Do you feel too intimidated to try and make homemade croissants? Let me say, they are time-consuming to make but well worth any effort you put into them. That flaky goodness is everything! You really need to give this Whole Wheat Croissant Recipe a try!
What Makes This Recipe Work?
Laminated dough (creating layers of dough with fat in between) can feel tricky, but I promise it is not nearly as hard as you might think. This croissant recipe is totally doable by the home baker.
The nutty flavor and texture of the whole wheat add a whole new element to the croissants. I love an all-white croissant but really love the whole wheat addition.
Fresh croissants are so good on so many levels. They are flaky, buttery, light, and delicious. I love to eat them on their own, but they are really delicious as sandwiches or spread with your favorite preserves.
- Whole wheat flour- I used a white wheat flour for this recipe. This isn't the only flour you can use though, red winter wheat, rye, or even kamut will work well.
- All purpose flour- Some day I will make a 100% whole wheat recipe, but for now I used a blend of wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
- Warm milk- You will need this at about 100 degrees, or just warm to the touch. I used whole milk, but certainly 1-2% will work as well. I cannot vouch for plant-based milk as I have not tried them yet.
- Active dry yeast- Make sure and check the expiration date on the yeast to ensure it is still good.
- Honey- You can use any other sweetner you like, but I went with honey.
- Salt- Salt is really important in any baking good, but especially in croissants. It adds flavor but also keeps the yeast in check.
- Butter- European butter is always suggested in laminated dough and I could not agree more. I used Kerrygold for mine, it is a great butter with higher fat content.
- Egg- this will be used in the egg wash for the top. The egg wash gives them that beautiful deep golden brown color.
Croissant Making- The Basics
Let's go over a few steps before we get started. Hopefully, a quick overview will keep the croissant making from feeling overwhelming.
- Mix your dough. You don't need to mix it for long, as the gluten will develop through the folding steps. Cover and chill the dough.
- Pound out chilled butter into rectangle.
- Roll your chilled dough into rectangle. Put the butter in the center and fold dough over the butter.
- Roll into a rectangle again, then trifold the dough.
- Chill the dough, and repeat this trifold process 3-4 more times. Chilling between each fold.
- Chill dough for several hours after the last fold.
- Roll the dough, cut, and form.
- Let the croissants rise.
- Brush with egg wash and bake.
- Now that you have an overview, let's get down to the details. I want to give you all the steps you will need to make successful croissants the first time!
- Start by activating your yeast. Do this by adding it to the warm milk and honey. Mix it in gently then let it sit for about 5 minutes. You will notice the yeast will start to foam just a bit.
- Add in the flours and salt to this mixture. Then mix it together for about 1-2 minutes on medium speed.
- Place in a greased bowl, cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge to chill overnight.
- The next day, take out your chilled butter. Place it between 2 pieces of saran wrap or parchment paper. Pound it out, then roll it out to a rectangle that is about 4x6 inches.
- Put it in the fridge, you ALWAYS want the butter to stay chilled until you are ready to bake.
- Now, remove your chilled dough and roll it out to about 10x14 inches. Place your butter rectangle in the center of this as shown in the photo below.
- Fold the top over the butter, then the bottom over this. Creating a tri-fold. Roll this out lengthwise creating a rectangle that is about 8x20 inches.
- Again, we will do the tri-fold. You will wind up with an 8x6-inch rectangle.
- Wrap this in saran wrap and place it in the fridge. Let this chill for at least an hour.
- Remove it and roll again to an 8x20 inch rectangle. Then repeat the tri-fold method.
- Cover with saran wrap. Then repeat the process 3 more times. Chill, roll, fold, chill...etc.
- Once you have finished with the lamination folds, wrap the dough again. This time chilling for at least 4-6 hours. I prefer to chill overnight.
- On the day of baking, roll the dough out to a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Then cut the dough into rectangles. Mine was about 3x6 inches. Then cut each rectangle diagonally to form triangles.
- Roll the triangles from the widest end to the narrow end, forming your croissants.
- Place them on a baking sheet, I like to line it with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Make sure to leave a few inches between them as they will rise. I baked 8 per baking sheet.
- Cover them lightly and let them rise at room temp for about 1 ½ hours. At the end of the proofing time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Make your egg wash and brush the croissants with it. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
- The 400-degree temperature gives them a good "oven spring" and the 375 degrees will make sure they are baked on the inside as well.
- They should be a deep golden brown when they are finished.
I would say one of the most important things to note about making croissants is to keep the dough and butter chilled until baking time. This what will give you those distinctive layers you are looking for?
I used white wheat in this recipe, but there are so many great wheat flours to try. Rye is also really good in croissants, as is kamut and red wheat.
European butter is expensive, if that is not in your budget, use whatever butter you can find to use. European butter typically is higher in butterfat, which makes for the best croissants.
I know you might feel like the croissants are baking a little dark, don't stress, this is the way they should be.
If you are not familiar with whole wheat baking, I would start with white whole wheat flour if I was you. It has a mild wheat flavor and is really easy to work with. Rye and Kamut will also work well.
There are a few things that could contribute to this. First, maybe there weren't enough turns when you were making the dough. Or maybe the butter melted out before baking or became too warm. If you follow the instructions, you will have no problems.
European butter is always recommended as it has higher butterfat.
Whole Wheat Croissant Recipe
- 1 stand mixer
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 2 baking sheet
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour I used spelt flour, but you can use any high protein whole wheat flour.
- 1 ⅓ cup warm milk about 100 degrees.
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 ounces chilled unsalted butter European butter is better here as it is a higher fat butter. I used Kerry gold.
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Make sure and read all the instructions through before starting! This recipe isn't necessarily hard, but it is a little tedious.
- Start by mixing your warm milk, yeast, and honey together. Let the yeast activate. This will take 5-10 minutes and the yeast will start to foam slightly.
- Add in the flour and salt, then mix on medium speed until the dough comes together. Mine took about 3 minutes to form the dough. The dough will be a little stiff, don't stress. Once the butter is laminated in, it will be perfect.
- Remove the dough, add it to a greased bowl. Then cover the bowl and set it in the fridge for about 6-8 hours. You can also let this go overnight, which I did.
- While the dough is chilling, take your butter between pieces of saran wrap. Flatten it slightly into a 4x6-inch rectangle. Place this in the fridge to keep it chilled until you are ready to use it. The butter has got to stay chilled until the croissants are baked.
- When the dough is chilled properly and the butter is too, it is time to start the work.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into a 10x14 inch rectangle. Place your butter in the center, then fold over the top of the dough. Then fold the bottom over the top. I pinch the edges gently to close.
- Roll this to about 8x20 inches. After it is rolled, fold in thirds again. The dough will be warming up, which you don't want, so wrap it in saran wrap and get it in the fridge.
- Let this chill for at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Remove and repeat the rolling process 3 more times. Be sure to chill each time you roll.
- When it has been rolled the last time, move the dough back to the fridge to chill again. I like to chill for at least 12 hours. Now it is time to shape. Roll the dough out into a rectangle. The dough should be pretty thin, about ¼ of an inch.
- Cut the dough into rectangles, then cut in half to make the triangles. Starting at the wide end, roll to the thin end.
- Place them on a baking sheet several inches apart as they will rise during baking.
- Let them rise at room temp for about an hour and a half. While they are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Also, make your egg wash by mixing the egg and milk together. Once the oven is preheated and the croissants have risen, brush gently with the egg wash.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes. They should be a beautiful golden brown.
- Remove them from the oven. They are delicious eaten warm or cool. I promise you will love them either way!