I spent most of February making croissants having realised my original recipe was, well, shite. Rather than try and fix what I had made I thought it better to start from scratch. I wanted to improve my dough recipe and croissant method. For the croissants I've tried a few different glazes, baking temperatures and times. I've discovered that a well beaten egg glaze produces a better bake that doesn't burn compared to one with added water or milk. I've also discovered that a longer bake at a lower temperature is better than a shorter bake at a higher temperature. The key either way though is to leave the croissants to rest when taken out of the oven until they are completely cooled before tucking in. It's also key that when proving the croissants they are left in a warm place that's not hot, humid, or in direct sunlight. You don't want to melt the butter but you do need them to get nice and jiggly. As an advocate for a fridge prove this is one occasion when it's not worth it as it would be a long wait, especially if you've already made the dough yourself.
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Proving Time +2 hours
Baking Time 25 minutes
Bread flour for dusting
1 Egg, medium
Pizza cutter or sharp knife
2 Baking sheets
2 Roasting tins or tea towels
Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. I find it’s best to cut the dough in half and tackle these in two batches.
Roll a piece of the dough onto a very lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring about 50cm x 25cm.
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 make 9cm wide indentations along the bottom of the dough. In the middle between two of the indentations place your cutter/knife along the top edge of the dough and make another series of indentations 9cm apart. Now cut across the dough, indentation to indentation to make triangles. You should be able to make 8.
Place a triangle width closest to you and cut a small slit in the middle of that edge.
Roll the dough up away from you until the point is underneath. I like to give the dough a little wiggle to flatten the point under it. Repeat with the other triangles.
Place the croissants onto a lined baking sheet evenly spaced apart.
Cover with a roasting tin if you have one large and deep enough, or similar, or failing that cover very gently with a tea towel.
Repeat with the second piece of dough, using the other baking sheet and cover again.
Leave to prove for at least 2 hours until doubled in size and wobbly. It helps to leave them somewhere slightly warm but not hot or humid.
Preheat the oven 170°C/150°C(Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Beat an egg in a small bowl until very loose and smooth.
Gently brush the top surfaces of the croissants, not the layers as it will seal them shut, with the beaten egg.
Pop one of the sheets into the oven on a middle shelf for 25 minutes until the croissants are golden.
Remove and leave to cool whilst you bake the second batch.
Transfer them onto a wire rack and leave until completely cooled. It’s worth the wait.