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Sourdough Croissants

Sourdough croissants made and ready to bake in the morning for breakfast on day 3 (no commercial yeast)

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To make the perfect tasting croissant takes time, fortunately most of that time requires no effort from you :) These sourdough croissants take 3 days, you make the initial dough on day 1, roll, laminate, cut and shape the dough on day 2 and then bake on day 3.

Cold butter is the key to successful lamination, keeping the butter cold stops it from being incorporated into the dough.

Do not be lured in by “quick croissant” recipes, you will end up with a brioche rather than a nice layered croissant and it will take the same amount of effort from you.

Ingredients for 15 croissants

437g Untreated Organic White Flour - No.4 (105) or you can use any strong white bread flour
77g Cold Water
140g Scalded Milk (cooled)
125g Active White Starter that had been fed within the last 6-12 hours @ 100% hydration
55g Unsalted Butter, cubed and at room temperature
55g Caster Sugar
10g Salt
250g Unsalted Butter for Laminating cold (it is critical this butter is cold). Don’t add this to the dough.

I am not going to cover making the white starter as there are countless resources for this on the interweb. I do suggest that you make a very strong starter by discarding most and then feeding a couple of times over 24 hours, that way you have a very active starter with a high gluten content remaining.

Day 1
In the morning feed your starter. You can scald your milk now to make sure it is nice and cold when you make your dough. Add the milk to a small pan and heat gently until it just starts to simmer. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

In the evening at around 6pm mix the flour, salt and sugar together and then add the milk, water, starter and form the dough. Knead the dough on an un-floured surface for 1 minute and then add half the 55g cubed butter. Knead until the butter has been incorporated and then add the rest of the 55g cubed butter and knead again. Cover the dough and leave to prove at room temp (~20-22°C) for 3 hours. Reduce this to 2 hours if the temperature is warmer. Put the dough in the fridge overnight.

Day 2
Sometime during the morning / early afternoon … Take your cold butter out of the fridge and pound it lightly to form it into a 20cm x 20cm square. You need to make this as square as possible, you can trim the edges and put that butter back on the top. Put your butter in some Clingfilm and put it back in the fridge, you want to keep the butter as cold as possible but don’t be tempted to put in the freezer as it will be too cold!

Take your dough out of the fridge and roll it into a 30cm * 30cm square … you can use a ruler or the long side of a sheet of A4 paper! You want to keep this fairly square but it’s not quite as critical as the butter. You will need a light dusting of flour to stop it sticking but use the flour liberally. Rotate the dough 45 degrees so you have a point towards you rather than a flat edge.

Take your butter out of the fridge and place with a long edge facing you and the points will be close to the long edge of the dough. I didn’t take a picture of this but see my rather crude “Stage 1” diagram below as it will make more sense!

Take one corner of the dough and stretch and fold it over the butter, see the “Stage 2” diagram. Use a food brush (I bought a new paint brush and keep it specifically for this purpose) and brush off any residual flour. Then repeat that for all 4 corners so the butter is totally encased in the dough. Now roll the dough (from the centre outwards) so it is approx. 20cm x 60cm trying to keep it as straight as possible. Now fold the dough, letter style in 3, brushing the excess flour off before each fold (see photo). Wrap the dough in Clingfilm and put in the fridge for around 30-60 minutes (longer is fine, this is not a time critical process you just need to make sure everything has cooled down).

Take the dough out of the fridge, with one of the short open ends towards you roll out to 60cm x 20cm and fold into 3 again.
Back into the fridge for another 30-60 mins and then repeat this one more time, short edge towards you, roll to 60cm x 20cm and fold into 3, wrap in Clingfilm and back into the fridge.

You will have done a total of 3 folds which will give you 27 layers in total. Don’t be tempted to try to add more layers as the dough will get so thin that the butter will start to merge into the dough and you will have a brioche rather than a nice laminated croissant dough! Also make sure you do the folds one at a time as keeping the butter cold is the key to lamination (I may have mentioned that once or twice already!)

Now it’s time to cut and shape your croissants! Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll out to about 100-120cm x 20cm. The dough will resist and shrink back! You can let the dough rest for a couple of minutes and then continue to roll out. I turn the dough over a few times during this process to make sure it doesn’t stick. Brush off the excess flour before cutting.

You can use a very sharp knife or I prefer a pizza wheel to cut your croissants out into triangles, see photo. If you want precisely sized croissants, then you want to make the long end of the triangle about 13-14cm depending on how long you rolled the dough. You can make marks along the top and the bottom to then “join the marks” up to cut your triangles, personally I can’t be bothered with this and just roughly cut them the same size :) See Photo below.

