Whole Wheat Croissants

Savory Pockets

Years ago I ordered a whole wheat croissant at the King Arthur Bakery in Vermont. It was too good to be all whole wheat, I thought, so I interrogated the staff and they assured me it was. When I sadly concluded that frequent commutes from Iowa to Vermont weren’t feasible, I did my best to savor every bite. It didn’t occur to me that I might pull off such an extraordinary baking achievement on my own.

My good baking stars realigned later at  the Kneading Conference in Maine, where I attended a class on whole grain pastries. That’s what inspired this (slight) adaptation of what I learned there. They’re a bit of a project to make, but I assure you the rewards far outweigh the effort required.

Imagine enjoying a fabulously decadent croissant where you actually feel nourished instead of dazed by a refined sugar and flour induced stupor. Well, here you go…

Whole Wheat Croissants – Ingredients and Instructions Printout

Note: the chocolate baton recipe (end of video Pt 1) is taken straight out of the book How to Make Bread, which has a great section on croissants and many wonderful things you can do with laminated dough. Our videos only scratch the surface.

Bonus Breadtopia Giveaway!

We’re going to give the first 3 people that make these croissants and post a photo and brief description of their experience in the comments box below, a $50 Breadtopia store credit. Now seriously, folks, eating your fresh home made croissants should be reward enough, but we’re just trying to have a little fun around here. It can get pretty quiet in Iowa ;-).

Rules: 1. Use all whole grain flour. 2. Try to follow the recipe and instructions. 3. Please post a photo of the finished croissants. 4. Have fun.

We’ll post a link here to your photo and comments for all to enjoy.

June 19 Update: We have our 3 winners in our Bonus Breadtopia Giveaway. Congratulations to Fred ThompsonSam Connell and Juanita Reynard. Each bring added ideas and insights into whole grain croissant baking. Well done!


     Recipe Resources:

Whole Wheat Croissants

Comments from our Forum

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  1. evatoad says:

    Hi Eric, I just finished baking a batch of whole wheat croissants. They are stupendous!

    The flavor is, as you promised, much better than all-white croissants, with a real depth and sweetness to it from the whole grains. I used a mix of home-milled hard red wheat, spelt, and kamut flours, supplemented with some Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. The croissants have all the flake and classic layers, but I love the slight weight the whole grain gives them... maybe best described as a "toothsome" quality.

    Thank you so much for this recipe, and for the videos.

    The shaping of my plain croissants leaves a little to be desired—I think I'd do better to give them wider bases—but believe me, the taste did not suffer. Can't wait to try the morning buns. I froze half the proofed-but-not-baked pastries, so I'm also looking forward to enjoying them in a week or two!

  2. Eric says:

    That's one of things I really like about them. It hardly matters what they look like. Although I think yours look awesome. So glad you gave 'em a try. Pretty labor intensive but so worth it.

    Thanks for the great pics!

Earlier Comments

54 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Croissants

  1. Rose

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for posting the videos! I can’t wait to try this. However, I don’t see your recipe posted. Can you direct me to the link?
    Thanks so much.

    • Hi Rose,

      The link is directly above the first video.

  2. I’ve now tried doing croissants for the third time, and each is better than the last. Each time a new aspect of the instructions sinks into my noodle. This last time it was about the technique and importance of the dough and butter square, as well as the 12′ width when you cut them. For the next time I’ll be more mindful of how wide the base of the triangle is. I figure it should be about 2″ – giving a 12″ height x 2″ base isosceles triangle.
    I too am curious about using sourdough starter instead of yeast. I can’t imagine it not working, though for this I would use very little starter (maybe a ratio of 1:20 starter to flour) and leave the initial dough for 15 hours at room temperature to mature. Next time!
    Great video! thank you!

  3. theritzyou

    Hi Eric,
    As a professional educator in mathematics/ engineering, all your videos are top notch in presentation and detail. You would get an “A” from me. My parents owned a continental bakery & restaurant, and I grew up in this environment. We always used the blocks of fresh yeast for our baking needs. For puff pastry, we always used all purpose flour that we converted into cake flour by taking 1 tbs of corn starch and substituting 1 tbs of AP per cup of flour. As using wheat flour will make a denser dough, it may be advantageous to substitute 1-2 tbs of corn starch for 1-2 tbs of wheat flour per cup to achieve a lighter and more flakier pastry. I have never used wheat flour to bake with other than for bread so I will experiment with this. For puff pastry, we never used yeast since the butter is the leavener when exposed to the high heat to get the rise. Maybe you should use more instant yeast to get a flakier product. Like you, I love to bake and cook. It brings back wonderful memories of my childhood now that I am 65 and have several grand kids. I will post pics of my wheat croissants later this week. I have never baked or made any bread with a starter before. I started two recently– one with rye and the other with wheat last week. Both are healthy starters today, although the wheat starter had a little mold on the top, which I simply removed with a paper towel; and the wheat starter looks great today. Thanks for your great videos. I see you live in SF. I live in LA near the coast too.
    Dr. R.

