A guide to patisserie quality french laminated pastry using natural yeast!
Go straight to troubleshooting!!
This is only one way of doing this! I am documenting what worked for me and would work for anyone who follows these steps. Once you are familiar with the process, feel free to make changes, tweak proofing and retardation times to suite your schedule
To get most out of this post, you need to have a sound knowledge on sourdough baking and some experience in laminated pastry
If you don’t have any baking/ sourdough/ lamination experience before, I strongly suggest you to start from sourdough baking first. Then perfect your lamination, using puff pastry and Yeasted croissants before moving on to 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. It only affects the bulk and final proofing.
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 an active starter, if it doubles(in a mason 12oz jam jar) in less than 6 hours (at room temperature 25C), once fed with 1:1 flour and water and a 1:5:5 ratio(starter:water:flour). This is just a very rough 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 and 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. This suites our long and slow process, giving us enough time to let the dough relax (in the fridge of course) as we will be rolling out by hand.
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 on the counter in a big plastic container covered with a lid or cling film.
In warmer weathers, reduce this time to may be 10 hours or find a cooler place for it to sit.
The dough 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 mesh like and would smell slightly 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. Add water gradually just until you get a firm dough. 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.
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.
This long slow proof allows the 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 later.
Adding a little flour to the butter will stabilize it. 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.
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.
Any butter with a higher fat% will work for this. Usually most butter will have at least 80%. Also butter with less moisture will be easier to laminate, because they don’t go rock solid when chilled.
With practice you can make any butter work. It is a matter of consistency.
As you get more practice with lamination and learn to speed things up, you can skip adding flour to butter
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.
Take the butter mix out and flatten it out between two cling films or parchment. The slab should be about 3/4 centimeter in thickness. Make it into a neat rectangle or a square (about 9″ by 9″ for this dough). Refrigerate this to firm up. Check this video.
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 butter slab out before the dough and let it go a bit soft. Not too soft. 5 minutes or so will do.
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. Check this video to see how I do this.
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 this video.
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.
After the final fold wrap and let this dough rest up to 10 – 12 hours (minimum of 4 hours). Then we need to roll out the pastry to actual final thickness to cut out the shapes. What I usually do is cut the pastry in to two and roll out the two pieces separately. That way it is easier to handle and one half can sit in the fridge until I roll out the other half.
Final dough thickness should be about 1/2 centimeter.
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(al least) 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.
size before stretching :8cm at the wide side, about 20cm length
size after stretching :8cm at the wide side, about 25cm length
Start rolling from top to bottom.
Tuck the end underneath.
Once these are done, you have three options:
1. Refrigerate them for about 12 hours/overnight and proof and bake later
2.Let them proof straight and bake on the same day
3. Freeze them for about 2 weeks. Thaw in fridge, proof and bake
To prove these, place on a tray cover and let sit for about 8-10 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 5-8 hours. Then they are usually ready for morning tea (or brunch). This may take longer in colder weather and also depending on your starter activity. Look for the visual clues rather than time.
You know its proofed, when its swollen and wobbly. You would also be able to see all the layers.
Fully proofed croissants. Notice the wobble towards the end of the video
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, pre-heat the oven to 425 ℉ and place a rack in the center. Prepare an egg wash by whisking together two egg yolks and about a tablespoon 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.
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.
There you have it! Homemade croissants are the best and when they are naturally leavained, 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 please do not hesitate to ask me either on Instagram or use the comments section below!
Check the troubleshooting section below
You need to have a sound knowledge on sourdough baking and some experience in laminated pastry, to be able to execute this process and to get the exact results
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
- 1/3 cup sugar (white or brown)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp salted butter softened (unsalted works too)
- 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 salted butter ( 440 g) (unsalted butter works too)
- 1/3 cups flour
For the egg wash
- whisk together 2 egg yolks and 1 tsp water
- Make the starter the day before and let ferment for 12 hours
- To make the dough, mix flour salt and sugar in a stand mixer
- Add egg, butter, milk and start to mix. As dough comes together, add the starter and mix to combine
- 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
- 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
- Pat the dough flat and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a day
- Make the butter block. Thaw butter for about 10 minutes and mix with flour until smooth. 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
- On the day of lamination, take the butter out and set aside until its malleable (like play dough)
- Take the dough out and check if butter is the same softness as the dough. Then roll out the dough to a rectangle that is twice the size of the butter block(check photo)
- Wrap the butter slab in the dough and seal sides
- Roll out to a about 20 inch rectangle. (place in the fridge to rest if necessary) Check notes below for video guides
- Do a letter fold (or a book fold) and roll out to 20 inches again (be quick and place the dough in the fridge briefly, if it starts to get soft)
- Wrap and place in the fridge for at least for an hour (the longer the better, I usually give about 4 hours between folds)
- Repeat this once for book fold more or twice more for the letter fold
- This can be either 2 book fold or 3 letter folds
- Let the dough chill and relax in between every fold (longer the it relaxes, the easier it will be to roll out next)
- And roll out to about 20 inches again (doesn’t have to be exactly this length)
- Wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 10 hours the longer you rest the better!
