Buying a croissant in the bakery is always a special treat. But it’s even a better challenge to do it yourself at home using the right ingredients. It starts with the right flour, and the rest will follow.
Do you anticipate the first bite of a croissant with many expectations running through your mind?
You think to yourself, will it be crusty enough to make that glorious crunchy sound when your teeth come into contact with the pastry bread?
Will it tear through the layers past the flakes and make an easy break when you pull it out of your mouth?
Will the contents in your mouth have the chewy silky-butter consistency while the layered flakiness adds texture to it?
Flour has many varieties, but only a few pass the high standard of making the perfect croissant. Professional bakers will endorse the 00 Soft Wheat Flour, such as Antimo Caputo Chefs. Additionally, cake or pastry flour can also be used for croissants.
And finally, some bakers assure you that unbleached all-purpose flour is as good as bread flour.
Below is a list of flour selections that help make the crunchy layered flakes, a distinct characteristic of a croissant.
Type of Flour Used for Croissants
A croissant is a French word for a crescent-shaped roll made from layered yeasted dough to make a flaky puff pastry. It should have a light and flaky texture and melts in the mouth. The croissant dough must have the correct kind of flour.
There are many kinds of flour, but what makes it different is the amount of gluten.
These two kinds of gluten make the dough expand, and carbon dioxide or gas releases during fermentation.
The following is a table which goes over pros and cons of each type of flour for baking:
|Unbleached All-Purpose Flour||11-12.5% protein content with more elasticity for croissants producing a cloud-like, puff pastry, flaky and chewy.|
|Soft Wheat Flour||11-12.5% protein content will produce a crustier finish for bread and a fine texture for croissants.|
|Bread Flour||12-14% higher protein content creates a croissant with more volume with a softer and flaky crumb.|
|Pastry Flour||8-10% low protein flour makes the croissant lighter and delicate in structure with less chewiness.|
|Strong White Cake Flour||7-8% low protein produces a fine, soft, and fluffy croissant that needs more butter to have the flaky crisp.|
Croissant Flour Specs
Choosing flour is crucial to get the right texture and right volume.
Not all kinds of flours will perform as expected for croissants. But you can match the flour attributes with the technical aspects of making a croissant for a better guide.
- Baking strength is when you choose a strong flour that will develop gluten while kneading and rolling. It is measure by the W factor between W320 and W380.
- The elasticity/tenacity ratio (P/L) maintains its strength during proofing and baking. Force and time determine the P/L for elasticity and tenacity. For croissants, it should have a P/L ratio of 0.4 and 0.7 to avoid dough collapsing.
- The protein percentage or gluten means more strength between 13-15%.
- Water absorption is critical for the hydration rate, meaning if the flour has high water absorption, you will have to add more water.
Some specifications in flour are used as guidelines to get the correct consistency of croissants.
- The flour used for croissants should be strong, with a protein content of 11.5-13%.
- During folding and rolling of the pastry, the extensibility of the protein is crucial.
- The flour used should have gas retention properties to trap the carbon dioxide produced by yeast.
- Allow a slowing down process by chilling the flour in the freezer or fridge for the next 24 hours before you use it.
The 5 Best Flours for Croissants
1. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
The Unbleached All-Purpose Flour has a protein content of 11-12.5% made from wheat.
Durum is soft wheat, and red wheat is hard wheat. It has more elasticity for making croissants and is a favorite among many home bakers.
But you should follow the step-by-step instructions to enjoy the flour’s performance in making the croissants.
Be prepared for the bubbles and leaks that come out of your laminated dough. You can pop the bubble with a toothpick and press down the dough to lie flat.
If there’s a bare spot where the butter is leaking, dust it with flour and press down to stick, and continue with the fold. Refrigerate after to firm up.
Remember to keep the work surface, the rolling pin, and the dough dusted with flour as you do the folding process. As you roll, the top will expand more, so keep flipping the dough to even it out.
King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
King Arthur Baking Company is Non-GMO and Kosher certified. The pantry flour comes from carefully sourced red wheat and malted barley flour that comes from American farms.