Put a 1-2cm cut into the end of the triangle (see photo) take that end and pull the “tabs” apart slightly to stretch and roll up to the tip. You want to stretch out the dough a little as you do this to keep the croissant nice and tight as you roll.

Put the croissant onto a butter lined tray and repeat. This can take a little time hence why I don’t bother with precise measurements! Cover the tray with Clingfilm and leave to prove at room temp (~20-22°C) for around 5 hours, shorten this accordingly if the room temp is higher. Put in the fridge overnight. I put all mine onto one tray to prove so they fitted into the fridge ok, before I baked I split them onto two trays to give them lots of space.

Day 3
Take the croissants out of the fridge and pre heat the oven to 220°C fan for 45 minutes. Egg wash the croissants with a beaten egg with a good pinch of salt added. Drop the temperature to 180°C fan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn the tray(s) round halfway through the bake.
Cool for 15 minutes and then eat :)

I like this formula as the croissants are nice and buttery without being too rich, if you wanted to make them richer then use 300g unsalted butter for the lamination. You could also cut and shape on day 3 and prove for 5 hours and then bake if you wanted them later in the day.


This is a link to a calculator I wrote so you can easily scale or convert the formula: https://tinyurl.com/sdcroissants

Added by: breadcalc.com

Tags: Sourdough Croissant

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This is the first time I've made croissants, and I wasn't expecting these to be anywhere near this good - let alone easily the best croissants I've ever eaten, as the sourdough is just delicious. Left some in the fridge an extra day and they developed even more flavour - I think I even preferred it - and have since frozen others and they worked well too. Thank you so much. My only thing to change is to measure out the triangles differently - I got confused between the measurements provided and the proportion of the triangle sides in the photos, and ended up with some perfectly shaped but very small croissants before I just cut the rest by eye!

theo.cadbury 25 January 2021

RE: Amazing

P.S. I used 50% strong bread flour and 50% plain white, and that worked a treat - strong enough to hold, but not bready or tough at all

theo.cadbury 25 January 2021

active white starter that had been fed in the last 6-12 hours @ 100% hydration

if you liked a little help from the starter active white 125G method or recipe that had been fed in the last 6-12 hours @ 100% hydration

Montacir 18 January 2021


Excellent recipe, thanks so much!!

Mr Bala Clark 11 January 2021

Volume increase when proofing?

Hi! Can you clarify how much should the croissants increase in volume before retarding them overnight? Is it 25-50% increase such as in sourdough bread? Thanks in advance!

Ekhi 25 November 2020

Left my dough out overnight

I accidentally left my dough out overnight after the initial rise. Do I have to start completely from scratch or can something be done with the dough?

Becky.wood 06 October 2020

RE: Left my dough out overnight

Hi, It may be overproofed but the butter does slow it down and depending where you are in the world it's quite cold at the moment. Personally I would carry on and see it through

breadcalc.com 06 October 2020

Can dough be frozen

Can the shaped dough be frozen to be baked off later in the week?

AnnYonce 18 June 2020

RE: Can dough be frozen

I’ve done this recipe for a few years and have had no issues freezing the croissants. I’ve baked them defrosted and from frozen too. Defrosting is a little better, but both produces great results. I’ve not frozen the dough by itself, only after lamination and shaping.

Mr Christopher Manley 19 August 2020

Measurements and baking from frozen

Thank you so much for this recipe, and such clear instructions! Two questions: I was a bit confused where you say roll the final piece out to 20x120cm to cut into triangles, but then say "you want to make the long end of the triangle about 13-14cm depending on how long you rolled the dough". If the width is 20cm, won't the long end of the triangle also be at least 20cm (marginally more as it's at an angle)? It still worked for me cutting them as triangles where the long edge was 20cm, but I was just curious if I'd missed something. My croissants hardly rose at all in the 5 hours proving, but rose beautifully in the oven and came out nicely. I only took two of them out of the fridge, 45 mins before baking while the oven was pre-heating, and baked those. The remainder I froze. My second question, then, is having frozen these small but pre-proved croissants, do they really need to be thawed out and allowed to come up to room temperature, or has anyone tried baking them directly from frozen? Many thanks!

Chris 12 June 2020

RE: Measurements and baking from frozen

The long end of the triangles will be alternating along the long sides of the rectangle and the triangles will then be about 20cm long. Like this |///////| I got 17 croissants out of the strip. Don’t know about freezing as my family of 6 scoffed them!

