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Croissants

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Ingredients

350g/12oz/3 cups unbleached white bread flour
115g/4oz/1 cup fine plain (all-purpose) flour, preferably French
5ml/1 tsp salt
25g/1oz/2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
15g/ oz fresh yeast
225ml/scant 8fl oz/scant 1 cup lukewarm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
225g/8oz/1 cup butter

For the glaze

1 egg yolk
15ml/1 tbsp milk

Details

Makes: 14


Method

1. Sift the flours and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre. Cream the yeast with 45ml/3 tbsp of the milk, then stir in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the centre of the flour, then add the egg and gradually beat in the flour until it forms a dough.


2. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. Place in a large lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place, for about 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.


3. Knock back (punch down), re-cover and chill for 1 hour. Meanwhile, flatten the butter into a block about 2cm/¾in thick. Knock back the dough and turn out on to a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rough 25cm/10in square, rolling the edges thinner than the centre.


4. Place the block of butter diagonally in the centre and fold the corners of the dough over the butter like an envelope, tucking in the edges to completely enclose the butter.


5 Roll the dough into a rectangle about 2cm/¾in thick and approximately twice as long as it is wide. Fold the bottom third up and the top third down and seal the edges with a rolling pin. Wrap the dough in clear film and chill for about 20 minutes.


6 Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling twice more, turning the dough by 90 degrees each time. Roll out on a floured surface into a 63 x 33cm/25 x 13in rectangle; trim the edges to leave a 60 x 30cm/24 x 12in rectangle. Cut in half lengthways. Cut crossways into 14 equal triangles with 15cm/bin bases.


7 Place the dough triangles on two baking sheets, cover with clear film and chill for 10 minutes.


8 To shape the croissants, place each one with the wide end at the top, hold each side and pull gently to stretch the top of the triangle a little, then roll towards the point, finishing with the pointed end tucked underneath. Curve the ends towards the pointed end to make a crescent. Place on two baking sheets, spaced well apart.


9 Mix together the egg yolk and milk for the glaze. Lightly brush a little glaze over the croissants, avoiding the cut edges of the dough. Cover the croissants loosely with lightly oiled cleat film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for about 30 minutes, or until they are nearly doubled in size.


10 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Brush the croissants with the remaining glaze and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. The croissants are best warm, with butter, if liked, and good quality fruit conserve.

COOK'S TIP:- Make sure that the block of butter and the dough are about the same temperature when combining, to ensure the best results.

VARIATION:- To make chocolate-filled croissants, place a small square of milk or plain (semisweet) chocolate or 15ml/1 tbsp coarsely chopped chocolate at the wide end of each triangle before rolling up as in step 8.

Energy 253Kcal/1059kj; Protein 4.3g; Carbohydrate 28.5g, of which sugars 3.2g; Fat 14.4g, of which saturates 8.7g; Cholesterol 50mg; Calcium 72mg; Fibre 1g; Sodium 251mg

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