Croissants are a delicious pastry that can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack.
They can be made at home, but they can also be purchased from your local bakery.
I personally love to make croissants at home on the weekend! It just makes me feel like a real pastry chef.
Sometimes however, I tend to have some leftover croissant dough in the freezer from the last time I made them.
So this brings me to the question, can you freeze croissant dough before shaping?
Let’s dive in and find out right away!
Can You Freeze Croissant Dough Before Shaping?
You can freeze croissant dough before shaping it. When the dough is still frozen, it will not rise and expand like fresh dough does when warmed up. You can then shape the croissants without worrying about them expanding too much on their own accord.
If you’d like to shape the dough into croissants after being frozen, thaw it first for about 20 minutes and then roll out the dough into a rectangle.
It is even easier to already have the dough in a rectangle shape before freezing, or to freeze it as such. If you freeze the dough in a ball shape, it will take longer to thaw and roll out because of its size.
It is important that you keep the croissants covered so they do not dry out during baking! To prevent this from happening, place them on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap or foil until ready for use.
Make sure there is no contact between the pan and the plastic wrap or foil so that it does not stick.
Even though you can technically freeze croissant dough before shaping and baking, it is easier to just make it and then shape the dough right away before freezing the croissants.
That way, you don’t have to waste any time thawing out the dough or waiting for it to come back up to room temperature before shaping into croissants.
If you do freeze the dough before shaping, I personally always like to make a double batch so you always have some on hand!
How Do You Shape Croissant Dough?
To shape croissant dough, you will need to roll it out into a rectangle and then cut triangles from the rolled-out dough. Make a small cut in the center of the base of each triangle. You can then shape each triangle by rolling its base towards its tip, starting with wide triangles first.
Place the croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown in color.
Make sure to keep an eye on the croissants while they are baking, as they can go from undercooked to overcooked very quickly!
How Long Does Croissant Dough Last In The Freezer?
Croissant dough will last in the freezer for up to six months. Make sure to place it in an airtight container so that it does not dry out while in the freezer. When you are ready to bake the croissants, let them thaw overnight in the fridge and then follow the baking instructions provided above.
Croissant dough can also be frozen after it is already shaped into croissants. Simply place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for about two hours.
Once they are frozen, you can place them in a freezer bag for up to two months.
When you are ready to bake them, let them thaw overnight in the fridge and then follow the baking instructions as described earlier in this article.
How Do You Defrost Croissant Dough?
To defrost croissant dough, you can either leave it in the fridge overnight or let it come up to room temperature on the counter for a few hours before baking. You can also place the frozen dough in a microwave and thaw it for about 20-30 seconds on high power until soft enough to work with.
Just be careful not to over thaw or the dough will get too wet and won’t rise properly in the oven.
I’d personally always recommend to let the dough come up to room temperature by itself, as it will be easier to work with (and no risk of over-thawing).
As the process of defrosting dough naturally can take several hours, make sure you plan ahead!
Can You Freeze Pillsbury Croissant Dough?
Pillsbury Croissant dough can be frozen either before or after shaping. The dough will last in the freezer for up to two months. However, do make sure to not freeze Pillsbury dough in the can it is packaged in as the dough may expand which can cause it to burst open.
When you are ready to bake the croissants, let the dough thaw overnight in the fridge and then follow the baking instructions on the package.
As a topping, I personally like to use a little bit of apricot jelly or strawberry jelly. Also, Nutella or other chocolate spreads make for a delicious croissant.
Of course this depends on your personal preference, so go wild and be creative!
Can You Shape Croissants The Night Before?
Shaping croissants in advance can be convenient if you want freshly baked pastries without the time commitment of making them from scratch the same day.
You can shape croissants the night before you plan to bake them. The key is to properly chill the shaped dough to prevent overproofing overnight.
Here are some tips for doing so:
- After rolling and cutting the croissant dough, shape the triangles as you normally would by rolling them from the edges into crescent shapes.