The company was founded in 1790, is presently managed and run by a 100% Employee-owned management dedicated to giving bakers and homemakers the highest quality product.
It is unbleached and unbromated with an 11.7% protein content and is versatile for croissants, danish bread, muffins, cookies, pies, and cakes.
It is a favorite product by well-known chefs, bakeries, culinary schools, and cookbook writers because of King Arthur’s dedication to consistency in milling and attention to detail under strict specifications.
This flour comes in a 2 lbs. resealable bag is the perfect size for batch baking without unused flour in your hands.
It assures you use fresh flour and safe from being attacked by flour weevils or bugs that like to get into neglected flour packages.
2. Double Zero 00 Soft Wheat Flour
Double 00 Soft Wheat Flour or Triticum aestivum is a finely ground flour with the germ and bran taken out. The label double 00 or doppio zero is from an Italian grading system.
The double zero means it is the most refined with very minimal germ and bran present. It has a crustier finish for bread but also a finer texture for croissants.
The protein content varies depending on the wheat variety of soft wheat or hard wheat.
The Durum soft wheat of 11 -12.5% protein for the formation of gluten. Double 00 Soft Wheat Flour is used for pastry making, with less-elastic gluten, so it has a firmer structure but less chewy.
There are mixed reviews on the Double 00 Soft Wheat Flour, some reviews saying it is too refined and chewy.
Others will claim it’s all in the laminate and incorporating butter into the dough, then chilling it for 24 hours.
But expert bakers swear by this brand and issue caution to those doing it for the first time to start with all-purpose flour before using this one.
Antimo Caputo Chef Flour
The company started growing wheat in 1924 under the supervision of Master Neopolitan Millers.
The Caputo method is mixing the best wheat in the tradition of the ancient art of milling through a slow grinding process. It preserves the quality of starch, organoleptic properties, and authentic flavors.
The Antimo Caputo Chefs Flour is called professional flour. It is 100% wheat flour and recommended for long fermentation baking. It is a versatile flour with low gluten and higher protein, providing the perfect stretch and flavor.
Expert bakers and professionals swear by this brand because of the easy behavior of the flour. They can predict the outcome and have mastered the right combination of laminate temperature and timing.
3. Bread Flour
Bread flour comes in white superfine and whole wheat varieties with a higher amount of protein 12-14%.
It is a blend of hard-what flour with a touch of malt barley to improve yeast activity. Added to that is vitamin C or potassium bromate to increase gluten’s elasticity.
Using bread flour requires the kneading action of bread to create a good gluten structure that produces an airy, chewy and sturdy texture.
Bread flour was created in the UK in 1886 by Richard Smith when he discovered a way to separate the wheat germ from the flour, then adding it back to prevent fermentation.
In 1902, it was patented in Boston by African-American inventor Joseph Lee. Gold Medal followed and introduced high protein flour to the public in 1920.
Bread flour allows more water absorption and longer time for dough development and provides structure, texture, and flavor. Its higher protein content creates a bread or croissant with more volume while maintaining a softer and flaky crumb.
White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour
White Lily Bread Flour has a proud Southern tradition since 1883.
It is labeled Kosher Pareve.
The flour is made from hard protein wheat with enriched flour of niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid.
It also has malted barley flour and ascorbic acid for the dough conditioner.
It is a high protein and high gluten unbleached flour that works with baked goods like croissants.
Packed in a ziplock bag instead of a thicker resealable plastic bag, you’ll have to ensure transferring in an airtight container. You want to protect the flour from getting contaminated or attacked by flour weevils in your pantry.
White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour is a favorite among artisanal bakers, but some comments complain of price variations depending on inventory availability.
Many compare this to other brands and claim that their croissants and cookies taste much better when they used this flour brand.
4. Pastry Flour
Pastry Flour or Cookie Flour is a powder produced from milling soft white or soft red wheat.
It has low absorption and little tolerance when mixed. The formulation of Pastry flour is to pick attributes of soft wheat to make sweet baked goods.
The low-protein flour makes pastries lighter and delicate compared to all-purpose flour. It is milled from soft white wheat that has less protein or gluten compared to whole wheat flour.
