Croissants have been on my Want To Make list for a long time, but I just hadn’t had the nerve to make them so I was glad when I saw that Corrie from Hot Potato had decided to these being April’s Fresh from the Oven challenge. To make it even better the recipe was from my bread bible – River Cottage Handbook: Bread. I think I would go as far to say this turned out to be one of my favourite Fresh from the Oven challenge so far.

I only did a half batch as the amount of butter being used in the full recipe scared me slightly, even though I knew the amount of butter per croissant would still be the same! Well I have to say I’ve now been truly spoilt. Never did I think I would be able to make such delicious croissants. These are only matched by freshly baked croissants from a bakery near a friend’s house in Bristol. I think we’ll struggle to go back to the ready-made versions we usually have on our Sunday treat breakfasts from the shops. Don’t let the long instructions put you off, they are easier than it makes out and so worth it. If the amount of butter scares you, one thing I will say is that you get a good workout rolling the dough out into the giant rectangle.

Makes 24-28 croissants
From River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens

1 kg strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
20 g salt
330 ml warm water
330 ml warm milk
10g powdered dried yeast (instant/bread machine yeast)
140g caster sugar/white sugar
500g unsalted butter

For glaze:
2 medium egg yolks
50ml milk

1) It is best to use a food mixer for the first stage as the dough will be soft, sticky and difficult to knead by hand. So, put all the ingredients, except the butter, into the mixer bowl and fit the dough hook. Knead on low to medium speed until the dough is soft, stretchy and satiny – about 10 minutes. Put the dough in a decent sized polythene bag (it needs room to rise), suck out the air, tie a knot in the bag and put it in the fridge to rest over night.

2) First thing in the morning, get the butter out of he fridge. You need it to warm up a bit so it is workable, but not soft. The idea is that the dough and the butter have a similar degree of firmness.

3) As soon as it seems ready, lightly flour the butter, lay it between two sheets of cling film and bat it out with a rolling pin to a fairly neat square about 1cm thick. Take your time to get the thickness and shape as even as possible, then put it to one side.

4) Take your dough out of the fridge, flour it and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than twice the size of the butter (allow a couple of centimeters extra all around). Now lay the butter on one half leaving a border, fold the other half over and press down all the way round to seal the butter in.

5) Next roll the dough away from you until it is twice its original length, then fold the top and bottom edges in by one sixth. Fold them in again by another sixth, so the folds meet in the middle, then fold one on top of the other.

6) Give the dough a quarter turn and roll it out again to about the same size as before, fold the top and bottom edges in to meet at the middle, then fold one on top of the other. Roll this out slightly and seal the edges with the rolling pin.

7) Put the dough back in the plastic bag and return it to the fridge to rest for an hour or so. (You’ve given the gluten a good workout and it must relax now, otherwise it will be resistant and uncooperative later.) *I found the dough extremely resistant after a 2 hour rest and I had to use a herculean effort to roll it out. I did halve the dough and let the second half rest overnight and had a much easier time rolling it out. Unless you’re a body builder I would advise a longer rest than an hour or two.

8 ) In the meantime, you need to cut a template from a piece of cardboard (the back of a cereal box or something similar). You want an isosceles triangle, measuring 20cm across the base and 25cm tall. (The easiest way is to draw an upside down capital T and join the points, like a cartoon sail).

9) When your dough has rested, unwrap and roll it out to a neat rectangle, a little larger than 140cm x 50cm . Now trim the rectangle to these measurements leaving perfectly straight edges. Cut the rectangle in two lengthwise, to give two 25cm wide strips. Now using your template as a guide, cut 12-14 triangles from each strip.

10) Lay each triangle away from you and roll it up from the base. Wet the pointed end and seal it. Curl the tips around to form a crescent and pinch them together to hold them in place; or you can leave them straight if you prefer. (At this point you could freeze some if you like. Space them out on a tray and freeze, then pack into bags. Allow an extra hour for rising when you come to use them).

11) Lay your croissants with the sealed point underneath, on baking trays lined with greased baking parchment or (better still) silicone mats. Cover with cling film or a bin liner and leave to rise until doubled in side. As the dough is cold, this could take a couple of hours, or longer.

