I have finally decided to try my hand at Croissants, they have always daunted me for some reason. It's probably because I'm not a one for patience, which is one of the main ingredients in croissant-making.
I've rarely made puff pastry, opting for store bought every time. I'm not proud to admit it, but I'm just not interested in spending such a huge amount of time laminating dough (you know, all the folding of the butter in the dough so you get all the layers required in a good puff). But I'm conquering my fears and making croissants which uses the same technique of laminating dough, with the added fun of using a yeast-risen dough (yay more waiting).
So here goes my first attempt at croissants... I was already worried when the recipes I looked up online told me that I definitely WOULD NOT get these right the first time. Well, thanks for the vote of confidence guys! I feel like maybe this doesn't apply to me seeing as these recipes are targeted at at-home bakers and not trained chefs, but nonetheless I'm not going into this feeling confident in the slightest!
I picked a recipe from the weekend bakery blog as they has the best-looking pictures of croissants, I figured if theirs look the best then their recipe might be the best? But then noticed their recipe actually came from another site anyway, and those pictures were ok but not as good so I'm going to say they've got some good photography skills. But anyway, the weekend bakery had converted the measurements to metric for me so that won me over in the end ---> https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/classic-french-croissant-recipe/
I'm not going to lie, they weren't perfect. They turned out better then I expected and were a hit with my work colleagues, but the butter didn't laminate properly and they were a pretty similar texture throughout- meaning I missed the crispy outside and soft fluffy inside. I think I'll give them another go when I have time, I'll use a better quality flour and a danish butter to see if that makes a difference.
You will need...
500gr plain flour, use good quality strong bread flour if you can get some
140gr full cream milk
40gr soft unsalted butter (I used western star, but next time I'll try it with Lurpak danish butter)
11gr instant yeast
12gr salt (even if you think this looks like too much salt, use it all- I only used about 8 grams but wished I had used the full amount)
280gr cold butter for laminating
1 egg plus a tsp of water for the egg wash
Sift the flour, add the dry ingredients and stir, then gradually add the wet ingredients while working with a gloved hand. Combine dough ingredients and knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms, don't overwork it so it's too elastic (also, don't do what I did and forget to add the sugar until you had already kneaded- whoops). Flatten into a disc and place on a plate, well covered with glad wrap in the fridge overnight.
Cut the cold butter into 1.25cm pieces, arrange together in a square on wax or greaseproof paper, then place another piece of paper over the top. Use a rolling pin to pound the butter together to form a square around 19 x 19 cm. Trim the edges to make it evenly square, add the trimmings to any uneven areas, then cover and roll/pound again until even and around 17 x 17 cm in size.
My envelope wasn't that neat!
Flip the dough over so the seals are facing down, ensuring the surface is lightly floured, and use the dusted rolling pin to gently roll the dough to a rectangle of 20 x 60 cm. When rolling the dough, always start from the centre and roll away from yourself, meaning that you will need to turn the dough 90 degrees between each roll to ensure an even thickness. Fold the dough by bringing the top half down to the middle, and then the bottom half over that.
Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat the previous step of rolling the dough to 20 x 60cm, then folding again, and refrigerating for a further 30 minutes. Then repeat one more time (three times total, with the same folding technique will give you 27 layers of dough/butter). Every time you roll the dough, make sure you rotate it 90 degrees, ensuring the 'open' end is facing you as you roll. Once you have rolled the dough three times, wrap again and refrigerate overnight.
As you can see, my butter broke up as I laminated it. I obviously need more practise!
N.B. To keep track of how many times you have rolled your dough, use this and highlight or cross out each step as you complete it:
Remove your dough from the fridge, lightly flour your work surface and gently roll the dough to a 20cm x 110cm length. If the dough resists being rolled that long, rest it in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, then continue rolling- don't force it.
Use a ruler and pizza cutter to trim the edges of the dough to give a neat, straight line. Ensuring you still have 100cm of dough width.
To shape the croissants
Lay a tape measure or ruler along the length of the dough and use a small knife to make cuts at 12.5 cm intervals (7 marks total) on one side. Then lay the measure on the opposite side of the dough and make one cut at 6.25cm from the edge, then the remaining cuts at 12.5cm apart (8 marks total).
Cut at diagonal angles, starting with the bottom cut, and working your way slowly to the top cut. Then change the angle and cut down from the top cut to then next bottom cut, making even triangles, repeat along the length of your dough.
Use the pizza wheel to make a 1.5cm cut in the centre of the base of each triangle. Using a gentle touch, stretch the triangle to 25cm. Hold the corners of the base of the triangle, and gently pressing down and away from the centre notch, roll the 'wings' outward, creating the croissant shape.
Arrange the rolled croissants on a line baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Allow to proof for 20 minutes, at a temperature around 25 degrees (any hotter then this and it will melt your butter).
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius, place the croissants in for 5 minutes or until then are nicely browned, then turn the oven down to 160 and cook for another 10 minutes. This may change depending on your oven, so watch them cook to ensure they are cooking evenly.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack slightly before serving.
If you're looking for a how-to video (I recommend watching at least one of these to get a visual idea of techniques for croissant making) then check out this youtube vid, posted by the same people that I got the recipe from --->