Sourdough croissants

A guide to patisserie quality french laminated pastry using natural yeast!

sourdough croissants

I will skip the long boring story about my love for laminated dough and get straight to the technical details. I have another post where I talk about nailing the croissants at home. Those points are still valid here too. The fact that you are using natural yeast, doesn’t change anything with the lamination and the rest of the technicalities of making croissants.

The most important factor here is the strength of your starter. Only you know your starter, so it is practically impossible for me to tell you when it is at it’s peak or how much of it to use. But for the moment, I will assume that you have an active starter, with a good track record of making nice baked goods. I generally consider a starter as a good starter, if it doubles in less than 6 hours (at room temperature), once fed with 1:1 flour and water. This is just a gauge I use, and has worked for me.

To rejuvenate your starter, make sure you feed it for a whole day (every 6 hours) and that it is not starved or tucked in a fridge. Once your starter is active an bubbly (just before it collapses) is the perfect time to make the sweet starter for the croissant dough. This may sound like a lot of work, but if you are constantly baking with your starter, you usually know when your starter is at it’s peak, and for best results we have to use it just before it reaches it’s peak.


Red circle shows the starter height just before it’s peak and so the red star is the time we should use the starter!

For the croissants we will make a stiffer starter, meaning using less water. In this case it is a little less than 40% water. This makes a dough ball rather than a paste. If you are not used to making stiff starters, this might seems strange at first. So by reducing water, we will slow down the activity and also, this gives us a chance to control our final dough hydration. The starter also use two tablespoons of sugar ( this can be either brown or white) This is a considerable amount of sugar and could slow down fermentation. That is why we use 50% culture. A starter made with these ratios will take roughly about 12 hours to reach it’s peak. Look at the following before and after images of the starter sponge.

starter dough ball (before)
Ripe starter sponge (after)

To make the starter, mix the starter ingredients and knead into a firm ball. Make sure everything is combined. Now let this sit for 12 hours in a big plastic container covered with a lid or cling film. The sponge will be expanded to about three times it’s original size and would feel like a sponge when you touch it. The texture will be airy and sponge like and would smell acidic. This is now ready to be mixed with the dough.

To make the dough mix all the dough ingredients and the starter sponge in a stand mixer and mix until everything is combined. When the dough forms, take it off the mixer on to a bench surface and knead slightly by hand, just to make sure it’s consistent and no lumps are present. You do not have to make it smooth, just make sure everything is properly mixed. Check the video in the notes section below to see how the dough should feel like.

Then flatten the dough slightly, as shown in the picture below, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for about a day (24 hours) If I mix the dough around 11 am on Friday, I usually refrigerate it till Saturday morning (9 a.m or 10 a.m). I usually do this to fit my schedule,and this retardation is forgiving, so it doesn’t matter if you over do it by a couple of hours.

croissant dough
dough ready for retardation

This long slow proof allow yeast to multiply but without making the dough going soft. If we proof too much at this stage, we will be losing all the air during the lamination. So this is just to let the yeast kick start their fermentation.

After the long retardation, now we are ready to laminate the dough. This is the crucial bit. This is where the layers are being added. The neater the layers now, the prettier your croissants will look.

We will start this by making a butter block. I use four butter ticks and about 1/3 cup of flour to make the butter slab. I read this somewhere, that flour makes butter a little bit more stable, so when we roll out, it won’t melt as fast. Because at home, we don’t have the dough sheeters, which roll out the pastry in one go. Instead we have to try rolling several times using a rolling pin. This takes time and dough sitting for too long in the room temperature isn’t a good thing as the butter tend to melt away, taking the layers with it.

butter sticks

To make the butter slab, let butter go a little soft, just until it feels like play dough. Now all we do is mix butter with flour.

Butter and flour mixed

Take the mix out and flatten it out between two cling films. The slab should be about 3/4 centimeter in thickness. Make it to a neat rectangle or a square (about 9″ by 9″ for this dough). Refrigerate this to firm up.

the butter slab

For the lamination to start, the dough and the butter slab should have the same firmness. So that when we roll out, the two will expand harmoniously creating an even layer of butter and dough.

Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out to twice the size of the butter slab as we are going to wrap the butter with this dough. Check the image.

dough should be twice the size of the butter slab

When rolling out the dough, lightly dust the bench and use firm motion to roll out the dough to one direction. Lift the dough up and re-flour the bench to stop it from sticking and stretching too much. If your dough feels elastic let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes before continuing.

