Monday, 20 June 2016

Croissants

I have wanted to make croissants for some time, as I love them with that lovely fluffy texture and the rich buttery taste.  I looked at a number of recipes and watched quite a few videos before deciding how to proceed.  I used a recipe from Paul Hollywood who is a judge on Great British Bake Off.  

The list of ingredients is not long, but the process takes a lot of time, as you have to rest the dough between each step, and overnight before rolling out and shaping the croissants.  Even then you have to wait a further two hours before placing them in the oven.

Now Paul'sr recipe is for medium sized croissants, but I wanted to try larger ones, so I changed the size of the triangles of dough that I created, having the wide end about 12cm, but 18cm in length.  That meant that I would get more rolls of the dough.  I also made a nick in the wide end, so that I could roll outwards, making the resultant croissant longer and slightly thinner, layers.  The recipe will make 12 croissants of a good size.

I also rolled the off-cuts to bake them too, no point in throwing away good dough says I.

So this is a long process, but the results are well worth all the effort, a wonderfully fresh and buttery croissant, crisp on the outside and lovely and soft inside.
Croissants

                                             Croissants - Video
Ingredients:
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt, plus a pinch for the egg wash
  • 10g instant(easy bake yeast)
  • 300ml cool water
  • 300g chilled butter
  • 1 medium egg, to glaze the croissants before baking.
Method:
  1. Put the flour into a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other side.
  2. Add the water and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be fairly stiff.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm(24x8 in); it should be about 1cm thick.
  5. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 40 x 19cm(16x7.5 in), by bashing it with a rolling pin. Put the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.
  6. Fold the exposed dough at the top down over one-third of the butter. 
  7. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. 
  8. Fold the remaining third of the dough up and onto the exposed butter. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. 
  9. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. 
  10. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour to harden the butter.
  11. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured work surface with one of the 'open' ends towards you. 
  12. Roll into a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top to make a neat square to make a neat square. 
  13. 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 for an hour between turns.
  14. After the third turn the  dough needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly.
  15. When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  16. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 36cm wide. Trim the edges to neaten them.
  17. Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 18cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.
  18. Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. 
  19. Make a nick in the wide end, about 1.5cm(3/4 inch).
  20. Now starting at the wide end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant, with a gentle pushing outwards motion. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.
  21. Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. 
  22. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag, or cover with a clean tea towel and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.
  23. Heat your oven to 200°C.
  24. Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

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