CROISSANTS NICE WITH COFFEE
Ingredients500g/1lb strong white flour (bread flour) plus extra for dusting
1 x 7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
300ml/10fl oz milk
250g/8.8 oz butter use a hard cooking butter NOT soft
1 medium egg
2 tbsp. caster sugar
Preparation Time 40min plus proving min 2hr preferably 24 hours*
Cooking Time 12-14min
Oven Temperature 190C / 375F / Gas 5
* Better to allow slow cool proving
To find a good croissant you need to go to a good French Patisserie or find a baker that is prepared to take the time to make these light beautiful delights. Rarely will a supermarket plastic bag version come up to scratch.
Croissant are time consuming to make and requires several stages of allowing the dough to rise and butter to harden just like puff pastry. A large quantity of good quality butter is used and this is folded into the dough a few times preferably over a 24 hour period.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and then add the yeast.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture is lukewarm and add 2 tbsp. caster sugar.
Add the milk mixture and egg to the flour mixture and stir until the contents of the bowl come together as soft dough. (Add a little extra flour if needed)
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for five minutes, add extra flour if necessary. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer feels sticky.
Lightly oil a clean bowl with a little of the vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl and cover the bowl with cling film. Place the bowl in a warm place for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 by 9-inch rectangle 5/8-inch thick. Wrap in plastic then chill for 1 hour.
With the remaining 200g Butter flatten using your rolling pin to form a rectangle 6 by 8 1/2 inches. This is best done by first placing it between parchment paper or plastic wrap and set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it on a floured work surface into a 10 by 15-inch and 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush any excess flour off the dough. Place the shorter side of the dough parallel to the front of your body on the work surface. Place the butter in the middle, long-ways. Fold the bottom up over the butter and brush off any excess flour and then fold the top down over the butter to overlap and encase the butter. Press down lightly with the rolling pin to push all the layers together and make sure they have contact.
Continue rolling the laminated (layered) dough to form a new 10 by15-inch rectangle, patching any holes with a dusting of flour where butter may have popped through. Fold into thirds, like a letter, brush off any excess flour and mark it with an indentation made by poking your finger once at the corner of the dough meaning you have completed the first "turn".
Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill min 1 hour or over night
Repeat the roll out and folding presses three more times turn the dough each time and chilli after turn. Leave the dough for a final prove in the fridge overnight.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to a 13 by 24-inch square that is a little less than 1/4-inch thick and cut out your croissants and shape them. Note you might find it best to make a cardboard template for this as it will make the cutting process quicker and even.
Cut a 2cm cut in the centre of the back of each croissant dough triangle and then roll up. The cut allows the dough to be pulled slightly and helps form the traditional croissant shape.
Brush each formed croissant with egg wash and leave aside in a warm area for the croissant to rise approximately 40min to an hour.
Brush the Croissants a second time with egg wash this helps form that traditional crisp crust and golden finish.
Bake: Preheat oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5 oven for 10min then rotate and bake for a further 2min
Serve with jam and hot coffee.