Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants

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Gluten-Free, Dairy Free & Vegan Croissant

These Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants are flaked with buttery layers of chewy croissant dough. I never thought I would be able to enjoy a  delicious gluten-free and vegan croissant ever again and now I can! 

I’m dedicating this recipe to life’s challenges that expose our vulnerabilities. You know the ones that make you reconsider your entire way of thinking, your career choice, friendships, you name it. They are the ones that make you want to just quit everything and start over. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly proud of this recipe because it was one of the most challenging recipes I have ever done. However, this pride comes from some painstakingly hard work, heartache, and a severe desire to just give up. Needless to say, they have quite the story. 

Full disclosure, I made 8 batches of these Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants before the recipe was viable. Normally, I would have given up after 2 batches and call it a loss but since this was for a client that was seemingly quite excited about the recipe, I stuck to it. So, batch after batch, I baked my little buns off, but my croissants fell flat, literally, they just wouldn’t rise. I was on my last draw when I asked the vegan baking community and they were awesome. They troubleshooted the hell out of those flat croissants. Hats off to the awesome community that was willing to take the time in helping me create this. 

When I was finally ready to finalize the transaction, I called my client with the good news but he had completely changed his attitude.  He almost mocked the idea that it could even be possible to create a moist vegan, flaky, buttery Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants and didn’t want to have anything to do with the recipe.  So, there we go, in just a simple phone conversation, over a week’s worth of grocery shopping, measuring, baking, cleaning, troubleshooting, and repeat down the drain. My world was turned upside down. I can’t express the amount of hurt & pain I was experiencing. I felt stupid, cheated, you name it. I wanted to just give up. It took me a while to get over the whole thing but I decided that I wouldn’t let one stupid client have so much control over my own future. So here I am back in the saddle and working hard at what I’m doing. 

Everyone experiences times like these. These times of vulnerability make us feel weak, violated, humiliated, or rejected. Either way, you are not alone. We are all vulnerable at some point or another. It’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s a part of life. Just keep pushing forward, it gets better, even if it does mean that we need to make some changes in our lives, the lesson we’ve just learned means that it does get better, I promise.   

Here’s how to make them:

There are 2 major hurdles that I had to overcome to make these croissants. The first one being the type of vegan butter that you are using and the second the lack of elasticity in gluten-free flour. 

The Butter

When making regular croissants, you need to create layers of butter to be able to get that flaky texture. This is created by getting the butter block hard and folding it into the dough over and over again. If the butter is too soft then you cannot create those layers.  Vegan butter a lot of the time is like margarine, it’s quite soft even coming straight from the fridge. This is either because of the oils being used and/or added water making it more spreadable. Through this process, I have tried multiple types of butter; Earth balance, Melt, and Le Grand – Crème de la crème Vegan Butter. The only one that worked for me was Le Grand. If you don’t have this brand available in your area, you can do a test. Put it in the fridge for at least a day and take a butter knife and run it through the top as you would to spread it onto your toasts. If it flakes then you’ve found yourself a good butter for making your Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants, if it doesn’t find another brand, you’ll end up with a sloppy mess. Trust me, I’ve gone through this process over and over don’t even attempt it, not worth your time. 

When making your butter block, it will be in the fridge for at least a few hours. You’ll know when it is ready when you tap it on the counter and you hear a sharp knocking noise.

Replacing Gluten in Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants

What makes gluten yeast-based baked goods so fluffy is their elasticity. The gas-producing yeast balloons up inside creating pockets of air making them fluffy. When baking the same yeast-based products using gluten-free flour, you lose all of the elasticity, and the air escapes making for some very flat croissants. So, you need to replace this elasticity. I troubleshooted this problem with the vegan baking community and they came up with the solution that adding the psyllium husks would be the best way to do this. The heavens smiled down at me that day when I was finally able to get my croissants to rise.

Making Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants

The Day Before

Step 1 – The Dough

In a small bowl mixing, add the water to the psyllium husks and set aside for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add your yeast, sugar, and body temperature almond milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will activate your yeast and should create a foamy layer on the surface.

