A challenging recipe, but extremely satisfying when you get it right. Impress friends and family with your baking skills, and you will never have to run to the shop when the craving for fresh croissants hit!
Soften 150g of butter to room temperature.
Beat in 65g of plain flour until thoroughly mixed.
Form the butter into a square block about 1cm thick. refrigerate until needed.
Dissolve the yeast in 50ml of water.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the plain and strong flours with the salt and sugar. Rub in 30g of butter until thoroughly absorbed by the dry ingredients.
Add the yeast and water mix, and trickle in the milk while mixing together with your hand, until you obtain a soft but not too sticky dough.
Tip out the dough onto your work surface, and lightly knead the dough until it is smooth. It is not necessary to build up the gluten structure in the dough, so vigorous kneading is not necessary.
Lightly flour the dough so that it does not stick to the table's surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the four corners so that you obtain a four-pointed star, where the points are significantly thinner than the center. The thickest part of the dough should be more or less the same size as your block of butter.
Place the butter block on the dough, and fold in the four points to wrap everything up into a neat package.
Gently roll out the dough into a long rectangle: it should be about the same width as the original square, and two or three times longer.
Depending on how soft the dough has become, fold it into quarters (if it is still quite firm) or thirds (if it is somewhat soft).
Wrap the dough in cling film, and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Repeat the rolling out and folding process: once if you are using quarter folds; twice times if you are using third folds. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes in between each stage.
After the final rest, the puff pastry is ready to be rolled out to the desired thickness and used for your favourite recipe.
Puff pastry can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped in cling film. If you choose to freeze the dough, roll it out into thin sheets before wrapping and freezing: it will defrost more quickly.
Pre-heat the oven to 200'C.
Cut the yeasted puff pastry into long and thin triangles. Roll into croissants.
Leave in a warm, but not hot, place, away from drafts to prove. The croissant should nearly double within 90min at 18'C-20'C.
Brush the croissants with a beaten egg if desired.
Bake until golden brown, about 12-18minutes, depending on the size of the pastry.
«Shaped croissants can be frozen to be baked at a later date. Just defrost overnight in the refrigerator, and prove before baking. Baked croissants are best served fresh, but can be frozen and reheated later.»