Step-by-Step Homemade Sourdough Croissant Recipe

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

sourdough croissants in the sunshine

Let’s talk about Croissants. I have baked since I was young. I have always enjoyed it and love making things that present a little bit of a challenge. Croissants are something I have avoided for really no good reason other than the fact that they were intimidating. Turns out even though a little bit of a learning curve does exist with them, they are very doable and worth it. I hope this Step-by-Step Homemade Sourdough Croissant Recipe excites you and brings you baking success!

I wish I would have tried making croissants earlier in life…flaky layers of delicious pastry and butter layers that bring big flavor. Perfect on its own, drizzled with honey, spread with jam, or cut in half and used for a chicken salad sandwich or egg salad. Yum! There are so many ways to enjoy a Sourdough Croissant! I haven’t even mentioned Sourdough Pain Au Chocolat! Basically, you take this same recipe, shape them differently and add chocolate to them during the shaping process…so good! When are you going to make some homemade sourdough croissants?

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A little history behind the croissant:

Did you know that croissants are a Viennoiserie pasty? They date back to the Austrian city of Vienna. The French have since adopted the croissant and it is widely associated with French cuisine.

The name Croissant: Cresent, or moon shaped. Croissant is the French word for Cresent. Which notes the distinct shape of the traditional croissant.

The Homemade Sourdough Croissant Ingredients:

Active Sourdough Starter

This recipe for a sourdough croissant is fully leavened by natural wild yeasts found in a sourdough starter. You want your sourdough starter to be active with bubbles throughout and at least doubled before you start this recipe.

I use a 100% hydration starter for this recipe. Basically, meaning it is fed the same flour and water by WEIGHT.

Don’t have a starter yet?

Agnes would love to help you out. Check out Learning Sourdough with Agnes. To create an active starter.

Water

I like to use either a distilled or filtered water. The biggest thing is to make sure it is a non-chlorinated water as this can inhibit your starter from working fully.

Whole Milk

Milk adds a richness to the dough and also contributes to the hydration of this croissant dough. You want to use cold milk from the fridge in this recipe.

Bread Flour

I use a quality bread flour for this recipe. I like using Dakota Maid but also have heard good things about King Arthur Bread Flour.

Sea Salt

The recipe calls for sea salt and just a little.

Sugar

The sugar adds just a little sweetness and helps feed the wild yeast.

Unsalted Butter

A very important part of this recipe is the butter. The secret ingredient to the flaky layers. The butter is unsalted and used in both the dough and the butter block. What is a butter block?

This is what you layer in the dough to create all the flaky goodness of a croissant!

You want a higher quality butter at least 82%. The higher quality helps the butter to flatten better and incorporate into the layer or lamination of the croissant dough. The high-quality butter is worth the extra cost as it also contributes flavor to the croissant.

If you would like you can use an average quality butter in the dough. The most important place to use the higher fat butter is in the layers of butter and the butter block.

croissants sourdough on board

The Process of Making a Sourdough Croissant:

First you make dough, then the butter block. After the dough has fermented you take the butter and laminate it within the dough 3 times. Once the lamination process is complete you roll it out, cut, shape, proof, egg wash and bake!

The Process of Making a Sourdough Croissant in Pictures:

Croissant Making Tips for Success

  1. Make sure to have cold butter. Initially mine sits out for about 45 minutes. This makes it easier to roll out into the butter block. Just make sure you keep your butter cold so that it doesn’t absorb into your dough. Then you’ll lose those beautiful flaky layers.
  2. The dough can be a little sticky so make sure to use a little flour when rolling the dough. Don’t use it too much or it will affect the pastry in a negative way. You don’t want the outside to be caked with flour.
  3. When proofing most dough, the nice and warm the better but with croissants that isn’t the case. 69-71 degrees is about perfect to proof a croissant and an average humidity. If it is to warm the butter will melt and be absorbed into the dough layers.
  4. Try to keep your lines straight when cutting out the croissants. This will help you have consistent sizes. Using a ruler helps this!
  5. I’ve found the best way to cut the strips and diagonals is with the bench scraper. It gives you more control than a pizza cutter. Giving you straighter lines.
sourdough croissant cut in half like a rose inside

The Baker Timeline:

  • 10:00 AM Feed your sourdough starter.
  • 4-6 PM Mix up your sourdough croissant dough.
  • 8 PM Place dough in fridge overnight or 12-16 hours.
  • 8 AM Start lamination process.
  • 10 AM Finish Lamination and shape the croissants.
  • Proof for 4-6 hours depending on the temperature of the house.
  • 3ish PM Preheat the oven and bake the croissants.

