I do not profess to make these all the time; living in France gives me access to wonderful croissants and other French breakfast pastries, However, these are even BETTER than MOST I can buy at the boulangerie, really! It is a time consuming process to make them, but the results are well worth the effort. The butter-enriched dough can be made the night before and stored in the fridge, and it can also be frozen. Once you have the hang of adding the butter to the dough and turning and rolling it to trap the air in between the layers, you are nearly there with the technique. This is my own recipe for croissants, and the quantity yields between 8 and 12 croissants, depending on how accurate you are with the measurements of the triangles before they are rolled. I usually start my dough off in my bread machine for the mixing, kneading and proving - it just gives me more time in the kitchen to get on with other things. I have also given the traditional method by hand, and the dough can also be mixed with a dough hook in a food mixer - choose whatever method is best for you! These croissants can also be frozen - before being baked; defrost overnight in the fridge before baking as normal. Eat these with freshly ground coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh butter and a selection of confitures, jams and conserves.
- Preheat oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- BREAD MACHINE: Put the milk, water, egg, flour, salt, sugar, 1 oz butter and the yeast into your machine and select dough, normal. This will mix, knead and prove the dough and takes about an hour and a half depending on your machine.
- BY HAND: Put the egg, flour, salt, sugar, 1 oz butter and the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix in the warm milk and the warm water until the mixture forms into a pliable dough. Cover and put the dough in a warm place, until it has nearly doubled in size.
- BUTTER DOUGH: Place the dough (both from the bread machine and by hand) on a floured surface and knead well until it feels elastic.Return the dough to the bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Return the chilled dough to your floured work surface and roll it into a rectangular shape, around 50cm X 20cm - 20" X 8".
- Separate the remaining butter into 3 portions and then using one third of the butter, dot the butter over the upper two thirds of the rolled dough, keeping a 1cm/1/2" border around the edges. Fold the dough into three , bringing up the bottom unbuttered part of the dough, and then folding the top buttered part of the dough over.
- Give the dough a half turn so that the open edges are now top and bottom and seal the edges with your rolling pin. Then take your rolling pin and press the dough at intervals to seal the dough and create air pockets. Roll out into a rectangle again, the same size, and then continue as before, two more times until your butter is used up - please see photos as a guide. It is important to return the rolled dough to the fridge in between each rolling to ensure the butter does not melt and the dough does not become too sticky. After the last rolling when all the butter is used, return the dough to the refrigerator to chill for a further 30 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and roll carefully into a big rectangle 50cm/30cm/24inx12in cut in half lengthways, divide each half into 4 to 6 triangles. Take one triangle at a time,and brush the triangle with the egg wash of milk and egg. Then from the widest edge of the triangle, roll up loosely and place in a crescent shape on a tray. Brush with the egg wash over the top for the glaze.
- TO FREEZE: At this point the croissants can be frozen; Open freeze them on a large tray, a baking tray is fine and then pack them into a rigid container or freezer bags when they are frozen. For use, remove from freezer the number required for breakfast, put onto baking tray and leave overnight. Put into a hot oven and cook for about 20 minutes until browned and risen.
- TO BAKE: Place the shaped croissants on baking trays lined with silicone baking parchment and leave to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and puffy.