To be honest, I never thought I would ever try making croissants myself. Whenever reading about croissant dough (or puff pastry) I decided to stay away, it seemed far too much of a hassle. Folding in butter, cooling, folding, it just didn’t seem worth it. But then I got into a baking craze thanks to James Morton’s book Brilliant bread. While making various breads on the same day, I decided though, that it was time to try and make French croissants. And boy, it was worth it, they were delicious!
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
40g poolish (see note below recipe, this can also be substituted by another 20g flour and 20g milk or water)
100g unsalted butter
Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and milk in a bowl.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes (you can skip this if you're in a hurry, but it makes the bread easier to handle).
Knead the dough until it has become considerably softer. You can do this in a stand mixer at speed 2 for approx. 10 minutes.
Leave the dough to rise, either for at least 1 hour at room temperature or for >6 hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
Knead the dough to push out the air bubbles and roll out in a flat sheat. The dough shouldn't stick to your surface, if it does, lightly flour the surface.
Flatten the butter into a thin rectangle (approx. half the size of the dough) and place onto the dough.
Fold the dough, close off the outer layer and roll out again.
Fold the outer sides to the middle, fold the new outer sides to the middle. Rotate 90 degrees and fold double once more.
Leave to rest in the fridge and repeat rolling and folding for two more times.
Roll out the dough in a flat sheet (see photo higher up in the post) and cut into triangles. Roll the triangles (widest side first) into the croissant shape.
Leave to rest for another hour.
If desired, coat the croissants with a light egg wash, honestly, I never do this.
Preheat the oven at 190C and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 170C and bake for another 15 minutes.
The croissants should be a nice light brown (not burned) and have expanded considerably.
Poolish is a pre-ferment, this means it is part of your dough which has already had the chance to rise and thus develop flavour. A basic poolish is made with 100g water, 100g flour and 1 tsp instant yeast (you can decrease or increase amounts easily as long as you keep quantities the same). Leave this overnight (or during the day), it will start to bubble and rise a little. Add to your dough as required. It will often make your dough noticeably softer and delicate, such as in these French baguettes.
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