Now wrap the butter slab with the dough and seal all sides. Now place the dough so that the closed side (the folded edge) is on either on your right or left. Follow the diagram for the folds. We will do three letter folds. If you are worried, stop at two letter folds or you can do two book folds if you like. The more you folds, the more you handle the dough and the risk of butter being melted gets higher, if you are not careful. Check the video in notes section below.


Roll out the dough to about 20 inches and do a letter fold. Wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out to 20 inches again, wrap and chill for another 30 minutes. Take out the dough and give another letter fold. Repeat one more time. Place back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and roll out to 20 inches. Now we are done laminating.

Now wrap and let this dough rest for about 10 – 12 hours. Then we need to roll out the pastry to actual final thickness to cut out the shapes. What I usually do it cut the pastry in to two and roll out the two pieces separately. Final dough thickness should be about 1/2 centimeter.

roll out in two batches

Take your time doing this. If the dough seems elastic, let it rest in the fridge and roll out again. Once the final width is achieved, wrap and chill for another two hours before cutting out shapes.

Use a ruler or a cardboard block to cut the triangular shapes. And make the croissants as shown in the pictures below.

Make a slit on the top edge and stretch it slightly

Start rolling from top to bottom.

sourdough croissants

Tuck the end underneath

Once these are done, you can either refrigerate them for about 12 hours or let them proof straight. To prove these, place on a tray cover and let sit for about 8 hours. If you want to speed the process up, place in a slightly warmer place. I usually make the shapes in the midnight, let them sit there covered until morning and them place them in a switched off oven with a cup of boiling water, for about 3-4 hours. Then they are usually ready for morning tea (or brunch).

sourdough croissants

You know its proofed, when its swollen and wobbly. You would also be able to see all the layers.

sourdough croissants

Leaving a gap around croissants is important, as it will stop from sticking together and they will be baked nice and even all around

Once the croissants are ready, heat the oven to 420 ℉ and place a rack in the center. Prepare an egg wash by whisking together two egg yolks and a teaspoon of water.Once the oven is ready, paint the croissants with a thin even coating of egg wash. Be gentle not to disturb the fragile pastry. Also avoid egg wash dripping around the sides as it will seep to the bottom, get burnt and be messy.

Place the croissants in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Then rotate the trays reduce the temperature to 400 ℉ and give another 15 – 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the croissants during the final few minutes as they might burn easily. Once they are evenly golden brown, remove from the oven and place the trays on a wire rack to cool.

sourdough croissants
Bake until evenly golden brown

These are best served fresh and still warm. If you want to store them, let them cool down completely. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. To keep for longer freeze them sealed in freezer bags. To freshen up frozen croissants, let them thaw and reheat them in a moderate oven for about 5-10 minutes.

sourdough croissants
The jewel

There you have it! Homemade croissants are the best and when they are naturally levained, it’s even better! Get the recipe from below and refer to the above post for execution details. It might take time to get a perfect croissants, but practice makes perfect. Give this a go and let me know how it went. If you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to ask me either on Instagram or use the comments section below!

sourdough croissants
All the layers
Sourdough croissants


Servings: 16 – 18 croissants

Sourdough croissants


    For the starter sponge
  • 120 g AP flour
  • 50 g culture (fed)
  • 2 tbsp brown/white sugar
  • 50 g water
    For the dough
  • 650 g AP flour plus extra to dust
  • 200 g starter
  • 1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 large egg at room temperature (52 g)
  • 1/2 cup milk (118 g)
  • +/- 1 cups water and extra if needed ( add gradually, you might not need to use all of it)
    For the butter slab
  • 4 sticks of butter ( 440 g)
  • 1/3 cups flour
    For the egg wash
  • whisk together 2 egg yolks and 1 tsp water