DebsyDoolittle 12 June 2020

RE: Measurements and baking from frozen

Tried to show you with a diagram made of characters but didn’t work. Let me try again |VVVVVVVV|

DebsyDoolittle 12 June 2020

RE: Measurements and baking from frozen

Thanks, Debsy - I'm not cracking up then, it is 20cm :-)

Chris 12 June 2020


Hi, First time making sourdough croissants. The recipe says leave to prove for 3 hours at 20-22 degrees. Our house is colder, 17-19, so I guess I need to leave for longer. what signs am I looking for that the dough is ready? Should it double or are there any other signs I should look out for? Also for second prove on day two what signs am I looking for? Thank you

DebsyDoolittle 14 May 2020

RE: Proving

Our house is typically cooler too. I proof the day 1 dough about 3.5 hours at cooler temp. The dough will not double, more like a 30% rise. It will continue to rise in the fridge but will not double before you start lamination.

sunsun 25 May 2020

RE: Proving

For second prove, it will not quite double but leave plenty of space as they really puff up in the oven

sunsun 25 May 2020

on day two

Hello, Can I fold it in the evening (and then put it in the fridge) on day two?(the schedule on day 1 remain the same) and then can I cut it in the afternoon or evening of day 3 and then should I bake it immediately on day 3 or can i put it in the fridge and bake it in the evening of day 4? Many thanks

beautiful 27 February 2020

RE: on day two

Yes, you can fold and put back in fridge overnight day 2 but you will still need to proof the croissants after shaping for 5 hours and then put in fridge overnight to bake day 4.

sunsun 25 May 2020

Freezer proof?

I am trying to reduce the use of commercial yeast and sourdough is just so much easier to digest to would love to try. However, I simply cannot eat 15 croissants in one go - though I'd love to and probably would be able to ;-) If I were to freeze them, would that be at end of day 2 or right before baking on day 3? That way I can pull some out of the freezer every now and again... YUM!!

Laurene 23 January 2020

RE: Freezer proof?

Bake them all, cool, place in ziploc freezer bag and freeze. Take them out as you plan to eat them and bake in preheated 350 oven for 7-9 min.

sunsun 25 May 2020

RE: Freezer proof?

I froze some of the croissants after final proofing, pulled them out of the freezer 12 hours before I wanted them and left them to defrost at room temp. Then baked as per usual. Turned out just like the first batch

qwason 01 June 2020

Excellent recipe

Thanks very much for this recipe. I have made it twice and the results have been great, even with some errors on my part. First time, I had the wrong dimensions on 2 of my turns, and second time, I couldn’t get the dough to the right thinness on final rollout. Outcome was still very flaky and very tasty. One note for American bakers, stick with all purpose flour, either King Arthur or Trader Joe’s. If you go to bread flour, even for only half the flour, I used King Arthur, the resultant dough is really hard to rollout and get to right thinness. Also, The croissant while flaky, is not as tender as 100% all purpose. I did make pain au chocolat with half the dough and they were very yummy!

sunsun 26 February 2019

Number of layers?

Thank you so much for this recipe. It is simple but works well. I was explaining to my true love, over the eating of our delicious first batch how many layers were in each layer of the pastry and how I did it.....and I think that there might be a few more?? First layer (before envelope fold) there are 2 layers (encasing the butter), first envelope makes 2 x 3 = 6, second envelope makes 6 x 3 = 18, third envelope makes 18 x 3 = 54!!!!!.....and when you roll up the dough to make the croissant, there can be up to 5 layers (depending how tight you roll)....which means 54 x 5 = 270 layers in one bite (if you are biting the centre where the maximum number of layers are!!!). WOW. What fun! (Yes, I did love maths at school.) We made our's with White Khorosan (food for the starter and as the flour in the dough). SOOO grateful that we made the effort. Not quite organic croissants are $4 each in our town and we made our 16 totally organic ones for about $5 (ingredients, not cooking cost!!). THANKS again for sharing your expertise. :)

Sam (Australia) 24 September 2018

RE: Number of layers?

I hope someone else's brain has been enjoying calculating layers as much as mine....and has made less mistakes!!!! Of course, I was trying to count layers of flour, which doesn't work as some of them join together, and the recipe is calculating layers of butter (of course!!)....so, I guess what you end up with can only really be one more layer of flour than the butter layers. Then the total number of layers of pasty and/or butter at the thickest part of the croissant is perhaps 135-140....still pretty fabulous!!

