Julia Childs Croissant Recipe

18 Apr

My Version of Julia Childs Croissant Recipe

Ok, So I have to apologize to everyone who has been waiting for this recipe of mine.  The truth of the matter is I lost it!  I frantically looked everywhere for it and nothing.  I didn’t have the time to watch the entore video and take notes again for a while…and then I was spring cleaning this weekend and FOUND IT!!  So excited.  I decided to sit down immediately and type it up!  So again I am so sorry…please forgive!  Here you go.

Now just to forewarn you, I literally watched the entire Julia Childs/Esther McManus on PBS online and just took notes.  A couple ingredients they never said how much to use, so I guessed and they turned out fantastic so I assume all was well.  Enjoy!


  • 1lb & 2oz Cold Unsalted Butter cut
  • 3 ¼ Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Instant Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 Teaspoon water

Put 1lb. of flour in Kitchen Aid (hook attachment), add yeast, add salt, add sugar.  Then add milk and turn machine on to a low speed until ingredients are kind of mixed.  If too dry still, add a bit more of milk (eyeball it).  When all ingredients are mixed, take out of the bowl and hold in hands.  Turn the mixer back on with empty bowl and tear off a piece at a time from the dough and add it back into the bowl.  You can increase the speed of the mixer to medium-low at this point.  Let it work a bit longer until you can tell it is unified.  Take the dough out, pound it a little, roll with hands, knead a bit and repeat a few times.  Wrap in plastic (be sure to cover well) and then put it in a bigger sealed plastic bag.  Leave at room temperature for about a half an hour.

In the meantime, change Kitchen Aid attachment to the paddle.  Add butter to the bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of flour and beat on high.  Make sure you watch it as you do not want to let the butter get oily.  Take the butter out of the bowl and pack it in your hands to get all the air pockets out.  Plastic wrap butter and place both the butter ball and dough (in plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours (you can leave overnight as this is what I did).

Take dough out of fridge and place on a floured surface for rolling (I used a marble slab so it stays cold while you are working).  Roll out dough evenly.  Make sure you are kind yet have authority with it.  When rolled out, take butter out of fridge and unwrap.  Place butter ball in the middle of the dough.  Fold right side of dough over butter, followed by left side so butter is completely covered by dough.  Kindly take your rolling pin and beat the dough/butter down until the butter is evenly spread inside the dough to all sides.  Then gently roll with pin evenly.  Place dough on cookie sheet (lightly floured) and let rest for 2 hours in the fridge (make sure to cover the entire cookie sheet with plastic wrap and seal dough in).

After 2 hours (I did this in the morning, went to work, and came home at lunch 6 hours later to do next step), take out of fridge, re-flour surface and out dough out.  Put a tad of flour on top of dough so that the rolling pin does not stick.  Roll dough again, trying to keep as even as possible.  Then fold into 3 (left side in, then right side like you are folding a letter), brush some flour off and roll one last time (at this point it should measure about 15”x9”).  Put on cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and back in the fridge for at least 1 hour (I went back to work and did the next step when I got off work about 4 hours later).

Do step above one last time from start to finish except this time after rolling out, fold another 3 times and roll for a 2nd time before placing on the cookie sheet, covering, and back in the fridge for at least 1 more hour.  (I let stay in there overnight again).

Take out of fridge and cut lengthwise in half giving you 2 squares.  Take one square at a time and roll out evenly to cut.  Work fast because you do not want the dough to warm (a marble/granite top will help dough stay cooler longer).  If you feel it is starting to get warm, you can always put back in fridge for 5 minutes at a time.  Roll dough to about 20” x 15”.  Fold in half long ways and brush flour off.  Cut dough with pizza cutter in triangles with bases approximately 4” wide or larger if you want larger croissants.  Then unfold them to have single layer triangles.  TIME TO ROLL!

