I adore croissants. I really do. I eat at least 4 a week with a hot cup of coffee. There's no better way to start the day in my honest opinion. My preference is for plain croissants, although you can always fill them with chocolate before baking, or serve them with jam, or ham and cheese once baked. Here is my recipe for making them.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Proving Time +1 hour
Baking Time 18 minutes
Bread flour for dusting
2 tbsp Full-fat milk
1 Egg yolk, medium
Oil for greasing (I use olive oil. You may want to use flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)
2 Baking sheets Baking parchment Rolling pin
Pizza cutter or sharp knife
Pastry brush Clingfilm
Line two baking sheets each with two layers of baking parchment.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 60cm x 30cm.
Roll from the middle outwards, being sure to lift the dough occasionally to let it relax as you roll.
Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut along the middle of the dough, length-ways, so you have two pieces 15cm wide.
Using the pizza cutter/sharp knife again, divide the closest piece of dough into thirds so you have 3 rectangles about 20cm x 15cm.
Cut across each rectangle diagonally from corner to corner, creating 6 triangles.
Place the triangle with the narrower side facing you and the point furthest away from you.
Press your fingers along the bottom and spread them apart, stretching the dough slightly. You may need to adjust the two corners so they are even.
Whilst keeping your fingers along the bottom, pull the dough away from you with your other hand, stretching the triangle and making it longer.
Roll the dough up starting at the bottom and going towards the point. Before you get to the end, pinch the point so it's flat, ensuring when you finish rolling this sits on the bottom.
Place the croissant on the baking sheet.
If you want to make crescent shaped croissants, push the ends into the middle until they meet at its belly.
Repeat this process for all of the other triangles.
The croissants should be evenly spaced apart on the baking sheet. Repeat all of the above steps with the other piece of dough, placing them on the second baking sheet.
Mix the egg yolk and milk in the small bowl and brush all of the croissants with the wash.
Leave for 5 minutes.
Gently cover the croissants with a sheet of lightly oiled clingfilm.
Leave both batches to prove for at least 1 hour, even 2, until doubled in size.
Preheat the over to 200°C/180°C (Fan)/400°F/Gas mark 6.
Carefully remove the clingfilm from the first batch you made.
Pop the tray into the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 10 minutes.
When the time is up turn the heat down to 170°C/150°C(Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3 and continue baking for a further 20 minutes.
Remove the croissants from the oven when they are golden, and slide them onto a wire rack.
Warm the oven up again to the first temperature and follow the above steps for the second tray.
Allow the croissants to cool for at least 30 minutes before tucking in.