20 Minute Croissant Dough

Laminated doughs are seen as some of the harder, more tedious types of pastry and most chefs in cookbooks and on TV seem very happy to recommend using ready made versions. I am guilty of that myself, on here and in my books but in general I stick by it. It does take a number of hours to make a batch of puff pastry or a croissant dough and so I think it is perfectly acceptable pop to the shops and buy a packet, but you know what? If you have a few hours spare making these doughs is actually, for me at least, very rewarding and actually quite relaxing. Maybe its something to do with the constant rolling and folding but I find it quite calming to make these doughs. Of course having a few hours spare is a luxury and a rarity. To make croissant dough or puff pastry you make the dough portion and then over a few hours roll in the butter, its not a quick process but could it be? Is it possible to make a croissant dough in minutes rather than hours. Most people know there is a quick version of puff pastry but would a similar process work with croissant dough? The answer is yes! After stumbling across a mention that Julia Child makes here Danish Dough in the same manner as rough puff pastry I thought I would see if the same style of process would work for croissants.

Classic v 20 Minute Dough

To test how well the dough worked I compared it to a batch of the real thing. I made up croissants with both my quick croissant dough and a classic dough. Both produced tasty and seriously buttery croissants, the major difference was the proofing. The croissants made with the quick pastry ended up a little smaller as after two hours the croissants were still not as proofed as they should be (something I will play around with a lot more soon). If you look at finished croissants you can see both versions are well laminated and produce croissants that are very flaky, the signs of a good croissant.

I also tested the dough as a way to make cinnamon rolls (more about that tomorrow) and for that it worked beautifully. I really hope that you have a play with this dough, it only takes 20 minutes of active work and is significantly easier than the real thing but importantly I think it works as a viable alternative, I will definitely be playing around with it a lot more in the future.

20 Minute Croissant Dough

60ml milk, body temperature
65ml water, body temperature
125g plain flour
125g strong bread flour
6 grams dry active yeast
30g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
150g unsalted butter, diced and chilled

Place the milk, water and yeast into a medium bowl and mix to combine, set aside. Place the flours, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is in small pieces. This is the important stage, you are not making a bread or a pastry so don’t over-process the mixture you need to see chunks of butter, around 1cm in size.

Tip the mixture from the processor onto the liquid ingredients. Using a spatula or bread scraper gently fold the dry goods into the liquid, trying to moisten everything without making the butter any smaller. Once the liquid is roughly combined, tip the mixture out onto the work surface and lightly knead together to form a ball of dough. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for a few hours. This first stage should only take 10 minutes.

After allowing the dough to rest for a few hours place it on a well floured worksurface. Roll the dough out into a roughly 20cm x 40cm rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter brushing off any excess flour, this is the first turn. Turn the dough through 90° so that the folds are facing you. Repeat the rolling and folding process two more times, giving the dough a total of three turns. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate overnight before using.

If you want to use the dough to make croissants roll the dough into a roughly 25cm x40cm rectangle and cut out triangles 8cm wide at the base at 30cm from tip to base. Roll the dough from the wide end into a classic shaped croissant. Place the croissants onto a parchment lined baking tray and cover with a piece of clingfilm.  Allow to proof at room temperature  until doubled in size. Brush the croissants with egg wash and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.


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22 Responses to 20 Minute Croissant Dough

  1. Rebecca says:

    This sounds amazing, definitely trying it out! Just to let you know, I entered your blog into the Observer’s food awards – would be so nice to see you win!

  2. I’m impressed! Even if it’s not perfect, considering that croissants are typically a 2-day process, it’s a great fix in a pinch! I can’t wait to try it out!

  3. narf77 says:

    I think you should change your name from “Boy who bakes” to “Boy who delights the nation”…or perhaps “Boy who saves breakfast”! What an amazing recipe! I think I am going to have to hunt out that puff pastry recipe that you are talking about because I love to make things myself and whenever someone like you (or Peter Reinhart) tell me that I can make something heavenly that was previously only a waft in the ether to me…its like a break in the clouds Ed! Thank you SOOO much. I fully intend on playing with this recipe until I am able to produce succulent, delicate and most addictive Pain au chocolat and YOU sir are my new hero :) . MAN I am glad I found this website!