  1. Make the starter the day before and let ferment for 12 hours
  2. To make the dough, mix flour salt and sugar in a stand mixer.
  3. Add egg, butter, milk and start to mix. As dough comes together, add the starter and mix to combine.
  4. Now add 3/4 cup of water and keep mixing using the dough hook. Add the rest of the water gradually until the dough becomes a stiff ball. You may not need all the water in the recipe. If it is too soft add a bit of flour.
  5. At this stage take the dough off the mixing ball and knead on a surface to make sure everything is combined and dough is even. the dough should be malleable but not too soft.
  6. Pat the dough flat and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a day.
  7. When ready to laminate, thaw butter for about 10 minutes and mix with flour. Scoop out on to a plastic sheet. Place another plastic sheet on top and roll out to form a 3/4 cm thick slab. Wrap and chill.
  8. Take the dough out and check if butter is the same softness as the dough. Then roll out a dough to a square twice the size of the butter (check photo)
  9. Wrap the butter slab in the dough and seal sides.
  10. Roll out to a about 20 inch rectangle. (place in the fridge to rest if necessary) Check notes below for video guides
  11. Do a letter fold and roll out to 20 inches again
  12. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour
  13. Repeat this once or twice (if your butter hasn’t melted) more (place in the fridge to rest if necessary)
  14. And roll out to 20 inches again
  15. Wrap and chill for at least 10 hours (or more)
  16. Then take the dough and divide in to two
  17. Roll out the two pieces separately to a rectangular shape.
  18. Thickness should be about 1/2 cm and roughly 8″ of width. The length may vary
  19. Do not try to roll out in one go. Do a few inches at a time, wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Continue until desired thickness is achieved
  20. Let the dough rest for about two hours finally
  21. Then cut the triangle shapes and make croissants as shown in the images above
  22. Do not handle dough for a long time( be quick) as this will melt the butter
  23. Arrange croissants on a tray leaving ample space around them
  24. Let prove until rinses and ready to bake (Usually takes about 8-10 hours or more depending on your starter activity
  25. Preheat the oven to 400F (my oven is not hot enough so I go 420F) place a rack at the center
  26. Once proofed, egg wash and bake the croissants for 20 minutes and reduce heat to 380F (400 F) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes ( keep an eye though)
  27. Once done cool on the tray and serve warm
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Tackling croissants at home


I love all things that come out of an oven. But, I have a thing for bread that makes me feel alive every time I watch them bloom. If there is anything that comes close to that feeling, it has got to be laminating pastry.

I still remember the first day I tackled croissants at home and even though they weren’t perfect, I felt truly accomplished. I had little to NO knowledge about pastry or bread whatsoever and boy! I never thought I’d do it for a living, just a year later. Life never stops surprising me !

My first attempt 4 years ago

Quitting my job and getting myself enrolled in the pastry school was the boldest decision I took in my life. But it paid off at the end, in 10 folds. After three years of dedication, pastry school and two very satisfying jobs, I have no regrets.

Making french pastry was particularly one of my favorite jobs. I was lucky to have gotten the chance to work along-side passionate and skillful people. I learnt countless things and mastered certain techniques to the point that I could almost do them with my eyes closed.

The most important lesson I learnt, is that following a recipe is one thing and knowing what you do is another. So if anyone out there attempting to make croissants or any laminated dough at home, I hope, these tips would help in some way.


Choosing butter:
The flavor of the croissants depends heavily on the butter being used. The better the butter, the tastier the pastry. So use a good quality butter.

Making the butter slab:
Decide which recipe you are going to follow. Measure the amount of butter. If you are using salted butter, leave the salt out! Some recipes call for flour, some don’t. This is up to you. In the winter, I’d leave the flour out. Let butter sit in room temperature for about 5-10 minutes so it is workable. If butter has gone too soft, place it back in fridge until desired texture is achieved. It’s important that the butter stays cool to tough all the while you work with it! Use a mixer if you are incorporating flour. Bring all the butter to a single pile (if you are using several sticks). Place the butter between two plastic sheets and flatten to achieve the square shape and 1/8th of an inch thickness. place back in fridge to set.

You can use either fresh yeast, if you can find that or instant yeast. The conversion ratio of fresh to dry/active is 2:1 . Make sure the yeast is not expired and had been stored under correct conditions. These factors matter a lot towards getting the perfect rise to the dough. Test the yeast if you are not sure by doing the following test; Take half a cup of water and dissolve a pinch of sugar. Then mix in the yeast (measured amount) and let sit in a warm, draft free place for about 10 – 15 minutes. You will see bubbles and form, if the yeast is activated. You can use this as is but reduce the amount of water in the recipe.

