Croissants

Croissants have to be one of my favourite baked goods, perfect for breakfast and brunch. As with other dough based food, I never really thought of trying to bake anything like this. But now with the summer holidays, I thought I would give baking them a go. These took a long time to bake, needing a lot of chilling and proving time so definitely dedicate an afternoon and a morning to bake them. They were quite full fat, containing a lot of butter but I really enjoyed them as a breakfast treat and despite the time they took I probably would like to make them again soon! I made some of mine chocolate croissants, adding two chocolate chunks inside but it’s up to you if you want to try that out.

Ingredients for 6 croissants

250g strong white bread flour

5g salt

40g caster sugar

5g instant yeast

150ml cool water

150g chilled unsalted butter

1 egg to glaze

chocolate chunks (optional)

MEthod

  1. Put the flour into a bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a bread hook adding the salt and sugar to one side and yeast to the other, add the water and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes. Then mix on a medium speed for 6 minutes until the dough is fairly stiff.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a surface lightly dusted with flour and shape it into a ball. Dust with flour, put it into a plastic bag and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  3. Once the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle about 30×10cm, about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to about 20×9.5cm by bashing it with a rolling pin. Place the butter on the dough so it covers the bottom two -thirds of the dough, making sure it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.
  4. Fold the exposed dough at the top down over one third of the butter. Then cut off the exposed butter, being careful not to cut through the dough, and put it on top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the, now exposed, bottom half of the dough up, creating a sandwich with two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the dough, lightly flour it and place the dough back in the plastic bag and leave in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  5. Take the dough out of the bag and place onto a lightly floured work surface with the short end towards you and roll the dough into a rectangle about 30×10cm. Now fold up the bottom half of the dough and then fold the top half down on top to make a neat square. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back into the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge in between turns.
  6. Once you have completed this process, you must leave your dough in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to rise slightly.
  7. When you are ready to shape your croissants, line a large tray with baking parchment.
  8. Place your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a long rectangle a little more than 42×15cm and roughly 7mm thick. Then trim the edges to make them neat.
  9. Taking the long dough rectangle, cut out triangles 12cm long at the base and 15cm high. You should manage to get 6 triangles from the dough.
  10. Take each triangle and gently stretch them, pulling the base and the furthest corner. Then roll the croissants up starting at the base of each triangle to make 6 croissants. Shape the croissants into a crescent for the traditional croissant shape. If you are adding chocolate, place two chocolate chunks at the base of the triangle and roll it up, making sure the edges are sealed.
  11. Place the croissants on the lined tray, leaving adequate space between each one. Put the tray into a plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise in a cool room for about 2 hours until they have at least doubled in size.
  12. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  13. Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat warm.
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