Here is the best French croissant recipe by the French master pâtissier Cédric Grolet. In his French patisserie cookbook Opéra, Cédric Grolet, who was named the world’s best pastry chef in 2018, shares his accessible recipe for the French croissant. It’s the perfect croissant recipe for amateur home chefs or more experienced pâtissiers. For more recipes by French pastry chefs, see my article on the best French pastry books of all time.
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The croissant, this golden crescent filled with paper-thin layers of pastry, is deeply associated with French culture. But did you know this French viennoiserie is actually from Austria (Vienna)? Indeed, the croissant began as the Austrian kipfel and became French the moment people started making it with puffed pastry (“pâte feuilletée” in French) —which is a French innovation. If you order a kipfel in Austria or Germany today, you’ll likely be handed a crescent-shaped pastry.
How to Make Proper French Croissants
Croissants are named for their historical crescent shape and, like other French viennoiseries, are made of layered yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a thin sheet in a technique called laminating (“tourage” in French). The process results in a puff pastry. Here are a few tips below to make proper French croissants.
1. Opt for quality ingredients
As always, choosing quality ingredients is the key to making delicious croissants at home. And in this recipe, it’s the butter, the key ingredient, that makes French croissants taste so good. So make sure to choose a good quality French unsalted butter.
2. The beurre de tourage or “dry butter”
Beurre de tourage, also known as dry butter or “beurre pâtissier,” is a dry, unsalted butter with 84% butterfat, higher than regular unsalted butter with 82% butterfat. It’s a special butter, presented in thin sheets and used in France by pastry chefs when making a dough that requires turning or folding it with butter to create layers.
3. How to make beurre de tourage
If you cannot find beurre de tourage, you can make it at home. In this recipe, you’ll need 400g of butter that has 84% of butterfat —in France, there is the beurre Charentes-Poitou AOP, or beurre d’Isigny de Ste Mère— and form the butter into a butter block. Take a large piece of parchment paper, place the butter into the center, and fold the parchment around it to create a square. Flip this over, and use a rolling pin to pound it flat (about 1 cm thick) and into the shape of the square.
The French Croissant Recipe by Cédric Grolet
For the dough:
- 1 kg flour (T45 in France)
- 420 g water
- 50 g eggs
- 45 g fresh yeast
- 18 g salt
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 20 g honey
- 70 g butter
- 400 g beurre de tourage or dry butter (see notes above)
For the egg wash:
- 300 g egg yolks
- 30 g heavy whipping cream
Make the dough:
- In a mixing bowl with a dough hook, add in the flour, water, eggs, fresh yeast, salt, sugar, and honey.
- Set your mixer to a medium-slow speed and mix the ingredients until you have a homogeneous paste. Then, set your mixer on a higher speed and mix until the paste pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the "beurre pommade" (see notes) and knead until the dough comes together. Cover with a damp cloth, then let it rise at room temperature (24 to 25°C/75°to 77°F) for 1 hour.
- Flatten the dough to knock out the air, then roll it out into a large rectangle according to the width of the beurre de tourage and double its length. Place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place the beurre de tourage in the middle of the dough, fold the dough from each side up and over to cover the butter.
- Turn the edge of the visible butter to face you. Using a rolling pin, make a double fold: roll from bottom to top until you obtain a thickness of about 7 mm. Draw a small mark in the middle of the dough, fold the top and bottom into the middle, then fold the dough in half again like a wallet. Cover in plastic wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Finally, make a single fold: roll the dough to 1 cm thick, rolling from bottom to top to form a long rectangle. Fold the top over a third of the dough and then fold the bottom over the top. Immediately roll out the dough to a thickness of 3.5 mm to start cutting and forming the croissants.
Make the egg wash:
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream together.
Forming the croissants:
- Cut triangles of 7 cm wide by 35 cm high. Roll the triangles on themselves starting from the base to form the croissants. Let rise for 2 hours at 26°C/77°F.
Finishing and baking:
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
- Place the croissants on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and use a brush to apply a thin layer of egg wash to each croissant. Bake for 15 min.
- When nicely golden, remove the croissants and let them cool on a rack.
Et voilà! I hope you enjoyed this French croissant recipe. If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. Merci beaucoup and bon appétit!
Leonce is the founder and editor of Leonce Chenal, a lifestyle platform launched in 2018. Originally from France, Leonce offers a fresh perspective that comes from her experience at top tech companies in Paris and London. Having spent several years in Paris and now residing in Amsterdam, she combines her professional expertise with a personal passion for French and Parisian styles. Leonce is committed to guiding her readers through the intricacies of Parisian chic, empowering them to embrace the elegance and sophistication of French style.