- The more you work the dough, the longer it needs to be rested. The resting will help relax gluten and would make it way easier to roll out and shape later
- Then take the dough and divide in to two (because it is easier to handle that way) If you are attempting half the recipe, it is not necessary to divide in half
- Roll out the two pieces separately to a rectangular shape (leave the other piece in the fridge while you roll out one)
- Thickness should be about 1/2 cm and roughly 8″ of width. The length may vary
- Do not try to roll out in one go. Do a few inches at a time, wrap and chill for about 15 minutes. Continue until desired thickness is achieved
- Wrap and let the dough rest, in the fridge, for at least two hours finally ( if not rested, the dough will be elastic and will pull back when you try to roll)
- Then cut the triangle shapes and make croissants as shown in the images above
- Do not handle the dough for a long time(be quick) as this will melt the butter. Our body temperature is enough to make the butter go soft
- Arrange croissants on a tray leaving ample space around them
- Let these proof until risen and ready to bake (Usually takes about 8-10 hours or more depending on your starter activity and your room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 420°F, use a thermometer to read the internal oven temperature (if your oven is a convection, you may want to heat it up only to 400 °F) Place the rack in the center
- Once proofed, egg wash and bake the croissants for 20 minutes and reduce heat to 380F (400 F) and bake for a further 10-20 minutes ( keep an eye though) Often an extra 10 minutes is enough
- Keep an eye during the bake and if tops start to burn ( change color fast) reduce temperature a bit or cover with a foil
- Once done, let these cool slightly on the tray and serve warm
- Check this video to get an idea of the dough firmness
- This is a short video of how to roll the dough using swift, gentle yet effective motions
- Check the troubleshooting guide below to fix any issues you have
My usual schedule:
I usually start the process on Thursday and this fits my schedule during the weekend. You don’t have to follow this exact schedule, but it will help you get an idea on how to go about it, while not missing out on your work, routine or daily house work/chores.
Day 1 Mid day/Morning : Refresh the starter
My starter usually is kept in the refrigerator. So I let it sit outside to ferment and then feed it once and let it ripe.
Day 1 Night (around 10 p.m): Make the sweet stiff starter
Make the starter and leave on the counter
Day 2 Morning: Make the dough and the butter block
Make the dough, flatten it wrap and refrigerate. Make butter block, wrap and refrigerate
Day 3 Morning 7.00 a.m: Start lamination
Take the butter block out and leave it outside for 5 minutes. Take the dough out and start rolling. Seal the butter in dough and roll out. place in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes.
Day 3 Morning 8.00 a.m: Complete one fold
Take the dough out finish rolling and fold like a book. Roll the folded dough halfway and place in the fridge.
Day 3 Noon 12.00 p.m.: Complete second fold
Take the dough out finish rolling and fold like a book again. Roll the folded dough halfway and place in the fridge.
Day 3 Afternoon 4.00 p.m.: Roll out to final thickness
Take the dough out cut it in half. Roll each half until the final desired thickness is achieved. Wrap and place place the dough sheets in the fridge to relax.
Day 3 Night 10.00 p.m.: Cut shapes and make croissants
Make the croissants and leave them in the fridge, on trays.
Day 3 Night 10pm -12.00 a.m.: Leave croissants to proof
Arrange croissants on trays lined with baking paper. Cover and leave on the counter top till morning ( temp is around 19 °C) In warmer months, I leave them in the fridge and take out in the morning and leave outside to proof.
Day 4 Morning 7.00 a.m.: Finish off proofing
If they aren’t proofed enough, place in a slightly warmer place and keep an eye till they proof. Preheat oven. Make the egg wash.
Day 4 Morning 10.00-11.00 a.m.: Baking
Egg wash and bake the croissants
Day 4 Morning 11.30 a.m.: Served !
Baked croissants are ready to be served. Let them cool slightly before serving
Most common issues, likely causes and how to prevent them
Butter breaking up while rolling:
Could be one of the following;
– dough was too soft or too hard. Check the video and learn to get the dough to the perfect consistency.
– butter block is too hard. You have to take the butter block out and let it soften up a bit, to start rolling. It should feel very cold to the touch but malleable at the same time.
*If your butter seems to breakup while rolling out(speckles), atop rolling out and let the dough sit at room temp for 5 minutes to give time for the butter to go soft slightly. Then roll again.
Dough tearing apart while rolling:
– putting too much pressure. The rolling should be of firm, quick strokes. If your dough doesn’t roll out easily or shrink back, it needs more time to relax in the fridge.
– stretching instead of rolling out. It is normal to feel the need to stretch with the rolling pin ( like when you roll out pasta dough). Always try to use single one way rolling strokes so that the dough and the butter are all expanded harmoniously. Use flour to stock dough clinging to the bench and always lift the dough and dust with flour in between every few strokes.
Taking too long to proof:
If your croissants aren’t proofing, it could be one of the following
– not given enough time: it would take longer than you’d think and you are used to with yeasted bakes. Give it time some times final proof takes about 18 hours
– not active starter: So you need to fix your starter first
– too low room temperature: Place it in a slightly warmer ( 25 C is ideal) place
Puddle of butter on the tray:
If all the butter melts and oozes out in the oven, that is because one of the following;
– you have left the croissants in a too warm environment. If you left them in a warmer ( higher than 26C) place to proof, place them in a fridge for 10 minutes before baking, to save them
– inconsistent lamination, leaving big butter pieces here and there. Practice lamination techniques, learn to get the dough and butter block to same consistency before lamination.
– oven temperature too low. Use a oven thermometer to pre-heat the oven correctly. Having the door open for too long will take the temperature down, so be quick in placing the croissants in, make sure you are not losing the heat.
– under proofed: When croissants proof, the layers stretch (dough and butter)making the butter layer even thinner. Under proofed croissants has a thicker butter later so it melts before evaporating
Under cooked look and texture on the inside:
– poor lamination. This is because the butter was melted ( gone too soft) and absorbed in to the dough. Work on improving the lamination. Be swift with rolling motions. Always keep the dough as cold as possible while rolling/folding. Do not hesitate to place it in the fridge whenever needed, and take your time rolling the dough.