  4. Just what I needed … I will be trying this right away!

  5. Edd these looks delicious. I am very guilty of buying them because it’s quick! The M&S ones are pretty good. I tried to make them out of the Dorie Greenspan book “Baking with Julia” but found the instructions really hard to fathom! After taking the entire weekend to make I lost heart with it all. Might have another with your recipe though.

  6. This is fascinating! I love making my own croissants but have to admit I’ve only done it a handful of times because of all the work involved. Now I have a solution :-) And even if they are a little smaller, the flaky layers look perfect. Bookmarked!

  7. Lisa Ramberg says:

    That looks fantastic! Can’t wait to give this a go.

  8. Sophie Gregory says:

    Hi Edd, what type of milk do you think works best for this recipe? Thank you x

  9. Christina says:

    This sounds fantastic. I’ve been wanting to make croissants but haven’t felt up to the process. Do you know of a good site for conversions?

  10. Andy says:

    These look wonderful! I’m curious to know how you figured that this method of cutting the butter into the flour — as if making shortcrust pastry dough — could also produce the airy layered structure typical of croissants? As I understand (and learned from a baking class), the structure comes from the many thin folded layers of dough and butter over one another…

    Given the little active time involved, I’m tempted to start a batch immediately!

  11. This is awesome! I will have to give this a go … soon!

  12. balletgirl345 says:

    Just tried out the recipe to make some croissants, and the pastry was… wow. It was just amazing. It had a really crunchy finish, and was beautifully golden when the croissants came out of the oven, and was extremely tasty! Did not have a ruler, so did things roughly for legnths and widths, but did not make a difference to my finish. Thanks so much for the reipce Edd! :-)

  13. zainab says:

    your delights makes one hooked you are so gifted thanks so much may your inspirations ever increase

  14. María E says:

    Mm mm look great yummy

  15. Jo Jo. says:

    Absolutely delicious with little effort! I added nutella in the middle and they were yummm!! Definitely making these again!

  16. geri stevens says:

    Could someone take pity on me and translate the weight and volumes given into Imperial measurements i.e. teaspoon, tablespoon, cups…thank you!!

  17. Edd, I think . . . I love you.

  18. Danielle says:

    Hi Ed
    I’d like to make the cronut recipe and just wondering if I can use fresh yeast instead of dry yeast for the dough? If so, how much? Thanks. I made the chorizo rolls and a vegetarian version with roasted sweet potato and basil pesto instead of the chorizo, both were yum thanks for the recipe

  19. Brooke says:

    My goodness you have created a recipe of puffy perfection.
    I have just finished trying my first croissant I made today. I made a batch of dough up and have it sitting in my fridge to bake tomorrow morning but I couldn’t wait so I cut off a small amount to bake just one tonight, wow. Light a fluffy with that sweet croissant taste, my partner is an avid plain croissant eater and loved it. The only problem I had was the confusion from your recipe, since it was my first attemp I had no idea what the dough was supposed to look like and the texture (it was so sticky I thought I had epically failed) having photos up would have help me understand and more of description. Photos of the process would have been great eg, the rough dough, the actual dough and the process of the folding (what it should look like rolled out and then folded). Either way the one I made tonight was simply wonderful so I’m excited for my ones I get to bake tomorrow for breakfast. Thank you I look forward to making many croissants and having a easy recipe that I can get creative with, for example I’m thinking salted carmalised bananas for sweet filling.

  20. Ann says:

    Hi Ed. Gosh was it 4 years since you won GBBO? Your recipe for these lovely looking croissants are book marked to try very soon. And if I manage them, then I will serve them at breakfast for my B&B guests, they already enjoy my homemade bread.
    Thank you for giving us this recipe.
    All the best

  21. Philip says:

    A truly excellent short-cut for laminated yeasted doughs. Impressive results. I made a second batch using a little preferment/poolish in the dough to give an even better flavour to an already very good tasting croissant. And chilling the proved croissants before baking for about 30 minutes gives even more of that wonderful flake.

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