Croissants are made of a leavened variant of puff pastry. The yeast dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, a technique called laminating.
Croissant pastry can also be wrapped around any praline, almond paste or chocolate before it is baked (in the last case, it becomes like pain au chocolat, which has a different, non-crescent, shape), or sliced to admit sweet or savoury fillings. In France and Spain, croissants are generally sold without filling and eaten without added butter, but sometimes with almond filling
Flaky and flavourful, serves 10
|500 g flour
15g instant yeast
90 g sugar
15 g salt
300 ml warm milk
340 g butter , room temperature
1 egg , beaten with 2 Tbsp water
some extra flour
Step 1: Begin the dough
Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, sugar, milk and yeast. Mix and knead the dough until it has a smooth elastic consistency, about 15 – 20 minutes. (I find it is easier to knead the dough out of the bowl directly on the work surface) Dust the dough and a large bowl with flour. Transfer it into a bowl. Cover it with a towel and let it rise until it doubles in size. This should roughly, take 1.5 to 2 hours.
Step 2: Prepare the butter
Put a sheet of cling film onto your working surface. Place the butter on top and cover it with a second sheet of cling film. Flatten it with your hands, roll it into a rectangle of about 20 X 25 cm with your rolling pin and place it into the fridge to chill.
Step 3: Roll out dough
After the dough has doubled in size, sprinkle it with a little bit of flour. Punch out the air with your knuckles and place it onto a floured work surface. Dust the dough with flour and roll it out into a large rectangle that is big enough to hold the sheet of chilled butter. Move the dough around in the flour. You may have to dust the table again, if you need to.
Step 4: Fold in butter
Unwrap the chilled butter and place it onto the upper part of dough. Fold the dough around the butter to enclose it completely. Lift the dough and sprinkle the table with flour. Turn the dough around and roll it into another long rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, brushing off the excess flour as you go. This completes the first turn. Now wrap it in cling film and place it into the fridge for a minimum of 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 5: Turn the dough
At the end of the 30 minutes sprinkle your working surface with flour. Unwrap the dough and place it onto the work surface. Make sure that the dough has the seam vertically placed. Dust it with a sprinkling of flour and roll it out into another rectangle. Fold, brush and wrap, exactly as before. This now completes the second turn.
Step 6: Chill and turn again
Place it back into the fridge for another 30 minutes. Once removed, roll and fold for the third and final turn. Make sure that the dough is well wrapped before placing into the fridge once more to chill overnight.
Step 7: Shape the croissants
One chilled, cut the unwrapped dough into half, on a floured surface. Dust the dough with some flour and roll one half of the dough into a rectangle. Reflour the surface when necessary and continue to roll until the dough is roughly less than half a centimetre thick. Turn the rectangle around. Flour the surface and trim the edges of the dough neatly. Cut it into triangle shapes. Take the bottom of the triangle at its widest part and using your hands, tightly roll it up into a croissant shape. You can freeze the other half of the dough for use another time, or repeat the process and make more croissants.
Step 8: Allow to rise
Place the croissants onto a prelined baking tray. Cover them with a clean plastic bag and leave to double in size.
Step 9: Preheat the oven
Set the oven to 180ºC.
Step 10: Bake
Once the croissants have risen remove the plastic bag. Very gently brush them all over with the egg wash. Place them into the centre of the oven. Bake them for roughly 20 – 25 minutes. When they are a deep golden brown remove them from the oven.