-Not rolled thin enough: If you didn’t roll the final dough thin enough, the butter layer will be too thick. The butter will melt before they get a chance to evaporate
No honey comb (open structure):
– poor lamination. Keep practicing lamination.
– under proofed. Make sure the croissants are fully proofed before baking them. Check if they are puffed up and supper wobbly. This takes practice.
-Not rolled thin enough: If you didn’t roll the final dough thin enough, the butter layer will be too thick. The butter will melt leaving a big hole instead of several small holes
Too sour croissants:
It is normal to have slight hint of sour notes, if you don’t like this then move onto using commercial yeast instead of sourdough. Or try increasing the sugar content. Palates are different from person to person. My diet is extremely low in sugar, so the sweetness in these croissants are enough for me. If you want it sweeter, increase the sugar content, no brainer…right!
But if they are overpoweringly sour, could be one of those;
– your starter is too acidic. Refresh the starter a couple of times before making the stiff starter. Also make sure your starter is maintained, is healthy and not being neglected or starved
– retarded for too long. Try to cut down on retardation. Bake on the same day they are shaped, instead of leaving in the fridge or letting them proof over night. Place directly in a warmer place to encourage proofing and bake straight, once proofed
Its hard to find a really good croissant (even in Paris!), much less a sourdough one. These look just killer. I’d love to try one.
Thank you so much! I wish I could share these 🙂
Never made croissants, your explanation is very thorough and easy to follow. Thanks.
You are welcome Gloria
Hello, i am preparing them now amd tomorrow morning i should bake them. Ill be working morning, us any change i could rake them out when i come back m, and freeze the rest. We are just having 2-3 in the morning .. and also if i can freeze them, i can put them straight feom the fridge? Thank you very much
I have not frozen my sourdough croissants, so I am not sure.
However, I have left them in the fridge over night and baked them a day later. If you leave it any longer, the yeast might lose their activity and you may not get a good rise.
Freezing works well with commercial yeast though. I have frozen just-made, raw, unproofed croissants up to a week and they came out great.
When baking them I have alot of butter coming out and pooling in the baking sheet?
It’s okay to have a little butter seeping out, while baking, they will disappear towards the end of the bake. If that is a lot of butter, could be one of the following reasons;
– oven temperature too low ( make sure oven is at right temp, use a oven thermometer placed on the same rack to check this
– the croissants were crowded on the tray ( it’s important to give enough space around each, so that they heat evenly all around
– baking two batches at once, in two racks (always bake in single batches on one rack)
– may be croissants were left in a too warm place ( this happens rarely if you place them in a proofer) place croissants in the fridge for 5 minutes before baking would solve this issue
Hope my answer helps, if not let me know
Take the cold dough from the fridge and place on a floured counter. Roll the dough into a square that is big enough to fold the butter block into, about 10 x 10 . Place the butter block so that the corners of the butter block are at the flat sides of the dough, kind of like a diamond in a square.
Hi when a star first fold the butter come out ?
It’s hard to tell anything without further details or a picture.
Please check my videos on YouTube on how to fold/laminate.
It will perhaps help you figure out what you are doing wrong/ how you can prevent this from happening in the future.
Hi – These look incredible. Perfect pandemic “stay at home” project! 2 questions: Do you use salted or unsalted butter (and if you have used both for this recipe have you noticed a difference)? What is the purpose of cutting the slit into the base of the dough triangle before shaping? Thx!!
Thanks. I always use salted butter, because it actually tastes better. I have noticed a difference with unsalted, but it is very mild.
The slit is not necessary, but it allows you to stretch the base sideways a little and hence the nice shape. You will feel it when you try to roll the triangle. Try one with a cut and one without. Hope I answered your questions. Happy baking 🙂
I have made a sourdough croissant but not 100% it was mixed with small amount of yeast in the final mixing it was amazing crispy and very tasty. But those looking so perfect.
I guess you need to perfect many techniques and time that is very crucial it certainly needs patience.
I will make the time for such gorgeous looking croissants. The good things I have laminter it makes it easier for me.
Perhaps you should have mentioned temperatures for for fermentation I would suggest 25c but if you can push it to 27 you would speed up the fermentation process.
Yes! you are absolutely correct. The technique needs time, practice and patience.
About proofing temperatures; yes if in a bakery/patisseries, that’s what I would do (and did) too; maintain the mint temperature and it would prove faster.
This is just casual home baking and I use my senses. And personally, I like long-slow fermentation cos, that is what sourdough is all about for me.
But of course, you can speed things up if you wanted to.
I am currently at the first dough rest prior to lamination. Do I have to wait until tomorrow morning to start lamination? Or, could I pull the dough out of the fridge tonight (about 10hrs cold fermentation) and laminate then? It’s Saturday currently; what’s the earliest I could form the croissants for proofing? My kitchen temp is routinely 65f. Thanks!!
I haven’t done that Rosanne, so it’s hard to tell, without actually trying it myself. Sourdough is slow and this is the fastest I have reached so far. First proof (retardation is where the fermentation kicks in) is important for the final rise.
If you have a dough sheeter, you can reduce resting time in between folds.
Sorry I can’t be of any more help.
Success!! I ultimately followed your directions without trying to rush the process and the resulting croissants were scrumptious! I wish I could upload a picture, they were beautiful. I did half the dough as plain croissants and half as chocolate, filled with 72% Belgian chocolate. Perfection!
