He was born in 1966 in the UK, was trained as a sculptor but his father is a baker and persuaded him to join the family business. He became a household name after appearing as a judge on BBC Two series The Great British Bake Off. Paul runs an artisanal baking business, judges The Baking Industry Awards and contributes to articles for many UK food and lifestyle magazines.
Now back to his croissants recipe.
This is my first time making croissants because Trader Joe’s used to sell great unbaked frozen croissants so I didn’t have a reason to make them from scratch. However, TJ’s changed to a different company’s frozen croissants which is not as good as the one before so I stop buying.
You can make it a day ahead and freeze half unbaked croissants. Just remember to take the unbaked one out to room temperature an hour before you plan to bake them.
Here are his steps:
Prep: 16-17 hours, including overnight chilling
Bake: 15-20 minutes
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt, plus a pinch for the eggwash
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
300ml cool water ( *I use 150ml of milk and 150ml of water)
300g chilled unsalted butter, preferably a good-quality Normandy butter
1 medium egg to glaze
1. Put the flour into a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the water and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be fairly stiff.
2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm; it should be about 1cm thick. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 40 x 19cm, by bashing it with a rolling pin. Put the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.
4. Fold the exposed dough at the top down over one-third of the butter. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of the dough up. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour to harden the butter.
5. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured work surface with a short end towards you. Roll into a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top to make a neat square to make a neat square. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back into the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge for an hour between turns.
6. Your dough now needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly.
7. When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.
8. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 30cm wide; it should be about 7mm thick. Trim the edges to neaten them.
9. Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 15cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.
10. Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. Now starting at the thick end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.
11. Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours. (*after one hour, I put 6 unbaked croissants into the freezer for later)
12. Heat your oven to 200°C.
13. Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.
Taken from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake, published by Bloomsbury Photograph © Peter Cassidy
I think I did ok for the first time. It tastes good. Next time I am going to try this Classic French Croissants 101 Guide recipe and see how it turns out.