I think most people adore croissants and if you are motivated to want to make your own then this recipe and method with plenty of detail will help you. I encourage you to make the full 24 croissants as they can be frozen just before the final prove and then thawed in the fridge, proved and baked whenever you want them. You will need a table top mixer fitted with a dough hook.
To make the dough: Place the ingredients into the bowl of your table top mixer. The ingredients are listed in order so start with the yeast then the water etc, finishing with the salt.
Turn the mixer on its lowest setting and keep it running for about five minutes until the dough has come together but is still shaggy in appearance. Turn up the speed slightly and continue to mix until the dough is smooth. This will take ten minutes or so.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and continue to knead until it is smooth and non-sticky. Transfer to a roomy bowl which has been greased, cover with greased cling film and leave in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size.
Whilst the dough is rising prepare the butter. Take your chilled piece, take from the wrapper and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. I then hit it with a rolling pin, flattening it evenly to a thickness of 1cm and measuring roughly 18cm x 12cm. Pop it back into the fridge to firm up again.
When the dough is nicely risen turn out onto a lightly floured work top and take the butter from the fridge. Peel off one side of the butter paper and set aside so that it starts to return to room temperature.
Roll the dough into a square measuring about 22cm then pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes..
Take your piece of butter and test to make sure that if you stick your finger into it you leave a fingerprint. Too hard and your butter will break during the rolling. It needs to be firm but not brittle.
Take the dough from the freezer and lay the piece of butter in the centre of the square of dough and bring the top and bottom piece of dough into the centre so that the butter is completely concealed, sides and bottom. Pinch the edges. Roll out the dough to a long rectangle measuring around 40cm then perform a single turn. Ie take the top third of the dough, fold it over the middle third then take the bottom third and fold it over to cover the first third.
Carefully flatten this piece of dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2cm then cover in greaseproof paper and pop into the freezer for ten minutes.
Take from the freezer and start to roll out again into a long rectangle as before. This time make sure that the edges from the previous turn are at the top and bottom before rolling. Each time you perform a turn you will rotate your dough 90 degrees.
The next turn is a book turn or double turn where we turn both ends of the dough into the middle then close them together (like a book). Flatten with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2cm then repeat this turn again – turning the dough 90 degrees as before. Flatten the dough to 2cm again then cover and pop it into the fridge to rest for an hour.
This rolling, turning and re-rolling will give you the beautiful lamination which is the classic feature of croissants and other viennoiserie .
Take the now laminated dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface until you have a large rectangle measuring 50cm x 30cm approx.. Divide the dough in half lengthwise with a pizza cutter then into even sized squares. Cut each square corner to corner giving you a triangle.
Take a triangle and with a small rolling pin starting at the thick end, roll the dough finishing with the point. Starting at the thick end then roll your croissant fairly tightly and enclosing the point underneath. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with reusable baking parchment. Allow about 9 croissants to each baking sheet because they will expand during the proving.
Place the tray of croissants in a warm place to prove for one hour. I usually leave mine in the oven with just the light on and then you have sufficient heat and there is no need to cover them.
When ready to bake preheat the oven to 220 degrees c. Brush the croissants with the egg wash taking care not to brush it over those laminations as any egg will prevent the leaves of dough expanding during the bake. Pop straight into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Croissant dough will freeze very well and I usually bake half and freeze half. To freeze simply place the unbaked and unproved croissants on the baking sheet, pop the whole lot into the freezer then when solid pack into boxes or plastic bags. When ready to use take as many or as few as you want from the freezer, space out on a baking sheet, cover lightly and leave in the fridge overnight. The next day prove at room temperature for about 2 hours or until doubled in size then wash with egg and bake for 10 minutes.
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