This is the perfect recipe for summertime. A quick, easy and deliciously fluffy croissant bread loaf that’s sure to become a family favorite!
The “croissant recipe” is a French pastry that is made by folding a yeast dough over itself and then placing it in a loaf pan. The dough is brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sugar before baking.
It takes time, skill, and patience to produce flaky, buttery croissant bread, but it’s a tremendously satisfying baking activity that will make your home smell like a French boulangerie. (And what smells better than freshly baked bread?) I understand that preparing handmade pastry might be scary, but in the instruction below, I lay down the process for you step by step. This is something that any home baker, including me and you, can do.
What is the meaning of croissant bread?
Croissant bread is just that: croissant dough cooked into bread. This recipe was inspired by this Food52 croissant loaf, but I used a scaled-down version of my own handmade croissant dough to make just one loaf. Though I can’t guarantee how long your loaf will survive… in my home, it doesn’t last long! Another change in my croissant bread recipe is that instead of cutting strips and rolling them separately, we’ll roll up the dough first and then cut it into rolls.
The end product is a loaf version of everyone’s favorite yeasted pastry that smells and tastes like a croissant but slices like bread. Try it as a grilled cheese sandwich, a BLT, toasted with jelly, or in your favorite strata or French toast casserole dish!
Details about Croissant Bread
- This croissant bread has a melt-in-your-mouth soft and supple texture with a crispy, flaky exterior. It’s not quite as stacked and crust-shattery (technical terminology) as croissants since it’s cooked in a loaf pan, but it’s still light and fluffy.
- Flavor: Delightfully buttery and somewhat sweet—I’m not sure you’ll be able to keep your eyes open when you taste this!
- Creating croissant bread is simpler than making individual croissants, which is fantastic news. It doesn’t need any special ingredients, but it does necessitate three 20-minute chilling cycles and two rises. As a result, I consider this a more complex baking recipe. But I’ll be with you every step of the way. This is a recipe that you can totally cook!
- Time: This recipe should take just under 6 hours, plus some chilling time, which is far less time than my individual croissants, which took 12+ hours. Most steps have a break in between them, so the majority of the time is spent with your hands off. The croissant dough has to sit in the refrigerator often to generate all those flaky pastry layers. It enjoys taking naps, if you will.
There are just 7 ingredients in all.
The croissant bread dough is made with just six basic ingredients: wheat, butter, salt, yeast, milk, and sugar. The seventh ingredient is an egg, which is used to produce an egg wash that is brushed over the top of the loaf to give it that glossy golden shine similar to pie crust and stromboli.
What is Laminated Dough, and how does it work?
Laminating dough is accomplished by repeatedly folding butter into dough, resulting in several alternating layers of butter and dough. (This is similar to how we create biscuits and rough puff pastry, albeit the dough now contains yeast.) The butter melts and generates steam while the laminated dough bakes. The steam separates the layers, resulting in a plethora of flaky, airy, buttery layers.
To form a butter block, we combine butter and flour in my normal croissants and chocolate croissants recipes. We’re putting slices of butter along the dough in today’s croissant bread recipe, so there’s no need for a compact butter block.
4 Laminating Tips for This Dough
- It’s OK if the dough has air bubbles; your rolling pin will burst them.
- If the dough rips and the butter becomes visible, just dust the exposed butter with flour.
- If rolling the dough is proving difficult, try turning it over. If rolling is still difficult, cover and set aside for 5 minutes before attempting again to allow the gluten to relax.
- There are three 20-minute refrigeration rounds. These durations should not be extended since the yeasted dough will puff up too much. Here, the timer is your best buddy!
Video & Photos: How to Make Croissant Bread
The whole printable recipe is below, but since this dish has a lot of stages, I’m going to guide you through them using images. I’m not included photographs of the dough preparation since the video lesson shows how it’s done.
Here’s what the dough looks like after the first rise and after you punch it down:
The dough must now be flattened and prepared for Lamination. Using lightly greased hands, gently stretch the dough into a 1014-inch (25x35cm) rectangle. I suggest flattening it directly onto a nonstick surface so you can pick it up without losing its form. Refrigerate for 20 minutes the flattened dough:
The dough is approximately as flexible as butter after 20 minutes in the refrigerator. As shown, run the butter along the middle third of the dough:
Fold one side of the butter over for the first Lamination:
Fold the other side over, as if it were a business letter:
Rotate the dough to face you with the long edge facing you:
Make a 9×12-inch (23×30-cm) rectangle out of the dough. You can see where the butter is hidden:
Fold the paper in half like a business letter, cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes:
2nd & 3rd Lamination: After refrigerating, repeat Lamination process above 2x with no dough chilling between each—rotate dough, roll out, fold like business letter, rotate dough, roll out, fold like a business letter. And then chill 1 last time for 20 minutes.
