Scared to take the plunge in making homemade croissants? Don’t be, just follow my easy “How To” The recipe is simple and the dough can be made several days in advance, be shaped at a later time, and you can even freeze it – all it needs is a little defrost in the fridge before rolling.
To make the pastry dough:
350g bread flour
25g caster sugar
250g of cold butter, cut into 1/2cm squares
4 tbsp of cold water
1 tsp salt
1 sachet (or 2 1/2 tsp) instant yeast
1 large egg
- Add the flour, caster sugar, salt and instant yeast into a large mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
- Add the butter and cut in with a knife until you have pieces about the size of a large almond in the flour – you should not make it finer than that, this is what the pastry relies on!
- In a separate dish, mix the egg, milk and water with a fork and add to flour.
- Stir with a knife until its only just combined and the butter is covered with the floury mix. It should form a dough ball of sorts and look lumpy and uneven. I was told the secret here is to not over mix!
- Put it into a plastic bag, loosely closing it or wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Now you can sit back, relax, and have a cuppa!
For the Folding:
- Lightly flour your surface, turn out dough and roll to a large rectangle, as evenly shaped as possible. It should not be rolled as thin as a pie crust, a bit thicker will make it manageable.
- Fold the lower third up, and the top over that, like you would a business letter (originally I did not have a clue about this fold – but as they say, practice makes perfect!) Pop into the fridge again for about an before your next roll.
- Remove from the fridge and get your rolling pin ready for your second roll. Turn out the dough again and roll into another large rectangle. Now you are going to do a “book fold” – bring the left side into the middle, then the same with the right. Once this has been done, fold in half like you would the opening of a book. Wrap once again in cling film and pop back in the fridge for another hour.
- Now it’s time for the final roll before shaping. Roll the dough out flat once again into the shape of a large rectangle, and repeat step 2. That should be it on the pastry front now! It now needs to rest (wrapped) for about an hour in fridge, or until well chilled, longer if it suits you, can be a couple of days!
I promise you that is the hardest bit over! Make another cuppa if you fancy it, we have another hour to kill. Pastry is definitely all about patience and a lot of waiting around. Perfect for it for have a million and one things to do (describes my own life) and once you get the hang of it, you’ll have the pastry chilling in the fridge in no time!
Shaping & Baking:
- Remove chilled dough to floured surface, roll into a large rectangle.
- Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut triangles and make a 1/2 inch slit in the centre of each base.
- One at a time, gently stretch a triangle and then roll it from the base, away from you to the tip. If you are feeling adventurous, curve into the traditional shape.
- Place on baking paper on 2 baking sheets at least 2 inches apart and wrap with cling film for about an hour – this will allow them chance to rise.
- Brush with egg wash* and bake, without fan at 210 c (410F), for about 20 min, until well browned on top and the layers are starting to brown too. If necessary, turn trays after 15 min to get even browning.
- Cool on wire racks.
*To make the egg wash, whisk an egg in a small bowl and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Then you can brush this over the top of the croissants which will add a nice glaze.
And your done! Now the fun part is smothering the croissants with your favourite flavouring of jam and try not to devour the whole batch you’ve just spent hours making! Remember, they are good for freezing, so why not make a large batch and pop a few in the freezer to whip out another weekend! Or mid week, whenever you fancy!