Happy French February! Today I was inspired to make these homemade sourdough croissants. I hope you like them! It’s a funny story about why I decided to make them… BUT before I do so you should know that the sourdough flavor in these croissants depends on how sour your poolish has become! If the poolish isn’t sour, then you won’t have the full sourdough flavor (but they still will be better than normal croissants).
I went disc golfing a few days ago. (I’m a huge fan of the sport, and it’s one of the only sports where you play by tossing a pizza instead. Not that I think about that often… actually, that’s the first time I have thought about that. Who would ever disc golf with a pizza? Personally, I wouldn’t mind eating one while playing but with one… that is strange.) I made this mind-boggling throw uphill. To give you a brief description of the hole, the tee lies in the middle of a forest and the net a metal pole holds the net about 10 feet higher than my head. All told the hole is about 300 feet away and the net is about 50 feet higher than the tee off. The ground was flat for most of the way and then there is a sharp incline, a small flat area, and then some sort of round structure. In the middle of that round thing, the net stood, supported by a pole 10 feet in the air. I decided to practice my a new throw called a thumber (Warning: I’ve never actually seen this video, the link is there just in case you want to be bedazzled by my story). Anyway, I threw the thumber and it arced across the forest narrowly missing almost all the trees. Just before the sharp incline, the disc hit a tree and shot straight down. It bounced off a root and skidded up the incline, where it hit another root and jumped to the outside of the tall giant round thing. I ran over to the disc and then casually threw the disc hoping that somehow I would manage to get my disc into the net. And somehow, I did just that.
A few minutes later (after a few screams of joy and bragging about my insane ability to my friends who played with me), I decided I should celebrate. When I got back to my apartment I opened my pantry and BAM! That is when it hit me. What a better celebration than croissants! French February AND croissants?!?! What could be even better?
I opened my fridge thinking “how can I make this?” And I noticed that my poolish had grown over the ridges of my mason jar. Just then I had an idea. “What if, instead of making ordinary croissants, I made sourdough croissants?!?” A star was born in that moment. I, for one, have never had sourdough croissants before.
“Can you make sourdough croissants?” I asked myself, “Is it possible?”
Just then I responded to my question, “Well, not that long ago commercial yeast didn’t exist. So, if croissants existed more than a hundred or so years ago, then the answer to my question is a yes, sourdough croissants should exist.” After a few Google searches, I found out that commercial yeast is rather new, croissants have existed for a long time, and my first Google search of “sourdough croissants” told me, they do exist.
And so my search for sourdough croissants continued as I turned to the puff pastry. I did some reading on puff pastries from what I can tell there is only one main difference between a croissant and a puff pastry. And that is the yeast. Your standard puff pastry has no yeast – which means we can whip up a puff pastry in no time compared to a croissant!
With that my journey came to a close as I turned my puff pastry recipe into a sourdough puff pastry. And we have arrived at the steps which detail how to make excellent sourdough croissants.
Homemade Sourdough Croissants
Thanks for staying through all that! I know you’re itching as bad as I am (and was) to eat one of these. So let’s just move straight on to this recipe.
There are three steps to making these croissants: The dough, the puff pastry, and assembling the croissants. Each step has its own set of ingredients. So here we go!
- 80 milliliters (1/3 cup) water, cold
- 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) milk, whole
- 45 grams (3 tablespoons) of poolish (if you don’t have a poolish ready to use, here is my recipe)
- 390 grams (3 cups) flour
- 340 grams (24 tablespoons, 3 sticks) butter, cold
- 8 grams (1 tablespoon) flour
- 15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) milk, whole
I’m completely sorry that I forgot to take more pictures for this! I’ll have to come back and add some later. Some of the steps might be a little confusing, but I’ll try to describe it the best I can. If you do have any questions, comment below!