- Space the shaped croissants at least an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the tray of croissants in the refrigerator overnight. The cold environment will help the shaped pastries retain their form without proofing too much before baking.
- In the morning, allow the refrigerated croissants to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. This takes the chill off so they don’t go into a hot oven cold.
- Bake according to your usual recipe instructions, keeping a close eye as the pastries may bake faster than usual after chilling.
- Shaping croissants ahead and chilling slows the proofing process, so you won’t get maximum height, but the layers should still rise nicely.
- For best results, bake croissants shaped the night before within 8 hours of removing from the fridge.
Other Questions You May Have
What is the best way to work with croissant dough for the first time?
For your first attempt, use a simple croissant recipe and prepare all dough ingredients in advance. Make sure to allow plenty of time for folding and resting periods. Use a butter block and aluminum foil slicked bowl to easily incorporate layers of butter into the laminated dough.
Don’t get discouraged if your first croissants aren’t perfect – it takes practice to master this flaky pastry.
How do I know when the butter is cold enough for laminating?
The butter for croissants needs to be very firm but not frozen, around 40°F. Test the butter by gently pressing it between your fingertips – it should yield slightly but not squish. If it’s too soft, refrigerate or freeze the butter block until it’s cool yet malleable enough to roll without breaking the layers.
Properly chilled butter is key for achieving distinct layers.
Can I use a stand mixer to make the dough?
A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment can be used for mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. However, the laminating process of incorporating butter layers is best done by hand to avoid overworking the dough.
Remove it from the mixer and complete the folding and rolling manually on a lightly floured surface for superior layering results.
How many folds should I do?
Most croissant recipes call for a minimum of 3 turns or folds, which laminates at least 6 layers of butter into the dough. An even number of folds keeps the layers symmetrical.
You can do up to 5 folds for extra layers, but don’t overwork the dough or the layers may break down. Chill well between each fold for easier handling.
How do I store and reuse leftover dough?
Any scraps or remaining dough can be shaped into other laminated pastries. Form crescent rolls, cinnamon rolls, or even miniature croissants. You can also wrap pieces tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 2 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge and use within a few days for flaky baked goods like pizza, bread sticks or calzones.
What is the best way to roll out the dough for croissants?
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. This prevents excess flour from getting trapped in the layers of dough. Aim for thin, even layers for the lamination process and flaky layers in the final croissants.
What type of flour should I use?
For croissants requiring multiple turns and folds to achieve numerous distinct layers, it’s best to use a flour with higher protein content than regular all-purpose. Bread flour or high-protein all-purpose flour contain 12%-13% protein which allows the gluten to stretch adequately during shaping.
The stronger gluten structure helps the dough contain the incorporated air bubbles and rise taller with a finer, more tender crumb structure in the finished baked good.
How do I prevent excess flour when rolling?
It’s important when rolling laminated dough like for croissants to only lightly dust the work surface and rolling pin with just enough flour to prevent sticking, but not so much that excess gets embedded in the dough itself.
Too much loose flour can interfere with proper bonding between the layers during folding and rolling out.
To minimize this, flour your surface and pin, then gently tap them with your hand to remove any powdery excess before each turn or thickness reduction of the dough.
Only add small amounts of flour as needed to keep things sliding smoothly.
How long should the dough rest after folding?
The laminated dough for croissants requires periodic rests in the refrigerator to allow the gluten strands to relax between folds. This enables the dough to retain its shape better when layered with butter and rolled into thin sheets without tearing or shrinking back.
A minimum rest of 30 minutes lets the gluten unwind enough for further manipulation while an overnight rest up to 12 hours allows for optimal flavor development through autolysis before the next folding step.
Can I use instant yeast?
While instant yeast can effectively cause croissant dough to rise, the final pastry may be missing some complex flavor nuances compared to using active dry yeast. Instant yeast dissolves and activates faster so the dough has less time to develop during fermentation.
