hours in a draft-free environment (make sure you read the steps to proofing here).
Pre-heat your oven to 390°F (199 °C).
When the oven is pre-heated, brush a second coat of egg wash on the croissants.
Step 8 – Baking
Bake for 9 minutes. When the croissants start to become golden, turn the heat down to 370 F(188 °C) and bake for 7 minutes (1 or 2 minutes more/less depending on your oven).
Take the croissants out of the oven. Leave on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and gently transfer them onto a cooling rack.