A step by step recipe for easy sourdough croissants. The end result are buttery, flaky pastries, sure to impress.
Sourdough croissants are deliciously buttery, flaky and once you make them you can’t help but feel darn proud. Making croissants with sourdough starter is a pretty drawn-out process, but it is not actually difficult. In this post I will show you step by step how to make this sourdough pastry recipe.
The process is spread out over two or three days (depending on when you decide to bake. See the baking step here,) so the main thing you need is time.
These croissants are best made in an environment where the room temperature is not too hot. The trick to flaky layers in the dough is to keep the butter cool as it is rolled into the dough. If it melts into the dough, it won’t be laminated correctly.
If your room temperature is above 25°C you may struggle to keep the dough and butter cool.
In the morning, feed your sourdough starter. You’ll need 150g of fed and active sourdough starter at 100% hydration for these sourdough croissants. 100% hydration means there are equal weights of flour and water used when feeding the starter.
To get great and consistent results it’s important that you use an active starter that has a low acid content.
If you refresh your starter regularly and use a small amount of seed starter each time, this can slow the acid build up.
I like to use the feeding ratio of 1:2:2, (1 part starter, 2 parts flour and 2 parts water measured in weight).
I refresh my starter like this very often, in a clean jar. This brings a fairly small amount of seed starter into the new mix, with double the amount fresh flour and water.
For this dough it could be 40g starter, 80g flour and 80g water. This will make approximately 200g starter. 150g can be used for the dough and the remaining starter can be fed again 1:2:2 and stored for the next time you need it.
See more about maintaining a starter here.
At a room temperature of between 21-23°C, a starter that’s ready will double, if not triple, easily within 6 hours at that ratio. Ensure to use your starter before it passes its peak and starts to collapse.
If used after this point it will likely be too exhausted and acidic to give good results.
To read more about acid content in starters see this post here.
The Pastry Dough
When the starter is ready to use, combine the flour, water, salt, sugar, sourdough starter and butter in a bowl. Mix it together by hand to create slightly sticky ball of dough.
Give it a short knead for 4-5 minutes to create a slightly smoother ball. It will still be a bit sticky. Place it in a greased bowl.
Leave the dough out for 3 hours to ferment, at a room temperature between 21-23°C.
Afterwards, transfer it to the refrigerator overnight.
At this point, leave out 250 grams of butter for tomorrow’s step so it is at room temperature for when you need it.
In the morning, take the butter that was left out overnight and mix it with some flour to create a butter mixture that is nice and malleable.
Roll this butter mixture out between two sheets of baking paper into a rectangle of about 20 x 30cm.
Place the butter in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Ensure it is cool, but still nice and pliable.
If the butter is too cold and stiff, it’s going to shatter in the dough when it’s rolled out. Aim for the butter and the dough to be similar consistencies.
Gauging the exact temperature of the butter packet, so that it is a similar consistency to the dough is something that gets better with practice.
Now, on a floured bench, roll out yesterday’s dough into a rectangle double the size of the butter rectangle.
Once the butter is cool again, place it on the bottom half of the dough and pull the top half of the dough over the butter and tuck it in.
Use a rolling pin to gently push on the dough to help disperse the butter.
The butter should just be cool but not rock hard. Keeping the butter and the dough at similar consistencies is key. If the butter is too firm and brittle it won’t incorporate into the dough well.
However, ensure it doesn’t warm and soften too much. Cold butter is what will give the flaky layers in the croissants. If the butter melts into the dough, you’ll end up with bread-like croissants.
The dough + butter is then rolled out into a long rectangle and folded into three.
Let the dough rest now for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. If your kitchen is on the cool side, the dough can rest on the bench.
Again, you want the butter and the dough to be similar consistencies, but don’t let the butter warm up.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out in front you and repeat the folding process. Place it back in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Repeat this step once more (that’s three times in total.)
After the third time, the dough is chilled for 2 hours before being rolled out into a long rectangle that is 25 cm in width.
Cut long triangles of 10 cm width and 25 cm height.
Make a little cut in the bottom of each triangle and stretch it out. Then roll the triangles up tightly, starting from the bottom and rolling to the tip.