I’m so glad it worked out so well for you. Thanks for leaving a message. Good job on turning half into chocolate croissants 🙂 , I should try that sometimes too.
Can you tell me what the temperature in the refrigerator should be
My fridge is around 5°C roughly. 5°C and below is fine. If it’s higher, you can chill for longer.
I do not get the lacy look that you have here. Croissants taste delicious, but would love to perfect my method to achieve this. I know it is difficult to give advice when you don’t know all of the variables (followed your instructions precisely) but would appreciate any bits of advice you could offer. Thank you!
True!It is something you get from practice. If they taste good and flaky, I’d be very happy and not worry about the cross section 🙂
But if I were to make one point, it would be the lamination and dough temperature. The dough should remain cold during lamination (rolling out), I can not stress this enough, if I could, I would do this whole process inside a refrigerator LOL
I got a little confused with the sponge ratio while recalculating all the ingredients for a different total dough weight that I’ll be using. For 1:5:5, wouldn’t that mean starter:flour:water rather than flour:starter:water? Thanks in advance!
This is a stiff starter. So 5:5 water:flour would give you a liquid starter
Ah, I see! Thanks for clarifying & for such a quick response!
Thanks for your sharing and instructions are easy to understand.
I have a question about the step which after all the laminations. One of your comment on 13 March (5:20pm) You had mentioned that “ I have left them in the fridge over night and baked them a day later.” is that mean after shaping? Or just after lamination? Because I cut down the hours of “starter sponge”, therefore, my baking time may changed to midnight now. I don’t want to do baking at midnight and my dough is resting 2 hours now after the lamination. That’s why I wonder to know can I shape them and cool proof in the fridge over night, please? Thank you.
Oh sorry I read your steps again n I found out I can shape them n proof in the fridge. Sorry
No worries, I was about to reply and saw you have already found the answer ! 🙂
Hello, I have tried to make it again today, retarded overnight and proof at room temperature before bake. I thought everything were good because looks very similar to your picture; however, when I cut my first piece croissant in half, the interior looks wet, similar under cooked. I have baked them 25mins (100g each),then I put back in the oven to bake another 10 mins, lightly covered with a piece of aluminium foil to avoid get burn. Then I cut another piece after cool down, but they are still same. It happened to me third times. Do you think it is related to my shaping, maybe to tight? Or under proof? How can I show you the picture, please? Thanks for your help.
Could be few things:
-butter get incorporated to dough due to warm temperature or too much handling ( poor lamination)
-dough hasn’t got time to relax in-between folds/rolling
You can send a picture via a Direct message on Instagram @vindiskitchen
My suggestion is try making yeasted croissants until you perfect the lamination and then come back to sourdough. I had years of practice before getting into sourdough. Do not get discouraged, I too have had many failures in the past when I was still learning.
Number11 from instructions you fold the dough then directly you roll it before place in fridge? And should the dough be tough especially after exiting from fridge or I should take it from fridge and let it be less tough before rolling it out?
How can should I toll the dough with butter hard or gently.
I fear if you press it, there will not be a crisp and open core like a hive
Yes. You do a letter ( or book) fold and roll it out. If you feel like the dough is too soft you can always place it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Never let it sit outside as the butter will melt.
It will not be tough. You have to roll it out while it is still cold. check my videos to see how I roll. The only way to lose layers is when the butter melts and get infused to the dough. You have to make croissants a few times to get the technique perfected!
So you just have to make it once and then learn and correct your mistakes from there.
Yes I saw the pictures. They are not under cooked. It is the lamination (butter is fused to dough) and then you get this brioche crumb rather than croissant. Also could be proofed a little longer.
Get the lamination right, may be practice lamination on puff pastry. Make sure butter and dough is super cold at all times.
You should see clear butter and dough layers once you are done laminating.
Hope this helps!
Ok thanks. I will practice more.
Hey! Congrats! Those look amazing.
When you refer to thickness you write 3/4 cm. What do you mean? 0,75 cm? about 3 or 4 cm?
And dough final thickness? You say 1/2 that I assume is 0,5 cm, wright?
Yes. That’s right 3/4 cm that is 0.75cm and 1/2cm is 0.5cm.
And you don’t have to measure it with a tape (won’t be very practical either) but use this as a guide
Hope this helps!
Thanks so much for your recipe! I love how organized your blog is.
I am going to attempt this week but I’m reading through the baking schedule… Just to make sure I’m planning this right, the entire process from sponge to bake sounds like it overlaps 4 days? Starting from sponge night 1 to bake would be morning 4?
Yes. That is correct Angela.
I like how you have read and had mentally executed it before attempting 🙂 . Way to go!
Hello, thanks for putting up this recipe. Quick question – what would happen if I used an active 50% hydration starter? Thanks for your help!
It is absolutely okay to use 50% hydrated starter.
Only thing is your starter has a little bit more water, so you can use a little less water when mixing the dough.
Always add water gradually so you can stop at the right consistency. If the dough is too wet, you can always add a bit more flour.
Hope this helps
I like this formula as the croissants are nice and buttery without being too rich, if you wanted to make them richer then use 3 unsalted butter for the lamination. You could also cut and shape on day 3 and prove for 5 hours and then bake if you wanted them later in the day.
Cover the shaped dough with a plastic bag (I use clean garbage bags) and leave to proof at 68*-70*f for 18-24 hours or until significantly larger (two to three times the size), with layers separating slightly and jiggly when the pan is jostled.
I am just about to try this recipe and have one question….you say to make the dough and then chill for day. Is this a 24 hour day, or a “working” day?