Pin this for Later:

croissant pin image

Step by Step Homemade Sourdough Croissant Recipe

Dough Ingredients:

  • 100 g sourdough starter, active
  • 80 g water, distilled or filtered
  • 120 g whole milk
  • 35 g sugar
  • 45 g butter, unsalted & softened
  • 375 g bread flour
  • 7 g sea salt

Butter Block:

  • 120 g or 2 sticks of high-quality butter (82% butterfat)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T water

Directions for the Sourdough Croissant Dough:

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer measure out the starter, water, milk, and sugar using a gram scale. Mix this by hand, spoon or Danish dough hook until a slurry is formed.
  • Add in the softened butter and the flour and either by hand or the dough hook attachment mix the dough on low speed, until it is a shaggy consistency. At this point cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest or autolyse for 30 minutes.
  • Weigh out the salt and set aside. Once the dough has finished the autolyse, add the salt and knead by hand or with a dough hook for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough should have come together nicely.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before transferring it to the fridge for 12-16 hours or overnight.

The Butter Block:

  • The next morning about an hour before you plan to start the dough lamination. Take the 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge and let set at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  • Once the butter has slightly softened take 2 pieces of parchment paper, cut the butter sticks in half lengthwise and place them like a square on one lightly floured piece of parchment paper. (Refer to pictures.)
  • Next, take and lightly flour the top of the butter. This is to help keep the butter from sticking too badly to the parchment. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the butter.
  • Now you are ready to roll the butter out. You want the butter to be roughly around 6” x 12”. If you want it to be exact you can fold the edges of the parchment over to make a 6”x12” rectangle but this is not necessary.
  • Once the butter block is rolled out place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. You want the butter cool and hard.

Lamination Process:

  • Next take the cold dough out of the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out to roughly a 16”x24” rectangle.
  • Once the butter has chilled long enough, take one side of parchment paper off the butter and place butter side down on half of the dough. Next, slowly peel back the second piece of parchment paper from the butter.
  • Once the parchment paper is removed take fold the dough over the butter “sealing” it inside the dough. Roll the dough slightly with a rolling pin to help seal up the edges. Make sure none of the butter block is exposed on the edges.
  • Next, we will do the first fold out of three. Take the one side of the short end (18” side) and fold it up to a third. Take the opposite side and bring it down over the first fold. Roll the dough slightly to flatten the layers and place it on a small parchment lined baking sheet. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Next take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a work surface that is lightly floured. Roll the chilled dough out into a large rectangle and then repeat the fold as above. Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  • This is the third and final fold. Take it out of the fridge and repeat the above step. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Directions on How to Shape the Croissants into the Traditional Crescent Shape

  • Take the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 24”x10” rectangle. Move the dough frequently to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it seems like it needs it, you will want to add a little more flour to your work surface.
  • Using a bench scraper or pizza cutter trim the edges on the rectangle to square them up nicely. Try for straight lines. Then the long way, cut the dough into 4” strips. After they are cut go back and cut each strip in half on the diagonal. See picture.
  • After they are cut out, start on the large edge roll the croissants up and place on a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Continue with all the croissants. You may need more than one pan. Make sure to leave plenty of room for them to proof on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Depending on the temperature of your house let the croissants proof for 3-6 hours until puffy. They will jiggle a little when the baking sheet is lightly shaken.

Baking the Croissants

  • When they are proofed and puffy preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take a small bowl and whisk the egg and water together. Using a pastry brush lightly brush egg on your croissants. Try not to get too much egg on the layers. Then bake for 25 minutes until golden brown in preheated oven.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.
  • Croissants are best enjoyed the first day they are made.
  • Leftover croissants can also be stored at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. Simply reheat the leftovers the next day in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes. They can also be frozen and reheated as well.

Step-by-Step Homemade Sourdough Croissant Recipe

These Homemade Sourdough Croissants are full of buttery, flaky layers and golden outsides. Perfect pastry to make for a special occasion.
Print Recipe
sourdough croissants in a row

Ingredients

Dough Ingredients:

  • 100 g sourdough starter active
  • 80 g water distilled or filtered
  • 120 g whole milk
  • 35 g sugar
  • 45 g butter unsalted & softened
  • 375 g bread flour
  • 7 g sea salt

Butter Block:

  • 120 g or 2 sticks of high-quality butter 82% butterfat

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T water

Instructions

Directions for the Sourdough Croissant Dough:

  • In the large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer measure out the starter, water, milk, and sugar using a gram scale. Mix this by hand, spoon or Danish dough hook until a slurry is formed.
  • Add in the softened butter and the flour and either by hand or the dough hook attachment mix the dough on low speed, until it is a shaggy consistency. At this point cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest or autolyse for 30 minutes.
    shaggy dough ready to autolyse
  • Weigh out the salt and set aside. Once the dough has finished the autolyse, add the salt and knead by hand or with a dough hook for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough should have come together nicely.
    dough ready to add salt
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before transferring it to the fridge for 12-16 hours or overnight.

