Croissants

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Overview
These are so delicious, but a real danger. Once made, you don’t want to go back to shop-bought (some of the French bakeries are fine). Such a long process, and it’s not easy work laminating the dough with butter but the end result is exquisite. The butter is critical to the success of this recipe – use the best quality unsalted butter you can find. and keep it cold!

This is a commitment, but so delicious that the finished product is virtually inhaled, so consider making a double batch. It is a lot more work though – working the dough does take time! Treat a double batch as 2 single batches – it’s a LOT easier!

The recipe here makes 15 croissants.

Apparently croissants freeze well – but we’ve never even tried to do this. Reheat in an oven set at 180° C for 10-12 minutes.

Time
Like ummm….. 3 days. There are 2 times that things need to rest overnight, so for a late Sunday brunch, start on Friday night! It’s not as daunting as it seems though.

Ingredients
510g plain flour
60g white sugar
45g soft unsalted butter
20ml instant yeast
10ml table salt

140ml cold water
140ml cold full fat milk

285g cold unsalted butter (for the butter layer)

1 egg for eggwash

Optional fillings: nutella, shaved ham and shaved Jarlsberg cheese

Equipment
Benchtop mixer, marble rolling pin, ruler

Method: Day 1
1 – Combine all dough ingredients (up to the water/milk) in a benchtop mixer with a dough hook.

2 – Mix on medium speed for 3 – 4 minutes

3 – Transfer dough to a lightly floured plate. Sprinkle with flour, wrap in Glad Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Method: Day 2 – the work day
1 – Slice the butter into 2-2½ cm thick slabs

2 – Arrange on a piece of Glad Bake to for a rough 13-15cm (5-6″) square, cutting to fit as needed.

3 – Cover with another piece of Glad Bake and lightly pound with a rolling pin until the pieces start to come together. When you can, start rolling it into a 13½ cm (7½”) square. Any bits that need to be trimmed off can be placed on top of the square and lightly tapped in.

4 – Refrigerate the butter square while you laminate the dough

5 – Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a 26cm (10½”) square. Dust the excess flour from the top.

6 – Place the refrigerated butter onto the dough diagonally, forming a diamond shape.

7 – Fold the 4 corners of the dough into the centre and seal the edges to completely envelop the butter

8 – Lightly flour the dough and press with a rolling pin. Only work in one direction – you want to lengthen the dough, not widen it.

9 – Roll the dough until 20cm (8″) x 60cm (24″). If the ends become rounded, push them back into shape as needed.

10 – Fold both ends into the centre, in thirds, creating 2 layers. Dust off any excess flour as needed. Wrap in Glad Wrap, the refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to relax the dough and keep the butter cold.

11 – Repeat steps 9 and 10 another 2 times, always rolling the length towards the ends exposing the layers. Wrap in Glad Wrap again and refrigerate overnight.

Method: Day 3 – the fun day
1 – Start working the dough gently to begin with. Once again, only work in one direction to make a long and narrow strip of dough 20cm (8″) x 105cm (44″). Sprinkle with flour as needed. If the dough starts to pull back, fold into thirds again and pop in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes.

2 – Lift the dough up from the middle and allow any shrinkage to happen. If the final width of the dough isn’t 100cm (40″), roll it out a bit more.

3 – Mark the edge of the dough with notches to show every 12¾ cm (5″ – imperial is easier here!!). Then mark the other side with offset 5″ – so start with 6½ cm (2½”), then the full amount.

Try to keep fillings away from the edges

4 – Cut from one notch to the next, making a zig-zag and creating triangles. Use a knife or a pizza cutter with a ruler. I do the parallel cuts, then turn the ruler and complete the triangles.

5 – Make a 1-2cm (½-¾”) notch in the middle of each triangle’s short side.

(5½ – add fillings now if desired)

6 – To work each crescent, gently roll it a little more to make it another 5cm (2½”) taller. More layers in the final product! Roll from the notched side away from you, splaying your hands outward to make the ends more pronounced and longer.

7 – Position the croissant so that the point of the triangle is underneath, then press lightly down to compact the layers. Bring the ends of the croissant towards each other and press together gently (it’s okay for them to pull apart during proofing, this is how they get their shape).

Ham and cheese filled croissants don’t like to be curled up – leave them straight.

8 – Arrange the croissants on a Glad Bake covered baking tray as you assemble them, leaving plenty of space between.

9 – Bruch with egg wash (beaten egg with a tiny splash of cold water)

10 – Allow to proof for 1½ – 2 hours until you can see the layers from the side. Be careful to avoid a place that is too warm as the butter may melt!

Preheat oven to 200° C

11 – Brush with egg wash a second time, then bake for 16-17 minutes until the tops are brown and the bottoms are an even brown. (If using 2 racks at once, cook for 9 minutes, swap racks and cook for another 7-8 minutes).

12 – Allow to cool on baking sheets. Best served warm.

Optional fillings – add just before rolling them up:
*Spread some Nutella on the dough
*Layer thinly shredded ham and cheese – do not try to make crescents (see photo)