Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Quick and easy croissants from scratch

Happy New Year everyone! May it be filled with health and happiness and lots of flaky, buttery goodness. January blog posts are usually devoted to healthy recipes, diet tips and pledges to exercise more. I fully intend to do all that, but first I have to recover from my New Year's Eve hangover and severe lack of sleep.

Instead of burrowing under a blanket with a mug of tea and a handful of paracetamol, I decided to stop procrastinating and finally give the blog a much-needed design makeover. There are still a few tweaks I want to make but I hope you like it. If you have any feedback or spot any glitches please sound off in the comments below or send me a tweet - I would really appreciate it!

To celebrate 2014 and before I settle into a healthy diet lifestyle (ha!) I have to share this post... Croissants have been at the top of my to-bake list for an embarrassingly long time. Somehow I never got round to making any, put off by the lengthy dough making process. When I came across Edd Kimber's (winner of the first Great British Bake Offrecipe for 20 minute (!) croissant dough I knew I had no more excuses.

Edd was inspired by Julia Child's Quick Danish Pastry dough recipe - actually a recipe by Beatrice Ojakangas which which she shared with Julia. I have tweaked the recipe and method somewhat, but you can check the links to Edd's recipe and the video of Bea and Julia.

This croissant dough super easy to make. The croissants themselves take some time to rise properly but the results are definitely worth the wait. I made two batches in two days and each one disappeared almost instantly!

Quick method croissant dough
Makes 8 small or 6 large croissants
250g | 8.8 oz strong bread flour
150g | 5.3 oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
120ml | 1/2 cup warm milk
50g | 4 tbsp sugar
7g | 1 sachet dry active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk to glaze

  1. Warm your milk until it is body-temperature. Add the sugar and yeast and whisk to combine. Let it stand until the yeast is frothy and milk has cooled completely. If it's too warm it will melt the butter and undo all our good work.
  2. Put your flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the cubed butter and briefly pulse a few times until mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
  3. Put the flour/butter in a large bowl and add the milk/yeast mixture. Gently combine using a spoon or pastry scraper until the dough just comes together. You want the butter to remain in pea-sized pieces so don't be too enthusiastic when mixing the dough!
  4. Turn the dough out of a lightly floured work top and press together to form a square. Wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  5. Lightly dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll your dough out to a rectangle roughly two to three times as long as it is wide, counter space allowing (pic. 1). Initially the dough may be quite brittle but it will come together as you roll and fold.
  6. Fold the short sides of the dough into the middle (pic. 2).
  7. Rotate the dough by a quarter turn. Roll out slightly to lengthen. Fold the short ends towards the middle (pic. 3 shows only left side folded in).
  8. Flip the dough over so the seams are underneath. Roll it out again repeating steps 5-7 three more times. The dough will become more elastic as you are rolling and folding it. If at any point the butter softens too much, cover and pop in the freezer to firm it before continuing with rolling and folding.
  9. The dough should be formed into a smallish rectangle. Wrap it twice with cling film and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or, ideally, overnight.
  10. Roll the dough out to a rectangle three times as long as it is wide and at least 4mm thick. Trim the edges with a pastry scraper (pic.4).
  11. Cut the dough into triangles about 30cm/12in long and 8cm/3in at the base. Score a small slit in the centre of each triangle base (pic 5). Any scraps and cut-offs can be layered on top of each other, rolled out again and used.
  12. Gently stretch the corners and tip, then loosely roll the dough up. Place, tip side down, on a large tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the croissants a few inches apart on the tray (pic.6).
  13. Cover loosely with greased cling film and let the croissants rise for 2-3 hours at room temperature - sorry, there are no shortcuts here!
  14. Preheat the oven to 230C | 450F. Brush the croissants with the egg wash and bake for ten minutes then reduce temperature to 190C | 375F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
There is no denying that croissants made with the traditional, laborious, method of encasing a block of butter in a simple yeasted dough are probably a little more airy and flaky - but that's another post for another day. In the meantime I hope you try your hand at these quick-method croissants  and stop by to leave a comment!

I am submitting these to the ever-inspiring YeastSpotting gallery.

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  1. Oh, those croissants look really lovely. I still haven't tried to make my own, but if it is that quick and simple I guess it's worth a go.

  2. These look just as good as the laborious version - definitely going in my favourites. I really want to recreate the Pret mozzarella and tomato ones - I'll let you know how it goes when I get round to it.

  3. Oh these look heavenly! Croissants might be my biggest weakness. Thanks for sharing your method and the recipe history.

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone. I made the third batch today. And now I MUST stop. They are incredibly addictive!

  5. Yeeaah, it seems perfect for the breakfast ! I'm taking two of them ! Thank's for the recipe ;)

  6. Gorgeous - and loving the new look! xx

  7. so yummy! i just made these and made a few adjustments. i didn't refrigerate them a second time. but they still came out ABSOLUTELY HEAVENLY! :)

    1. Yay! So glad you made these. They are addictive aren't they? I had to make myself stop making them for few weeks - had been eating too many of them...

  8. I made these for Easter brunch and they turned out great! I used wheat flour because that's what I happened to have so they turned out...well, wheatier! Yum! For whatever reason they needed 5 or 6 less minutes if baking time.

  9. I have always wanted to try making my own croissants so I'll definitely be trying these. Thanks.

  10. Wow, these look delish! I never knew there was a "quick" method of making croissants! Can't wait to try it :)

  11. These look fabulous - I need to try this one... In the past, my kitchen's always been too hot, too cold, too humid, too dry etc etc for them to work... Maybe a quick method will be better!

  12. These look gorgeous - perfect for eating breakfast alfresco during the Summer!

  13. They look nice, but it still doesn't seem very quick!

  14. Rachel Stephenson8 May 2014 20:33

    Need to try these, thank you!

  15. I made these yesterday and they were eaten straight away! So proud of them too as first time!

  16. Those look amazingly professional.

  17. You've made this look so easy, and they look amazing. I feel inspired to try them out.

  18. Wow - I never knew they were so simple to do! I always thought they were complicated! A to do!

  19. They look great and i think i'll have to give making them a try

  20. Oh WOW!!!! i have never thought about making my own Croissants until i seen your recipe! what a wonderful idea :) we as a family love them with my homemade soup.
    Thanks for sharing! :D

  21. will be trying to make croissants

  22. perfect start to the day satisfying making your own

  23. I've never thought of making my own croissants before, but having looked through this I will certainly be giving it a go.

  24. Never thought these could be made at home until today. I have to give this a try.

  25. I love making bread and rolls but it would be fab too try something new. These look great and thanks for the step by step on folding them. Think I shall have a go tomorrow

  26. im trying these tomorrow they look scrummy!

  27. WOW I didn't actually realise you could make these, thanks for the great post they look amazing !!

  28. Never knew these were so easy to make, going to give these a go. Thanks x

  29. I've never mustered up the courage to make croissants because my hands are always warm but with your method I think I could make it work. Thanks for sharing!

  30. These croissants look great, would like to give it a go but kind of a novice so I think I will leave these to the experts. Great job.

  31. Looks a lot easier than I thought.

  32. Mine never seem to flake, even through I fold & roll lots, no idea what I'm doing wrong. I'll give your recipe ago to see if they come out ok. x