Directions for the Butter Block:

  • The next morning about an hour before you plan to start the dough lamination. Take the 2 sticks of butter out of the fridge and let set at room temperature for 45 minutes.
    butter sticks cut in half on parchment paper, lightly floured
  • Once the butter has slightly softened take 2 pieces of parchment paper, cut the butter sticks in half lengthwise and place them like a square on one lightly floured piece of parchment paper. (Refer to pictures.)
    Butter sticks ready to be rolled out
  • Next, take and lightly flour the top of the butter. This is to help keep the butter from sticking too badly to the parchment. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the butter.
  • Now you are ready to roll the butter out. You want the butter to be roughly around 6” x 12”. If you want it to be exact you can fold the edges of the parchment over to make a 6”x12” rectangle but this is not necessary.
    butter block ready for the fridge
  • Once the butter block is rolled out place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. You want the butter cool and hard.

Directions for the Lamination Process:

  • Next take the cold dough out of the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out to roughly a 16”x24” rectangle.
    rolled out dough ready for the butter block
  • Once the butter has chilled long enough, take one side of parchment paper off the butter and place butter side down on half of the dough. Next, slowly peel back the second piece of parchment paper from the butter.
  • Once the parchment paper is removed take fold the dough over the butter “sealing” it inside the dough. Roll the dough slightly with a rolling pin to help seal up the edges. Make sure none of the butter is exposed on the edges.
    dough folded over the butter block and sealed edges
  • Next, we will do the first fold out of three. Take the one side of the short end (18” side) and fold it up to a third. Take the opposite side and bring it down over the first fold. Roll the dough slightly to flatten the layers and place it on a small parchment lined baking sheet. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    first fold in the lamination process
  • Next take the laminated dough out of the fridge and place it on a work surface that is lightly floured. Roll the chilled dough out into a large rectangle and then repeat the fold as above. Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
    next portion folded up
  • This is the third and final fold. Take it out of the fridge and repeat the above step. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Directions on How to Shape the Croissants into the Traditional Cresent Shape:

  • Take the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 24”x10” rectangle. Move the dough frequently to make sure it isn’t sticking. If it seems like it needs it, you will want to add a little more flour to your work surface.
  • Using a bench scraper or pizza cutter trim the edges on the rectangle to square them up nicely. Try for straight lines. Then the long way, cut the dough into 4” strips. After they are cut go back and cut each strip in half on the diagonal. See picture.
    croissant cut at diagonal ready to shape
  • After they are cut out, start on the large edge roll the croissants up and place on a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Continue with all the croissants. You may need more than one pan. Make sure to leave plenty of room for them to proof on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Depending on the temperature of your house let the croissants proof for 3-6 hours until puffy. They will jiggle a little when the baking sheet is lightly shaken.
  • When they are proofed and puffy preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Take a small bowl and whisk the egg and water together. Using a pastry brush lightly brush egg on your croissants. Try not to get too much egg on the layers. Then bake for 25 minutes until golden brown in preheated oven.
    proofing croissants
  • Remove from the oven and immediately from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.
  • Croissants are best enjoyed the first day they are made.
    sourdough croissants in the sunshine

Notes

Makes 10-12 Croissants
Leftover croissants can also be stored at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. Simply reheat the leftovers the next day in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes. They can also be frozen and reheated as well.
Servings: 12 Croissants

These buttery sourdough croissants are flaky and oh so delicious: definitely a Fancy Farm Food. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I do! Perfect for breakfast or a snack with a cup of coffee or tea. Stay tuned for the chocolate croissants recipe also known as Pain Au Chocolat. Let me know below if you have any questions about the process or if you have a comment about the recipe. Thanks for stopping by TheFarmChicken!

Mariah | TheFarmChicken.com

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More Sourdough Pastries to try:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you use a lower quality butter in croissants? What would be the difference?

Honestly, the recommendation is to use high quality butter, but I have used a store brand butter with comparable results. It is true though that the higher quality butter is easier to work with and provides a better flavor.

Are croissants hard to make?

Yes and no. I feel like there is no straightforward answer to this question. I feel like if you have some baking experience then croissants are not hard and the better word to describe them is time consuming.

What do I look for in a great croissant?

Buttery flavor, a golden exterior that is also flaky. You want to cut open the croissant and there should be beautiful layers inside like a rose.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
one croissant sourdough
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