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Easy Twisted Croissant French Bread

This twisted croissant French bread looks fancy, but it is SO easy to make at home and is a total showstopper. So buttery and fluffy and yummy!

Making croissants at home can be an intimidating multi-day, multi-step affair.

But making twisted croissant French bread at home only takes a couple of hours, and the result is a flaky, buttery, twisted croissant-style bread that is literally out of this world delicious.

Two loaves of twisted croissant French bread on wire rack.

Very Simple French Bread Dough

The dough we’re using for this recipe is actually adapted from my beloved, popular breadstick recipe.

It is such a simple, foolproof dough and so easy to work with – it is perfect for this croissant bread!

Using any stand mixer of your choice (or making it by hand with a bowl and spoon), mix and knead the dough ingredients until a soft, smooth dough forms.

It’s REALLY important that this dough is not over floured and stiff or you’ll be cursing everyone’s name trying to roll it out. On the flip side, a dough that is too soft and sticky can be problematic, too. Try for a dough that is soft and slightly sticky but easily clears the sides of the bowl. It should leave a light residue on your fingers but not be overly wet and sticky.

Flour, water, yeast in stainless steel mixing bowl.

Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Bread dough rising in stainless steel bowl.

The Butter Packet

This croissant bread requires making a thin sheet of butter that gets folded and rolled into the bread dough.

To make the butter packet:

  1. Grab a piece of parchment paper about 16 1/4-inches by 12-inches (doesn’t have to be exact, but should be close to those dimensions). The precut sheets are about this size.
  2. Fold the two short edges on each side in toward each other about 4 1/2 inches. They will overlap a bit. Crease the edges well.
  3. Keep those edges folded in and fold the top and bottom edges over about 1 3/4-inches.
  4. When all the edges are folded in, it will form a little parchment packet with the center rectangle dimensions about 8 1/2-inches by 7-inches. 

Don’t stress too much about the folding – these are just guidelines. If the folds are off by a little bit, it’s not going to be a problem as long as the folds completely enclose the center area where the butter will go.

Below is a reference chart with the parchment and dimensions.

Parchment paper with lines and dimensions for folding.

Take two sticks of butter at cool room temperature and cut into several big pieces.

Unfold the parchment and place the butter in the center of the parchment. Fold up the packet using the pre-creased folds and flip over so the folded edges are on the bottom.

Use a rolling pin, lightly tap the butter (too much aggression here and the parchment could rip) until it starts to flatten and merge into a thick square.

Continue tapping the butter and eventually transition to using the rolling pin to roll the butter into a thin sheet so it reaches all the edges of the parchment packet using short quick rolls with the pin. It should evenly thick throughout.

Place the butter packet in the fridge to chill while you make the dough.

Butter cubes in parchment, parchment folded, using rolling pin to flatten butter into thin sheet.

How to Fold the Croissant French Bread

When the dough has risen and butter has chilled, lightly punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured counter.

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 18-inches by 11- or 12-inches.

Take the butter packet out of the refrigerator, and unfold the parchment (but leave the butter on the parchment paper). Place the butter packet face down on the center of the rolled out bread dough. Peel the parchment carefully off the butter leaving the butter sheet on the dough.

Using the pictures below as a reference, begin by folding one short side of dough about halfway to 2/3 over the butter. Fold the other short side of dough over the butter, overlapping the first folded side by about an inch.

Fold the top and bottom edges over about 1/2- to 1-inch and press to seal and then fold the dough in half lengthwise to form a rectangle loaf.

Placing butter sheet on bread dough, folding bread dough in thirds over butter, pinching edges of dough and folding in half.

Rolling, Rolling and More Folding

Roll the thick, folded loaf into a long rectangle about 8-inches by 22-inches. If the dough springs back when rolling, let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the gluten relax and roll again.

Rolling out butter filled French bread dough into long rectangle.

Fold one short edge of the long rectangle into the center (pictures below). Repeat with the other short edge so they meet in the middle. Fold the dough in half (from one of the short sides).