If you want to make any sourdough pain au chocolat, simply cut the dough into rectangles and roll a piece of chocolate up in the dough.
Leave the rolled croissants to proof for around 4 hours at a room temperature between 21-23°C. They should puff out slightly.
Step 3- Baking (Two Options)
I usually place these croissants in the fridge overnight and bake them the following morning. This is because it works out well in my schedule, to have fresh croissants for breakfast. Plus, the extra fridge proof gives them more sourdough flavour.
That being said, they can be baked right away after their bench rest. They will be slightly milder in flavour which is good if you don’t like a tangy croissant. If your room is quite warm and they are very soft after their bench rise, pop them in the fridge to firm up again slightly before baking.
Or check out my Sourdough Danish pastries post for another example of timings for the dough.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius Fan-bake or 220 degrees Celsius at regular bake.
Once the oven is at temperature, brush the croissants lightly beaten egg that’s been mixed with a tablespoon of water.
Bake them in a hot oven until deep golden brown. How fast they bake will depend on the size you’ve rolled them.
Have you made these? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz
Step by Step Sourdough Croissants
- 450 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt reduce to 1/2 tsp if using salted butter
- 40 grams sugar
- 250 ml water
- 150 g doubled sourdough starter With a low acid content. See notes above in post on feeding the starter
- 50 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 250 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 1.5 tblsp flour
- 1 medium egg + 1 tbsp water
- Prepare dough by mixing together all the dough ingredients and use your hands to form a sticky dough ball. Knead the dough on the bench for 4-5 minutes until you create a smoother ball (though it will still be a bit sticky.)Then cover with a damp towel and leave to ferment for three hours (at a room temperature between 21-23°C) before transferring to the fridge overnight.
- Mix together the 1.5 Tbsp flour and 250g butter, then roll it into a rectangle of about 20 x 30cm, in between two sheets of baking paper. Place in the fridge for a few minutes so it is cool. Howver ensure it is still nice and pliable. Aim for the butter and the dough to be similar consistencies.
- Take the dough and on a floured bench, roll it into a rectangle double the size of the butter packet. Place the butter packet on the bottom end of the dough and fold over the top end. Fold the sides over to tuck in the butter. Use a rolling pin to gently press a few times along the length of the dough to help disperse the butter.
- Roll the butter and dough out flat into a long rectangle before folding into thirds. Now let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes in the fridge or on the bench.* *If your kitchen is on the cool side, the dough can just rest on the bench. It's important to not let the butter melt or warm up too much. However in the same regard, don't chill the butter down so much that it shatters when you roll the dough out. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out in front you and repeat the folding process. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.Repeat this step once more (that’s three times in total.)
- After the last fold, chill the dough for 2 hours before rolling into a long rectangle. Cut the rectangle into long triangles of about 10 cm width and 25 cm height. Roll the triangles up tightly, starting from the bottom and rolling up to the tip.
- Leave the rolled croissants to proof, for approximately 4 hours on the bench (at a room temperature between 21-23°C) until slightly puffier.
- I usually place these croissants in the fridge overnight and bake them the following morning. This is because it works out well in my schedule, to have fresh croissants for breakfast. Plus, the extra fridge proof gives them more sourdough flavour.However, they can be baked right away after their bench rest. They will be slightly milder in flavour which is good if you don’t like a tangy croissant. If your room is quite warm and they are very soft after their bench rise, pop them in the fridge to firm up again slightly before baking.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius fan-bake or 220 degrees Celsius regular bake. Brush the croissant tops with the eggwash. Bake for around 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. How fast they bake will depend on how big they were shaped. If the croissants are browning too quickly, turn the oven down during the bake.
- If making pain au chocolate, cut the dough into rectangles. Place in a piece or two of dark cooking chocolate and roll up. Continue following the rest of the directions as they are.
- If the croissants leak a lot of butter in the oven, it is likely the butter shattered in the dough and therefore wasn’t laminated correctly. Keeping the dough and butter similar consistencies can help with lamination.
- If the croissants take on a bread-like texture, the butter may have melted into the dough during lamination. It is important it stays cool while it is rolled in.
Adapted from this recipe here.