First, let’s begin by preparing the dough
First, we need to mix the poolish into the water and milk. This will disperse the yeast into the flour. If you don’t then you’ll have to knead the dough more later on. So whisk the poolish into the water and milk. Then add the flour (a little at a time) into the dough. Knead all the flour in, and the resulting dough will be thick, tacky, and a little tough. (Don’t worry though! It will turn out perfectly after it rises!) Roll the dough into a ball and cut an x into the top. (This helps the dough rise.) Then set the dough out on your counter (or in a warm place) until it doubles. Then place the dough in the fridge.(We had a snow storm last week and the temperature has been pretty low. So it took 24 hours for the dough to double. If this happens to you then don’t put the croissant dough in the fridge.)
Sourdough Puff Pastry
Ok, now we move on to the second phase of our sourdough croissants. If you did put your croissant dough in the refrigerator remove it and let it come back to room temperature. In the meantime, cut your butter into cubes and place them (and the flour) between two sheets of wax paper. Then, using a French-style rolling-pin, beat the butter until it flattens. Remove the top wax paper and turn the butter. Beat again. Repeat until the flour is incorporated and the butter is pliable. I have only seen puff pastry made this way and I was unsuccessful finding a video to describe it (maybe I didn’t look hard enough :/ ). This isn’t the only way, in case you don’t want to make the potential mess that hitting flour with a rolling pin might create check out these links. Delicious rolled the butter out instead of beating it. Aashpazi mixes the flour and butter like you would a shortcrust pastry. (You can try this if you want, but I don’t like this because puff pastry is temperamental. If the butter gets too warm – your hands are warm enough to melt the butter – then you lose the distinct layers that define a puff pastry.) Haha, ok I did find a video! Ebury Reads’ video entitled How To Make Puff Pastry with Richard Bertinet, author of Pastry will help you!
Once the butter is pliable, shape it into a square (11.5 square centimeters, about 4.5 square inches). Then place it in the fridge until it hardens, 10-20 minutes.
Using our room temperature dough ball, open the cuts and roll it out into a square (one side should be about 25 centimeters long, about 10 inches). Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square. Fold the corners of the dough so that they meet in the center. Seal the butter in by pressing the edges of the croissant dough together. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle that is roughly 1 centimeter thick (about ¼ inch). Be careful not to roll over the edges of the pastry dough!
Now you need to seal the butter inside the dough. There are two ways to do this. In pastry terminology, you can do a single turn or a double turn. Each has its own advantage. The Cordon Bleu has an excellent video which explains how to do a single turn. And here’s a video on the double turn. (In this last video, the chef describes folding the dough at the 75% rather than halfway. The other day I found a copy of The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg and he suggests folding at the halfway mark. I prefer this, but the chef in the double turn video does make an excellent point. I’ll have to try folding it that way in the future.) I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one. Whichever method you choose be sure that you fold, roll out the dough, and chill for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times. (As a summary, roll the dough out, fold it, then chill it for 20-30 minutes. Repeat this process between 3-5 times.) Before the last chilling step, roll the dough out into a large rectangle (about the size of a baking sheet). Then, refrigerate the sourdough croissants overnight. (If you are short on time, you can only refrigerate for 2-3 hours. But you will sacrifice some of the flavors.)
Here we are! The last phase of our sourdough croissants!!! Here we’ll shape the croissants and bake them!
There are three distinct phases: cut, shape, and bake.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out until the large rectangle is about 4 millimeters (⅛ inch) thick. Wait a few minutes to allow the gluten structure to relax. Using a pastry cutter, cut the dough into a bunch of small rectangles. Then cut down the diagonal of each triangle.
Place the palm of your hand on the widest section of the triangle. Gently lift and roll the triangle into a croissant. Place the croissants on a baking sheet with the smallest part of the dough triangle down. Cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise until they are 50% larger.
If you want to fill these sourdough croissants with chocolate, ham and cheese, jelly, or something else then add it before you roll up the triangles.
Turn on your oven to 230℃ (about 450℉). Once the oven has reached that temperature, apply a thin coating of milk to the top of each croissant. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the sourdough croissants for 10-15 minutes. Rotate the croissants and let them cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tops have browned.
And there you have it! Some awesome homemade sourdough croissants! I know you’ll love their flaky sourdough flavor as much as I do!
I know all of this is a LOT to digest, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let me know!