Step 1 of Gluten-Free & vegan Croissant

In a medium-sized bowl, add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix till uniform. Starting slowly, turn on your stand mixer with the yeast bowl and slowly add psyllium husks, then the melted butter, and finally the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time waiting in between till each scoop has been incorporated before the next.  Cover everything with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2 – The Butter Block

The key to good croissants is the flaky, fluffy layers. To achieve these layers, you’ll have to fold in a block of butter over and over again.  So, the first step is to make your butter block. Like I explained earlier, one of the most crucial steps is to find the right type of vegan butter, or else you’ll just have a buttery mess. Choose one that will flake when passing a knife through it when it is refrigerated. 

Start by leaving your butter out for a few hours to soften it up. Take a small bowl and add your butter and 2 tbsp of flour and mix till uniform. Then, take a sandwich-sized ziplock bag and put it into a tall glass rolling the opening over the edge of the glass. This will facilitate adding your butter into the bag. Once all your butter is in the bag, close the bag 2/3rd of the way and either flatten it out with your hands or you can also use a rolling pin. Try to remove all the air in the bag then close it and lay it flat in the refrigerator. Leave it there for at least a few hours so that the block hardens. When you take it out it should be so hard that it makes a sharp sound when you knock it on a hard surface. 

The Day Of.

Step 3 – Laminating the Dough

Take your dough out of the fridge and lay it out on a sheet of saran wrap. Cut out half of the dough and place the rest back in the fridge. If it smells a little like beer, don’t worry this is normal, it’s just the yeast. If this smell bothers you, knead it a little. Sprinkle your surface with flour then, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough till you get a 9×13”-sized sheet of dough (should be ½ in or less. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then transfer the dough to the baking sheet and cover with saran wrap. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes then flip over and place back into the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Step 3 -Laminating the dough

Remove baking sheet from freezer and the butter block from the fridge and immediately place dough on a flat surface with the parchment paper. Place the butter block in the center lengthwise of the dough and fold the two sides on top of it then fold again in half. Roll out again till you have approximately a 9×13 sheet of dough. Repeat this process 2 more times. If it’s a sloppy mess, then your butter was probably too soft. Place the dough back onto the cookie sheet and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Step 4 – Shaping the Croissants

Remove the baking sheet from the fridge over the length of the dough, cut 3 equal-sized rectangles. Then split those rectangles into equal-sized triangles. Over the base of the triangle cut a 1” slit. Start by curling the inside of the slit towards the outside and then roll up your croissants.  

Step 4 Shaping the croissants

Step 5 – Proofing your dough

Make sure to put your croissants into a draft-free environment covered with a wet cloth. I put mine into an oven covered with a wet paper towel. Depending on the room temperature, if it’s below 20˚C or 68˚F you might want to add a pot of lightly simmering water. Yeast prefers warmer environments between 20-24˚C or 68-77˚F. However; you don’t want it so hot that the butter melts out of your croissants. They should grow more or less double in size but they will be visibly larger and puffy. If you can touch them and it leaves a permanent indent then you know that your croissants are well-proofed.

Proofed

Step 6 – Baking

Preheat your oven to 475˚F. In the meantime prepare all your “egg wash” ingredients. Brush on top of your croissant and put back in the fridge. Once the oven reaches its temperature, throw in a couple of ice cubes into your oven and put in your croissants on the middle rack. Set your timer for 5 minutes then reduce to 450˚F. Set your timer again for 5 minutes then reduce to 425˚F and bake for another 5 minutes and you’re done!

I hope you love them as much as I do. These my bundles of pride and joy.

