Homemade Croissants Part I: Laminating the Dough

14 Dec

Homemade croissants. The ultimate guide. Arrrrrreeeee yooooooouuuuu reeaaaaaaddddddy?!

I think we may need to do a warm-up before we start.

Drop and give me 20 push ups. Ok, now lets see those arm muscles go to work!

Homemade croissants are very simple (I know you think I’m crazy for saying that making croissants are simple, but keep reading). Only a few ingredients needed to make a big, flaky, buttery pastry. What makes the process so daunting is the amount of time it takes; not necessarily on-hand time, just waiting around time. Rolling out your dough, folding it, refrigerating for an hour. Rolling out your dough, folding it, refrigerating. Etc. etc. etc.

Ok people, really, it is sooooooo worth it! You can make a bunch of dough and just freeze the amount that you are not using right away.

I want to make this dough again and again and again (and I will).

Alright, pop quiz. What does it mean to laminate dough? Laminate means alternating layers. In the culinary world, this means alternating layers of dough-butter-dough in the case of puff pasty, flaky pastry, Danish or croissant dough.

I made a LOT of dough. Like a LOT. I used roughly 12 cups of flour and 3 pounds of butter. Yes people, 3 pounds of butter! (Just remember, those 3 pounds got spread over many many many croissants).

Here I give you an abbreviated version of my dough recipe. Shout out to my boss, Kiri, who showed my the ways of croissant making!

You ask: Stephanie, how dooooo you do it?
I answer: why LOVE of course!

What follows is a quick overview of the process, step-by-step, picture-by-picture (the actual recipe is below):

Yeasty, sugary, milky, foamy mixture

Yes I used 3lbs. of butter

I got a little help from one of my housemates to pound out the butter (here is where the push-ups begin to come in handy)!

Yeasty flour mixture ready to be rolled out

Here is the yeasty flour mixture rolled out into a rectangle

Lay your block of butter on top of the flour mixture like so

Fold it like a letter (in thirds)


Once again, push-ups are helpful to build up the arm strength

This is what your dough should look like when done! Yahoooo!
Croissant Dough
Recipe from Kiri, adapted from Nancy Silverton

Yield: about 2 1/2 lbs. of dough (aka about 20 croissants?)

* 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated to warm (105°F–110°F) (You should be able to comfortably stick your finger into the warm milk)

* 1/4 cup sugar (I used half brown, half white)

* 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)

* 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you may need to add more or less depending on your dough)

* 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

* 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter

Make dough:
Stir together warm milk, sugars, and yeast in bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t foam, discard and start over.) Add your flour and salt and mix by hand until dough is smooth and very soft, about 7 minutes (or if you own a standing Kitchen Aid mixer, you can mix the dough with a dough hook).

Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead by hand 2 minutes more, adding more flour as necessary, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Form dough into a roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick rectangle and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until cold, about 1 hour.

Prepare and shape butter:
After dough has chilled, arrange sticks of butter horizontally, their sides touching, on a work surface. Pound butter with a rolling pin to soften slightly (butter should be malleable but still cold). Scrape butter into a block and put on a kitchen towel or piece of parchment paper, then cover with other towel or parchment. Pound and roll out on both sides until butter forms a uniform 8- by 5-inch rectangle. Set aside for now.

Roll out dough:
Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as necessary and lifting and stretching dough (especially in corners), into a 16- by 10-inch rectangle. Arrange dough with a short side nearest you. Put butter in center of dough so that long sides of butter are parallel to short sides of dough. Fold as you would a letter: bottom third of dough over butter, then top third down over dough.

Turn dough so a short side is nearest you, then flatten dough slightly by pressing down horizontally with rolling pin across dough at regular intervals, making uniform impressions. Roll out dough into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle, rolling just to but not over ends.

Fold in thirds again like a letter, as above, stretching corners to square off dough, forming a 10- by 5-inch rectangle. (You have completed the first “fold.”) Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 hour.

Make remaining “folds”:
Make 3 more folds in same manner, chilling dough 1 hour after each fold, for a total of 4 folds. (If any butter oozes out while rolling, sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.) Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours but no more than 18 (after 18 hours, dough may not rise sufficiently when baked).

****NOTE: Since I made about 3 times this recipe, I cut my dough into thirds at the end, wrapped each one in saran wrap, stuck one in the freezer, and the rest in the fridge.


2 Responses to “Homemade Croissants Part I: Laminating the Dough”

  1. Anonymous December 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    >Amazing tutorial! Thank you for this!


  1. Homemade Croissants, Part II: Rolling, Baking, Eating | Figsinmybelly - November 11, 2014

    […] folks, so now that you have gone through part I of the adventure in homemade croissants, you’ve got your laminated dough ready to be rolled and shaped and […]

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