I presume 24 hours….
Yes 24 hours. It’s okay to be an hours or two +/-.
I have mentioned everything and more in the post above, near the pictures.
where do you place your stiff starter for 12 hours? My 100% hydration starter reach peak in 5 hours ( average 30c during day time).
And step 24, is that 12h room temperature? Whats your room temp like?
I leave my stiff starter on the counter overnight. Stiff starter has less water, so it will be slow.
Yes step 24, it is room temperature this is the final proof. My room temperature is 19C – 22C.
If you read the post, you will see that I have explained, there are many ways you can do this.
Also rather than trying to control temperature, look for the signs of proofed product.
If you have a higher room temperature, yours will proof faster
Is it possible to get a measurement in grams for the butter present in the dough instead of tbsp ?
Thanks a lot.
1 tbsp butter is roughly 14 g. So for the dough it’s about 28 g (2 tablespoons)
Hey can I please have a substitute for egg in the dough if possible? Btw the croissants looks killer!
You can skip the egg and add a 2 tablespoons of milk instead
Hi thanks for the recipe ! Referring too step number 20 in the recipe we’re it says rest the dough 2 hours is this in the fridge or at room temp before shaping ? And does the butter not melt when they are rising at room temp or would it be better for the rise to do a slow rise in the fridge and they stay cold ? Thank you
Of course in the fridge, it goes without saying ( never rest croissant dough outside)
It’s mentioned in the description on the post, I will include in the recipe card too.
Thanks so much for your amazing recipes.
Could you please share the following measurements in grams?
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup of water
1/3 cups of flour
Also, how can you fit steps 7-23 in one day? Could I split them in two days? Maybe in step 15, letting it chill longer?
I want to make these this week and I don’t know when to start to have them for breakfast on Sunday.
Thanks a lot.
You can easily google for the weight in grams of the cup measurements.
I have explained in the post on how to reduce time to fit in to a shorter time frame.
If you don’t have time then you can use commercial yeast and you can get croissants ready in less than a full day
King Arthur Flour web site has a nice recipe for this and I also have a post on how to make yeasted croissants (Tackling croissants at home)
Hi! I’m European and I try to stay away from recipes in cups, since they’re not accurate. We’re all about weight. Depending on the calculator you get a different measurement. I thought that maybe you had measured all the ingredients, but nevermind, I’ll try to do my best.
I definitely want to use my sourdough starter. And I don’t want to reduce time, just the opposite. I want to do it during 5 days instead of 4, since day 4 seems a bit exhausting. I just wanted to know how to split day 4 into 2.
An example schedule helps a lot in this kind of long recipes.
I think I’ll start on Wednesday night and try to bake these delicious croissants by Sunday morning.
Rough measurements are totally okay for this recipe. The only thing to be aware about is “adding water gradually” and getting the dough to right consistency, as flour types we all use are so very different to one another and some are thirstier than others.
Oh! I may have misunderstood your question here, I thought you wanted to reduce time, my bad!
Yes, you can take step 15 a little longer ( you can chill it up to 24 hours) Also you can shape the croissants wrap them and chill them for up to a day, then take them out and proof them before baking. I will prepare a sample schedule as soon as I get time. I usually start this on Thursday night (make my stiff starter) and bake my croissants around 10 am Sunday. Hope this helps.
Great, thank you so much. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, English is not my first language. And I meant day 3, not 4. Looking forward to making these. Thanks!
Hi, thank you so much for the recipe,
We’ve been following religiously so far (but we’ve done a vegan version using applesauce instead of egg and miyoko’s amazing vegan butter).
Just finished lamination and it looks amazing! I wanted to ask two little things:
1. What do you do about the edges of the dough? Ours came out a little unevenly layered towards the end, should I discard those (I mean I’ll keep them, and bake something, but maybe not croissants)? Or should we just use them and hope for the best?
2. I just read here that step 24 is at room temp, I think we should be ok here in BC Canada, since it doesn’t get very hot right now, especially at night, but I was wondering how you keep the dough from forming a dry crust during this time. Do you cover with cling wrap? Or put the tray in a bag?
Thanks again for this awesome recipe!
That’s awesome. I’d love to see once they are baked. 🙂
1. I use trimmings and make burger buns ( they are more like brioche buns) Great for burgers. If the edges have layers then you can just bake it into a knot or cruffin.
2. I have mentioned to loosely cover in the post above the recipe. It’s difficult to mentions everything in the recipe card, so always read the post above and it has all the important details, consider recipe as a baseline or a guide. I leave mine in the oven (door closed) so I don’t cover the tray
Thank you so much for the patience and answers. One last question.
One last question, we’re just about to shape, and I can already tell it’ll take more than one baking sheet (which is as wide as my oven will allow) so I’m wondering if I should bake them together (one above the other, using convection) or separately? And if I bake separately, should I put one tray back into the fridge after the proving so it doesn’t over-proof while I wait, or should I just let it be while the others bake?
You can bake them together if you like.
If its convection, heating would be efficient. If not you can rotate/swap the trays during the last 15 minutes or so to get an even bake.
Also you can refrigerate the proofed croissants too, until the oven is free.
Usually sourdough once don’t over proof easily so you can let them sit in a cool place too.
Lovely recipe! Can you tell the approximate size for the triangle that you roll into the croissant shape? Thanks!
I do various sizes depending on the length and width of the final dough sheet.
