Alive and Cooking
 

Croissants

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Ingredients

500 g plain flour, sifted
7 g or 1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon lukewarm full cream milk
260 ml cold water
25 g unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons salt
55 g caster sugar
250 g unsalted butter, softened
egg wash (1 egg and 1 egg yolk beaten with 50 ml milk)

Makes approximately 15 croissants.



Method

Place the flour in a large bowl (or electric mixer with the hook attachment). Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and milk. Sprinkle a little flour over the top and wait a few minutes to make sure the yeast is working (it starts to bubble). Slowly add the water and melted butter and combine the ingredients together gently with your fingertips (or on low speed). Add the salt and sugar. Keep mixing until the dough becomes very sticky. (1)

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough with the palm of your hand, rolling it away from your body, for about 8–10 minutes. (2 3) Dust with a little bit of flour as you go to reduce the stickiness. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. It will double in size in the fridge.

Roll the dough into a vertical rectangular sheet that is 3 times longer than it is wide. Spread ½ the softened butter over of the centre third the sheet. (4)

Fold the top third of the sheet over the centre buttered section. (5) Spread the remaining butter over the folded section, then fold the bottom third over the top. (6)

Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the folded seams are at the sides. (7) Roll the pastry again to form a large rectangular sheet and fold it in three. (8 9 10) Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes in winter or 45 minutes in summer.

Repeat this procedure of folding and refrigerating another
3 times — a total of 4 times.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Roll the dough into a large 3–4 mm thick rectangle. Trim the edges, then cut out 10 cm wide x 20 cm deep triangles. 11 Make a small triangular incision at the base of each triangle to allow the dough to stretch when being shaped. Starting from the widest end, roll the triangles up and shape into a crescent. (12 13)

Space the croissants out on the baking tray (14) and leave them to rise by about a third, in a draft-free, warm room (21ºC is ideal) for 25–50 minutes. When the croissants have risen, brush with the egg wash (15) and bake for about 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180ºC and bake for a further 6 minutes. Do not open the oven door during cooking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Always make sure the yeast is active before continuing with the recipe. A few years ago in France I didn’t, and six kilograms of croissant dough went straight into the bin. I can still hear the chef screaming at me.

Storage: Shape the croissants into crescents and store them uncooked in the freezer for up to a week.


Croissants
 

Recipe from Et Voila!
French Pastries from Choux Cafe by Emmanuel Mollois
(Fremantle Press)

Et Voila