No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

CROISSANTS AND DANISH PASTRIES

Just to show that these are not as difficult as people would have you believe, these were made with one of my special needs groups. Here they are 

Baked and brushed with a sugar glaze. As you can see, we also made iced buns

Ingredients:

400g (2 mugs) strong white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
250ml (2/3rds mug) lukewarm water
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
Good splash olive oil

Plus:
50-100g butter (traditional) or any spread (including soya), cut in slices and placed in the freezer
Sugar glaze

Method:
1. Measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid and then add the olive oil.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a knife (starting with the yeast first, to dissolve it properly), cutting through the dough. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – and stop before you get fed up!

4. On a floured worktop, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 30cm by 15cm and place the butter in slices evenly over two thirds of the dough. Fold the unbuttered side over to the middle, covering up half of the buttered area, then fold that over the rest of the buttered dough. Roll it out gently, fold it as above, place in an oiled plastic bag and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Take the dough out of the fridge, roll and fold it as before, then place it back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. You can go ahead and shape your croissants or pastries now, or you can repeat the rolling and folding procedure once more.

6. For croissants: Take it out of the fridge and roll it into a rectangle about 60cm by 30cm. With a sharp knife (or a pizza cutter), divide the dough into two long strips, then cut each strip into triangles with the base about 15cm long. Gently stretch the base a little, then roll it up from the base of the triangle, holding the point with the other hand and pulling slightly. Place on a baking sheet with the point underneath, bending the ends round into a crescent shape.

7. For Danish pastries: Take it out of the fridge and roll it into a rectangle about 60cm by 30cm With a sharp knife, divide the dough into two long strips, then cut each strip into 4 squares, so you have 8 squares altogether. Place some lemon curd or other filling in the centre of four of the squares, then cut a diagonal line from each corner to the filling. Fold over each corner to make a windmill effect. 
Place some lemon curd or other filling in the centre of one side of the other squares. Cut 3 parallel lines vertically down the other side of the square and fold over the filling so that it can be seen through the ‘bars’ you’ve created.


8. For both croissants and Danish pastries: Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C until golden brown, then brush with a sugar glaze.


Here's a brilliant video I've just come across on The Fresh Loaf forum that demonstrates 2 methods of laminating the dough - the French and the English.

And apparently the rich man's croissants, etc, are made with 100% butter (meaning the same amount of butter as flour) and the poor man's croissants are made with 25% butter! 

(Guess I'm in the latter category!Emoji)

Variation:
Fruit croissants - 


Ingredients:


400g strong white flour
1 dessertspoon sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
200g dried fruit
250ml lukewarm water
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
Good splash olive oil

Plus:
50-100g butter (traditional) or any spread (including soya), cut in slices and placed in the freezer

Add the sugar, spice and fruit into the flour, then proceed exactly as above

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