A Stir The Pots Post

Sourdough Croissants

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Baking, Bread, Croissants

I love croissants. I love everything about them. Their layers of texture, from their crispy outside to their buttery soul. Their proud but simple elegance. Their mythic past of creation among Viennese bakers hiding in the cellars as the city was sacked by the Turks – hence their classification, not as French but as “Vienosserie.”  I even love the intricacies they demand to bake. From fermentation to lamination to final proof, great croissants can take three days to produce. The process is a bit of a delicate dance to something that – when perfected – will be devoured within minutes. Short but luscious minutes.

ViennoisserieTo cast sourdough as an essential actor within this process amplifies the challenge. I found help for this production from two bakers. The first is a Frenchman working in Burgundy, Fabrice Cottez. someone who shows up in multiples sites online, including YouTube.

The other is Ian Lowe, my shaman of yeasts, a Texan who lives and works in Australia. In a recent effort at sourdough croissants, I tried for what Ian calls a “lievitati ferment,” which is a process used in baking panettone. Here, is my attempt to translate a soughdough approach to panettone into something that would produce similarly wonderful crossiants.

I will do my best to describe the process. Equal parts starter, flour and half water, it includes three builds, each of which takes three hours of fermentation between every build. Nine hours later, that sourdough goes into what’s known as the detrempe, the package (or envelope) that will hold the butter that leads to the wonderful layers of the body of the croissant. After allowing the dough to rest, you move towards lamination. Or rather three laminations, the process where the dough is folded into layers – again, often three.

One layer folded over the other, that’s what creates the matrix of this bread. Now giving the dough time to rest, allowing the gluten to relax any stiffness, you roll it out, cut it into triangles, shaping the tails into the… croissant. And then there’s 10-15 hours to proof. To put it simply, these are complicated to bake but they also provide great learning experience. Here’s what came out in mine.

Wheel of lievatiPrepared lievitat


detrempeThe detrempe


LaminationRolling croissants


RolledMixed adaption on croissants


Overnight proof


Lievati grande


BakedCroissants baked



The final crumb


  1. David

    That is a magnificent cross-section

    • Jeremy Shapiro

      Thank you sir!


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