Laminated yeasted doughs are wonderful things to make, bake, and eat! They are versatile and can be used for sweet and savoury bakes.
This recipe I have written is for an all-purpose laminated yeasted dough, which you should be able to use for making both croissants and Danishes.
I appreciate how daunting the thought of making any dough can be, let alone a laminated one, so I want to reassure you that it's not and shouldn't be stressful! If you can master this dough, you can also master puff pastry, and then you have no excuse for buying either from the shop! Yes, whilst it does require a fair bit of time (mostly waiting and patience) to make this dough, it doesn't require a lot of effort!
Makes approx. 1.1kg
Hands-on Time 1 hour
Resting Time +12 hours
500g Strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
3 tsp Fast-action yeast
2 tsp Fine salt
3 1/2 tbsp Caster sugar
340g Unsalted butter (40g softened, 300g chilled)
175ml Full-fat milk
The key rule you need to follow when making a laminated dough is that you need to make it in a cool environment as possible! So make sure you don't have the oven on, or the heating cranked up to the max.
Place the flour in a large bowl.
Add the yeast to one side, the salt and sugar to the other along with the 40g of softened butter.
Using one hand start mixing together the ingredients, adding the milk and water using the other, until you have formed a dough.
Add a dash more water only if you really think it needs it, however the quantity stated should be just right.
Knead the dough on a clean worktop for about 5 minutes until it's smooth and soft. You can use a free-standing mixer if you prefer, although it's better to do this by hand so you don't over-knead it.
Once the dough is ready, place on a piece of clingfilm, flatten into a rectangle, and wrap up.
Put in the fridge for an hour to get cold and firm.
With the dough in the fridge, you need to prepare the butter.
Lay a piece of baking parchment at least 60cm in length onto a worktop.
Place the 300g of chilled butter in the middle, and lay another piece of baking parchment on top.
You need to soften the butter to make it more manageable before rolling out. You can either do this by whacking it with the rolling pin a few times, or, as I prefer, press down on top using the palm of your hand.
Do this until it has started losing its shape and has softened.
Now, using your rolling pin, press and roll the butter into a rectangle measuring 40cm x 19cm.
Once you've started to flatten the butter I'd suggest folding over all four edges of the baking parchment into the required rectangle shape and size.
With the paper now folded this allows you to press the butter up to the very edges, ensuring you get a crisp sided rectangle.
When finished, place the butter into the fridge for about an hour to firm up.
Once the hour is over, very lightly dust a worktop and rolling pin with flour.
Remove the dough from the fridge.
Unwrap, and place on the floured surface.
Roll the dough out to a 60cm x 20cm rectangle. As most surfaces in the kitchen aren’t that deep it’s easier to roll this out across the length of the worktop.
Try and get in the habit of rolling from the middle of the dough outwards in the same direction. Do not to roll back and forwards. Also lift the dough occasionally so it can relax.
Take the wrapped butter out of the fridge and peel off the top layer of parchment.
Slice the butter in half along the length so you have two pieces 20cm x 19cm.
Flip one piece of butter onto the bottom third of the dough, so the top two-thirds are still exposed.
Carefully fold the butter covered dough over onto the the exposed dough.
Place the second piece of butter on top of this newly created layer.
Fold the remaining third of exposed dough over to cover the butter.
Seal the sides to ensure the butter is fully encased.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees.
Lightly dust your rolling pin and roll the dough out into another rectangle at least 40cm in length.
Get in the habit of rolling from the middle outwards, and lifting the dough now and then, as I mentioned before. Eventually these will become second nature to you as you make this dough.
Fold one third of the dough over, like you did with the first piece covered with butter. Fold the remaining exposed dough over again to cover this newly made layer. Essentially you are repeating the first step without the butter.
This is the first turn.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for an hour. By chill I mean the dough and yourself. Go have a coffee break!
When the hour is up very lightly flour the worktop and rolling pin if you need to, and take the dough out of the fridge.
Place the dough on the worktop so the folds from the previous turn are not facing you.
Rolling the dough again so it's at least 60cm in length.
Repeat the previous turn again. This is the second turn.
Wrap again in clingfilm and chill for an hour before rolling the dough out and performing the third and final turn.
Just in case you are wondering, there are now 54 layers of butter in the dough.
Generously wrap the dough with clingfilm.
Leave in the fridge overnight if you intend on using it for baking the next day. Otherwise pop into the freezer for use later. I'd advise double wrapping the dough if you're freezing it. If you are using it later, be sure to take the dough out of the freezer the night before you want to use it and defrost in the fridge.
Congratulations, you have now successfully made a laminated yeasted dough! See, it wasn't that difficult!
Things you can make with the dough now you've made it: