Croissants

I’m here to reassure everyone out there that sometimes when things don’t quite work perfectly, they can still be incredibly tasty! These Croissants are far from perfect, in fact on my third turn of the dough I was considering throwing it out, but I figured I’d invested a good 4 hours or so on these already so I would see it through to see how they cooked, and they cooked just fine, in fact just delicious.

Croissants

I’m not going to kid you, croissants are time consuming and quite a bit of work, but they are very rewarding. Nothing really compares to a fresh croissant out of the oven, they are warm, crispy, buttery, and flaky. But yes, they can be hard to get perfect.

When making these croissants I seemed to trip up when laminating the dough, I had bashed out my butter ready to go and popped it back in the fridge until I was ready, but I think that time spent in the fridge was a little too long because it turned out my butter was a bit too cold and didn’t laminate into the dough properly. That meant that I had small lumps of butter throughout the dough, it definitely did not look right, but I kept going and cooked them anyway and to my surprise they turned out just fine.

Croissants

Yes I probably didn’t have quite as many perfect layers but what I did have tasted mighty fine. The lesson here for everyone out there considering giving croissants a try, is not to worry when things aren’t perfect because they will more than likely be very tasty anyway and well worth the effort that you put in.

Before you give this recipe a try, I suggest watching a few YouTube clips showing the process, it really helps to understand the recipe and method before you start.

Croissants

Croissants
Makes 24 small croissants. You will need to start this recipe a day ahead.

Ingredients:
– 350ml milk
– 1/4 cup caster sugar
– 14g (2 sachets) dry yeast
– 500g plain flour
– 2 tsp salt
– 350g cold unsalted butter (try to use a good European butter if you can)

Method:

Place milk in a saucepan and heat until lukewarm, that means you can put your finger into it and you barely notice a change in temperature. Pour the milk into a large bowl and add yeast and sugar, stir to combine. Add the flour and salt and mix to form a very sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5mins, adding a little more flour if it is too sticky, but not too much as it should still be a slightly sticky soft dough. Form the dough into a rough rectangle, wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

About 20mins before the dough resting time is up start working on the butter. Place the butter between two sheets of baking paper and start pounding it with a rolling pin. You are trying to soften it until it is in a malleable state but still cold. If it starts to melt, pop it in the fridge to chill again before continuing. Pound the butter into a square 22cm x 22cm. Pop it in the fridge to keep cold until ready, but don’t leave it in there too long.

Take the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a rectangle 40cm x 25cm. Place the square of butter in the middle and fold the two long sides of dough over to meet in the middle. Press all the edges together to ensure the butter is completely enclosed in the dough.

Flatten the dough slightly by pressing it with you rolling pin, and then roll the dough out to a rectangle 40 x 25cm. Fold the dough into thirds by folding over the left side of the dough to one third, and then the right side over the top. Make sure you brush off any excess flour. Wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 1 hour to rest again.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out to a 40cm x 25cm rectangle again. Make sure that the folded edges become the long edges of your rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge again for another hour. Repeat this roll, fold, and rest step 3 more times (a total of 4 times). After the 4th time, leave the dough in the fridge to rest for 8-12hours before continuing.

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it in half, wrap one half in cling film and pop it back in the fridge to stay chilled. Due to the high butter content you want the dough to always stay chilled whilst working with it, otherwise you risk the butter melting. If at any time you feel the dough is getting warm whilst working with it, just pop it in the fridge for 10mins before continuing.

With the half piece of dough you have out, roll into a 40cm x 30cm rectangle, trim the edges to neaten. Cut the rectangle in half widthways to make two 20cm x 30cm rectangles. Cut each rectangle into six even triangles, use your ruler!

Cut a one inch slit on the bottom of your triangle and pull the dough along the length to stretch and elongate the triangle slightly. Starting from the bottom roll the triangle upwards, when finished place the pointed tip on the bottom and shape the ends to create a crescent shape. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place the croissants 5cms apart on baking trays lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with cling film or a plastic bag and leave them to rise for 1-2 hours or until tripled in size.

Once they have risen brush the croissants with a little egg wash (1 egg and a dash of milk) and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celcius for 20mins.

Remove from trays and leave to cool slightly on wire racks before enjoying.

Croissants unfortunately don’t keep that well, so these are best eaten within 2 days. When reheating, it is best to heat them through in the oven so they retain their crispy outer.

Croissants

Croissants

Tip: When cutting out the triangles you end up with some larger offcuts that just seem such a waste to chuck in the bin, so what you can do is turn them into Pain au Chocolat! Just take a wider strip of dough, place a small square of chocolate a third of the way down from the top, fold the dough over to encase, then place another small square of chocolate next to it, and continue rolling the dough to enclose all the chocolate. Bake the same as the croissants.

Pain au chocolat

Pain au chocolat

Yes this recipe looks daunting, but when you really look at it you’ll discover that a lot of the time spent is just waiting for the dough to rest. If you’ve been thinking about trying Croissants, do give it a try – I am proof that even when things don’t work perfectly they can still be delicious. This of course applies to all recipes too, if you’ve made a delicious failure in the past tell me about it in the comments below!

Croissants

Enjoy! x

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