Croissants are the perfect addition of buttery, flaky mounds of pure goodness during the holiday season. This French classic is simple but flavorful and pairs well with any meal or warm beverage. But, did you know this Parisian classic originated in Vienna? That’s why we wanted to share this classic French croissant recipe.
The Curved Croissant
The creation of the infamous flaky crust pastry began in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna in a 17th-century Austrian battle. As the city came under siege surrounded by Ottoman soldiers, the hope of being saved was fading fast.
As the Ottoman soldiers were tunneling in the early morning hours for a sneak attack, the Viennese bakers were awake firing up the ovens to make daily bread. In the midst of kneading the dough, the bakers heard unfamiliar sounds beneath their feet and alerted authorities.
Eventually, the King of Poland arrived with backup, charged, and saved Vienna. Soon, a pastry was created in the shape of a crescent moon to celebrate the victory, also the symbol of the Ottoman flag. They were named Kipferl, which means “crescent” in Austrian.
Now, that you know where this delicious pastry came from, let’s get into the French croissant recipe. This recipe will make 15 croissants plus a little leftover. It’s your choice how you use the extra but be aware, it may take a couple tries to perfect this recipe. Also, you’ll create this recipe over the course of a few days.
First, for the ingredients, you’ll need:
- 17.5 oz type 55 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 5 oz water
- 5 oz whole milk
- 1.95 oz sugar
- 1.4 oz soft unsalted butter
- 0.4 oz instant yeast
- 0.4 oz salt
- 9.9 oz cold unsalted butter for laminating
- 1 egg + 1 tsp water for the egg wash
It is recommended to begin this part in the evening. First, combine the dough ingredients and knead for 3 minutes at a low to medium pace. Next, shape the dough into a disc shape and refrigerate on a plate covered in clingfilm.
Cut cold butter lengthwise into 0.5in pieces and place on wax paper to form a 6in x 6in square. Cover this with wax paper and use a rolling pin to pound the butter until 7in x 7in. Keep the butter wrapped in paper and place in the fridge.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll the disc into an even 10in x 10in square. Take the butter slab out of the fridge and place it on the dough. Take each corner of the dough and fold it to the center of the butter slab. Lightly press the edges to seal all seams. After this is done, use the rolling pin to roll the dough and butter together to make an 8in x 23in rectangle. Work to lengthen the dough while keeping all edges straight.
Once this is done, fold the dough letter style and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes and repeat this process 2 times more. You should have 27 layers of butter in total. Return the dough to the fridge until the next day.
Take the dough back out of the fridge and, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 8in x 44in long narrow strip. Next, you will use a tape measure and pizza wheel to mark the top of the dough at 0.5in intervals, which will come out to 7 marks total. Along the bottom, you will start marking at 2.5in then continue at 5in, resulting in 8 marks total.
Making the crescent shape
Once complete, make diagonal cuts from the top to the bottom marks. Then, make diagonal cuts in the reverse direction from the bottom to the top, resulting in 15 triangles.
Now, make 0.5in in the center of the short side of each dough triangle and extend each triangle into 9.8in either by hand or using a rolling pin. Once you cut the notch in the dough triangle, roll the dough into shape, applying gentle pressure to ensure the dough sticks together but maintains the shape.
Proofing and baking the French croissant
Place the croissants on a baking sheet far enough away from each other for them to expand in baking. Mix an egg and a teaspoon of water to make and apply the first coating of egg wash with a brush. Then, proof the croissants between 76F to 79F in a preheated oven for 2 hours.
Before starting the baking process, add another layer of egg wash. Start baking at 385F for 6 minutes, then lower to 355F for 9 minutes. Continue to watch the browning process but remember, it will take a few batches to get the temperature perfect. Once complete, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Viola!