Making croissants – ridiculous idea, right? Best to leave it to the Frenchies. Well actually it’s surprisingly simple. And like the rest of this sourdough baking business, it just requires a bit of patience and some elbow grease. Oh, and a lot of butter. So I made some, and here’s the recipe (again, thanks to another more experienced sourdough baker for this one – recipe originates from LeadDog on the Sourdough Companion website). He used 5g salt and unsalted butter, I used salted butter, for which the Frenchies would probably have me whipped, but I don’t want all that boring unsalted butter hanging around in the fridge for my toast. The measurements seem ridiculously precise – I’ve reproduced them faithfully, but I doubt it’d matter if you were a gram or two off.
The dough feels a bit more like pastry than bread dough, and doesn’t rise much during all the folding process. I was a bit concerned that it wasn’t going to work, but when I got up this morning the croissants had risen a fair bit, and they rose more in the oven. So don’t fret if you don’t see much expansion earlier on in the process. Gonna experiment with a few fillings next time.
For a reminder off all the technical stuff when it comes to the leaven, see my last post, here.
For the dough
57g melted butter
238g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g cold butter
For the egg wash
1 tsp sugar
Feed your 100% hydration starter the day before you want to make the croissants.
Next day, mix 70g starter with the milk – warm but not hot. Add the melted butter then the flour, salt and sugar and mix. Knead for a few minutes to make a dough. Place in a rectangular container, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge (mine was there for a couple of hours).
Leave the 100g butter on the counter to soften up a bit. Then place it between two pieces of greaseproof paper and using a rolling pin flatten it to form a square that is about 12cm x 12cm and 0.5 cm thick. Put this into the fridge and let it harden.
To make Croissants you need to get layers and layers of butter between layers and layers of dough. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to a rectangle that is a little more than twice as big as your piece of butter. Place the butter on one half of the dough then fold the other half of the dough over the butter so that it is completely covered by the dough. Press the edges of the dough together to seal.
Roll out into a thin rectangle and fold it up like a letter and roll it out again and fold it up like a letter. Place back into the container and back into the fridge. Repeat this process four times, with an hour inbetween each time.
The final time, roll out the dough to make a strip about 15cm wide and 45cm long. Cut this into 5 pieces, and then cut each piece across diagonally to form 10 elongated triangles. Make the croissants by rolling the dough up from the wide end towards the tip.
These need to be left to rise – I left mine covered in the unheated kitchen overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make the egg wash and brush the croissants with it. Bake for 20 minutes or until the croissants turn a nice golden colour.
Eat warm. Yum.