The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian croissants; formula from Giovanni Pina

mwilson's picture

Italian croissants; formula from Giovanni Pina

I confess, I am in no way skilled at lamination and hardly ever make croissants. It’s something I’ve done only a handful of times. These were my best yet and not only that, these are solely leavened by natural means, a first.

Original recipe found here - I scaled it down and used a lower ratio of butter for folding in.

2550111000flour 00 W 210/230   
50100222000flour 00 W 360/380 
20409800caster sugar 
2550221000egg yolks 
50100222000flour 00 W 210/230 
100200444000flour 00 W 360/380 
2855121100caster sugar 
75150333000egg yolks 
8153300acacia honey 
--------*butter for folding in

*original recipe says to use 2.5Kg of butter per every 4.5Kg of dough. I used 1/3 butter to dough.

Unfortunately they got too warm (31.5C) whilst proving, consequently some of the butter started to melt out and there was a slight unwated acidity in the finished product. They also rose a lot making things rather cramped!

After the bake

Crumb with errors

Incredibly delicate like clouds that just flaked and melted away in the mouth!


isand66's picture

Those look amazing!  I'm taking a class next week with my wife at Surlatable on croisant making.  I have not tried making them myself yet for fear of gaining 20 pounds once I learn how to do it!

Thanks for posting your formula and results.


mwilson's picture

Cheers Ian. I bet you'll enjoy that! I could do with a class, but then again, I like to learn things in my own way... through trial and error really.

I'm sure with a little restraint you could avoid the weight gain. I fast (~200 calories intake) two days a week and for the other days I can pretty much eat what ever I like. It's a great way to enjoy food without gaining weight.


linder's picture

Those are some great looking croissants- mmm I can just taste the buttery goodness melting away, along with a cup of strong coffee.  I'm sure they tasted great!  Nicely baked, browned and delicious. 


mwilson's picture

Thanks Linda. Oh yes, I agree.. can't beat a cup coffee with these pastries.


varda's picture

but these are amazingly tempting and with starter too.   Wow!  -Varda


mwilson's picture

Thank you Varda. Time to give into temptation..

Janetcook's picture


Branching out?  I am so used to your beautiful panettone that these caught me by surprise.  They look lovely!  And, I think, cozy all cuddled up on the sheet pan.  Some errors simply take on a life of their own and these did it rather nicely, in my opinion!  

Thanks for the post!


mwilson's picture

Haha, it was time to branch out into something different while my natural yeast is performing well.

Thanks very much Janet.


gmabaking's picture

Those look just beautiful. What an adventure your picture started. Croissants have been on my list of things I wanted to try but thought too challenging. I needed a step by step formula and luckily found this site in English. Also made the almond cinnamon rolls and they were the best ones I've ever made. So now the kitchen is filled with the smells of fresh coffee and buttery dough baking. The second panful is in the oven now, trying to unroll themselves. The first panful of the smaller ones that more closely resembled rugelach have disappeared!


mwilson's picture


Thanks for the link, some nice things there but I simply can't follow recipes using cups.. 

Good luck trying croissants.

rjerden's picture

I'll take a real Italian cornetto over a French croissant any day.

Typically, they use less butter but are sweeter. Also they may add some flavoring to the dough. Usually these are orange essence (or zest), lemon essence (or zest), and a bit of vanilla. I use all three. In southern Italy, the use of fresh lemon zest is almost universal, and they have the best cornetti, IMHO.

Cornetti are often stuffed with pastry cream, fruit jam, chocolate, or Nutella, or partially sliced open and stuffed with whipped cream, but the plain ones are great, too.

gmabaking's picture

in a cornetto sounds lovely. Will try that next time. Partially split open with homemade strawberry jam is a match made in Heaven! If you asked me last year, I would have said you can only get them in bakeries. Sad to say the only bakery in town is now closed and supermarket bakeries are just not the same. So I am glad that I finally tried making them at home.

mwilson's picture

Me too...

The high sugar and lower fat is a good example of Italian confectionery. Gelato is the same in that compared to American ice-cream sugar is higher but fat it less.

Recently I saw a recipe for croissants from Franceso Favorito that includes a flavouring made from, vanilla, candied orange peel and lemon zest.

I'm salivating just reading your description.


nicodvb's picture

than all croissants I see in bars, Michael! A bit irregular, but still very nice looking. The next will be as perfect as txfarmer's :)

PS, croissants in italy are almost always disgustingly chewey. It's a lost art.


mwilson's picture

Cheers Nico.

I've got a long way to go before I get to txfarmer's level of skill with lamination.

It's a shame to hear that about the state of croissants in Italy.


L'artisan's picture

If i have calculated this correctly, this recipe's dough is 76% hydration....this fascinates me as normally croissant formulaes range from 45%-60%...with the higher ens for hand-rolled croissants. How did you find working with such a loose dough? And the mother yeast must have given great extensibility. Im eager to try it.

mwilson's picture

by my calculation...

Water, milk and eggs yolks supply the majority of hydration and are the only things worth considering when calculating.

yolks are about 50% water, milk ~ 90%.

From memory this dough was easy to work with. Nice extensibility but not too much that it was a problem. Don't forget a refrigerated dough is firmer. Give it a whirl..

L'artisan's picture

I didn't even think about that, i'll definantly give it a whirl. This piece of information has really opened up my eyes. Again, thanks.

with regards, 

Cem Altinsoy