But roughly its about 8cm-10cm in width and the length is about 15cm – 20cm
Hi, may I know, what is the room temperature of your room when you proof 8-10hrs before baking them? Thank you 🙂
Hi Amelia, I am not referring to the temperature of my room, but the standard baking room temperature which is 70°Fahrenheit (21°Celsius)
This is the comfortable indoor temperature and most air conditioners maintain this. Adjust the time according to your own room temp.
Hope this helps
Okay thank you so much for the answer! I’ll try it and never give up to make this little baby ;p
People on your newsletter must love you. This content is pure 100 gold
Hi there, myloveofbaking, I’d love to try your wonderfully explained and illustrated recipe. I’ve seen slabs of butter especially for croissants. Would you suggest I try these? Many thanks in anticipation of your reply.
Yes. If you can find a butter slab, by all means use it!
Thanks for your prompt reply, Vindi. So, will I need to set aside 4 days for this bake?
The sourdough process spans across four days. At home , we roll by hand, so the dough need longer resting time in the fridge. Also we cant’t let the butter melt away.
As I have mentioned, you can tweak it to suite your schedule, this is what works for me ( I work full time so I don’t have the luxury of time 🙂 ha ha and I can’t find uninterrupted time )
Where do we keep the spongy prefix after preparation, in the refrigerator or at room temperature?
Today, 12 hours after preparing my sweet sponge starter, when I see it in bubbles or stretch a lot and I knead with it, I fear that it will not ferment my dough.
It doesn’t have anything to do with kneading and yeast. The yeast will be there and they will start to get active once mixed.
It is not the starter sponge it self that help rise the dough, but the Yeast living in it. So don’t worry, it will be fine 🙂
Can I shorten the time and after the second fold I rest it in the fridge half an hour to an hour and then spread it out to cut it and form the croissants ,then make it proof at room temperature and then bake it?
The longer the dough rest (in the fridge), the easier it will be to roll out. Minimum 4 hours after the last fold before you roll out to cut shapes.
If you feel like the dough is elastic ( difficult to roll out) then you’ll have to give it more time to relax in the fridge.
If you cut down on time it will affect the lamination, shaping and everything.
Isn’t it baking for 35-40 minutes and 400-420F too much? And My Oven does not work from above and bottom at the same time only I can only light it from bottom Is there a problem with this?
This is what I do in my oven. I have a bottom heated conventional oven.
You can change the time and temperature to suite your oven and your preference. You will never know unless you try once
My kitchen 26c for final proofing is It ok or too much warm ?
That sounds about the perfect temp for proofing
Love the recipe and love the explanation, i tried ir following every (almost) step, it’s the second time i do lamination, and a few months since i’m experimenting with sourdough and the result was beyond My expectations. Thanks!
That is great to hear! well done! 🙂
How do I reduce the sourness of croissants , especially after long fermentation, and can I increase the amount of sugar in the dough or not?
Yes you can increase sugar (double it)
Wow time consuming but worth it. Wish I could post a picture
Yes I agree with you Sue. It is all worth it
This is a fantastic recipe! I’ve been baking sourdough for awhile but this was my first time with croissants and I’m quite pleased (and learned a few things to make the next round better!)
Temps outside have been in the 90s where I live and one thing I would add in warm weather is that once proofed, the dough may benefit from going back in the fridge for 20 min Before baking. I do not have central air so it’s difficult to control my kitchen temps in summer. I had quite a bit of butter pooling in my first bake, and wondered if my dough was under proofed, but the next batch is looking much better after a nice cool-off before popping them in.
Can’t wait to try again! Thanks for the step by step tips and videos. I was scared to try these but am so happy I did!
I am glad you find this post helpful. Yes, I too recommend chilling proofed croissants before baking, if the proofing temperature is warm. This will stop pooling too.
And yes, convection or top and bottom heating is the best for croissants. I have a conventional too, so yes, it is tricky.
Hope you would get better and better!
Happy baking 🙂
Great recipe! The detailed descriptions, pictures and even videos made this my best attempt at sourdough croissants so far.
The croissants both looked (mostly outside) and tasted great, but I sadly did not achieve the honeycumb structure, despite following the instructions very closely. I think the temperature in the house (about 24C/75F) may have been too high, causing some layers of butter and dough to merge. During the last part of the lamination the butter came through on some spots and I had to do some emergency patching up with flour. It really surprised me that this happened, because the dough was quite cold every time I got it out of the fridge (after about 45-60 mins) and I did not have it in the kitchen for more than about 3 minutes during laminating. Also the rolling out went quite smooth consistenly (no hard pieces of butter and the dough was easy to roll out).
I uploaded a photo of the crumb: https://i.imgur.com/7qVzYRF.jpg.
Would you agree it’s most likely a lamination issue, or do you think other factors could have contributed to this result?
Thanks for posting this great recipe!
Thanks for the complement. I myself struggled a lot in the beginning to get the perfect lamination, I guess with practice you will get there.
The only three things I can guess looking at the photo.
– butter has merged with the dough while laminating ( mostly due to heat or due to too much pressure)
– butter leaking out while baking ( under-proofed or proofed in a too warm environment or oven temp. too low)
– Under proofed, although it is hard to tell by looking at just one photo, this could be a reason too
But overall, this looks great! If it is flaky, and tastes good I consider it a success, anything beyond is merely for personal goals in achieving perfection 😀
Thanks for the quick response!
I tend to think it’s not a proofing issue, because for the second batch I baked individual croissants one after another (each proofed one hour longer than the previous) to figure out the right amount of proofing. I baked two more croissants after the one on the photo, and the crumb started to become more dense (more doughy) on those ones.
