The classic French croissant is dark, flaky and buttery. While the dough laminating process is lengthy, it is completely satisfying, and the results are delicious.
- 500 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 7 g sachet or 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tbsp lukewarm full cream milk
- 310-330 ml cold water
- 25 g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 ½ tbsp milk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
This recipe is best made over two days to allow the dough to rest.
Initial chilling time: overnight
Total second day chilling time: approximately 3 hours
Second day rising time: 1 hour
To make croissants, place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and milk, stirring to dissolve. Wait a few minutes until the yeast mixture begins to bubble. Slowly add the water and melted butter and combine the ingredients gently with your fingertips. Add the salt and sugar and keep mixing with your fingers until the dough becomes very sticky (you may need to add a little more water if the dough is not sticky enough).
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough with the palm of your hand, rolling it away from your body, for 8 - 10 minutes, being careful not to add any flour during the kneading. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. It will double in size in the fridge.
Roll the dough into a rectangle that is about 5mm thick, and three times longer than it is wide. Spread half the softened butter over the centre third of the sheet. Fold the top third of the dough over the centre buttered section. Spread the remaining butter over the folded section, then fold the bottom third over the top.
Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the folded seams are at the sides. Roll the pastry again to form a large rectangular sheet and fold it in three. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Repeat the process of folding and refrigerating another three times - a total of four times.
Heat oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll the dough into a large 5mm-thick rectangle. (If you find the dough hard to manage, divide it into half.) Trim the edges, then cut into triangles 6-8cm wide x 12-15cm tall. Make a small triangular incision in the centre at the base of each triangle to allow the dough to stretch when being shaped. Starting from the widest end, roll the triangles up and shape into a crescent.
Space the croissants out on the baking tray and leave them to rise by about one-third in a draft-free, warm room (21°C is ideal) for about an hour.
When the croissants have risen, brush them with the egg wash and bake for ten minutes, or until golden. Do not open the oven door during cooking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Use these to make Emmanuel Mollois' almond croissants - a great way to use up any day-old croissants.