Final Lamination: After the final refrigeration, Lamination should be repeated one more time. Then, for the last time, roll out the dough into a 912-inch (23x30cm) rectangle:
Starting at the shorter end, wrap it up like a jelly roll cake or cinnamon rolls dough:
Cut the dough into 5 thick rolls. Take a look at all of the layers!
Fill a greased loaf pan halfway with dough, cover, and let rise until puffy. Then, before baking, brush with egg wash:
There are no two loaves alike.
Keep in mind that your loaf may resemble these photos exactly or may differ slightly. Despite using the identical recipe and guidelines, some of my test loaves seemed to be more airy, flaky, or layered than others. These photos demonstrate the diversity. So, if yours looks different, don’t be discouraged… just wait until you try it!
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This step-by-step method may be used by bakers of any skill level to create a wonderfully flaky and golden brown loaf of handmade croissant bread. There are three 20-minute refrigeration rounds. The dough will begin to over-expand if the Lamination procedures are broken up or the chilling durations are extended.
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) active dry yeast (instant or active) (1 standard packet, see Notes)
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar (38 g)
- 1 and a quarter teaspoon of salt
- 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted or salted butter, melted and sliced into 3 equal pieces
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed and for Lamination
- 3/4 cup salted butter, gently softened (1.5 sticks; 170g) (see Notes)
- 1 big egg, room temperature or cold
- 1 tblsp (15 ml) of water
- Before you begin, watch the video lesson and refer to the step-by-step images. Before you begin, read the recipe directions and notes. Set aside a half baking sheet in the refrigerator for steps 6–9.
- Prepare the dough: In the bowl of your stand mixer equipped with a dough hook attachment, whisk together the warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a large nonstick mixing basin. Cover and let aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy on top. If you don’t have a mixer, you may do this in a big mixing basin and then combine the dough using a large wooden spoon/rubber spatula in the following step. A hand mixer will work, but the sticky dough will get trapped in the beaters over and again. It’s preferable to mix by hand using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Combine the salt, butter, and 2 cups (250g) flour in a mixing bowl. To help the mixture integrate, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, pausing and scraping down the bowl as required. It’s OK if there are still butter bits. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the edges of the bowl, scraping down the bowl as required. The dough will be quite soft, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add 2–3 tablespoons extra flour. Make sure you don’t use more flour than you need.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat on low speed for 3 minutes further, or knead by hand for 3 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
- 1st rise: Lightly grease or coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl and flip it to coat it with oil on both sides. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel may be used to cover the bowl. Allow the dough to rise for 1.5–2 hours in a warm place, or until about doubled in size. (See my response to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide for a little decrease in rise time.)
- Flatten the dough by punching it down to remove the air. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with silicone baking mats, parchment paper, or lightly floured baking sheet. (I strongly suggest using a silicone baking mat since you can roll out the dough right on top and it won’t slide all over the counter in the next stages.) Flatten the dough into a 1014-inch (25×35-cm) rectangle using lightly greased hands, stretching but without tearing the dough. Allow the covered dough to rest and chill for 20 minutes after lightly covering and placing the whole baking sheet in the refrigerator. This period should not be extended.
- Meanwhile, prepare for Lamination: Cut the salted butter into 1/4-inch thick slices and, as explained in the recipe note below, make sure the butter is not overly soft. It’s important to note the following 4 tips before you begin laminating in steps 8, 9, & 10: (1) It’s OK if there are air bubbles in the dough because your rolling pin will pop them. (2) If the dough rips and the butter becomes visible, just dust the exposed butter with flour. (3) If rolling the dough is proving difficult, try turning it over. If rolling is still difficult, cover and set aside for 5 minutes before attempting again to allow the gluten to relax. And (4) Do not extend the refrigeration times, because the folded dough will begin to over-expand.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet. Because the silicone baking surface is nonstick, I prefer to keep the dough on it as I’m rolling it. Line butter along the middle of the dough, covering the center third of the dough, working with the longer (14-inch) edge in front of you. Fold one dough edge over the butter, then fold the other edge over that (like folding a business letter). Pinch/seal the two short ends together to contain the butter. Rotate the dough so that the long edge is in front of you horizontally. Lightly dust the top of the folded dough and roll out to a 912-inch (23x30cm) rectangle using a lightly floured rolling pin. Fold the dough’s top edges over like a business letter. Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes after covering it and placing it back on the baking pan. This period should not be extended.
