Monday, 20 July 2015

Cheat Croissants (Wheat and Yeast Free)

Hello everyone!! I'm back from my extended break, and I am happy to be back to managing my time well enough to be able to bake often. Let me tell you what I was up to in my time away:

Firstly, where I work is a community centre run by the Methodist Church in Limerick: it's a three story building that used to be an office block that the church built about 75 years ago to rent out and have an income. However, 15 or so year ago, the businesses moved out and it was unoccupied except for one street unit that houses USIT, a student travel agent.

My mother became the minister of the Methodist Church in 2012, and since then she has been working on making the office block into a community space. In that time we have had many a different group and individual use our space, and everyday it is used for something or other, from breakdancing classes and theatre rehearsals, to English language classes and Mums and Tots groups. In 2014, I was made part-time community and youth worker, and as of the start of July, I was made full time.

Our longest tenant is an organisation called Doras Luimní, which is a migrant support and human rights NGO (non-governmental organisation) that offers legal aid, advocacy, and assistance to migrant people living in Limerick, and as part of my job I work with them for 5 hours on a Thursday. Part of Doras Luimní's remit is anti-racism and integration training, and since 2014 we have been running a European initiative called "C4i" (Communication for Integration), which involves "Anti-Rumours" training and workshops, designed to tackle racist rumours. The project evaluation was in Brussels at the end of June, and the project leader and I went over to attend the conference.

Since then, I've just been getting to grips with having a full time job and juggling it with my personal life - my friends, my companion, and my hobbies - and it's been incredibly time consuming. For about three weeks I only baked things for youth groups and church things, and as such used old reliable recipes with little or no experimentation.

But now, having found my feet, I'm back to abnormality, and my trip to Belgium inspired my to try something that I haven't done for years: croissants!



I tried making croisssants once when I was younger with no success: they didn't rise, and were as tough as nails. My brother Paddy ate them, but I did not think they were successful. Not only because I hate working with yeast (yeast and spelt are not friends in my experience), but because my layering process wasn't done properly or something.


Since then, I have dabbled in puff pastry many times, including recently when I made some sausage rolls. That dough was nice, but not quite right either. So, I did some serious research. What I present to you now is a mixture of about 4 different puff pastry recipes; these croissants are raised with baking powder, which is a little bit of a cheat, but it works.


FREE FROM
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat

CONTAINS
☒ Gluten
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Eggs (you can skip on the egg wash, though)
☒ Dairy (you can use block margarine instead of butter, and water instead of milk)

INGREDIMENTS:

  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3 millilitres) lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) caster sugar
  • 2 fluid ounces (60 millilitres) water
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) butter, at room temperature, divided in four
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) of milk or water, for glazing


METHOD

First, make the pastry (this takes roughly 90 minutes, over an hour of which is waiting for the pastry to chill):

  • In a mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, and sugar to mix evenly. Then, using your fingertips, rub in one quarter of the butter until it resembles a slightly wet sand kind of consistency.
  • Add the water and mix until it becomes a very soft dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Gather the dough into a ball, and allow to relax for about 15 minutes.
  • Dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle about a quarter inch inch (5 millimetres) in thickness. Using a butter knife or the back of a spoon, spread another quarter of the butter over two thirds of the dough's surface. Sprinkle a little with flour, and then do a trifold: fold the unbuttered third over, then fold the remaining buttered flap over again; think of how you would fold a letter into three before you put it in an envelope. Wrap in cling film, and then put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • After the brief freeze, the dough should be firm but still pliable. Dust the surface once more and roll out the dough into another rectangle quarter of an inch (5 millimetres) in thickness again. This time, do a trifold with no butter, folding the dough into three like a letter. Roll out again, and spread another quarter of the butter over two-thirds like before, sprinkling lightly with flour. Do another trifold, then wrap up and freeze again for another 15 minutes.
  • Repeat the process, doing one more dry trifold and one last trifold with the final quarter of butter and a last little sprinkling of flour. Wrap and freeze for another 15 minutes.
  • At this point, you can use it after the 15 minutes of freezing, but if you want even more flaky crispy layers, you can do a few more dry trifolds. Just be careful: do NOT allow the butter the melt out of the pastry, and always freeze it for 15 minutes before you finally decide to use it. Congratulations, you have made puff pastry!

Now, make the croissants:
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas Mk.6)
  • When you're ready to use, roll out the pastry on a dusted work surface into another rectangle to about a quarter inch (5 millimetre) thickness. Cut 3 long triangles out of the dough, like this:
  • Put the scraps on either edge aside for now, and then take each triangle in turn. Cut a tiny slit in the wide end, maybe about an inch or so (2½ centimetres), end then roll from the wide end to the thin end. Bend in the ends to made a crescent shape and that's your first croissant! Repeat with the others. You can also make wonky croissants with the edge strips, if you like; that's what I did.
  • Place about 2 inches (5 centimetres) apart on baking tray lined with baking paper, or that has been every so lightly greased. 
  • Brush each croissant with the milky egg wash, using a brush or your fingers, and then bake in the well preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed up, flaky, and golden brown. It's important that the oven is well preheated, otherwise they'll be soggy. (You can use any leftover egg wash to make some nice egg fried rice or an omelette.)
  • Once cooked, remove  from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating, or if you want you can eat them cold.

Croissants are best enjoyed the day they are made, straight from the oven, but if you want to eat them later they keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

THIS TIME IN 2014: Variation on a Theme: Choco-Nut Granola with Cranberries
THIS TIME IN 2013: Ginger Nut Biscuits (Wheat Free)

2 comments:

  1. Hello, glad to have you back. You were missed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your lovely greeting! It's good to be back ^_^

      Delete

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