Sam (Australia) 25 September 2018

3rd day

Hello, i am preparing them now amd tomorrow morning i should bake them . Ill be working morning , us any change i could rake them out when i come back 5pm , and freeze the rest . We are just having 2-3 in the morning .. and also if i can freeze them, i can put them straight feom the fridge? Thank you very much

Andreea 29 April 2018


Hello! I was wondering if it's possible to bake the croissants on the second day, after shaping them and proofing them at room temperature for the appropriate time. My refrigerator's temperature fluctuates and it tends to over proof everything. One of your suggestions is to do so on the 3rd day but I am trying to fit this recipe into 2 days not three. Thank you!

Ogi the Yogi 28 October 2017

best croissant ever!

thanks for the tecipe Robert king❤️❤️❤️❤️

shuly karasin 24 July 2017

RE: best croissant ever!

Thank you, glad you like them :)

breadcalc.com 24 July 2017

Beautiful. I love the detail of the recipe, and its very clear to follow. The sentence that made the most difference for me in terms of croissants was "Don’t be tempted to try to add more layers as the dough will get so thin that the butter will start to merge into the dough and you will have a brioche rather than a nice laminated croissant dough!". I somehow thought the more was better, but this is so terribly logical.

burns wattie 17 July 2017


Excellent, thank you. I made the same mistake along the way to getting to this recipe :)

breadcalc.com 17 July 2017

What if I want to double the recipe What size the butter nick will be?

Emelirry 30 April 2017


Best croissant I ever had! Amazing recipe and good instruction. Got them Paris perfect the first time.

Iamgluten 18 January 2017

RE: Wow!

Excellent, thank you.

breadcalc.com 17 July 2017

Increasing recepie! Urgent help needed!

I have multiplied this recipe by 2.5 for a large family gathering TOMORROW AM! I'm up to the lamination stage. But I'm very nervous because my squares would be 2.5 times thicker!?!? Please tell me the best way to adjust the dimensions as I am so scared after all this work I'm going to ruin it by laminating too thickly! Please help ASAP Regards croissant freddy in oz

Bready-Freddy 05 July 2016

RE: Increasing recepie! Urgent help needed!

The dimensions just need to be either multiplied by 2.5 as well or after the 3 turns I would split into 2 1/2 pieces and then roll out each piece seperately and cut the croisants from that

breadcalc.com 05 July 2016

Oven straight from fridge?

Hello! Thank you so much for the thorough recipe! It really is very useful! I have been looking for a recipe with just sourdough starter. - I have a question, so, did you prove for 5 hrs in room temperature/ refrigerate/ the put out for 45 minutes/ then put in oven? Or can you put in oven straight from fridge? The reason why I am asking is because I thought the croissants will be too cold? All the other recipes seem to be from room temperature to oven. If you could let me know that'll be so helpful! Thanks in advance!

croissant quest 23 June 2016

RE: Oven straight from fridge?

Hi, Yes, exactly what you said, I take them out as soon as I turn the oven on to pre heat. I've done them a few times like this and they've always worked well.

breadcalc.com 23 June 2016

RE: Oven straight from fridge?

Great, thanks for the quick reply. It’s actually my second attempt at your recipe. First time, I baked at 210c for 10 minutes, 190 for 15 minutes, as I had great success with that temperature setting with fresh yeasted croissants before. - but the centre was still under-cooked somewhat. Perhaps sourdough version takes longer to bake??? I am putting in my new batch as i type. This time I will follow you and do: preheat 220c/ put in oven / Drop temp to 180c/ bake for 25-30min.

croissant quest 23 June 2016

RE: Oven straight from fridge?

I've found that if the middles aren't quite cooked they probably need another hour or two proving as there is not quite enough air in the middle so it's a bit too dense for the heat to reach. That is one issue with using sourdough that different starters can work at slightly different rates ... and different fridges are cooler than others too

breadcalc.com 23 June 2016

50% hydration starter

Hello, thanks for putting up this recipe. Quick question - what would happen if I used an active 50% hydration starter? Thanks for your help!

Jhm206 26 April 2016

RE: 50% hydration starter

Hi, 50% would be a very dry and stiff starter ... that means you would be feeding it 100g flour and 50g water, is that right? If you are feeding equal flour to water then it is 100% hydration as the percentage of water is 100% of the flour. If you do have a 50% starter you would need to use more water to make up the difference

breadcalc.com 28 April 2016

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