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How to Make Perfect French Croissants

Hell’s Kitchen Perfect French Croissants recipe by Gordon Ramsay. You can have someone send you a croissant by airmail, or you can just simply make French croissants at home, in your kitchen without the added stress of traveling to Europe or waiting for the mail to arrive.

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There is truly no substitute for an authentic, crusty, flaky, buttery, warm French croissant. If you’ve never been to France, you can have someone send you a croissant by airmail, or you can simply make French croissants at home, in your kitchen without the added stress of traveling to Europe or waiting for the mail to arrive.

How Many Layers Do Croissants Have?

A croissant is usually a crescent-shaped, buttery, and flaky pastry roll of Austrian and French origin prepared with yeast-risen dough. The dough is well layered with butter, rolled, and even folded three times, achieving 81 butter layers in total. This process is referred to as lamination.

How to Make Gordon Ramsay Croissants

Below is a detailed and comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to pr make the perfect French croissant. Now gather your equipment, and let’s start cooking.

Equipment Needed for Croissant Recipe:

  • Chefs knife
  • Cutting board
  • Med-size Sauce Pan
  • Whisk
  • Instant thermometer
  • Standing mixer
  • Dough scraper
  • Rolling pin
  • 2 – ½ Sheet pan
  • Small bowl
  • Brush
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cooling Rack

6 Important Notes Before Making Croissants

  1. When preparing croissants, it is tough to hide the minor mistakes in your technique. The difficulty in preparing croissants lies in manually creating thin and even layers of butter and dough that will result in a product with the right texture and volume. As such, it may be unreasonable to expect that you will make perfect croissants on your first attempt at this recipe.
  2. It takes about three or four for most people to acquire the general feeling for the technique. In this regard, practice and experience are the keys to mastering the process. Nonetheless, the most important thing to remember is that you should enjoy the process!
  3. Before you begin experimenting with freezing, spelt, margarine, retarding, sourdough and timing, you must attempt this recipe exactly as detailed at least three times. It would be best if you learned how to make decent croissants before you move on to the next step.
  4. Selecting the right flour is very important as it will determine the volume and texture of the croissants. It is advisable to test a few flour types to land on the one that hits the sweet spot between strength and flexibility.
  5. The same goes for the butter. It has to be pliable without being excessively soft. Organic butter with low water content is a great choice. Butter with high water content tends to get hard, facilitating breaking and tearing, thus ruining the croissant layers.
  6. If this is your first time baking croissants, it is advisable to select a cold day during which the room temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). This avails you sufficient time for the entire process and decreases the dough’s chances of absorbing the butter. To ensure your croissant has flaky layers, the butter must be kept solid between the dough layers.

The First Day – Prepare Croissant Dough

It is best to prepare the croissant dough during the evening. Start by combining the ingredients of the dough and knead for 3 minutes. Knead it low to medium pace to the point where the dough comes together.

Low to moderate gluten development occurs at this stage. You want to avoid excess gluten development since the dough will fight back during the lamination process.

Shape well the dough into a disk and not a ball before refrigeration. Doing this will make it easier for you to roll the dough into a square shape on the second day. Place the disk on a tray and cover it with cling-film. Place it in the fridge and leave it overnight.

The Second Day – Make Butter Slab

Remove the cold butter from the fridge and immediately slab Arrange these pieces to form a 15cm (6 inches) by 15 cm (6 inches) square on a waxed paper. Cover the square with another layer of waxed paper.

Pound the butter with a rolling pin until the square is approximately 19cm (7.5 inches) by 19cm (7.5 inches). Trim the butter’s edges and place the trimmings on the square. Pound the butter lightly to achieve a final square measuring 17cm (6.7 inches) by 17cm (6.7 inches). Wrap the butter slab in film and place it in the refrigerator for later.

Before you begin the dough laminating process below, ensure that you place sufficient flour on the work surface to avoid sticking. However, do not use too much flour to integrate the croissant layers, which will be evident in the final product.

Laminate the Dough

Roll out the dough disc into a square measuring 26cm (10.2 inches) by 26cm (10.2 inches) immediately after taking it out of the fridge. The square should ideally be as perfect as possible and have even thickness.

Take out the stored butter slab from the fridge.

With one side of the dough square facing you, place the butter on the dough at a 45-degree angle. A corner of the butter square should be facing you. Fold one flap of the dough over the butter slap such that the point/corner of the dough is at the center of the butter slap.

Repeat this process for the remaining three dough flaps. Ensure that the edges of the flaps overlap slightly and enclose the butter entirely. Press the edges lightly using the palm of your hands to seal the seams.

Next, you need to roll out the dough with the sealed-in butter. Place small amounts of flour on your working surface and the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to make a rectangle measuring 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm (24 inches). It would be best if you rolled from the dough’s center out towards the edges. Avoid rolling from one side of the dough to the other. This allows you to maintain an even thickness.