    • Hi Dr. R. Thanks for the nice feedback. How did your croissants work out?

  4. gina

    hi! love your videos and the way you have taken the fear out of baking!
    i have always been very intimidated by baking bread yet i have always inspired to try. as a passionate newbie, i can’t wait to attempt these little buggers. question: where did you post the recipes for the savory stuffings? if you haven’t posted them, would you be so kind to provide? thank you for all of your tips and tricks – the videos definitely help! will keep you updated as i look forward to trying out what you make look easy peasy
    thank you!


  5. Mike Rodgers

    In regards to the whole wheat flour. I have hard red, hard white and soft red home milled flour available. Would the soft red reduce the protein to a point it helps or hurts the dough. I’ve not tried pastries before.

  6. Rocco

    Hi Eric,
    Your croissants look so good! I love the “challenge” of making pastries with sourdough starter and was wondering if that’s something you recommend for this recipe or if you think the final result wouldn’t be as appealing. I used to make 100% whole wheat brioche with sourdough and it was really good and light, but I am afraid with all the butter in the croissants that they might not rise well and the result would be chewy/heavy/undercooked in the center… I trust your opinion on this matter! Thank you!

  7. Sandra

    Three questions about baking the (already proofed) frozen croissants – 1)do you recommend using an egg wash on the frozen pastry before popping into the oven; 2) at what temperature did you bake them, and; 3) for how long?


  8. I travel (and travel blog), and being 100% sure that the food I consume as I do so is healthy and delicious is really important to me. Your Breadtopia site has changed my life, I mean this literally. I now have my husband baking amazing breads, I made starter from scratch using the pineapple juice method, and I have been able to eliminate the sugars found in most store-purchased breads. Your videos are SO easy to follow and really take the “daunting” out and put the “you can do it” in!

    Thank you! Now if I can find 3 days in a row free I am going to make these croissants a freeze a bunch so I can just take them out 30 minutes before I walk out the door and have a nice warm one to eat on my next flight!!

    • Might have to print this one out and frame it. 🙂 Thanks!

      • I forgot to say that my husband, who climbs mountains, takes a sourdough pot with him now and makes biscuits and pancakes from it for his group. Bread is FUN!

        • Awesome. Need a picture of that.

  9. Sandra

    I haven’t yet taken the plunge, but can’t wait to make these for the onslaught of holiday houseguests. One question (hope I didn’t miss this someplace) – are you using salted or unsalted butter? Do you think it matters?

    I plan to use King Arthur white wheat as that is what I always have on hand. I’ll try to post my results soon.

    • I use unsalted butter but I don’t think it matters much. If all you have is salted, just cut back on the salt in the recipe a bit.

  10. Rachel

    Hi, I am new to your website and eager to try out your recipes. But unfortunately, I could not open the video file. Error msg is ” ERROR LOADING MEDIA: FILE COULD NOT BE PLAYED:. Can someone help? Which program should I use to open it?


    • Which browser are you using? 
      A few people have had issues but the vast majority can watch them without problems. The issues have been mostly around the Internet Explorer browser
      They should play fine in Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Chrome is probably your best bet. If you go to www.google.com/chrome and follow the instructions for installing Chrome, you should be fine. Otherwise, most of our videos (including these) are on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/breadtopia

      • Rachel

        Thanks for your advise. I had installed google chrome and now I am able to watch the movies and start learning to bake breads.
        Thank you so much again.

  11. Rebecca

    A couple of years ago, I tried making whole-wheat croissants. There used to be a bakery in Seattle that made them, and our family would have them once a week as a treat.

    Well, that first effort failed. The butter wasn’t at the right temperature and consistency (too hard), and the dough was too soft. I kept going, despite the butter chunks that formed. Then I tried baking them on a cookie sheet without edges, and the butter all melted out, ran to the bottom of the oven, and I wound up with Smoked Butter Rolls (kinda edible?) instead of croissants.

    Shortly before you posted this video, I got motivated to try again, and found this set of instructions/recipe: http://www.instructables.com/id/Hardcore-Croissants-made-easy/

    Two things I appreciated about it:
    1. Packaging up the butter in the first step. Creating the ‘plus’ shape ensures the butter is well-packaged in the dough – no leaky edges!
    2. Adding a bit of flour to the ‘stretching butter’ and kneading it in gets the butter to a really nice consistency and makes it easier to roll into layers with the dough.

