Croissant

Croissant

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

It’s hard to beat a beautifully flaky, buttery croissant. When you get it right, you will have fine layers that melt over your tongue and taste sublime.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Croissant pastry
1 egg
50g full-cream (whole) milk
pinch salt

Method

  1. Roll your rested pastry out into a rectangle roughly 20 × 55 cm (8 × 22 in), and about 8 mm (¼ in) thick, with the long edge towards you.
  2. Trim the edges of your rectangle, then mark notches 8 cm (3¼ in) apart along the bottom edge. Along the top edge, make a notch 4 cm (1½ in) from the left, then continue in 8 cm (3¼ in) increments so that the top and bottom notches are offset.
  3. Working from the left-hand side of your rectangle, place a ruler to join the first top and bottom notch, creating a diagonal line. Use a sharp knife to cut along the diagonal, then swing the bottom of the ruler along to the next notch to cut your first triangle.
  4. Continue cutting in a zigzag pattern, using the notches as your guides, until you have all the triangles cut. The only excess pastry should be at either end. Any scraps can be used as ferment for your next batch of croissant dough (these will keep in the fridge for three days, or in the freezer for a month).
  5. Lay the triangles flat in a container or on a tray, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Return them to the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Line two trays with baking paper. To roll your croissants, take one of the triangles and, holding the base of the triangle towards your body, gently stretch it away from you, elongating it slightly.
  7. Starting from the bottom, roll the croissant into the spiral shape using light, even pressure. Gently press the stretched tip into the bottom of the spiral to seal it, then place it on a tray with the tip underneath the croissant.
  8. Repeat with the remaining triangles, leaving space between each croissant to allow for the eventual rise (you will get 4–5 croissant on a standard baking tray).
  9. Lightly cover the trays with plastic wrap and leave them in a warm place (ideally 22–26°C/72–79°F) to rise. At the bakery we have the luxury of a prover/ retarder that provides the ideal conditions for proving pastries, but when I’m at home I gauge the weather and adjust my method accordingly. On a cool day, you can use your oven as a proving box by placing a roasting pan filled with hot water at the bottom of the oven and leaving it for about 5 minutes, to create steam. Once the oven is slightly warm, place the trays of croissants (still lightly covered in plastic wrap) in to prove. On a warm day you can just leave them lightly covered on a bench to prove.
  10. Leave the croissants until they have risen by half – the time will vary depending on the temperature and humidity of the day, but this should take around 1–2 hours. You should be able to see the layers in the pastry, and you can test to see if it’s ready by lightly pressing into the dough. If your finger leaves a dent in the pastry, it’s ready; if the dough springs back it needs some more time proving.
  11. Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F). (If you’ve used the oven to prove your croissants, make sure you remove them and the tray of water before you turn the oven on!)
  12. Make an egg wash by lightly beating together the egg, milk and salt. Take your first tray of croissants and lightly brush the surface of each with egg wash. Refrigerate the other tray until ready to bake.
  13. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the heated oven, and reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F). Bake for 10 minutes, then check your croissants and turn the tray, if needed, and bake for a further 4–5 minutes, until they are golden and flaky.
  14. Remove the first tray from the oven, return the temperature to 190°C (370°F) and repeat with the second tray. (You may find you can bake two trays at once if you have a good fan-forced oven.) Cool the croissants slightly on the trays before serving.

BAKERY NOTES

  • Croissants freeze really well. Refresh from frozen in a 180°C (360°F) oven for 5 minutes.

    We add a pinch of salt to our egg wash before brushing the pastries. Salt denatures the proteins in the egg and produces a runnier texture, which is easier to use.
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