Making croissant dough borrows more technique from making bread than from pastry. By allowing a croissant dough to prove slowly and adding a small amount of day-old-croissant dough (ferment) you can achieve a deeper more complex flavour. Careful folding of the dough (also known as laminating) will result in perfect thin layers of flaky pastry. Croissant dough is also used to make pan au chocolate, pan au raisin, danishes, bear claws and praline twists
To make the ferment, put all of the ingredients in a bowl and use one hand to squeeze everything together until the mixture starts to resemble a crumbly dough. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth elastic dough that doesn’t break when stretched gently. If you are using an electric mixer, put all the ingredients in the bowl of the mixer fitted with a dough hook. Process on low speed for 3 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough forms. Gather together in a ball and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days before using.
To mix the croissant dough by hand, put the flour, milk, sugar, ferment, salt and yeast in a bowl and use one hand to squeeze everything together until the mixture starts to resemble a crumbly dough. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10–15 minutes.
If you are using an electric mixer, put the flour, milk, sugar, ferment, salt and yeast in the bowl of the mixer fitted with a dough hook. Process on low speed for about 3-4 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix together for another 2 minutes.
You should have a smooth elastic dough that doesn’t break when stretched gently. Gather the dough into a ball. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
Before laminating, or folding, the pastry, remove the extra butter from the refrigerator — it should be cold but malleable. Use a rolling pin to gently pound the butter between sheets of baking paper into a
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle, about
Put the dough in a plastic bag or cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. Repeat this folding and resting process twice more, each time rotating the dough 90 degrees so that as you roll it out you are stretching it in the opposite direction to the previous fold.
Once the dough has been rolled and folded three times and had a final rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, it is ready to be pinned out and shaped into croissants or used to make pan au raisin, pan au chocolat, danishes, bear claws or praline twists.
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