Its 8-10% protein content is in-between all-purpose flour and cake flour, but lighter than regular whole wheat flour.
Pastry flour is ideal for light baked goods like croissants.
The protein gives the finished product structure at the same time keeps the flaky and airy texture. It works well with laminated products that mix the dough and butter before baking.
Bobs Red Mill Flour, White Pastry Unbleached
Bob Red Mill Flour started in 1974 when Bob and Charlee Moore opened the Moore’s Flour Mill in Redding, California.
Bob learned the ancient art of stone milling, using traditional quartz millstones and flour-making equipment from North Carolina. They retired and left Moore’s Flour Mill to their sons.
While attending seminary school, they passed through an old feed mill in Milwaukie, Oregon, and launched Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods in 1978.
Their mission statement read People over Profit and built close relationships with farmers, suppliers, and customers. As of 2010, Bob’s Red Mill is 100% employee-owned and runs the business with how Bob Moore envisioned.
Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Fine Pastry is Kosher Pareve and Vegan approved. It is a trusted and favorite brand of both baking experts and homemakers for its optimal quality.
There are other kinds of flour from the same brand, but this pastry flour is perfect for making croissants.
5. White Cake Flour Unbleached
Cake Flour is finely milled flour from soft winter wheat. It is called extra fine or superfine flour and milled to an extra-fine consistency.
It is lighter and finer in powder form, without the presence of bran and germ. The protein content of 7-8% is less than pastry flour, making cake flour noticeably less dense, and sticky.
Because of the lower protein count, it produces a fine crumb, soft, and fluffy texture. Cake flour requires more fat like butter, margarine, or shortening to support its weight and rise properly.
Meanwhile, the even distribution of fats in the cake eliminates clumping or chunking of butter or margarine.
Cake flour has a soft and fine texture that absorbs water and sugar, producing extra-moist baked items.
The extra water absorption allows your batter to rise taller. It is best for ultra-light baked goods like croissants but has a risk of falling apart from lack of structure.
Grain Brain Organic White Cake Flour Pastry Flour
Grain Brain Organic White Cake Flour is USDA certified organic and Kosher approved.
It is a trusted 12-year-old brand in the category of organic flours and natural ingredients. It is unbleached with no potassium bromate, no preservatives, and no added chemicals.
The white flour is made from wheat with less protein and does not contain the bran and germ. It is grounded through the cooled milling process to protect the vitamins and minerals. White Flour has a healthier and nutritional intake of products using Grain Brain.
A favorite brand among homemakers, the flour performs well with tender and fluffy pastry baked goods and cakes.
For those allergic to barley, Grain Brain White Cake Flour is a better product to have available rather than the other brands that were bleached and non-organic.
Can you use 00 flour for croissants?
It is best to use the superfine 00 flour for croissants but it requires extra effort in baking it at the precise time, so it comes out too chewy without the crustiness and flakiness. This flour will take a few trials and errors to get the right consistency for your croissant.
Can you use cake flour for croissants?
You can use cake flour for croissants even it has a low protein content of 7-8%. Croissants have a fine crumb, softer, and fluffier texture. But cake flour requires additional fat to support the weight and rise of the croissant.
Fats like butter, margarine, or shortening will also add to the flavor.
Can you use bleached flour for croissants?
You can use bleached flour for croissants if it is a softer flour with lower protein content. You’ll need to keep dusting your dough with flour to avoid getting sloshy.
The best flour for croissants has a protein content of 11-12.5%, elastic enough when laminated for preparation, and absorbs the butter and liquid for the rising factor.
The all-purpose flour and soft wheat flour fall under these two categories and have performed nicely for first-time croissant bakers.
Following the correct temperature and timing, the two flours produced the all-time favorite croissant that is flaky and crusty on the first bite and buttery-silk chewy when it reaches your mouth.
So, what’s my recommendation?
You will not go wrong with Antimo Caputo Chefs Italian Flour.
You can use it for other baked goods, such as pastries, pie crusts, or cakes, and for cooking in thickening gravies or sauces.
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