- 2nd & 3rd Laminations: Remove dough from the refrigerator and set baking sheet aside. Rotate dough so the long edge is horizontally in front of you. Lightly flour the top of the folded dough and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out to a 9×12-inch rectangle. Fold dough edges over on top like folding a business letter. Rotate dough horizontally and repeat rolling out to 9×12 inches and folding like a business letter. Cover dough, place back on baking sheet, and refrigerate 20 minutes. Do not extend this time.
- Final Lamination & shaping: Remove dough from the refrigerator and set baking sheet aside. Rotate dough so the long edge is horizontally in front of you. Lightly flour the top of the folded dough and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out to a 9×12-inch rectangle. Fold dough edges over on top like folding a business letter. For the last time, rotate horizontally and roll out to 9×12 inches. Working from a 9-inch side, roll dough up like you would roll up a jelly roll cake or cinnamon rolls. Place 9-inch log on a cutting board and cut into 5 even rolls (just eyeball it, they don’t need to be perfectly even).
- Second rise: Grease a 9-inch (23-by-13-centimeter) loaf pan. Place the rolls in the loaf pan, seam side down. Allow 45–60 minutes for the dough to rise until somewhat puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
- Combine all of the ingredients for the egg wash in a mixing bowl. Brush egg wash generously over the raised rolls/loaf. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown on top, lightly tenting with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent the top from browning too quickly and preventing the middle from cooking. The bread is done when an instant-read thermometer reaches 195°F (90°C) in the middle of the loaf for an accurate test of doneness. (As the bread cools, keep in mind that it will continue to cook for a few minutes.)
- Remove the loaf pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. In the loaf pan, cool for 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and cool for at least 15 minutes further immediately on a wire rack before slicing and serving by running a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the bread. (Warm bread tends to come apart when cut.) As the bread cools, it may deflate somewhat.
- Storing & freezing baked bread: Cover and store leftover croissant bread covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months and then thaw on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up to your liking.
- Instructions for Overnight Dough: After step 10, securely cover the formed rolls in the loaf pan and refrigerate for up to 15 hours. Remove the bread from the refrigerator at least 3 hours before you need it the next day, cover it, and let it rise on the counter for 1–2 hours before baking. Alternatively, you may refrigerate the dough for its first rise (step 5) overnight. Refrigerate the dough for up to 12 hours after covering it tightly. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rise for another 2 hours. Step 6 is the next step.
- Instructions for Freezing Dough: The optimum time to freeze and defrost this dough is after step 10. (Freezing and thawing before lamination makes it harder.) After step ten, cover and freeze the molded dough loaf for up to three months. Thaw the bread in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before using it, then take it from the fridge, cover it, and let it rise on the counter for 1–2 hours before baking.
- Whole milk is best, although low-fat or non-dairy milk may be used. Nonfat milk should be avoided.
- In this recipe, you may use active dry yeast or quick yeast. Follow the same steps as before. The rise times are *slightly* longer when using active dry yeast, but not by much. Answers to frequent yeast questions may be found in my Baking with Yeast Guide.
- You may use unsalted or salted butter in the dough, however salted butter must be used in the lamination phase. It’s acceptable if the butter in the dough is softened to room temperature, even if it’s too softened. The butter for the lamination, on the other hand, requires your care. It’s critical that your laminating butter isn’t too cold or hard, nor too greasy or soft, since it has to be approximately as flexible as the dough to absorb into it. I sometimes check the temperature of my butter and dough for the lamination process with a kitchen thermometer, and it’s great if they both read *around* 60°F (15°C). The butter and dough laminate more readily when they are around the same temperature.
- Is it possible to halve or double this recipe? No. Make sure you follow the dough recipe to the letter. If 1 loaf isn’t enough, save any leftovers in the freezer. Make the dough twice if you want two loaves.
- Is it possible to add a filling? I experimented with jam and cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon). The cinnamon sugar was the only one that worked somewhat well. Anything wet, like as jam, will add too much moisture to the loaf, causing the bottom to burn. Plus, you need a lot of it to get a good flavor, which makes rolling the dough a little messy and tough. You may certainly add anything dry to the mix, such as cinnamon sugar, chopped almonds, or even chocolate chips! Before forming the dough into a log in step 10, spread a thin coating on it.
Croissant Bread is a term that is used to describe a kind of bread that is
A croissant bread loaf is a delicious, sweet breakfast that can be made in no time. This recipe and video will show you how to make this delicious creation. Reference: croissant bread slices.
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