For best results when using instant yeast, give the bulk fermentation and rises an extra few hours to compensate for the quicker rising action and allow fuller flavor to emerge in the baked goods.
How do I get perfect layers?
Achieving distinct layers when baking croissants requires very firm and cold butter that does not melt or slump during the folding process. Maintaining a butter temperature of 40°F or below is crucial as warmer butter may break down the layers incorporated into the dough.
Gentle folding motions and chilling the dough periodically in the refrigerator after each turn helps set the layers without disturbing them before rolling the laminated dough to the desired thinness.
Can I use sourdough starter instead of yeast?
Sourdough starter can be substituted in place of commercial yeast to create artisan croissants with a naturally leavened texture and taste. The mild acidity and various microbes in a mature levain will provide a subtle tang and complex flavor profile, though the crumb structure may be a bit denser than with regular yeast.
Appropriate bulk fermentation and rising times should be observed.
How do I fill croissants?
Once croissant triangles are shaped, an egg wash brushed over the tops prior to baking helps them brown nicely. Fillings such as almond paste, chocolate, or preserves can then be gently pressed or piped into the center of each crescent without disturbing the folds of dough.
For a polished presentation, sprinkling additional toppings like sugar over the filling is an optional enhancement.
Can I freeze unbaked croissants?
Shaped croissants can be frozen on a lined baking sheet and then packaged together in an airtight freezer bag for future use. Freezing before baking preserves the croissants for several months while retaining layers.
Thawing overnight in the refrigerator thaws them slowly and prevents sogginess, so they can be popped directly into the oven from frozen for fresh-baked enjoyment whenever a pastry craving strikes.
Can I make croissants without a rolling pin?
While a rolling pin is best for rolling croissant dough into an even, thin sheet, you can use a clean empty wine bottle or canned beans as an alternative tool.
The cylindrical shape allows you to roll the dough into a uniform thickness by placing it on the floured surface and rolling from the center outwards, applying gentle, steady pressure. Be sure to flour the bottle to prevent sticking.
Why is my dough too sticky?
If the croissant dough is overly sticky and difficult to work with, it likely means too much liquid was added during mixing. To correct it, slowly stir in one tablespoon of all-purpose flour at a time until the dough becomes smooth and elastic but still pliable.
Kneading the additional flour in with your hands will help distribute it evenly and absorb any excess moisture without overdrying the mixture.
Why didn’t my croissants rise?
There are a few possible reasons the croissants may have failed to rise properly in the oven. Ensure fresh active yeast was used and the proofing temperature was warm enough for it to activate. Overhandling the delicate dough could have damaged gluten structure as well.
Gentle folding and chilling techniques are best to avoid deflating the layers.
Can I add flavors to the croissants?
For variety, try incorporating 1-2 tablespoons of add-ins like cinnamon, vanilla, citrus zest, dried herbs, chocolate chips or dried fruit pieces into the croissant dough. Mix the flavors in after the initial mixing so as not to inhibit gluten development.
Experiment to find your favorite combinations for custom flavors in the fresh croissants.
The bottoms are burning before the tops brown.
To prevent the bottoms of croissants from burning in the oven before the tops are golden brown, try lowering the rack position to middle and tenting aluminum foil loosely over the tops for the final 5-10 minutes of baking. This helps redistribute heat for an even doneness.
So, to sum things up, you can freeze croissant dough before shaping and baking.
However if you do have the chance, it is easier to just make the dough and then shape it into croissants right away.
This will save you some time in the kitchen!
The best and easiest way to shape the croissant dough is by rolling it out into a rectangle and then cutting triangles from the rolled-out dough.
Then just shape each triangle by rolling its base towards its tip, starting with wide triangles first.
Croissant dough can be frozen for up to two months.
To thaw frozen croissants (or rolled out croissant dough), you can either leave them in the fridge overnight or let them come up to room temperature on the counter for a few hours before baking.
I hope by now you have all the answers to your questions about freezing croissant dough!
Enjoy your crusty, buttery croissants!