Croissants

Ingredients

900g Matthews French Strong Patisserie flour
50g caster sugar
14g fast-action yeast
14g salt
20g chilled, unsalted butter
500g full-fat milk straight from the fridge
200gr white sourdough starter (50:50 flour:water, i.e., 100% hydration)
500g unsalted ‘high-quality’ butter (I use President)

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt)

This is a large volume of dough but can be divided into portions and frozen to be used as needed.

 croissants

Making the dough

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Rub in the 20g butter until crumb-like, then add the milk and sourdough starter. Stir until combined to create a raggy dough.
  2. Knead the dough vigorously for 10-15 minutes – a mixer is good for this – until smooth and stretchy. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour (but preferably overnight).
  3. Meanwhile, take the 500g butter from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to bash and cajole it into a square approx. 20cm square x 1cm thick. Return to the fridge until needed.
  4. Once the dough has chilled and rested, working as quickly as you can roll out on a floured surface (using as little flour as you can get away with) to a rectangle 20cm x 40cm. Take the butter from the fridge and place on one half of the dough. Fold over the other end of the dough to completely cover the butter and pinch all around the edges to seal the butter in a ‘pocket’.
  5. Gently roll the dough into a long rectangle about 3 or 4 times long as it is wide. Gently take each narrow end of the dough and fold into the centre so that both ends meet in the middle. The dough should now be roughly half the original length. Repeat that process folding the ends to the middle before finally flipping one half over the other (like closing a book), wrap in cling film and return to the fridge for minimum 20 minutes.
  6. Repeat the rolling and folding at Step 5 two more times then give a final 20 minutes rest. This is the point at which it can be divided and frozen, if needed.

strong patisserie flour

Rolling, shaping and baking

  1. Heat your oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5 and grease 2 large baking trays or line with parchment.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle roughly 20cm wide and 1cm thick (if you are using the full amount of dough it will be quite long, approx. 1 metre!). As you roll it will get harder to do. If so, fold the dough so that it fits in your fridge and let it relax in the fridge for 5 minutes. Take it out and continue rolling.
  3. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to trim ALL the edges into straight lines. With one of the long edges towards you measure 6cm along from the bottom left corner and make a nick in the dough with the knife. From that point measure another 6 cms and nick again, repeating the process to the end of the dough. Along the TOP edge of the dough start by measuring 3 cms from the left corner and making a nick. Thereafter, continue along marking at 6 cm intervals as before.
  4. Start by cutting from the bottom left corner up to the first nick along the top edge. Then cut from the top corner down to the first nick on the bottom edge. Repeat the cutting top to bottom, bottom to top until you end up with 18/24 traingles.
  5. With the wider (6 cm) bottom edge of the triangle towards you and the long point away, take each corner and fold them into the centre (as if making a paper aeroplane!). Now, from the bottom roll up the triangle very tightly towards the tip and place the croissant tip to the bottom on the prepared baking tray. This prevents the croissant unravelling during baking. Repeat with all triangles. They can be frozen at this point. If not, allow to prove, covered, in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Brush each croissant with the egg wash and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until deep, golden brown. Remove to a rack, allow to cool slightly but eat while still warm.

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