I did something very exciting this morning; I made croissants! I’m still on a baking (or should that be butter?) high, and really wanted to share them with you because, frankly, they’re so much easier than they look. I’ve missed out on years of croissant making because I always assumed they’d be really hard and hold strange mysteries I could never hope to master, but they’re not, they don’t. They do take a little time though, making them the perfect Sunday treat. Make the dough Saturday afternoon, settle down for the evening with a bottle of wine and forget about them. Wake up in the morning, roll and shape them and head back to bed while they rise. The perfect excuse not to do anything too energetic with your Sunday morning. By the time you actually feel like waking up they’ll be ready to bake, and 15 minutes later you can rip into the flaky, buttery layers. All Sunday mornings should be celebrated like this.
Sadly mine aren’t the prettiest of croissants. My boyfriend very tactfully called them ‘rustic’ but I think he actually meant ‘a bit rubbish’. I feel like I should apologise for them and the obvious lack of skill that went into shaping them, but at the moment I’m a bit like a proud parent; they aren’t perfect, but they’re mine. What they lacked in beauty, however, they more than made up for in taste. We fell upon them this morning with a big pot of Jam and worked our way through most of the pile, ended up collapsed on the sofa experiencing my first ever butter hangover. Honestly, it’s a great feeling.
(adapted from James Martin)
310g Strong White flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
7g dried yeast
Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Gradually add in warm water and mix until you have formed a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it feels smooth and elastic. I kneaded it for about 10 minutes. Cover the dough and put it into the fridge to chill for an hour.
Return the dough to a floured surface and gently roll it out to a rectangle approximately 30x15cm. Roll your chilled butter out until it is about 1cm thick. It should be about 15cm tall, and wide enough to cover about 1 third of the dough.
Put the butter in the middle third of the dough and fold the sides over to cover it. You should now have one layer of dough on the bottom of the butter, and two layers on the top. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it to chill in the fridge for an hour.
Roll the dough out back to it’s original size, then repeat the folding process, bring the two ends into the middle. Chill it again for another hour. Repeat this process two more times, allowing it to chill for an hour between each time.
Once you’ve done it for the final time, wrap it up again and leave it to rest in the fridge overnight.
Roll out the rested dough to 3mm thick.
Cut it into 20cm squares, then cut each into triangles. With the long end of the triangle facing you, roll the dough up towards the point. Shape the rolled dough into the crescent shape. Put them onto baking sheets, lined with greaseproof paper.
Leave them to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C/425F/Gas 6.
Lightly brush the top of the croissants with beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and crisp.
Enjoy with plenty of jam and coffee, preferably in bed.