Tips for Making Croissants

By Roberto Anthony Rivas , last updated February 4, 2011

Making croissants has a reputation for being challenging, but all you need are a couple simple tips. If you’ve just decided to tap into your inner pastry chef, or even if you’ve dabbled in pastry making previously, croissants are a great challenge to try in the kitchen. For a number of reasons, many people aren’t able to get them right the first time. Some may come out too buttery, others too stiff or doughy, or your croissant might not have just the right amount of flakiness. But, don’t be discouraged. Once you understand certain techniques, making croissants should become a lot easier.

A croissant is essentially the same as a puff pastry. You want it to come out buttery, flaky and light. The trick to all of this is in the way you use your prepped dough and butter block. So, that’s where we’ll start!

You butter block should be flattened into a six-inch square with a thickness of an inch. Next, with your dough shaped in a square, stretch each corner out four inches so that the dough becomes X-shaped. Place the butter block in the center and fold the corners over the block, covering it. Pinch the seams to seal it in. Next, with your dough floured, roll it out into a 12”x 20” rectangle. If your seams open, just reseal them. This is where you start folding. Fold the left and right sides of the dough, lengthwise, toward the middle so that the edges meet. Turn the dough at a 90-degree angle so that you now have the entire length of the dough in front of you from left to right. Fold one end over toward the middle of the rectangle and then on top of that double layer; fold the other side, similar to the way a book is closed. Chill the dough for 15 minutes. Repeat these steps two more times. Roll out, fold edges to meet, fold over one another, and chill. After the last fold, chill for 30 minutes.

By doing this, you are creating thin, buttery layers that, when done correctly, will also bake into an airy, light and flaky pastry. After you have done the folding and the chilling, cut your dough in half and roll both halves into thin rectangles. Cut triangles out of the rectangles and make a small slit at the base of each one. Roll the triangles from the base toward the tip and brush over with a beaten egg yolk. Now, you have to let the croissants rest in a warm room with a minimum temperature of 70 degrees, for two hours.

Follow directions in the recipe you have for cooking temperatures, time, etc. Hopefully, following these crucial techniques your croissants will come out great the first time, but if they don’t just look over what you may have done wrong and correct it.

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