Croissants are one of those things I’ve always been a bit terrified to try making, mainly because its practically a twenty-four hour process and also there seem to be a lot of things that can go wrong!
But there comes a time in life when one must face their fears, even if these fears are purely based in butter, yeast and a bit of sugar.
Also, I finished uni on Friday (woo!) so I now have pretty much unlimited time to mess around with such things as butter and yeast and sugar. So croissants were a must.
Croissants are kind of weird, because they start life as bread (flour and yeast, mixed together). But then, the dough is rolled out, and, as with puff pastry, a horrifyingly huge slab of butter is laid on top. Then comes the fairly painful process of rolling out, folding over, letting rest, rolling out, folding over, letting rest (x3) that gives the croissant its layers. This is pretty crucial, so do not attempt to make croissants in a rush!
Finally, the dough is cut into triangles and rolled into crescents, then left for one final rise, then baked.
Mine were (probably) not quite French patisserie quality, but hey, it was a first attempt! And they were pretty delicious for a Sunday morning treat!
Croissants (for this recipe I looked at lots of different sources, including Paul Hollywood’s website)
500g flour (I used a mixture of plain and strong white bread flour)
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
300ml cool water
Put the flour in a large bowl or in a mixer. Put the salt and sugar on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Add the water and start to mix. Go slowly at first, then speed it up, until the dough is quite stiff. Shape into a ball and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Flatten the butter to a rectangle the same width and two thirds of the length (so, for example if your dough is 60 x 20 cm, flatten the butter to 40 x 19 cm. Making it a tiny bit smaller will ensure that it doesn’t seep out the edges.) Place the butter over one end of the pastry. Fold the exposed dough over the butter, like so:
Then fold the other side over, so that you have alternating layers of butter and dough. Put back into the fridge to let the butter harden for an hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into a rectangle, as before. Fold one third up to the centre, then the other third over the first, so that you have a neat square with three layers of dough. Put back into the fridge for an hour. Repeat this process twice more. Then let your dough rest in the fridge over night or for at least eight hours.
When you are ready to shape, roll out to a rectangle, and cut into triangles with a longer base than sides.
Roll up and shape into crescents. Place on a lined baking sheet and allow to rise for two hours, or until doubled in size. Heat your oven to 200 degree Celcius. Before baking, lightly egg wash each croissant to give it a shiny top, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with butter, jam and lots of coffee.