The trouble with croissants is they're really difficult, especially when making a big batch. We could buy them in of course, there's a mass producer that supplies most of the croissants that appear in Liverpool, but they're flavourless and texture is pretty poor. We could also buy frozen unbaked croissants, throw them in the oven and claim they're our own, also not an uncommon practice. However we wouldn't be happy doing that, we always wanted to bake croissants properly, so we set out on the long, hard and extremely frustrating road to trying to perfect our own.
So for the last 18 months we've been trying, and sometimes succeeding to bake a good croissant. I've thrown plenty straight into the bin, but of late we've been very consistent, the best we've ever made both in texture and flavour. The key to this? Our croissants aren't French.
Classic French croissants are made with a dough with flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast. We've tried many different versions of this dough to get the results we wanted but never got the consistency of texture that we liked and always felt the flavour was not what we wanted. Not the buttery rich aromas of the croissants I used to have when I lived in France.
So by pure accident a few weeks ago I thought I'd try a recipe of Danish pastry dough that I stumbled across, very similar but with egg in the dough and a small amount of butter. I did the exact same process as for croissants but with the new dough and results where great, surprisingly so. It's the same recipe we've been using for a while now and will continue to do so, its available below. Most importantly the flavour for these croissants is fantastic much more of the final product we've been looking for.
100% Croissant flour
We do an intensive mix until good gluten development, leave to bulk for 1 hour at ambient, then box up in 3500g blocks, the amount we laminate with 1000g butter blocks. Refrigerate, fold after 2 hours and back in the fridge overnight. In total there is around 18 - 20 hour cold bulk rise. We then laminate and prove either warm or cold depending on the schedule we need.
This is the straight dough with long cold bulk rise, I think the next step will be to try some preferment in the dough, as an even greater flavour boost. It may take some tinkering though.
So after the many exasperating months, the trick was to look to Denmark, no more french croissants for us.