Making the dough:
The ideal dough should be pliable. Mix the ingredients on slow speed until everything comes together and if the dough is too tough, add some water. Mix for a couple of minutes or knead by hand. The dough should not have any lumps and it should be even, smooth and got a bit of elasticity. make sure it is soft enough, to roll by hand. If it is too soft, butter will try slide and not spread evenly. So it is important to get this right at this stage. Let the dough rest in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will do three things;
– relax gluten so it will be easier to roll out without shrinking back
– harden the dough so it is easier to handle
– cools the dough so butter won’t melt away

Wrapping the butter in the dough is the first step. First let the butter slab softens bit. The butter and the dough should have the same softness to start rolling. Find a method that you like, to laminate. There are several articles on-line, so I will skip explaining different methods. What is important is keeping track of the folds you did. Make an indent in the dough itself or write it down as you go. Always remember to make sure the dough remains cool. So what I do is, place it in the fridge as often and as long as it is needed. some times I chill the dough in between two turns of the same fold. Because, we use rolling pins at home and the rolling is harder and takes time, so the dough tend to get warmer and butter would start to melt. Usually on a warm day, it takes several hours for me to do 2 book folds. Once the lamination is done, chill the dough for an extended period of time before rolling out to cut shapes.

Rolling out and cutting:
While rolling out, if you feel it is shrinking back, place the half rolled dough in the fridge and roll out again in 15 minutes. If the dough is too big, cut the dough in half and roll out each half separately. Apply even pressure when rolling out, do not try to force the dough to stretch. The final dough sheet should be about half a centimeter thick. This is again up to you, the rule is;
– too thin, croissant will be skinnier
– too thick, croissant will expand unevenly and interior may not be cooked, and it is harder to roll.
when cutting:
Use a cardboard mold to cut out even rectangular shapes. Or use a ruler and eyeball the shape.
Try shaping one croissant before moving on to cutting the rest.

Once the croissants are shaped, you can freeze these. Spread out the raw croissants on a tray and place in the freezer for about an hour to harden them. Then you can pack them closer, and wrap with plastic. Make sure they are air tight or else the croissants will get freezer burnt!

packed to be frozen

When you want to bake the frozen ones; take the croissants out of the freezer and place on a lined tray and bring them to room temperature.
Make sure to leave enough room to croissants to grow.
Then these need to proof. There are a couple of ways to do this;
– cover with plastic and leave on the bench top. This might take a longer time, depending on the room temperature
– place in a closed environment(oven, microwave oven, plastic tub) with a cup of boiling water. This is the fastest way.

Size difference when proofed

When they are doubled in size, they are ready. They will be wobbly and very fragile. Do not try to handle them at this point.
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Make an egg wash, with two egg yolks and a teaspoon of water.
Gently brush the croissants with light layer of egg wash using a soft pastry brush.
Do not let egg wash drip to the sides. These will burn in the oven.
Even application of egg wash gives even color.
Place the croissants in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes and reduce temperature to 180 C and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown in color.
If the croissants are stuck together or touching the sides, you can separate them and turn them at the half-way mark. (when you bring the temperature down). This will ensure even cooking and coloring.

Once done, cool on a wire rack and serve.

a light and even egg wash

If you have left over croissants, they can be used in many ways. Wrap them in plastic and leave at room temperature for up to a day or refrigerate to keep for up to a week.

  • Reheat in the oven for 5 minutes to freshen up and server with a spread
  • use them to make ham and cheese toasties
  • make almond croissants
  • make bread and butter pudding. (simply replace bread with croissants)

If you want to keep them for longer, place in a airtight container and freeze up to several weeks.

almond croissants
Almond croissants

My favorite is almond croissants. For this you need some custard, almond cream, a bit of sugar syrup(optional) and almond flakes. Here is how to make them;

  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Move the oven rack one position above the center. This prevents the bottom from burning while the top bakes.
  • If frozen, bring croissants to room temperature.
  • Split open the stale croissant in half , length wise.
  • Brush with a little sugar syrup. (sugar syrup:1 part water to 1 part sugar and bring to boil and let cool)
  • Fill the center with a generous amount of custard.
  • Sandwich the two halves.
  • Spread a thin layer of almond cream on top and roll over almond flakes.
  • Place on a baking tray. (use two trays or line with two layers of baking paper to stop bottom from catching/burning)
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until almond cream and flakes show color.
  • Cool on a wire rack before serving.

And there you go!

If you have got any more leftovers, freeze them and turn them in to ‘pudding’. Use any bread and butter pudding and replace the bread with croissants. I usually split the croissants in half, length wise and count one half to be a slice of bread.

bread and butter pudding with croissants
‘Bread and butter pudding’ with croissants
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Fish Empanada

Fish empanada
Fish Empanada

Empanada or patties as we call them at home, are a party food that I grew up with. It is one of the few things that I started making myself as a little girl, just by following my Mom’s directions. However, I have, over-time, done a few changes to the original recipe just to make it a bit more healthier.


The dough is no different to the original recipe. I have added green peas and chick peas to the fish mixture and also some garam-masala. you can opt that with curry-powder. Usually these patties are deep fried, but I like to bake them instead.

