Sourdough Croissants!


This recipe is designed to provoke Jeremy, who I think suggested that it couldn't be done. (Or if he didn't say that exactly, it is the sort of thing he might have said)

I was inspired by Dan Lepard's demonstration of croissant making at Bethesda, and I have been making hybrid croissants on a fairly regular basis since then. This weekend I have gone the next step and omitted the yeast entirely.

So here they are, sourdough croissants.

(to stretch incredulity a little further these are vegan sourdough croissants made with a vegetable margarine available in the UK called 'Tesco Baking' and soy milk instead of cow milk)

Dan's recipe is here.
I have changed it a little. There is no egg (for obvious reasons)

The Dough: 
starter (at 100%)
soy milk

with 300g margarine folded into the dough

On Friday night I made the dough and left it to rise for about 3-4 hours
Then I folded in the margarine, and made the 1st 2 folds - dough went in the fridge overnight

On Saturday I made 4 more turns (2 lots of 2), then this evening shaped it into 12 croissants
I left them to rise, and they seemed to be moving very slowly, so they probably had about 5 hours before going in to the oven.

and the taste - not bad if I say so myself. The sourness is pretty subtle, but I think that they have more flavour than the hybrid version.

OK - who is up for the challenge? Mick, TP?


2 users have voted.


martin_prior's picture
martin_prior 2007 December 10

As a baker of vegan products I was interested to read in your post that used vegan margerine/soy milk. I did make some croissants about a year ago using coconut oil. The temperature here in Malaysia and in the bakery means that the oil is liquid.

I go the idea from the Roti Chani man. For those not familiar Roti Chani is a flat round layered bread made here in Malaysia/Singapore and eaten with with curry for breakfast. To make them the dough is stretched out very thin, smeared with ghee, folded and repeated several times. They are cooked on a hot plate. As they cook they rise and become flaky.

I used this approach in making by croissant, its just very messy. I put them in the fridge to rise and solidify the oil, then bake straight of the fridge.

Your post has spurred me on to resurrect this recipe.


Martin Prior

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2007 December 11


It's a challenge, as it is, for me to make regular croissants. Besides, I like my buttah. Croissants aren't in my To Do Soon List. I still need to make that Sprouted Loaf.

Martin, love to see you're always up for challenges. Keep us posted.

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2008 January 14

Dunno bout the soy and all that mate, besides you could use a bit more meat on them bones (nudge, nudge!)
Have done sourdough croissants(check out my site), just need to watch all the fat in my diet.But keep at it, and Martin due post pics, love all that backferment stuff your trying out though I think the whole background to that stuff is some philosophical hubub from the wacky hippy types? (got to love hippies, they gave us granola and birkenstocks!)


Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 January 25

G'day guys,It's a new format but works, ok. Nice to see the place alive again. I've been busy at home and in NZ fishing. Just a thought, why use maragrine or some other solid fat for croissants, when pure unadulterated butter has a superior flavour. Dare I say it,  marge  is a poor subsitiute for butter in croissants. As far as any other fat goes in croissants doesn't make much sense to me. Sure use various fats for various applications, but an intergral part of croissant flavour and texture is only achieved with butter.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 January 26

You caught that fish in your avatar? Awesome!  My piggy is also from NZ.Re: Use of margarine. Dom's vegan. TP

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 January 26

a pretty brownie from the Mataura River in NZ.Thanks for the greeting, TP, it's good to be back.Ok, TP, perhaps I missed that Dom was a vegan; in fact, I wasn't aware vegans did not consume butter. I guess that's up to Dom, and if his vegan views are a matter of personal conviction then I support his freedom to subscribe.But the truth of the matter is that butter is one of the most superior baking fats, without rival.Well, I guess you can ignore my initial post; please carry on , and good luck!

JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 6

Croissants were originally made with levain,and barm, long before commercial yeasts. Ive been making sourdough croissant since the early 80`s,you will find a recipe in my Natural Tucker bread book(1983).we used to sell them at Natural Tucker bakery. I would dispute that a croissant can contain margarine and still be called a croissant. Croissant are made with butter.As margarine contains trans-fats its also bad for you, and a monstrous fake food. What you describe are "Flaky pastries" the roti channai... not "Croissant". Croissant are also the domain of a skilled pastry chef/baker,it takes a lot of skill and practice to get the layering right. But good work Dom.

carla's picture
carla 2008 February 7
Hi John, interesting remark that croissants were originally made with wheat-sourdough (I guess that is what you mean with levain). I would have thought that croissants were a pretty recent addition to the bakery shops? What do you call "barm" though? Isn't that the yeast that is used in brewing?
As to the margarine - well I personally never use transfats - however I guess that a vegan diet means either transfats or only oils which are liquid, except if you use coconut oil straight from the fridge?
JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 7

Hi Carla..Where a location produces butter and where flour is available, butter pastries,which much later were formalised as "croissant", were commonly made even in antiquity. Like the "roti channai" mentioned.What would be called croissant today,were being made in Vienna in early historical times (prob 13thC),because the strong hungarian (Vienna) wheats produced more extensible doughs than were possible in western europe. When these wheats became available in France in the gastronomic times of the late 18th century, the flaky Viennese pastry was hijacked and became the French croissant...and "Vienna" bread became possible.

Often,a barm was used with a sourdough for this.The barm is only useful if its from an Ale (top) fermenting wort,and then,its a polyculture of various saccharomyces yeasts, including morphs of sacch cerevisiae,and others.But bakers commonly brewed these yeasts...its quite an art in itself.

Yeh i understand a vegans choice of margarine, but its a crappy fake food,thats all, which has a very bad scientific profile as a food. I dont understand how anyone with food awareness could use it?

The issue is about taxonomy...or the naming of things.In the same way sourdough bread shouldnt have yeast in it, croissant shouldnt have margarine. They are a culinary item known to be made from butter, its about authenticity. And the modern tendency to morph words so they have no actual meaning anymore is creating a virtual food world....just look at the word "natural". So im saying we need to be authentic about naming objects,particularly food.

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2008 February 9
[quote=johnd]but its a crappy fake food[/quote]
No mister! Absolutely!

I don't know wether to eat or to eat not, but?
A "croissant" made of made of genetic changed corn and some technical oil is a great fake!
In nothern france I've seen bakeries which croissants were made from pastry, a very fine petalled pastry. Of course pastry is often made from butter but some people use margarine.
Here in germany there is a special margarine grease called "Sanella". A lot of bakeries a using such grease for toured products.
Authentic food is ok, I'm a fan of, too. But what is uthenmtic?
Baking pizza and chiabatta from wheat instead of durum, injera from durum inead of sorghum?
I don't miss the Butter, I miss trhe eggs.
BUt SourDom wrote "..for obvious reasons.."
So it's clear.they are special one's
I'm sure there are people to love them.

Fine work!
Even the 2nd from bottom ;)
carla's picture
carla 2008 February 10
Thanks JohnD for the detailed explanation. I have never learned much about bread history outside of Germany I must admit, so its interesting to read and write in some different countries bread forums.

I have enticed a member of the German Baking forum (link above) to bake some sourdough croissants. However she used a more traditional approach with Milk, Eggs and Butter in her recipe, but no yeast at all.

[url= Croissants with sourdough[/b][/url]

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 1
I liked the idea of making Sourdough Croissants so I gave it a try this weekend.  The formula I used is a bit from here and there so I'm not sure what credit to give where.  Here is the picture.

One tester said it was the best Croissant that he had ever eaten.  He buys Croissants at the store all of the time.  I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Here is the formula that I used.
1st Preferment Build   grams  precent         
Starter                        8.57    50.00%
Flour                        17.13    100.00%
Water                       17.13    100.00%
Total 1st build         42.83    250.00%
2nd Preferment Build           
Starter 1st build        42.83      85.71%
Flour                         49.96    100.00%
Water                        49.96    100.00%
Total 2nd Build        142.75    285.71%
Dough Formula           
Flour                        475.85    100.00%
Water                           0             0.00%
Salt                              9.52        2.00%
Preferment               142.75      30.00%
Whole Milk               285.51      60.00%
Unsalted Butter          57.1        12.00%
Sugar                         14.28        3.00%
Total                        985         207.00%   
Unsalted Butter        200    Folded into the dough
Egg Wash           
One Egg           
Milk    1 Tbs       
Sugar    1 tsp       

Coated the Croissants with the egg wash right before you put them into the oven.

