Martha's Niece Sophie Herbert Slater Shares a Step-by-Step Guide to Forming Perfect Croissants

Once your dough is rolled out to a square, it's time to laminate. Sophie's tips will guide you towards croissant success.

brushing egg wash on croissant dough
Photo: Johnny Miller

Martha knows croissants. That's beyond dispute. So when she first tried her niece Sophie Herbert Slater's sourdough version, she knew they were something special. "I tasted one the day after they were baked, and I liked it better than the first day," Martha said. "And they were good even the day after that. I was shocked, in a wonderful way." That's why our founder asked Sophie, a self-taught expert on the subject of baking with wild yeast, to give us a primer on how to laminate and form croissants. This step-by-step guide starts with the dough rolled out into a square, so be sure to visit the Sourdough Croissants recipe for the steps needed to get to this point, including making the levain and the dough.

croissant dough encasing butter
Johnny Miller

Encase the Butter

Lay a rolled-out mixture of butter and flour in the center of your dough square. Roll the dough corners farther out, so you can drape them over it.

flattening croissant dough package
Johnny Miller

Flatten the Package

Roll the dough-covered butter into an 8-by-24-inch rectangle. It's easiest to push the pin away from your body, Sophie says.

folding croissant dough in thirds
Johnny Miller

Fold It in Thirds

Bring the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then pull the top third down over that.

turning croissant dough to 90 degrees
Johnny Miller

Turn It 90 Degrees

Repeat rolling and folding into thirds at least twice more. The goal is to keep the butter encased in the dough so it will form layers. "If the butter starts to ooze out in here, just sprinkle a little flour on the spot and put it back in the fridge to firm up before continuing to roll," says Sophie.

rolling out croissant dough
Johnny Miller

Roll Out the Dough

After refrigerating for at least four hours (and up to overnight), roll out the laminated dough into a 16 1/2-by-23-inch rectangle.

cutting croissant dough in halves
Johnny Miller

Cut It in Half Lengthwise

Use a pastry or pizza wheel to trim the edges and divide the dough into two 8-by-22 1/2-inch pieces.

making triangles from croissant dough
Johnny Miller

Make Triangles

Cut each half of the dough into five equal rectangles (each will be 8 by 4 1/2 inches). Cut those rectangles diagonally into 20 triangles.

forming croissants
Johnny Miller

Form the Crescents

Turn each triangle so the short side faces you, and roll it away from you, stretching the tip out as you go. Bend each into a crescent, and let rise until puffy.

brushing egg wash on croissant dough
Johnny Miller

Brush on Egg Wash

To create a glossy, golden exterior, coat each crescent, then bake. "The wash results in beautiful dark-brown stripes," Martha says.

Get the Sourdough Croissants Recipe

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