Croissants, the Quick-er, Easy-er Way

The Julia Childs croissant recipe takes 24 hours.  I don't want to brag here, but my new croissant recipe only takes six!  Croissants aren't easy, but I've taken the tricky bits out.  These crescent rolls are even better than if you took an extra18 hours to make them.

The traditional method of making croissants calls for a laborious task called "laminating" that takes up lots of time and labor.  This recipe uses a technique typically seen in other types of pastries and biscuits - cutting in the butter.  This is much faster than laminating and doesn't take much in the way of technique.  So never fear, you do not need to get a degree from the Cordon Bleu to make these tasty pastries!

Croissant Recipe, Quicker and Easier

Mix time:10 minutes
Chill time: 60 minutes
Rolling/shaping time: 30 minutes
Rise time: 3-4 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-12 croissants

In a food processor, or in a medium mixing bowl, blend together:

12g (2 TBSP) Ground psyllium husk (note: this is more than typical)
1/2 tsp Yeast
12g (1 TBSP) Sugar
1/4 tsp (2g) Salt

Cut into pic4-5 pieces and put into the blender:

140g (5 oz) very cold European-style cultured butter

Pulse the butter into the flour (or cut it in with two knives) until the biggest pieces are about 1/2 inch across.  Add all at once:

225g (Scant 1 Cup) Ice-cold water
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Pulse or stir the dough just until it seems evenly wet all over.  Do not over-blend or knead, as this will break the butter up too much.  The dough will be extremely sticky and wet.  Don't worry - it will firm up.  If using a food processor, carefully remove the dough onto plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.  Wrap and refrigerate.  If you mixed by hand simply cover the bowl.  Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Note: I use water in this recipe because it works better with the psyllium husk binder, which doesn't absorb milk well.  Traditionally croissants have milk and cream but the extra fats don't work as well in this gf recipe.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator after it has chilled and make a patty of it on a piece of floured parchment paper or wax paper (I use white rice flour for dusting).  The dough will have three turns or folds - two letter folds and a book fold.  Hopefully you will be able to do all of these at one go, but if the butter looks shiny or melted at any point just pop it back in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill it.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about twice as long as it is wide.  Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush.  The dough will have butter chunks in it like this:

A letter fold is folded like a business letter.  Fold the dough in a tri-fold.

Roll the dough out again and do a second letter fold.  Roll it out again and do a book fold.

A book fold is a double fold, also called a wallet fold.  Cut the rough edges off both ends.  You fold the sides in toward the center, leaving a gap between.  Then you fold the two sides together like a wallet.

This gives you a very neat final packet.  Turn the dough so you are rolling it out toward the open ends.  Roll out one more time until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.  Go even thinner if you can.  Try to keep the dough in as neat a rectangle as possible while rolling out.

Cut the ends off for cleaner edges.  You can use the scraps to make little roses by spiralling them up.  Cut the dough into long rectangles, then long triangles.  Notch the wide end of the triangles and fold the dough outward at the center, then roll the triangles into crescent rolls, tucking the tail under.

Note: If you are pulling the rolled dough straight out of the fridge after storing it for a while, it may be too stiff to shape at first.  Let it warm up to room temp before shaping.

Place these onto a baking sheet and spritz with some water to keep them from drying out.  Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and let rise.  Since the dough is fresh out of the fridge, they take a really long time to rise, usually 3-4 hours at room temp.  If you can make a proofing area that's warmer than room temperature it will speed things up, but don't let the dough get warmer than 85 degrees or the butter could melt.

When the rolls look puffy all over they are ready to cook.  The outside rises faster than the inside, so make sure the middle layer of the crescents is just as puffy as the outer layer before cooking, or the inside won't cook right.  Whisk together:

1 egg white
1 Tbsp water

Brush each roll liberally with the egg mixture.  Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes, or until the croissants are deep golden brown.  Croissants are best when cooled before eating, but they are also best within the first few hours after baking.

Enjoy some gluten-free croissants!


Eric Cerda said…
I made this recipe exactly as described and the croissants came out fantastic! Light, airy, tasty! The external crust has that nice shatter on contact with the teeth, and then some great chew in the airy, layered interior. This is the first successful croissant I have been able to make, thank you!! I think next time I will let my dough ferment in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours to get a bit more yeasty complex taste, but otherwise, great recipe!
Gina said…
Eric - I'm so glad that the croissants came out well for you! I've been making this recipe non-stop since I figured it out. I can't get enough gluten-free croissants!
Pascale said…
The kids are so happy about their pains au chocolat! My son like them better than the real one - and he is half French :) I think he is too kind but they did remind me of the pains of chocolat of my youth. I left them a little too long in the oven - so where a bit to hard - next time I will try the traditional laminating technique! and be more mindful of the oven time.
Still I have a question: since the butter is already mixed with the dough, why do we still need to go through a semi-lamination steps? Why not directly shape the croissant et voila! I understand why you laminate in the traditional technique, not for the shortcut.

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