Take a triangle in hand and hold the base.  Lengthen gently (be careful not to tear it) and pull the pointed side down over and over until it is longer.  You can set it down at this point.  Tear a little piece of dough from any left over scraps from cutting and roll into ball and place on the base of the croissant (this will give the croissant a little extra “dough” in the middle for some fullness).  Roll the base over that piece of dough and seal it in.  Then continue with the palms of your hands to roll the base to the point.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper with point side up.  If you would like, you can curl the ends towards you to make a “crescent” shape.  When all are rolled, take a egg wash (1 egg white added with 1 teaspoon of water) and brush outside of each croissant with lightly.  This will give it that nice glisten when cooked.  Place in oven that is turned off, turn the light of the oven on, and place a pot of boiling water in the oven with it to proof for 3 hours.  Do not cover the croissants at this time.

Then take all out of oven, turn on to 350 degrees.  When oven reaches temperature, bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Watch closely as when they start to get closer to being done, they will cook fast.   Also, be careful as a lot of butter will drain out while cooking, so be sure you have them on a high side cookie sheet, not a flat one.  VIOLA!  You have yourself croissants!  Yes, this seems all intimidating and a lot of work, but well worth it.  These are the way a croissant SHOULD be made…

Just to let you know…the folding steps are very important as this is what gives the croissant the layers and flakes.  If these processes are skipped, you will not get croissants.  Also, if you want to do chocolate or almond, all you have to do is instead of adding the piece of dough in the base, add a piece of dark chocolate or almond paste and roll.  You can then add sliced almonds to the top and bake… when done you can sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with the remaining chocolate.  ENJOY!

PS…I suggest you watch the video with my noted printed so you can visualize each step and it will all make sense!  The video is at: http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/mcmanus.html


32 Responses to “Julia Childs Croissant Recipe”

  1. amira at 6:14 pm #


  2. jodie at 6:26 pm #

    I am going to try this. Thanks for posting

  3. Oh, I love Julia Child! Your croissants are gorgeous. I haven’t made croissants before, but am eager to try now. Thanks for stopping by for Meatless Monday!

    • Goodie Girl at 8:03 am #

      Yes they are fun…just be prepared to spending a couple days, but if cooking is therapy it’s perfect! 🙂

  4. dani at 5:18 pm #

    Hi, The link doesn’t go to a video… and i can’t find the recipe on the PBS site. Has the site changed?

  5. Carlos Lopez at 12:22 pm #

    i cant find the video??

    • Goodie Girl at 12:28 pm #

      They actually took down the video, but I put up the recipe and instructions for them on my blog! 🙂

  6. Joanna at 4:00 pm #

    Hi! Love the recipe! But how many does this recipe yield? Thanks!

    • Goodie Girls at 4:38 pm #

      Hello! Thank you for loving the recipe! I was able to make approximately 30 smaller croissants. I think they were the perfect size, but if you are looking to make the larger size that you find in Starbuck’s and such it would probably make about 20. 🙂

  7. Bethany at 1:12 pm #

    I think part of the fun of making croissants is getting to pick how big you make them. I always end up making them smaller than I intended, but that just means more to share! I’ve tried sourdough croissants with some good success. It’s all about taking the time to layer properly.


    • Goodie Girls at 11:13 pm #

      I have to agree with you 100% Bethany! 🙂 They are so amazing fresh too. Nothing beats them right out of your home oven. I love how this recipe takes a couple days to make because it allows you to really get all those layers in there as well.

  8. Stephanie at 10:46 am #

    I’m a little unsure about the cutting part. You said after you cut the dough into two squares and roll it out, to fold it lengthwise and then cut but maybe i’m just not picturing this right but it seems if you cut a triangle in a folded piece of dough it will come out as two triangles attatched at the bases. Am i just getting the idea wrong? Please help i’m in the process of making them now

    • Goodie Girls at 10:51 am #

      Yes! Sorry, I forgot to mention when you get the two triangles, you cut them from there bases…it’s just a little faster so you get 2 triangles with smaller amount of cuts. 🙂

  9. Stephanie at 10:55 am #

    ok thanks 🙂 so far so good! i’m so excited to find out how they’ll taste!

