We've had a lot of interest in our croissants lately and personally I can understand why. If you've been staying safe at home, juggling work and child care or doing front-line keywork, a little breakfast treat is just what the doctor ordered!
At Kelp we craft each batch of these buttery french pastries; from preparing the detrémp to hand cutting and rolling each one.
Part of the secret is the butter... After searching high and low for good quality, free range, unsalted butter in the UK and not finding quite the right thing we were inspired by our friend's Cornish Sea Salted butter and so we decided to churn our own, using double cream from The Free Range Dairy... #yum #ifyouwantajobdoing. We ended up with a gorgeous soft yellow butter and plenty of delicious butter milk for scones!
We mix and then long prove the détremp which is a buttery dough, starting the day before baking, to develop that deep, beautiful flavour. Our butter block is created using our own Free Range Kelp Bakery butter and left to chill.
Next day that square of golden deliciousness gets sandwiched into the dough which is the foundation to creating the flakey layers you see inside the pastry, This sandwiching of the butter and dough is known as the 'lock in'. We use a simple book fold and then envelope fold to rest. Some folks like to envelope fold and others place it diagonally and fold the corners to the middle. Size, depth and temperature are very important to achieve a good lamination between dough and dairy. Butter that's too cold, thick or milky can have a disastrous effect on creating your layers! They still taste pretty good though! There you go, we start with 3 layers; dough, butter, dough, and then we do the first fold and leave it to rest.
After resting, we begin to build more of those fluffy, airy layers (which takes some time!). We use the envelope fold to triple the layers each time. Fold #1 is 3 layers of 3 (so 9), Fold # 2 is 27, Fold #3 is 81 and finally Fold #4 has 243 layers of butter and dough.
Once this multilayered sheet of buttery delight has had its final rest and chill, we roll and cut the dough into long sided triangles. You can use a ruler and a pizza wheel, a template or a specialist cutter to get the shape and then you're ready to rock and roll! With the point facing away from you, apply a light tension to the short edge, tuck and roll it (like a swiss roll). Once you've got free edge tucked in continue to roll lightly away from you. With every revolution you'll see the croissant forming. Ideally you should have about 3 full rolls, as you come to the point stretch it a little and roll the croissant on to it, sealing it on the under side of your pastry. carefully place it onto a baking tray cover with parchment and repeat.
A short proof and then the trays go into the pre-heated oven. It's fascinating to watch the process from start to finish from knocking the dough back, to the proving and even the 'oven spring' as they rise and turn golden. I can tell you if the science wasn't enough to get to you the darn smell will!