I use canned salmon, caned tuna when I’m in a hurry. But fresh fish is the best if you can be organized. If you are using fresh fish, you will have to steam the fish and remove bones. Any meaty fish works and if you are not a fish person, well, then chicken would be fine too. Make sure to cook chicken beforehand, util tender. having said all this, I personally prefer the version with canned Mackerel as it brings back the memories from childhood.

Patties are served as a finger food in parties but I like to make these for dinner too. You can make a big batch and freeze them for later. You can thaw them for a few minutes and bake straight away.

fish empanada

It is important to egg wash these patties before baking to achieve that nice golden color.


Mix the dough in a mixer/processor until everything comes together. Then take it out on to a floured surface.


Knead the dough by hand to form a nice smooth ball. Do not try to achieve this in the machine, it it too stiff and rubbery. Place this in a closed container and refrigerate for about an hour (or more) The gluten need to relax


Once ready, divide the dough into golf ball size potions and set aside for 10 minutes to relax. Cover the dough at all times to prevent a skin forming.


Take a dough ball, flatten it on a lightly dusted surface. Use your fingers and press outwards, lightly. If it springs back, the dough need to rest 5-10 minutes more.


Place a spoonful of the mixture in the center, keeping edges clean. Apply some water around the rim and fold in to two to make a pastie shape.


Press the edges firmly, and then use a fork to crimp and seal tightly


Place the empanadas on a lined baking tray, egg wash and bake.

200 C for about 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown all around. Rotate trays closer to the end for a even baking.


Once baked, remove from the oven and serve warm with a dipping sauce.

You can deep fry these to get a crispier outer shell. Be sure to drain excess oil if you do so. The amount of spices mentioned in the recipe are just a guide. I always adjust flavor after tasting and never measure spices when making fillings like these. Also, be creative and add your favorite veggies to the mixture and see how it goes.

Lets get to work!

Fish empanada


fish empahada


    For the dough
  • 550 g all purpose flour
  • 80 g buttert
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs
    For the filling
  • 1 can of salmon
  • 3 medium potatoes steamed
  • 1/2 cup of chick peas
  • 1/3 cups green peas
  • 1 Medium onion chopped
  • Few garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Few green chilies finely chopped (remove seeds if you can’t handle the heat)
  • A handful of curry leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil/coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg to egg wash


    To make the dough
  1. Mix flour salt and butter until combined.
  2. Add the 2 eggs and start to bring the dough together.
  3. Add water a little at a time until the bowl is clean and dough comes together.
  4. You can use a food processor instead, up to this point.
  5. Dough should not be sticky. At this point take the dough on to a floured surface.
  6. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until its smooth.
  7. Place in a bowl cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the gluten to relax. This will ensure that you can stretch the dough easily. Otherwise the dough is very elastic and would curl back when you try to roll out.
    For the Filling
  1. Cube the potato or roughly mash using a fork and set aside.
  2. Break the salmon or the fish in to small chunks and set aside.
  3. Place a deep saucepan over medium heat, and add oil and butter.
  4. When oil is hot enough, add the onions, garlic, chilies and curry leaves and let them sweat for a minute. Let the aromatics release.
  5. Add the potatoes and salmon in to the saucepan and give a good mix.
  6. To this add all the spices followed by the chick peas and green peas.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Let the mixture cook on low heat for about 5 minutes stirring to stop bottom from catching.
  9. If mixture is too dry add a table spoon of water. If mixture is wet, for some reason, add some bread crumbs. The mixture should be pliable.
  10. Taste test and adjust spices.
  11. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
    To assemble.
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C and line a flat baking tray or a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Take the dough out and divide into small dough balls, about the size of small ping pong balls and let these rest for about 10 minutes.
  3. This dough makes about 20 large patties.
  4. Flatten a small dough ball to a circle of about 3 inch diameter (as big as you can go without tearing) and place a spoonful of mixture in the center and fold to seal edges. (use a tiny bit of water as glue)
  5. Use a fork to seal the edges or crimp the edge.
  6. Once all patties are done, you can bake them in batches or freeze them.
  7. To freeze, place patties in air tight containers separated with plastic sheets to stop them sticking and freeze.
  8. Else place the patties on the prepared tray leaving some space around them.
  9. Beat one egg lightly and egg wash the patties before baking. Usually takes about 20 minutes or check for golden brown color.
  10. Let cool on wire rack and serve with tomato sauce.
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