Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)

Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
This yeast-based flaky dough (or croissant dough) is where puff pastry meets a yeast dough (such as brioche dough). This means that not only will we get flaky layers, but the dough will also swell and rise.

The method is along the same lines as for a feuilletage: the basic dough is first kneaded, then layered with butter and folded over several times (in "turns") to give it its flakiness.

This is a highly technical dough and quite tricky to make well at home by hand, with a rolling pin. But don't despair, this version is adapted for home baking and you'll find all the tips and tricks you need to succeed.
137K 4 35 3.8
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Last modified on: June 9th 2019

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For 1 kg 400 g, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 700 g 1 kg 400 g 2 kg 800 g 4 kg 200 g
How long does it take?
Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingStart to finish
58 min.3 hours3 hours 58 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 2 hours
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Put into a jug: 110 ml water, 100 ml whole milk and 50 g egg. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least 2 hours.

We need to do this (as for all viennoiserie doughs) because we need to work with very cold ingredients.

Stage 2 - 5 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)

Basic dough

Pour the water+milk+egg mixture (really cold) into a mixer bowl, then add 50 g egg, 9 g fine (or table) salt, 70 g caster sugar, 25 g yeast, 10 g honey, 30 g butter, 100 g fermented viennoiserie dough and 50 g leaven.

Stage 3 - 20 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Knead on slow speed for 8 minutes, then on slightly higher speed for 10 minutes.

Note: For the best way to knead, see: A few tips for effective kneading at home.

Stage 4
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
You should now have a supple, firm dough.

Stage 5 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
To be sure the dough is well-enough kneaded, do the window-pane test. If it isn't ready, knead for a little longer.

Stage 6 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Tip out the dough onto a floured worktop.

Stage 7 - 1 min.
Shape the dough into a long roll, as shown in this short video.

Stage 8 - 15 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Cover the dough with plastic sheet and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Stage 9 - 45 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
After this time, roll out the dough with a rolling pin into a large rectangle, the same size as your oven shelf, and lay it on this.

Lay a plastic sheet on top and put the lot into the freezer for 45 minutes to thoroughly cool the dough.

Stage 10 - 5 min.
Meanwhile, prepare the 300 g butter: wrap it in plastic sheet and hit with a rolling pin until it is the same height as the rectangle of dough, but only half as wide.

Stage 11
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Once you have the right sized rectangle, put the butter to wait in the fridge.

Stage 12 - 3 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)

Layering with butter

Check that the dough and butter are at about the same temperature, i.e. very cold (this is most important). Lay the dough on the worktop.

Take the rectangle of butter out of its plastic wrapping and lay on the dough. If you have measured correctly, the butter should cover half the width of the dough and its full height.

Stage 13 - 2 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Fold the sides of the dough over the butter. The edges should meet in the centre to completely cover the butter.

Stage 14 - 2 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
With the rolling pin press over the whole surface to spread out the butter on the inside.

It doesn't matter if a little butter squashes out at the ends.

Stage 15
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
So, at this stage we have one layer of butter sandwiched between 2 layers of dough, as in this diagram (yellow = butter, brown = dough).

Stage 16 - 7 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Roll out the dough lengthways to about 24 inches (60 cm).

I admit this is hard work; it takes a lot of energy to roll out a firm dough.

Stage 17 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)

The double turn

Fold the dough ends in, but not into the centre...

Stage 18
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
...make the join at about 2/3.

The red line shows the dough's centre line and the green arrow indicates where the two ends of the dough are folded in to meet. The ends meet at the 2/3 point rather than halfway because the next step involves folding the dough in half and this would place the 2 joins one on top of the other, which would make poor flakes.

Stage 19 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Then fold the dough in half.

Stage 20
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
You have now made a double turn or "wallet turn".

Stage 21
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
By this stage, we now have 4 layers of butter between 8 layers of pastry (as in this diagram (yellow = butter, brown = dough).

Stage 22 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
With a very sharp kitchen or craft knife, slit through the fold of dough on one side...

Stage 23
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
...then the other.

This is so that the flakes can develop fully with no round edge, just uninterrupted layers of dough and butter.

Stage 24 - 5 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Give the dough a quarter turn, then roll out lengthways again to about 24 inches (60 cm).

Stage 25
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
It doesn't matter if the butter is showing a little around the edges - quite the contrary: this shows the butter is well distributed through the layers of dough.

Stage 26 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)

The single turn

Fold one third of the dough in towards the centre...

Stage 27 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
...and fold the remaining third over the top.

This is a "simple turn".

Stage 28 - 1 min.
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Split the side folds one last time.

Stage 29
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
It might be hard to see now, but this double turn and single turn has given you a yeast-based flaky dough made up of 13 layers of dough enclosing 12 layers of butter. When baked, this will create a superb flaky "feuilletage".

Stage 30
Yeast-based flaky dough (for croissants)
Your yeast-based flaky dough is now ready. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 2 hours before using, or freeze for later.
When making any viennoiseiries, but especially this yeast-based flaky dough, cold is your friend. This is because the recipe uses a lot of butter. If you are having trouble with the folding and turning because the dough is going soft, pause and put the dough in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes (or longer). Do this as often as necessary.

Ideally, the butter to use for this kind of flaky dough is the special "beurre de tourage" the professionals use, which can be hard to find. But don't worry, normal butter works quite well.
Should be used the same day or frozen.
Based on a recipe by Sébastien Ropers of the Penn-ar-bread bakery, a true master baker.
Nutritional information
Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
5,155 Kcal or 21,583 Kj81 gr526 gr310 gr
258 %31 %50 %47 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
395 Kcal or 1,654 Kj6 gr40 gr24 gr
20 %2 %4 %4 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).
Possible allergens in this recipe: Milk, Egg, Gluten, Sourdough
How much will it cost?
  • For 1 kg 400 g : 4.39 €

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Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.

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Your 4 comments or questions on this recipe
  • It's 1 egg, or 50 gr, as you prefer to scale.
    Posted by jh march 16th 2023 at 07:27 (n° 4)
  • ? Is there a total of 100 g of eggs in this recipe - 2 eggs? The ingredients list says 50 g of egg, but the instructions say to mix 50g of egg with the milk & water and refrigerate overnight then the next day add another 50g of eggs to the mixer bowl along with the overnight liquid.
    Posted by Bryan november 29th 2022 at 13:27 (n° 3)
  • Hi,
    Left or right does not really matter, I just prefer left.
    Yes, unsalted butter, if it's salted butter in a recipe I precise it.
    Have fun!
    Posted by jh june 11th 2019 at 13:15 (n° 2)
  • Hi,
    In stage 24 ,the dough position it's moving a quarter from position in stage 19. Left or right?
    The butter must be unsalted?
    Thank you very much for the recipe. I can't wait to do it.
    Posted by Daniela june 11th 2019 at 11:50 (n° 1)
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