You may also rotate the dough 180 degrees to keep the thickness more even (people tend to use less pressure when rolling towards them than when rolling away). Utilize these rolling methods throughout the entire process. Aim towards making the dough longer rather than wider and ensure the edges are as straight as possible.

Fold the dough in thirds (one third on top of itself and the other side over it), cover with a cling-film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out and roll it out a second time into the same 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm (24 inches) rectangle. Fold it in the same letter style as before and place it in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Take it out and roll it out for the third time into a 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm rectangle. Cover with cling-film and leave it in the fridge overnight until the third day. Remember to rotate the dough 90 degrees before rolling again. The closed end of the dough should always face away from you. You should end up with 27 butter layers in total.

In some instances, you may find it difficult to get the dough longer than, say, 50cm (20 inches). If this happens, cease rolling the door to avoid damaging the layers. Cover the dough and allow the gluten to relax for about 10 to 20 minutes in your refrigerator before you resume.

Overview of the Aforementioned Steps

  • Roll out dough to 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm (24 inches); fold it letter style.
  • Refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  • Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out dough to 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm (24 inches); fold it letter style
  • Refrigerate for it 30 minutes
  • Rotate 90 degrees
  • Roll out dough to 20cm (8 inches) by 60cm (24 inches); fold it letter style
  • Refrigerate it overnight until the third day

Each dough laminating step should take you just a few minutes. If it takes you longer because of initial inexperience, you may fold, cover and refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes. You may resume the process after the dough has rested. This is a vital cautionary step, which ensures that the butter stays solid.

The Third Day – Divide the Dough:

Take the dough out of the fridge. Place a small amount of flour across your working surface. Roll out the dough gently into a long and narrow strip measuring 20cm (8 inches) by 110cm (43.3 inches). The dough may start to resist or shrink back during this stage. If this happens, fold it in thirds and place it in the fridge for about 10 to 20 minutes to rest.

It is essential not to struggle with the dough when it cannot get any longer.

Could you leave it in the fridge to rest? You may end up ruining an entire two-day work.

With utmost care, lift the dough a few centimeters when it has reached the intended shape and dimensions. This allows it to shrink back from either side, and thus, it will not shrink during the cutting process. The length of your strip of dough should allow you to trim both ends to make them straight while leaving a length of approximately 100 cm (39.4 inches).

Shape Your Croissants

Place the tape measure along the topside of the dough. Using the knife, mark the dough’s top side along its length at 12.5cm (4.9 inches) intervals. There should be 7 marks in total.

Next, place the tape measure along the bottom and, using the Knife, make a mark at 6.25cm (2.46 inches) from one end. From this point, continue making marks at 12.5cm (4.9 inches) intervals. There should be 8 marks in total. Overall, the top and bottom marks should not align and form your croissant triangles’ bases.

Starting from one top corner, make a diagonal cut that goes down to the first bottom mark. Repeat these diagonal cuts for the entire length of the dough. Switching angles and starting from the other top corner, make a diagonal cut going down to the last bottom mark. Repeat this process for the entire length of the dough to create triangles. You should create 15 triangles alongside a few pieces of dough.

Make notches that are 1.5cm (0.6 inches) long at the center of every triangle’s short sides using the knife. Next, elongate every triangle gently to approximately 25 cm (9.9 inches). You can do this by hand.

However, elongating with a rolling pin can produce better results. You have to do this very carefully, putting minimal pressure on the dough triangles. Feel free to experiment with both methods to determine which suits you best.

Now that you cut notches at the center of the dough triangles’ short ends move your hands outwards from the middle to roll the two wings. Try to create the intended shape with a longer and thinner point. Also, it is good practice rolling the dough tightly with sufficient pressure at the beginning to ensure that the layers stick together. Take care not to damage the layers by applying too much pressure.

Proof and Bake

Start by arranging your croissants on baking sheets. Ensure that you keep sufficient space between the croissants such that they do not touch when you proof and bake them. Add a teaspoon of water to the egg and whisk until it is smooth. Carefully apply a thin coating of egg wash to the croissants.

Make sure that you proof your croissants draft-free. The ideal temperature should be 24 to 26.5 degrees Celsius (76 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures above this range increase the chances of the butter leaking out.

You should proof your croissants for approximately 2 hours. Gently shake the baking sheet to see if the croissants wiggle slightly. This way, you can tell if the croissants are ready. When you look at the croissants from the side, you should see the dough layers.

Preheat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) for convection ovens and 220 degrees Celsius (430 degrees Fahrenheit) for conventional ovens. Apply a thin second layer of egg wash to the croissants just before you bake them. Bake the croissants at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 18 to 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature slightly if the browning happens too quickly. When it comes to baking, you have to learn from experience, as not all ovens are similar. As you bake several batches, you get to learn the perfect temperature and timing for your own oven.