It actually took quite some time at relatively low temperatures to proof these croissants. After 10 hours in the garage (19-20C) they were nowhere near being done. I put them in the fridge for about 24 hours and then had to proof them for approx 4 hours more at about 23-24C to see a significant growth.
Some butter did leak out of most of croissants – varying from a tiny bit to a small puddle, but it wasn’t like enormous amounts – I figured this is normal, but maybe it’s not?
The oven was preheated long enough at 210C. I tried baking some directly on a hot oven tray and some from a cool oven tray. This did not result in a noticably different outcome. Also baking straight from the fridge did not really make a big difference as far as I could tell.
Here is a photo of the dough when I finished laminating. I think the kitchen temperature + probably my handling (technique) led to a suboptimal result here:
You have done a very thorough investigation 🙂 good for you. And if it isn’t for any of those, we can safely conclude that it is the lamination, which is the reason more often than not.
I usually proof my croissants overnight at room temperature ( 12 midnight to 7-8 am morning next day) and place them in a slightly warmer place to finish off proofing. This has worked for me so far.
From the picture, your layers look great!
I am guessing the dough is 100% all-purpose (or equally refined flour). Wholemeal, wholegrain or unrefined flour( higher ash content) tend to give a thicker crumb due to low gluten%.
Its okay to see some butter around the edges, but a lot or a puddle is not okay. Butter frying the layers and evaporating, leaving a gap is what creates the honey comb structure
Hope this information will help in anyway to proceed
I now definitely have a better idea of what to focus on the next time; better lamination (during lower temperature) and even gentler handling!:)
Since it’s such a time consuming process, I try to be very aware of all the variables that may affect the outcome. That’s why I like the level of detail and context you provide here!
By the way, I used a flour typically used for baguettes (T65 French flour, but this batch only has about 11% protein), so it’s pretty close to AP i’d say. I slightly lowered the amount of sugar (about 20% less), so that may explain why they proofed a bit slow in my case as well.
Thanks again for taking the time to help me out, it’s really appreciated!
No worries at all.
FYI. Ideal flour for croissants is T55. If you follow me on IG, you can see I have experimented with T85 and it is difficult to achieve the perfect honey comb that you get with T55. Following link will take you to the Instagram post.
Hi! I’m just wondering why you decided to mix flour with butter for the butter layer. Thanks! Everything looks beautiful.
This is normally done when you make the butter block yourself. This will prevent the butter from melting so fast and hence a little easier to handle. Also help forming a flat butter block (aids mixing) out of a big one or several sticks. Once you expert handling skills(speed and heat control during lamination) you can skip using butter.
Thank youfor the recipe. While laminating, I noticed that there are some solid chunks of butter in the dough. Will this cause a problem during baking?
You are welcome Thelma.
As long as they are not huge chunks, it won’t be a problem.
Hope they’ll turn out great!
I think I finally foundthe winning recipe after a few months of trying different recipes and techniques! THANK YOU! My croissants turned out so beautiful and got the honeycomb as well. Thank you for this recipe!!!!!
I am so happy to hear that!
Well done 😀 (hi-five)
First of all, thank you for this super detailed post. I read all of it and there’s so much knowledge here.
I just tried my first home laminated croissants and I’m in the process of learning more.
1. Have you tried using bread flour instead and have you noticed any difference?
2. Is there any difference in croissant texture between commercial yeast and using a sourdough starter?
You are welcome 🙂
To answer your questions;
1. Yes, I have used bread flour to make croissants. In the bakery I worked, we used bread flour and as they were yeasted croissants and we used a dough sheeter, it really didn’t matter much. But at home when making sourdough croissants, we hand laminate the dough and that means we work the dough quite excessively(as opposed to using dough sheeter which does the job in seconds). This results in more gluten development and I find croissants are a bit tougher (chewier). It is personal preference mostly and I like my croissants to be light and crumbly.
2. If you use the same techniques and the only variable being the yeast(commercial vs sourdough) then no, I don’t see a textural difference.
Hope these help 🙂
Thank you so much for answering my questions! I’m trying this recipe as we speak. Can’t wait!
Thank you for sharing your baking knowledge.
My question is regarding the salt: salted butter + 1tbsp (= 17g) — isn´t it way too much ? Thank you for your feed back)
Salt and sugar can be tweaked to suite personal references. If you think it’s too much, you can go low, it won’t affect the lamination.
I’m trying this recipe of yours for the first time, but this is my second try with croissants. I find my dough inelastic during lamination. When I made the dough, I didn’t put all the water, it seemd flexible enough, but now it cracks during stretching. Can I save it somehow?
Thank you for your help!
Yes, you can save it. If your dough is elastic, that means you need to let the dough rest(to relax the gluten). Simply wrap the dough and refrigerate for about an hour and start rolling out again. Never stretch a dough forcefully. Rolling out should be gentle, every stroke should extend the dough. If your dough is still elastic, rest for longer between folds (2-3 hours)
Hope this helps!
Excellent explanation: I tried the recipe and the only problem I had was the presence of small fractures on the croissants during the last proofing (towards at the end) at room temperature (21 ° C). I did not lose butter in cooking but the shape of the croissants has become low and wide and not high (especially at the 2 extremes). The inside had some fairly open honeycombs, but not like the best croissants. I thought that my starter was a bit acidic and therefore this ruined the gluten a bit during the long rising (18 hours; flour 12.5% protein). What do you think about it? Thank you very much and apologize for my english (google translator)
If you did not loose butter and had fairly open crumbs, I would call it a win! It takes practice to perfect the croissant(I guess you know that by now..ha ha) I can’t really say much as I don’t know the butter (fat%) or the flour you used.
