100% sourdough croissants (commercial yeast free)

January  4, 2017
8 Ratings
Photo by Anita Šumer
  • Makes about 20 sourdough croissants
Author Notes

It's my own developed recipe that uses sourdough without commercial yeast, for more pics follow me on Instagram under @sourdough_mania :) —Anita Šumer

What You'll Need
  • Sweet sourdough starter
  • 25 grams active 80% sourdough starter (can be 100% too)
  • 50 grams Manitoba flour (I used Mulino Marino brand)
  • 12 grams brown unrefined sugar
  • 20 grams non-chlorinated water
  • 100% sourdough croissants dough
  • 500 grams Manitoba flour (100 %)
  • 205 grams scalded milk (41%)
  • 20 grams brown unrefined sugar (4%)
  • 70 grams non-chlorinated water (14%)
  • 9 grams salt (1.8%)
  • 200 grams sweet starter from above (40%)
  • 300 grams butter for lock-in (60%, mine was a bit salty)
  • 1 egg (for the egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon cream (for the egg wash)
  • 1 pinch salt (for the egg wash)
  1. Sweet sourdough starter
  2. Dissolve the sugar in water and then mix with other ingredients, and knead into dough. Leave it in a covered container at room temperature. When it doubles, add: 100g Manitoba flour 25g brown unrefined sugar dissolved in 45g water * And repeat the procedure mentioned above. When it doubles, use it in the final croissants dough. This whole procedure for sweet starter takes about 1.5 day, depending on the room temperature and the strength of your starter.
  3. The sweet sourdough starter is not my invention, I learnt it at the Quest for sourdough event in Belgium last year, where there's the very first sourdough library in the world. It was introduced to me by Stefan Cappelle. See here:
  1. 100% sourdough croissants dough
  2. Mix all the ingredients (except butter) into nice and smooth rather stiff dough, refrigerate in a container with a lid overnight. Next day leave the dough at room temperature for about 45 minutes (my kitchen is 21 °C). In the meanwhile prepare the butter, beat it and roll to a thickness of 0.5 cm in a 21-cm square. It should be mouldable, if it's too soft, freeze it for 3 minutes. The dough and the butter should be the same temperature, not too soft and not too stiff. Roll the dough into a square bigger than the butter one, so you can wrap it in (see internet videos on how to lock in the butter square).
  3. Do 3 series of letter folds. Between each fold put the laminated dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes (wrap it in cling foil). If the dough resists, let it rest for about 10 minutes and then roll it. Always roll from the centre in each direction. Don’t use too much flour, brush off excess.
  4. After the 3rd fold, wrap the dough in cling foil and refrigerate overnight. Next morning take it out, let it warm up (about 30-45 minutes), and roll it about 0.4cm thick, cut and roll to croissants. Brush with a mixture of 1 egg, half tea spoon of cream and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan with cling foil; it shouldn't stick to the croissants. Proof till puffy and about 2 times (2.5x) their original size. At 21 degrees Celsius it took about 8-9 hours.
  5. Brush again with the leftover egg-cream-salt mixture. Preheat the oven to 220 °C; bake first 5 minutes at this temperature (thank you very much for this advice, dear Ralph @breadworks_2) After that lower to 190 °C and bake until golden brown (in my oven it takes 25min but my oven is 15-years old). Leave to cool if you can wait, best served a bit warm.
  6. Enjoy your day and let's bake the world a better place! You can find me on Instagram under sourdough_mania :)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Danny Dobek
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    Leica Diandra Jacobs
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    Liana Kong

15 Reviews

Danny D. February 21, 2021
Worked like a charm! So worth the 3.5 day process!!! Thanks for such an amazing recipe. Here in America I used Plugra butter and King Arthur all purpose flour. Also, I kneaded the dough for a good 5 minutes.
sandra May 31, 2020
Just made these and they are delicious! Though I made a few amends to the process. I added half a teaspoon of instant yeast (as per another recipe) as I want to freeze some (pre-bake). I also didn't refrigerate overnight after folding, as this was done in the morning and by the afternoon I found the dough was already expanding after 4 hours in the fridge. I too put little pie tins of boiling water on the bottom of my oven for steam. I just used a strong AP flour that I use for making sourdough bread. I've only made croissants a few times so was feeling brave :)
Kristyna L. May 29, 2020
I made pain au chocolat with this recipe today and it turned out perfectly. I substituted bread flour (not AP) for the Manitoba flour since we don’t have that here in the US. Made a steam by placing a pan of boiling water in the oven before heating it up. Absolutely delicious. Will definitely be making these again!
Brenda O. April 16, 2020
Looking forward to making these, but what is "cling foil"? I have heard of plastic wrap, and tin foil but not a hybrid. Also, doesn't yeast get ruined when you store it in a metal bowl? So foil is metal right? Leaving the dough to proof with foil on it seems counter intuitive. Thanks.
J.Aumen October 14, 2019
This was my first time ever making croissants. I was so worried about the stiffness of the dough as I was working. I had a very difficult time rolling it as thin as the recipe said, and in the end it was not that thin. Butter was slightly rupturing from the corners and I thought for sure it would be a failure. But I persevered and shaped them the best I could (into croissants and pain au chocolat). Because the dough was thicker I ended up with only 12 instead of 20. All that said, I baked them this morning and they are absolutely divine!! I am already working on another batch so I can make them better.

My notes for someone trying this for the first time would be to wait until the dough is relaxed enough to roll rather thin *before* you encase the butter. That would’ve made it a much easier time rolling once the butter was in. happy baking!
Alice A. September 1, 2019
I did the recipe hundreds of time and works well for me.
Don't be scared by the stiff dough! I strongly suggest using a kneading machine (i use Kitchen aid artisan stand mixer).
Burton April 28, 2019
Looks good, but it *absolutely* shouldn't be listed under the "Passover" tag, because this recipe is literally a form of chametz, which you cannot eat on Passover.
Leica D. February 10, 2019
The dough is very stiff, almost unworkable. BUT, the croissants came out flaky, buttery, and delicious.
Liana K. January 5, 2019
This was great, worth the patience and waiting (ignore the haters). It was a really subtle sour flavor. Want to explore some savory fillings next time. Make sure you use European style butter, it makes a massive difference.
Nate C. November 18, 2018
This is horrible. I’ve made tons of croissants in my life and this has to be one of the worst written recipes I’ve tried. Please edit better. I’ve tried other food 52 recipes with way more success. The dough is too tough and tears the butter layers. I can’t recommend trying this. A biga starter and dough is just too much for lamination.
Nguyên T. March 3, 2019
Didn't the writer mentioned that this is a stiff dough?
Babs I. May 30, 2019
I agree that the recipe is not well written. Are the various percentages explained somewhere? I’ve made croissants before, and make sourdough bread often, but not sourdough croissants.
BakesATL May 22, 2020
This are baker’s percentages, which means they are really the ratio of each ingredient when compared to the flour. For instance, if you have 100g of flour and 40g of sugar, flour would be 100% and sugar would be 40%. As for the stiffness of the dough, her recipe assumes you know how long to knead the dough, which would be difficult if you aren’t familiar with croissant dough. You need to mix it until the dough starts to relax a bit and and can start to stretch it rather than the dough tear when you pull on it.
Joy February 3, 2018
Don't you mean CLING FILM and not Cling Foil? I never heard of Cling Foil.
Stuart J. December 29, 2018
Just wrap it in plastic. I use old (clean) shopping bags.