“You can’t beat a fresh butter slathered croissant,” says Rhiann Mead, Bennelong’s pastry chef – and we totally agree. “I programmed the baking for the first hour in the morning, so I have hot croissants ready for a sunrise stroll. There is no better start to the day.
The chef has spent Sydney’s current lockdown honing his baking skills, including working with sugar and sculpting chocolate, but his greatest triumph has been to pull off a foolproof croissant recipe.
“Everything that could go wrong has happened at some point, but every failure has been a huge learning curve,” she says. Mead landed on a three-day process that combines tips and tricks she learned from her fellow cooks and a few temperature and ingredient trials to make perfectly chewy, flaky, buttery croissants.
“It was a great way to save time,” she says. Large format. “I love how creative and disciplined you have to be as a pastry chef. I love the attention to detail in a recipe and how an amazing pastry can be produced from such simple ingredients.
“Croissants are pretty straightforward in theory, but without the right technique, so much can go wrong. In addition to time management and a working oven, the only equipment you will need is a rolling pin. Although bottles of wine or bottles of olive oil are a great substitute, she says. And if you need to speed up the process, you can, but the trade-off is in the flavor. “The flavor of the dough won’t be as developed,” says Mead.
Making croissants has been incredibly therapeutic for the unemployed chef. “You can get away from everything else for a little while because it requires a lot of focus and attention to detail. There is nothing more satisfying than rolling out your dough and seeing the layers you’ve created. You are filled with such a sense of accomplishment when you see your croissants coming out of the oven.
When you stock up on ingredients, good quality butter is essential. “You need soft butter with a high fat percentage and low water content. Butter has a huge impact on texture and flavor, it’s interesting how much the result varies depending on the butter used, ”she says. In addition, if you want to interrupt the cooking time, you can freeze the raw croissants for up to a week. “Freeze right after rolling. Thaw, then rise and cook as usual, ”she says.
Rhiann Mead’s Homemade Croissants
Preparation time: 3 days
Cooking time: 20 minutes
500g strong or bread flour
45 g unsalted butter, room temperature
12g of salt
1 tablespoon powdered whole milk
140g of water
140g whole milk
11g dry yeast
300 g unsalted butter, slightly softened
For the egg wash:
Add flour, butter, salt and powdered milk to a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined and a consistency similar to sand.
In a saucepan, heat the water, milk and sugar to around 35 ° C. Remove from the heat and add the dry yeast until dissolved. Set aside for five minutes to thicken and activate.
Add the wet and dry mixes together and stir until a smooth paste forms.
Wrap in cling film and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit overnight, or for 12 to 24 hours. (The longer the dough in the refrigerator, the stronger the flavor).
Use a rolling pin to shape the softened butter between sheets of parchment paper. Roll into a square about 1 cm thick. Keep refrigerated.
Take the square of butter out of the refrigerator to soften it slightly. Roll out the dough into a square slightly larger than your block of butter.
Place the butter in the center of the dough and fold the edges to completely and evenly cover the butter.
To start the laminating process, unroll the block of dough by turning it over four times using “book turns”. Refrigerate between each round to let the gluten rest. The dough will not stretch if overworked.
Wrap well and refrigerate.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Cut out triangles of approximately 9 cm x 15 cm. Firmly roll the triangle shapes from base to tip, making sure the tip is tucked underneath.
Place on a lined baking sheet to let the dough rise at room temperature. Cover with cling film.
Let the croissants rise until they double in size (4 to 6 hours, depending on room temperature).
When the croissants have almost doubled, heat the oven to 200 ° C. Brush the croissants with the egg wash.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes at 200 ° C. Turn the baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 175 ° C. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and cool slightly before eating.
Rhiann Mead’s recipe is shared courtesy of The Fink Group and Sydney Opera House.
Find more kitchen ideas, see Large format sheets recipe center.