Let the dough rest for 2-3 minutes. This helps relax the gluten so it is easier to keep rolling out.

Rolling out and folding breadstick dough with butter.

Roll the folded dough into a 12-inch or 13-inch square. You might see little bubbles on the surface of the dough. Totally normal (don’t deliberately pop them!).

Cut the square into four strips.

Pro Tip: you can cut the dough into even thinner/smaller strips for twisted croissant breadsticks!

Rolled out dough cut into four strips with pizza cutter.

Rising and Baking the Croissant French Bread

Place the twisted croissant loaves on a parchment-lined half sheet pan (I place two loaves per sheet pan, spaced a few inches apart).

Cover and let the dough rise until noticeably puffy. This dough can rise slowly in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Don’t let it rise in an overly warm spot or the butter will melt before it hits the oven and you won’t get the delicious, flaky, buttery layers.

Bake in a preheated oven until golden. The smells emanating from your oven are going to be incredible. Hot, fresh, buttery, baked bread. Be still, my heart.

Unrisen, risen and baked loaves of croissant French bread.

Bonus Tip: Brush with Butter

It’s inevitable to have some leaked butter on the sheet pan when you pull the bread from the oven.

This is actually preferable!

Take a pastry brush and brush the butter on the sheet pan over the top of the warm bread.

Brushing butter on croissant french bread with pastry brush.

The Most Incredible Bread Ever

This twisted croissant French bread has become my secret weapon.

I’ve made it dozens of times over the last month for us to enjoy, to serve to company, and to take to friends/neighbors.

To say it is an absolute showstopper is an understatement. Everyone is bowled over at how deliciously amazing this bread is. It’s soft and fluffy…but also buttery and flaky.

It can be cut into slices…but more often, we tear off pieces and go the all out rustic route.

Served warm, this bread is absolutely decadent and irresistible.

Piece of croissant French bread on top of loaf on wood cutting board.

Homemade Croissants vs Croissant French Bread

I have made homemade croissants approximately one time in my life. They were good but super time intensive and honestly, VERY stressful.

This twisted croissant French bread, on the other hand, is made start to finish in a couple of hours, and is so easy and delicious, I don’t think I’ll ever be tempted to make homemade croissants again.

I can’t wait for you to make this! It’s going to change your bread making life!

{Note: See below the recipe for where the inspiration for this bread came from.}

{Second Note: I made a quick how-to video of this bread and posted it over on Instagram for those that like more visual instructions!}

Buttery croissant French bread on cooling rack.

One Year Ago: Swedish Pancakes 
Two Years Ago: Easy Yogurt Flatbread
Three Years Ago: Easy Homemade English Muffins {Whole Grain Option – No Mixer Needed!} 
Four Years Ago: Super Easy S’Mores Chocolate Pie {or Tart}
Five Years Ago: Incredible Fluffy Overnight Buttermilk Pancakes
Six Years Ago: Chinese Cashew Chicken {30-Minute Meal} 
Seven Years Ago: Double Chocolate Quick Bread 
Eight Years Ago: Healthier Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Snack Bars 
Nine Years Ago: Family Style Shrimp Scampi {20-Minute Meal}
Ten Years Ago: Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Loaf of twisted croissant French bread on cooling rack.

Easy Twisted Croissant French Bread

  • 1 cup (227 g) salted butter, cool room temperature
  • 2 cups warm water, 105-110 degrees F
  • 1 tablesoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 3/4 (675 g) cups all-purpose flour, more or less (see note)
  • For the butter packet: grab a piece of parchment paper about 16 1/4-inches by 12-inches (doesn’t have to be exact, but should be close to those dimensions). Fold the two short edges of the parchment in toward each other about 4 1/2 inches. They will overlap a bit. Crease the edges well.

  • Keep those edges folded in and fold the top and bottom edges in about 1 3/4-inches. It should form a little parchment packet when folded with the center rectangle dimensions about 8 1/2-inches by 7-inches. See pictures in the post for a visual.