    And it might be worth noting that a rimmed baking sheet is useful for making these (based on the butter-leakage problem). Thanks for creating such a fantastic instructional for whole-wheat croissants! The world needs more of them (the bakery in Seattle that used to make them no longer exists, for instance).

  12. Verne

    Hi Eric, I finally was able to see the videos of croissants, and am excited to make them….But the recipe is in grams I figured out how to make the change ….But could you PLEASE put it pounds and ounces or cups and spoons. My copier would not copy the recipe that is on your site, sorry but I am not quite as good as some are on their computers. I am still learning though.
    You are quite a good teacher and seem to get everybody excited about making different kinds of bread and goodies.
    Thank You,
    Verne 😀

  13. Juanita Reynard

    I forgot to mention … this half recipe made 10 medium size croissants.


  14. Juanita Reynard

    What I substituted for milk was Silk Almond Milk Vanilla 30 calories/serving.

    I was in such a hurry to try the croissants that I forgot to do the egg wash, but …

    They were LIGHT and FLAKY and absolutely DELICIOUS.

    I can’t imagine them being any better using cow’s milk.

    I gave one to my friend who DOESN’T like whole wheat bread, and she loved them!!!

    Who thought 100% whole wheat bread could be that light and flaky?

    My HALF recipe consisted of 291 g whole wheat flour, 1 tsp instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, 2 TBL sugar, 220 g almond milk., 1/2 # butter. I fit a 6″ square of butter over a 10″-11″ square of rolled dough.

    Thanks for such a wonderful recipe … and web site.


    • Awesome, Juanita. Great tip on the milk substitution. And contrats on being our second $50 store credit winner!

  15. Sam

    So far….this has been both easier and harder than I expected. The temperature and the amount of flour during the lamination process were super key to me. I’d love a pastry board to work on, or a stone surface as I think this would have been a bit easier to maintain cool temperature. For me, I have a butcher’s block island that I use for my bread work, and this worked reasonably well. I’m refrigerating overnight tonight, and I’ll bake half in the morning, and freeze the other half. (The way to moderation with a pound of butter.) Thanks for the inspiration! I normally stick with whole grain breads and haven’t journeyed into pastries in this fashion yet.

    • Sam

      Forgot to mention the flour. I used King Arthur White Winter Wheat, which is my primary go-to flour for sandwich bread for my family. If these work out yummy, I’ll give it a bash with some other grains too, but wanted to start simple.

      • Sam

        Here’s the first one out of the oven; I’m baking them singly to explore temp and time, and to freeze most of them!

        • Sam

          Amazingly delicious and super flaky! My wife and I gobbled up this one. The other ones are a bit smaller with tighter rolls. I think they’ll turn out lovelier. I loved the nuttiness from the whole grain flour with the butter. It reminded me fondly of the pie crust of my childhood (and adulthood as well.) My dad always made his pies with whole grains, so this was reminiscent in a beautiful way.

          • Sam

            Second baking try; these were better than the previous version. I’ve now got over a dozen in the freezer to explore further. I realized while looking at them for this picture that I neglected the egg wash. Served them for family lunch with a kid friendly omelette with fresh corn, sharp cheddar and basil…summer time!

            • Excellent, Sam, nice work. And congrats on snagging the 3rd spot in our little give away. $50 credit coming your way soon.

            • Sam

              Thanks Eric! I appreciate the inspiration and the “prize” of shopping again in your great store. I enjoyed the process greatly, and I had never before made the journey into laminated doughs.

  16. Mary Wagner

    I love the technique. I never knew how. Your video is a class ,free for the taking. Excellent. I used a mix of white and semolina because I had it in the refrigerator. Turned out wonderfully. Really a treat.

    • Mary Wagner

      Apparently upside down croissants to boot.??? Don’t know how that happened.try again.

    • Nice croissants, Mary. They’re so light they don’t even fall off the plate when turned upside down ;-).

      Hope you can make it out to the store and buy yourself some whole grain flour so you can make these. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

  17. Betty Sachs

    I’m having trouble printing the recipe for whole wheat croissants. Any suggestions.

    • Annie

      Maybe something is amiss with the connection between your printer and your computer.
      Maybe you could copy and paste the document into Word and print it out from there.
      Are you able to get to the PDF of the recipe by clicking on the words “Ingredients and Instructions Printout” above? If so, then swipe over the whole thing to highlight it, copy and print it into Word and then see if your printer recognizes it.

      If anything I have said here is not familiar or making sense, please let us know.

