How to Make Classic Croissants, Step by Step
Once you've gone to the trouble your very own laminated dough, the hard work is done. After all that folding, rolling, and chilling, you're well on your way to making the flakiest, crispiest croissants you can find outside of Paris. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to transform laminated all-butter croissant dough into classic croissants.
Step 1: Roll Out Your Croissant Dough
Uncover the refrigerated All-Butter Croissant Dough, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour top of dough, and roll into a 24- x 12-inch rectangle, with one long side facing you.
Step 2: Cut Dough into Triangles
Use a pizza cutter to trim edges and create a 23- x 11-inch rectangle; discard scraps. Using a small knife and working from bottom left corner, mark bottom long side of the rectangle at 3 1/2-inch intervals. Starting from top left corner, make a mark 1 3/4 inches from corner on top long side; continue marking dough at 3 1/2-inch intervals.
Using a ruler as a guide, cut dough in a straight line from bottom left corner of dough rectangle up to 1 3/4-inch mark and back down to first 3 1/2-inch mark, creating a triangle. Continue cutting across dough to yield 12 triangles; discard scraps. Place triangles in a single layer on one parchment-lined baking sheet; cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 15 minutes.
Step 3: Stretch and Roll Each Triangle
Gently stretch 1 dough triangle lengthwise to form a 13-inch long triangle. Roll the base of the triangle toward the point, gently pressing point into dough to secure. Place croissant, point side down, on a second parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough triangles, placing croissants at least 2 inches apart on both baking sheets. Proceed with recipe, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours or overnight for deeper flavor.
Step 4: Brush with Egg, Proof, and Brush Again
Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl. Brush croissants lightly with egg mixture, using a paper towel to wipe away excess. Reserve remaining egg mixture in refrigerator. To proof croissants, add 2 cups hot water to a small bowl, and place in a cold oven. Place baking sheets with croissants, uncovered, in oven with hot water. Close door, and let proof until croissants double in size and jiggle when you shake the baking sheets, 2 to 3 hours. Remove croissants and water from oven; let croissants stand at room temperature 30 minutes, then gently brush one baking sheet of croissants with a second coat of egg mixture.
Step 5: Bake the Croissants Until Golden Brown
Place baking sheet on middle rack in preheated oven, and immediately decrease temperature to 375°F. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 22 to 28 minutes. Transfer croissants to a wire rack. Return oven temperature to 425°F. Repeat process with egg mixture and remaining croissants. Serve croissants warm, or let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Croissants are best eaten the day they are baked.)