It’s the 3 factors that affect a perfect honey comb, lamination, proofing and oven temperature.. My guess is either the butter (I get flat ones with vegan butter cos they have more moisture) or oven temperature. If I could see a picture I could try better!
Anyways, well done and keep practicing!
Hi Vindi, great recipe, great explanation and great assistance. It is the second time that I have made these croissants, delicious, and everything is clear to me except why, after cooking, during which they triple in the oven without losing butter, and during the subsequent cooling down a little, losing their pretty appearance. cylindrical that they have in the oven and especially those near the door. I will tell you that in the last 5 ‘I leave the oven in the slot to let out some humidity and this also with the croissants of other recipes, but only with these it happens to me. The flour I use is 60% bread flour and the rest all-purpose flour; should i use more bread flour or decrease the amount of water? but lamination is so easy, leaving the doses indicated by you unchanged. Or can it depend on the oven door in the slot in the last 5 ‘, but after 20’ with the door obviously closed and at 195 °? Thank you in advance for your kind reply I also have a curiosity: why do you put sugar in the mother yeast?
It is great that you get nice lamination! Well done.
To answer you question, never open the oven door until they are done baking. Opening the oven door is not the same as opening the vent.
If your croissants still shrink while cooling down, bake them a little longer at a slightly lower temperature. 420F in a conventional oven is 400F in a convection oven(fan forced)
If you bake at a too higher temperature, any baked item would collapse while cooling even bread.
The sugar is added to aid the fermentation.
Hi Vindi. I want to update you on my 3rd try of your croissants recipe. With your advice (do not keep the oven door in the draft in the last few minutes) their aesthetics were also perfect and I thank you again also because you took away the slight anxiety that characterizes the processing of this product at the beginning. This time I wanted to do the lamination with 3 folds to 3, instead of 2 (1 to 4 + 1 to 3) folds and I seem to have noticed that the gluten is strengthened more by making 1 more fold, and that consequently the leavening has also lengthened a bit. Do you agree? At my house (room temperature 20 ° C) the last leavening lasts a total of 20 hours also because I use young mother yeast (that is, when it is only doubled because I prefer to avoid acidity). What do you think about it? Thank you for your availability and please forgive my english (google).
Thats great to hear!
Yes you can try 3 letter fold or two book folds. It doesn’t matter which as long as you get a decent amount of layers. If you think there is too much gluten, leave the dough to rest longer in the fridge. Hope this would help
Hi Vindi, Thank you for the recepie! How do you think, can i do those sugar free? How it may affect lamination and proofing?
Sugar plays a big part in baked products. Sugar helps proofing( yeast activity), helps retain moisture, gives structure and flavor. You can try to reduce a little sugar though but the results may vary
And what if i replace sugar with honey? Can it work?
I haven’t tried using honey. Technically you could but beware that honey has a lot more moisture and sweeter than sugar. So you might have to adjust hydration and also honey is acidic so it might affect the proofing time (might need to increase yeast/leavain). Finally products with honey browns way too faster while baking so you might want to tent them with foil etc. It is a good experiment if you have got time.
Thank you so much for your detailed answers! One more question, i saw your homemade puff pastry recipe, there you take just flour, salt and butter. Why this basic recepie wont work for croissant? What exactly sugar and egg are needed for?
There are standards for everything. French croissants /puff pastry/danish all have internationally recognized industry standards. If you are making traditional products you should stick to a recipe. According to standards, croissants are meant to be, soft, flaky, moist, mildly sweet, buttery, leavened all at the same time and hence milk/eggs/sugar (enriching ingredients we call them). Basic Puff should be extremely flaky, dry and with a neutral flavor (so it can be used it both savory & sweet products) My recipes are based on what I learnt at bakery/pastry school plus my industry experience.
At home you can add anything to any of these recipes or take out anything, it is entirely up to you and depends on the results you want.
Thanks a lot!
I would like to say thank you for your recipe. It’s so detailed and I found this is the best one from the internet. Finally I made my 1st sourdough croissants and the result is great.
Thank you for your lovely feedback 🙂
Good job succeeding in your first attempt!
I have just started working with laminated sourdough pastries. I’ve done 3 so far, and the results have been really satisfying. Your recipe and instructions look perfect, and I really like the aesthetic of your finished croissants. The last batch I made, I rolled the final dough as thin as I could (1/4-1/3 inch), and a single layer after baking was still almost 2 inches thick. One question I have… I have access to a commercial dough sheeter. If I were to use this, what would be the ideal thickness for sheeting the dough between folds, and how much time/chilling should happen between passes through the sheeter? I was thinking it would save me some time, but being that the machine is away from my home, I don’t know if it will save me much time if the dough needs to relax and chill between folds. I’d love to go over to the commercial kitchen, send it through the sheeter a few times with folds, and head home. Is that possible?
If you can use a dough sheeter, go for it. Usually when I do this in a commercial space, I do two full folds (book folds) and don’t chill in between because its faster and the dough doesn’t get worked so much like hand rolling. If you like you can chill the dough for 15-30 minutes between the folds. But let the dough chill for 1-2 hours before rolling out to cut shapes.
Thickness between folds, doesn’t really matter (may be around 4-5mm) but the final thickness before cutting the shapes should be around 3mm. You can also have to around 5-6mm thickness and stretch the triangle before shaping the croissants. This is what I used do at the bakery. Check out a few videos on YouTube by professional bakers and you can get a good idea. It is hard to explain exacts, because we never measure thickness just eyeball everything through practice.