    • Betty Sachs

      I was finally able to print your recipe for whole wheat croissants. I’m sure the problem is me–novice on computer. Could you please also give us measurements in cups, tablespoons. Hopefully, I can find out how to convert on google or bing. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  18. Fred Thompson

    I’ve never made any kind of laminated pastry but you convinced me to try it. Lessons learned:

    1) Heat is the enemy. The dough sat out too long after the last rolling. Seems too much of the butter was absorbed. The bottoms weren’t puffy.

    2) The recipe assumes American butter. I used European. Did that make a difference? Dunno.

    3) Dough pieces must be fairly large. The recipe makes a lot of dough, more than twice what would comfortably fit on my 19″ circular pastry board. In the future, I’ll make a half recipe.

    4) Water to help dough “seal” works great on tortillas and egg roll wrappers. It creates a mess with this dough.

    In the future, I’ll make half a recipe and cut it in half so the rolling process is on smaller pieces. Gallon freezer bags work great to hold the dough while it chills.

    We didn’t have all the ingredients for the fillings mentioned so wemade one with Nutella, sliced bananas and toasted walnuts. The other was Pancetta, leeks, toasted walnuts and honey goat cheese.

    The little pastry sugars from Ikea went on the sweet batch and large chunk sea salt went on the savory. Turns out the salt didn’t add anything useful so it won’t be used again.

    • Fred Thompson

      Here are the completed Nutella/banana croissants. Notice how they didn’t hold together. I think that was a combination of the dough being too warm and trying to seal them with water.

      I don’t really understand why the didn’t puff up as much as I expected. Maybe the “proofing” was supposed to be in the refrigerator so the temperature change in the butter would happen quickly. It seems the butter melted into the dough instead of bursting as was desired.

      FWIW, roasted banana is a great complement to dark chocolate. Roasted banana ice cream goes great with dark chocolate brownies. This was a nod to that combination.

    • Hurray, we have our first winner. Congratulations Fred, we’ll get a $50 gift certificate emailed out to you.

      Thanks for underscoring the importance of working in as cool a room temp as possible. American butter, European butter, doesn’t matter.

      As far as not getting a decent rise, are you sure your yeast was fresh and vital.

      They are proofed at room temp, not the fridge.

  19. Torbie

    Hi Eric–
    You are a sweetie of a baking instructor, and your croissants look delish!
    San Francisco

  20. Gina

    Guilt-free croissants — perfect!

  21. wes

    Thanks looks great

  22. Sue

    The video was great! I can’t wait to try a batch of these! You make it look easy, so I am game to give them a try!

  23. Verne

    Eric, if you can please help.. I can’t see your videos any more. It says error loading media, file could not be played. I really miss seeing them as I use them for reference. Is it my puter or you.

    • Hi Verne,

      Which browser are you using? 

      A few people have issues but since the vast majority don’t, I haven’t been able to isolate the problem.

      They should play fine in Firefox, Safari, Chrome. Internet Explorer is the most likely culprit and Chrome is probably your best bet. If you go to http://www.google.com/chrome and follow the instructions for installing Chrome, you should be fine. Otherwise, most of our videos (including these) are on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/breadtopia

      • Verne

        Thanks for your quick reply. It is funny that this started all of a sudden, I have watched them many times and enjoy seeing them over and over. I will check into google chrome.

      • Elizabeth

        Eric, I experience the same problem as Verne in my husband’s computer. I am watching your videos in my cellphone now until my computer gets fix. By the way, your video came just in time as I was doing reserch for my class. We are doing croissants and puff pastry. Thank you Eric

  24. Looking forward to trying this – it looks yummy and I can think of a million and one way’s to perk up this recipe with fruit etc.

  25. Annie

    THANK YOU!!! I’m speechless with anticipation to try this.

  26. Thomas

    Hi. Thanks for the video, they look great.

    Do you think it would work if you used a wild yeast starter?



    • Hi Thomas,

      It would work to a degree. Instant yeast has the extra “kick” needed to get a lighter, flakier crumb. I haven’t tried a sourdough starter, but my guess is they would be good but heavier.

      • Thomas

        I see. Thank you for writing back to quickly. This guy is good!

        • Elizabeth

          Eric, i have a lot of fun making this croissants. I used king arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour and plugra european style butter. I filled them with a guava paste by goya and a mexican cheese called panela the brand i used was casique. I didnt egg wash but did a powder sugar glasé for the stuffed ones. I hope to win, but even if i dont my family enjoy them tremendously.

        • Elizabeth

          Eric, i have a lot of fun making this croissants. I used king arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour and plugra european style butter. I filled them with a guava paste by goya and a mexican cheese called panela the brand i used was casique. I didnt egg wash but did a powder sugar glasé for the stuffed ones. I hope to win, but even if i dont my family enjoy them tremendously.
          I a. Sorry but it is taking forever to load.

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