12) When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200C/400F /Gas Mark 6. Beat the egg yolk and the milk together, then gently brush all over the croissants. Bake for about 10 minutes, then lower the setting to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 and bake for further 10-15 minutes until they look beautifully golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, while you make coffee.

P.S. If your work surface isn’t large enough to roll the dough out to a 140 x 50cm rectangle, cut it in half. Roll out one portion at a time to a rectangle a little bigger than 70 x 50cm, then cut the strips as above and cut 6 or 7 triangles from each strip, using your template as a guide.

About Jules

Freelance Food Geek who's passionate about food education. Lives with long-suffering Hubs and 3yo Little Baker (LB) not too far from Derby.

Posted on April 28, 2010, in baking, blog event and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. mmm…they look delicious! It’s not the right time of the day to read your post…I’ve just had a goomy breakfast with youghurt and a few cereals…
    I only tried once to make them and the result was awfull! I’ll tried your recipy…let’s see what comes out!

  2. Gosh they just look & sound so divine… I absolutely must put all your posts out of sight until I am thinner…. You are much too tempting!

  3. Lovely looking croissants! I think an extra rest of the dough would be a good plan next time, and perhaps proving them on my proving setting in the oven would help them puff up more pre-bake. That said – they were lovely weren’t they!? *leans back in seat to hide spare tyre*

  4. amazing work! so impressed. someday i hope to make croissants, too.



  5. Those look amazing, absolutely picture perfect. They are on my list of things to make one day.

  6. wow that does sound like a lot of hard work actually! if you have a couple leftover i’ll do my bit and volunteer to take them off you! ;-)

  7. I’m so glad they turned out well – they look very professional!

  8. Oh wow, look at those! They’re perfect. I’ve always wanted to make croissants but was too scared, thinking I should leave it to the French bakers. Well, you’ve made this francophile very happy.

  9. Jules – again, these look great! And a ‘thinner’ shape than mine: I think I left mine in the hot conservatory for too long to rise! Never mind -really enjoyed it anyway!

  10. Ooh scrummy! They look so perfect, no more tinned croissant dough for me (painful to admit!), will definately be making these little beauties soon! Just can imagine the smell of these baking, so glorious!

  11. These look incredible!!

  12. These are beauties, they look like they could have come out of a Paris bakery. Beautifully done daaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  13. num num! I am not able to repeat that, but i will definitely try one

  14. Congratulations \o/

    Really :-)

    I use to make croissant at work (I’m a chef), and yours look like made by Pros :-) And believe me, they look better than what you can find in some shops, even in France ;-)

  15. Great job! I would love to try making these but I’m sure it would take me several attempts to get anywhere close to how it should look. I’m putting it on my list.

  16. Well, congratulations on these beautiful croissants. You did a fantastic job!! I love making laminated dough.

  17. Those. Look. Perfect.

  18. wow. i’m too chicken to make croissants…

  19. Amazing, amazing, amazing! This is bookmarked for when I am on maternity leave.

  20. They look great Jules. I didn’t get the chance to bake along this month for a number of reason’s but these are defo on my wish list for things to make.

  21. They look like croissants should, almost like they came straight out a French bakery. Congrats on tackling something new, thinking I may try this next time got a proper weekend at home.

  22. Those look perfect, really flaky and crisp. When they come out right, you can’t beat a fresh home-made croissant!

  23. I don’t have the guts just yet to make croissants, let alone post them on my blog. Heh. Congratulations to you for having the guts and for them turning out beautifully. :)

  24. Oh dear God, these look amazing! I think I’m going to have to try them. First available weekend is the last one in May… keep your fingers crossed!

  25. Food for Think

    You have truly inspired me to make my own croissants – I have been wanting to make them for a while but have been scared. They look AMAZING!

  26. Ooh, they’re pretty! I’ve always wondered about how to get the proper croissant shapes.

  27. They look divine! I’m bookmarking this page because I really want to make these. Thanks for the post.

  28. These look decadent. Fresh croissants are one of my absolute favorite baked goods.

  29. They look absolutely gorgeous and professional. Croissants are on my ‘Want To Make’ list too, and reading your post has persuaded me to try it out soon!

  30. I was thrown because the TV version (which was good) omitted to mention the inclusion of warm water…which could have ruined this excellent recipe

  31. Made them today so worth the effort. the smell in my kitchen this morning wos so worth it. Mmmmm.

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