    • Goodie Girls at 11:06 am #

      Oh man…so excited! Let me know!! Mine turned out amazing. I think it ruined it for me going anywhere else for them now! But what a labor intensive croissant! 🙂

  10. Wilbur at 2:05 pm #

    Not sure…but I took a look and did not see a post concerning the amount of flour. You listed 31/4 cup of flour in this recipe. If you use that amount of flour with the 1C milk it is no more than fluid mess. The error is that the Childs/McManus recipe calls for 3 3/4 cup flour with the same amount of milk. You need to change this error.

    • Goodie Girls at 12:41 pm #

      The amount of flour is correct in my recipe. It is 3 1/4 cups. Thank you for your concern! Maybe you were thinking it was 3 of 1/4 cups meaning 3/4? But it is 3 Cups PLUS an additional 1/4 cup.

      • Daniel Garcia at 11:48 am #

        Wilbur was right. The original recipe calls for 3 cups plus an additional 3/4 cup of flour to 1 cup of milk.

      • pay attention at 7:24 pm #

        No, you are incorrect. Esther clearly states three and THREE QUARTERS cups of flour.

      • Carol at 7:31 pm #

        The amount of flour is 3 3/4 cups. McManus specifically says this amount (with her French accent!), and also provides the weight of one pound and 2 ounces (or 18 ounces). All bakers work with the standard pound of white flour equalling 3 1/2 cups. The extra 1/4 cup is for the extra two ounces. Since I bake a lot, I just put my mixing bowl directly on the scale, set the scale to zero, and just add flour until I get to the right amount.

      • Laura at 12:11 pm #

        Esther definitely says “3 and 3/4 of a cup” of flour (“1 lb exactly”) — but having said that, she eyeballs it as it’s mixing and adds a few more tablespoons of milk to get the right consistency. She starts with about a cup and saves another 1/2 cup in the measuring cup to use as needed.

        And here is the new link to the video:

  11. Laura at 4:51 pm #

    I was just wondering approximately how many croissants this recipe makes?

    • Goodie Girls at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Laura,

      I was able to make 30 smaller size croissants! 🙂 And they went in 20 minutes! LOL!

  12. sonial1t6 at 2:07 pm #

    Your tips were a big help. Thank you for making my first foray into baking my own croissants a breeze. My family, friends, and neighbors loved the croissants. (I made chocolate croissants.) Now I don’t have to drive 40 minutes to an expensive French bakery to get top quality croissants anymore. I can easily make them myself. BTW, to save time, I put the puff dough in the freezer for 20 minutes instead of refrigerating for 1 hour each time. Worked very well for me.

    • Goodie Girls at 1:53 pm #

      Oh wow! Thank you for the tip! I thought it was such a long process when having to keep refrigerating and that helps to know! 🙂 I am so glad I could help you! And how DELICIOUS are they homemade! So much better than buying them! YUM YUM!!!

      • Corinne at 2:50 pm #

        Hello. Could you tell me what kind of flour you use? Do you think you need to buy pastry flour or will it work just as good with regular flour?

      • Goodie Girls at 4:21 pm #

        I used standard King Arthur All Purpose 🙂

  13. Lorraine at 6:59 pm #

    Hi! Your croissants look so nice! I was just wondering, in the beginning, your recipe says to add 1 lb of flour into the KitchenAid, but the ingredient list calls for 3.25 cups. Does this equate to the same thing or is that a typo?

  14. Chris at 6:25 pm #

    Hope this posts
    Its 1-15-14 The video is online if you search Baking With Julia, then you should be able to find it. Esther McManus actually does say 3 3/4 cups flour as I mixed it and had to add a lot of flour as it was waay too wet. While it rose I watched it again and I’m pretty sure I misheard it the first time as I though she said 3 1/4 cups flour anyway it made sense as I had to add about a half cup to get it the right consistency.
    This is my first time doing pastry type dough and I forgot the sugar, I don’t think that hurts it much but I am done now and I find they are pretty greasy. They have a good crunch and flavor but really greasy. Would the sugar help there? Oh maybe it was not proofing them enough.I forgot to add boiling water to the oven until the last hour of proofing maybe they didn’t rise enough to cook fast.


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