From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Crepes and Croissants
We wanted to create an approachable croissant recipe for home bakers—one that would deliver authentic flavor. The layered structure that characterizes croissants is formed through a process called lamination. First, a basic dough of flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, and a small amount of butter is made. Then a larger amount of butter is formed into a block and encased in the relatively lean dough. This dough and butter package is rolled out and folded multiple times (each is called a “turn”) to form paper-thin layers of dough separated by even thinner layers of butter. Once baked, it’s these layers that make croissants so flaky and decadent. To start, we found that more turns didn’t necessarily produce more layers—we stopped at three turns, as any more produced a homogeneous bready texture. As for the star ingredient, butter, we found that great croissants demanded higher-fat European-style butter. And one essential tip we discovered during our recipe development was to give the dough a 30-minute super-chill in the freezer to firm it to the consistency of the butter, thus ensuring perfectly distinct layers.
Makes 22 croissants
Twelve croissants are baked first; the remaining 10 can be frozen. The croissants take at least 10 hours to make from start to finish, but the process can be spread over two days. We strongly encourage using high-protein all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur, and European-style butter (we like Plugrá). If the dough retracts or softens at any point, fold it into thirds, wrap it in plastic, and freeze it for 15 minutes. Do not make these in a room that is warmer than 80 degrees.