  • Unfold the parchment. Cut the butter into large pieces and place in the center of the parchment. Fold up the packet using the pre-creased folds and flip over so the folded edges are on the bottom.

  • Use a rolling pin, lightly tap the butter (too much aggression here and the parchment could rip) until it starts to flatten and merge into a thick square. Continue tapping or use the rolling pin to roll the butter into a thin sheet so it reaches all the edges of the parchment packet and has a relatively even thickness. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the dough.

  • For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the water, yeast and sugar, and let sit until foamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix until a soft dough forms that clears the sides of the bowl. Add more flour, a little at a time, if the dough is sticking to the dough hook or sides of the bowl.

  • {It’s REALLY important that this dough is not over floured and stiff or it will be hard to roll it out. On the flip side, a dough that is too soft and sticky can be problematic, too. Try for a dough that is soft and slightly sticky but easily clears the sides of the bowl. It should leave a light residue on your fingers but not be overly wet and sticky.}

  • Knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.

  • Cover the bowl or transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.

  • Lightly punch out the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll into a rectangle about 18-inches by 11- or 12-inches.

  • Take the butter packet out of the refrigerator, and unfold the parchment (but leave the butter on the parchment paper). Place the butter packet face down on the center of the rolled out bread dough. Peel the parchment carefully off the butter leaving the butter sheet on the dough.

  • Work quickly and don’t over work the dough during the next couple steps of folding and rolling so the butter doesn’t get too soft!

  • Fold one short side of dough about halfway to 2/3 over the butter. Fold the other short side of dough over the butter, overlapping the first folded side by about an inch.

  • Fold the top and bottom edges over about 1/2- to 1-inch and press to seal.

  • Fold the dough in half (from right to left or vice versa) once more.

  • Starting in the center, roll the dough out into a long, thin rectangle, about 8-inches by 22-inches. If the dough springs back when rolling, let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the gluten relax and roll again.

  • Fold one short edge of the long rectangle into the center. Repeat with the other short edge so they meet in the middle. Fold the dough in half (from one of the short sides).

  • Let the dough rest for 2-3 minutes. Prepare two half sheet pans by lining with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (400 degrees F for a darker crust).

  • Roll into a 12-inch or 13-inch square. If the dough springs back when rolling, let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the gluten relax and roll again. Cut the square into four strips.

  • Take each strip, twist it 3-4 times and place on the prepared sheet pans (two strips per sheet pan, spaced several inches apart).

  • Cover and let rise until noticeably puffy (the dough can rise in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours – when taking out of the refrigerator, if it hasn’t risen enough, let it come to room temp and continue rising until nearly doubled). You don’t want to let these loaves rise in an overly warm spot or the butter will melt before it hits the oven and you won’t get the flaky, buttery layers.

  • Bake the loaves until nicely golden, 20-22 minutes.

  • Immediately out of the oven, use a pastry brush to brush any leaked butter on the sheet pan over the top of the loaves.

  • Serve warm or at room temperature. Bread can be sliced or torn into pieces.

Flour: the exact amount of flour will depend on a lot of factors, mostly how you measure the flour. If you aren’t using a kitchen scale, gently fluff the flour, scoop and then level. You may need a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky; it’s totally fine to continue adding flour a little bit at a time until a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed that clears the sides of the bowl. I have not tried this recipe with whole wheat flour. 
Helpful Tip: to ensure the butter doesn’t get too soft or squeeze out of the dough when folding and rolling, make sure to work quickly and effectively once you start folding and rolling. Use quick, sure motions with the rolling pin and don’t over work the dough. Also, make sure you aren’t stretching the dough when folding it over. This could create super thin layers of dough that tear easily or cause the butter to peek through when rolling. 
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, inspired by @mollyjwilk on Instagram who made a version of this with @thefoodnanny baguette recipe. I simplified by using my easy breadstick recipe (increased the recipe to make four perfect little loaves, and I also fleshed out the instructions with dimensions for the butter packet as well as altering the folding and rolling method a bit with an extra fold in the first set of folding/rolling and brushing the extra butter on the loaves at the end

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