500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 12g fine sea salt 55g sugar 40g softened unsalted butter 30g fresh yeast 140g full-fat milk 140g water
250g unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix together, just enough to let them get to know each other, then rub the butter into the flour. This will take about 1-2 minutes.
In a separate container, dissolve the yeast in the milk and water. Once fully dissolved, pour into the flour.
Mix the ingredients together in the bowl with one hand, just enough to bring the dough together. This shouldn’t take more than 1 minute. You don’t want to overwork the dough, otherwise it will be harder to incorporate the butter tomorrow.
Place your dough back in the bowl and push it down to form a flat disc. Cover with a plate, then place in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or up to 12
The next day, take the 250g of butter out of the fridge 45 minutes before you want to start work, so that it can soften. Once softened, pound it with a rolling pin to make it nice and flat. The easiest way to do this is to place it between two pieces of baking paper and gently pound it until it’s about ½cm thick and about 18cm square. Cover with cling film and put back into the fridge.
Take your dough out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to form an 18cm square. Then, from 6cm in, roll each side out by an additional 4cm until you have a cross with a slightly raised centrepiece and sides measuring 10cm. Brush the whole cross to remove any excess flour.
Take the butter out of the fridge again and place it in the centre of the dough, then pull each flap over to encase it. Give the dough a few little taps with your rolling pin, just to seal and flatten it. Now roll it into a rectangle about 65cm long. Brush off any excess flour, then fold it into three by bringing the top flap down by a third and folding the bottom flap over the top flap, brushing off any excess flour each time. This is called a half fold. Cover, put back into the fridge and leave to rest for 1 hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 65cm long again, give another half fold, then cover again and place in the fridge for another hour.
Repeat this one more time, so that your croissant dough has had three half folds, then place on a lightly floured tray, cover with cling film, and put back into the fridge for another hour or two.
When you’re ready to shape your croissants, take the dough out of the fridge. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out again to a good rectangle shape, about 60cm x 26cm and ½cm thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal triangles.
At the bottom of each triangle make a cut about 1cm long. Gently stretch out each triangle by hand, to increase the length by about 5cm. Pull the corners either side of the cut outwards slightly then roll up your croissants, making sure the tapered ‘tail’ at the other end is on the bottom of the rolled-up croissant.
Place them on two baking trays lined with baking paper, making sure they are evenly spaced.
Brush the egg wash all over each croissant. You can now rest your croissants in the fridge and bake them later, or, if you are ready to bake now, leave them on the tray in a warmish place (ideally about 24°C) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. In this time they will double in size, develop a nice wobble, and you should be able to see the layers you have lovingly created. If they are not ready after 1 hour, give them a little longer – it will be worth the wait.
If you are leaving them in the fridge, give them another egg wash when they come out and remember that they will take an extra hour or so to rise up again.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Place the croissants in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. They will be a lovely golden colour, and flaky and crispy on the outside. Take them out of the oven and enjoy. We love them served warm and plain, but if you have to, the classic butter and jam is pretty good too.
Easy...quick....scrumptious... "Delicious when warm, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside," says my daughter, Cansu Julia, who helped to mix the dough and roll out the croissants with her sister.
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