When the croissants are ready, take them out of the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Finally, you can transfer them to a cooling rack. It is best to consume your French croissants when they are warm and fresh.

How to Make Perfect French Croissants

3 from 11 votes
Servings

14

Croissants
Prep time

4

hours 

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Traditional Parisienne baker who produces traditional hand made croissant. He learns to make the perfect croissant.

Ingredients

  • For Croissant Dough
  • 4¼ tsp. fresh dry instant yeast (check expiration date)

  • ¾ C. + 1¾ tbsp. cold water, cold

  • 4¼ C. + 2½ tbsp. all-purpose bread flour, more dusting cutting board

  • 2 tbsp. European or Vermont Style Butter with 83-84% butterfat content, unsalted, softened.

  • 1/3 C. + 1¾ tsp. granulated sugar

  • 1 large large whole egg

  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream

  • 2⅛ tsp. kosher salt

  • For Making Butter Slab
  • 2½ sticks European or Vermont Style Butter with 83-84% butterfat content.

  • For Egg Wash
  • 2 whole eggs, 1 small pinch of salt, and a splash of milk, mixed together.

Directions

  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and immediately stir in milk (temperature should be lower than 90 degrees). Whisk in yeast; transfer milk mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour, sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Using the dough hook, knead on low speed until cohesive dough forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-low and knead for 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and shape into 10 by 7-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • BUTTER BLOCK
  • While dough chills, fold a 24-inch length of parchment in half to create a 12-inch rectangle. Fold over 3 open sides of the rectangle to form an 8-inch square with enclosed sides. Crease folds firmly. Place 24 tablespoons of cold butter directly on the counter and beat with a rolling pin for about 60 seconds until butter is just pliable but not warm, then fold butter in on itself using a bench scraper. Beat into a rough 6-inch square. Unfold parchment envelope. Using a bench scraper, transfer butter to the center of parchment, refolding at creases to enclose. Turn packet over so that flaps are underneath and gently roll until butter fills parchment square, taking care to achieve even thickness. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes.
  • LAMINATE
  • Transfer dough to the freezer. After 30 minutes, transfer to a lightly floured counter and roll into a 17 by 8-inch rectangle with the long side parallel to the counter’s edge. Unwrap butter and place in the center of the dough. Fold sides of dough over the butter, so they meet in the center. Press seam together with fingertips. With a rolling pin, press firmly on each open end of the packet. Roll out lengthwise into a 24 by 8-inch rectangle. Starting at the dough’s bottom, fold into thirds like a business letter into an 8-inch square. Turn dough 90 degrees counterclockwise. Roll out lengthwise again into a 24 by 8-inch rectangle and fold into thirds. Place dough on sheet, wrap tightly with plastic, and return to freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to the lightly floured counter so that the top flap opens on the right. Roll out dough lengthwise into a 24 by 8-inch rectangle and fold into thirds. Place dough on sheet, wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • SHAPE
  • Transfer dough to the freezer. After 30 minutes, transfer to lightly floured counter and roll into 18 by 16-inch rectangle with the long rectangle parallel to the edge of the counter. Fold the upper half of the dough over the lower half. Using a ruler, mark dough at 3-inch intervals along the bottom edge with a bench scraper (you should have 5 marks). Move ruler to the dough’s top edge, measure in 11/2 inches from left, then use this mark to measure out 3-inch intervals (you should have 6 marks). Starting at the lower-left corner, use a sharp pizza wheel or knife to cut dough from mark to mark. You will have 12 triangles and 5 diamonds; discard scraps. Unfold diamonds and cut into 10 triangles (making 22 equal-size triangles in total).
  • Position 1 triangle on the counter. (Keep remaining triangles covered with plastic.) Cut a 1/2-inch slit in the center of the short side of the triangle. Grasp triangle by 2 corners on either side of slit and stretch gently, then stretch bottom point. Place a triangle on the counter, so the point is facing you. Fold-down both sides of the slit. Roll-top of triangle partway toward the point. Gently grasp point with 1 hand and stretch again. Resume rolling, tucking point underneath. Curve ends gently toward each other to create a crescent. Repeat with remaining triangles.
  • Place 12 croissants on 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets at least 21/2 inches apart. Lightly wrap with plastic. Let stand at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 21/2 to 3 hours. (Shaped croissants can be refrigerated for up to 18 hours. Remove from refrigerator to rise and add at least 30 minutes to rising time.)
  • After croissants have been rising for 2 hours, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, water, and pinch salt brush croissants with egg wash. Place croissants in the oven and reduce the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes, then switch and rotate baking sheets. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack and cool for about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Adapted from Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen

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