Gluten-Free, Dairy Free & Vegan Croissant
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Vegan & Gluten-Free Croissant
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Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants

These Gluten-free & Vegan Croissants are flaked with delicious buttery layers of chewy croissant. They are absolutely decadent.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine French
Keyword Croissant, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Gluten-free brunch Ideas, Vegan, Vegan Brunch Ideas

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with dough attachment (optional)

Ingredients

Butter Block for Half the Dough

  • ¾ cup high-quality unsalted vegan butter such as Maison Le Grand
  • 2 tbsp gluten free bread flour blend

Dough

  • 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) almond milk warmed in microwave for 20 sec or body temperature
  • 4 tbsp Psyllium husk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 ¾ cups Gluten-Free flour mix I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour
  • 1 tsp Fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp butter melted (warm not hot)

Vegan "Egg Wash"

  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter melted*

Instructions

DOUGH

  • In a small bowl mixing, add the water to the psyllium husks and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in the bowl of a stand mixer, add your yeast, sugar, and body temperature almond milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will activate your yeast and should create a foamy layer on the surface.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix till uniform. Starting slowly, turn on your stand mixer with the yeast bowl and slowly add psyllium husks, then the melted butter, and finally the dry ingredients ½ cup at a time waiting in between till each scoop has been incorporated before the next. Once everthing has been combined, turn the mixer on high for 5 minutes. At this point, your dough should not be sticky. If it is add and extra 1/4 cup of flour.
  • Cover everything with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

BUTTER BLOCK

  • Take a small bowl and add your softened butter and 2 tbsp of flour and mix till uniform. Choose a vegan butter that will flake when passing a knife through it when refrigerated. *See Notes.
  • Take a sandwich-sized ziplock bag and put it into a tall glass rolling the opening over the edge of the glass. This will facilitate adding your butter into the bag. Once all your butter is in the bag, close the bag 2/3rd of the way and either flatten it out with your hands or you can also use a rolling pin. Try to remove all the air in the bag then close it and lay it flat in the refrigerator for a least a few hours or until the block has hardened.

DOUGH

  • Take your dough out of the fridge and lay it out on a sheet of saran wrap. Cut half of the dough and place the rest back in the fridge. If it smells a little like beer, don’t worry this is normal, it’s just the yeast. If this smell bothers you, knead it a little.
  • Sprinkle your surface with flour then, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough till you get a 9×13”-sized sheet of dough (should be 1/4" or less. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then transfer the dough to the baking sheet and cover with saran wrap. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes then flip over and place back into the freezer for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the freezer and the butter block from the fridge. Cut down the sides of the baggie to expose the butter block. Set it aside while you prepare the dough.
  • Remove baking sheet from freezer and the butter block from the fridge and immediately place dough on a flat surface with the parchment paper.
  • Place the butter block in the center lengthwise of the dough and fold the two sides on top of it then fold again in half. Roll out again till you have approximately a 9×13 sheet of dough. Repeat this process 2 more times. If it’s a sloppy mess, then your butter was probably too soft.
  • Place the dough back onto the cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

SHAPING THE CROISSANTS

  • Remove the baking sheet from the fridge and over the length of the dough, cut 3 equal-sized rectangles. Then split those rectangles along the diagonal into equal-sized triangles. Over the base of the triangle cut a 1” slit. Start by curling the inside of the slit towards the outside and then roll up your croissants.  
  • Place the croissants at least 2 in. apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover croissants with a wet paper towel.

PROOFING

  • Bring a small pot of water to a slow boil on the stove. Remove from the heat and place the pot in your oven on the very bottom rack or even right on the bottom of the oven.
  • Place the croissants on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Close the oven door and allow the croissants to slowly rise, which can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. Once they look puffy and they’re noticeably larger, you can remove them from the oven.**
    Gluten-Free & Vegan Croissant

BAKING THE CROISSANTS

  • Preheat oven to 475˚F. Mix all ingredients for the "egg wash". Brush the croissants with the prepared “egg wash” and place the croissants in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • Take a couple of ice cubes and throw them onto the oven floor and place the croissants on the middle rack. Quickly close the oven door and set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • Drop the temperature down to 450° F and set a timer again for 5 minutes.
  • Again, drop the temperature down to 425° F and set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the croissants from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Make sure you use a high-quality vegan butter that is not spreadable at fridge temperature. I have found this out the hard way that most vegan butters are almost like margarines and have a high water content and/or are mixed with oils that will not harden. It is essential that it should have more or less the same consistency as a non-vegan butter. I used Le Grand or Miyokos butters
** The croissants rise best at temperatures of 20-24˚C or 68-77˚, if the temperature rises above this, the butter might leak out.

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