Bake at 350 F until brown, about 17 mins.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2008 December 2
The larger one in the middle has chocolate in it.   I took ten to work today and had lots of good comments about them.  I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  There isn't much sugar in the batch that I made and thought if I did it again I would increase the sugar.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 December 5
I'm going to have to try these one day. I'll have to work in the living room where there's air-conditioning. Looks so scrumptious.
boggin 2009 November 14


A good vegan margarine has no trans fats. Check out these ingredients:


Expeller-pressed natural oil blend (soybean, palm fruit, canola seed and olive)
filtered water
pure salt
natural flavor (derived from corn; no MSG, no alcohol, no gluten)
soy protein
soy lecithin
lactic acid (non-dairy, derived from sugar beets) beta-carotene color (from natural source)

This one's called 'EARTH BALANCE' Natural Buttery Spread

It sure ain't butter but it's as natural as you'll get in a margarine. Apparently bakes up extremely well, and is supposed to taste quite buttery. Get with it guys, there's a fast growing population of vegan lifestylers out there and the food manufacturing industry is sitting up and taking notice.


Chef's everywhere are also trying their hands at vegan cuisine, a new challenge, a new frontier. One that's good for the planet, the environment and you.

BTW Dom, good on you for trying your hand at this 'croissant' challenge. None of us learn unless we're willing to open our minds, experiment, explore and break new ground.



Mr_Punchy's picture
Mr_Punchy 2009 November 15

Hey Boggin,

The thing with margarine though boggin, is that the oils are artificially "saturated" in order to make them a solid.  Essentially, the oils are heated and then have hydrogen bubbled through them.  This process splits off the double carbon bonds between carbon molecules, and attaches a hydrogen molecule to one of the bonds, making it a saturated fat and an artificial trans fat.  The term "saturated" is about how much hydrogen is within the carbon chains within the oil.  The more hyrdrogen, the less "flexible" the chain, and thus the more stiff or solid the oil and also the more "saturated" it is.


Margarines are always on about how they are "made from 100% polyunsaturated fats", but alas, they are then artificially saturated.  And they are definately trans fats, worse for you than butter in fact (though, as you mentioned, butter is worse for our poor planet).  I generally go for olive oil as a toast topping, (or home made nut butters or avocado).  If you're after a solid fat for cooking with, you'd be better off using coconut oil as it is naturally saturated, not artificially so, so in cool climates, is actually a solid like butter. 


Anyway, a bit of random babble that I thought you may be interested in.


Mr P.

boggin 2009 November 19

Hello there Mr P,

Thanks for writing. Hey I think you must have been to lunch at our place sometime! Avocado spreads, Olive oil as butter/marg sub, organic olive oil for baking and saute. Actually the hydrogenated oils issue has been well-known for yonks, tho' not too many folk ever sat up and took notice.

Personally, I labelled margarines as rather poisonous chemical factories from the get-go when they first usurped butter on the retail shelves. Through the years I largely managed to avoid consuming it, but never succeeded in weaning some older kin off it .... not once they'd developed a taste for its convenience as an easy-spreading butter sub, and yeah, they could cook with it too.

Down under, our country took major steps a few years ago to cut trans fats out of all commercial margarines. Most manufacturers succeeded in the task pretty well. I still don't use the stuff though.

That 'Earth Balance' brand I mentioned in my last mail is one sold in the States that claims to have no trans fats. There are no doubt others created by genuinely committed-to-healthy-food companies. It just means folks will have to do a bit of research to find them.

As someone else here said: 'It's all about food awareness'


Mr_Punchy's picture
Mr_Punchy 2009 November 20

I stand (perhaps) corrected boggin.  I do know of a few "margarine" style spreads that use thickeners to solidify the oils, but they you can't cook with them very well cos they don't melt like normal butter or margarine.  I'll have to look into the one you mentioned and do my own bit of 'food awareness' research.  As I'm in australia, we don't have that brand.  If you could point me to any articles or whatever, I'd love to have a read.  

Also Boggin, I must explain that I wasn't trying to upset you or get your nose out of joint by my post, just trying to help.  From the terse personal message and subsequent "blocking" of personal messages from me, I'm guessing you took my post the wrong way.  I'm sorry that was your reaction, it was meant with no ill will.

Mr P.

Maedi's picture
Maedi 2009 November 20

From the terse personal message and subsequent "blocking" of personal messages from me, I'm guessing you took my post the wrong way.

Hi Guys, if there's an issue here, you're very welcome to contact me to resolve. Boggin, please do consider that we're all here to learn and help each other out, and no one is aiming for offence.

Adam T's picture
Adam T 2009 December 12

going to try this recipe tonight. Going to double the sour starter though. Hopefully it will shorten the final proof.

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