Warning: Long post ahead. But it’s the culmination of about 12 hours of food baking, photography taking and note making. So appreciate!
Let’s start at the beginning. Croissants have always been one of those guilty pleasures for me. So I was intrigued to try my hand at creating a healthified, veganised version.
Why did I make them green? With spinach? Purely because I can, and apparently making vegan spelt croissants is just not different enough for me. Of course, if you are up for some ‘normal’ vegan spelt croissants you can go ahead and use regular rice or almond milk. Or you could add some beet juice and make them pink…either way.
I’m not going to lie. These croissants (actually any croissants) take hours to make (you may have guessed that from my intro). There is a lot of rolling, folding and chilling that needs to be done. At times you feel like the dough is never going to come together or never going to roll out, but persistence pays off and you end up with some delicious croissants. And let’s not forget to mention the commendations you’ll get when you tell people you made croissants (they should seriously have their own Nobel Prize category).
I have a lot more croissant making to do before I can say I have croissant making down to an art. Actually I’m not sure I ever will. I have, however, managed to make croissants I am extremely pleased with.
There were a few times throughout my croissant making that I came across challenges and I’m definitely not going to hide that. At the end of the post I have listed a few things that I would do differently next time. I hope you can learn from my experiences! That’s what this blog is all about.
1 & 2/3 cup spelt flour + 2 TBSP more
2 TBSP buckwheat flour (or more spelt)
2 TBSP evaporated cane juice (any unrefined sugar will do)
1 TBSP yeast
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of spinach rice milk (one handful of spinach blended with rice milk, then strained)
1/2 cup vegan butter
In a large mixing bowl combine the flours and salt.
In a smaller bowl mix about 2 TBSP of the milk with the yeast. Let it proof for a couple of minutes.
Add the yeast mixture in to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining milk in increments until the dough reaches a kneadable consistency – it will still be slightly sticky.
Knead on a floured surface for a couple of minutes.
Place into a bowl, cover with cling film, place in a warm area and let rise for approximately one and a half hours.
While the dough rises, prepare the butter. Place the butter onto wax paper and form into a square about 1/2 an inch in thickness. Wrap in the paper and then in cling film and place in the freezer (I found this way worked best as the vegan butter that I used softened quite quickly).
After the dough has risen in a warm place for one and a half hours place the bowl into the fridge for 30 minutes (this will make the dough easier to roll and will help to keep the butter cold).
Remove the dough from the fridge and place onto your lightly floured work surface.
With the dough in a round mound, cut a cross into the top of the mound.
Open the cross out like a flower and roll the edges (aka petals) out, leaving a slight ‘lump’ in the middle. The butter will sit on top of the lump like a cushion.
Remove the butter from the fridge and place on the lump. Fold the four edges over to completely encase the butter.
Lightly flour the top of the dough and flip it over so that the seams are facing down.
Gently roll the dough (not pushing but encouraging the dough from the middle outwards) into a rectangle. Roll away from you so the short side is parallel with your body and the long side is being rolled away from your body. Roll until the dough is approximately 1/2 an inch thick.
To paraphrase Julia Child, fold the dough as you would fold a business letter. So you fold the bottom third of the long side of the rectangle up to cover the middle third of the dough. Then you fold the top third down to cover both the first third and the middle third.
Now you want to turn the little ‘parcel’ one quarter to your left. So that the side seams of the business letter are now parallel to your body.
Now repeat the same rolling and folding technique, however, at the end of this roll and fold you will wrap the dough in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest (and recover…you can too). Let the dough chill for 1 to 2 hours.
After your dough has had it’s rest, take it from the fridge and repeat the rolling and folding again. So you roll, fold into thirds to make a business letter, turn one quarter to your left and then roll again.
Then, on this last roll, you will now be ready to cut and shape the croissants.
Roll into a decent rectangle, about 1/4 quarter of an inch thick.
With a sharp knife running down the short edge of the dough, cut the dough in to long triangles. To make mini crossiants I halved the triangle lengthways again and cut my triangles from the two new rectangles.
To shape the dough, take the thicker side of the triangle and cut a small 1/2 inch line, very gently stretch out these two ‘ears’ of the dough and loosely roll them towards the pointy end of the dough triangle. Once you have rolled the whole croissant curl the leftover bits of the ‘ears’ under the croissants.
Place on your baking tray that has been lined with wax paper.
Place in a warm area to rise for 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen you can glaze and bake the croissants. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celcius (425 degree Fahrenheit).
With a pastry brush, lightly glaze each croissant with some rice milk (or any other type) and then maple syrup (I mixed some of the maple syrup into the milk so that it was not quite as sticky).
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 190 degree Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake until golden – approximately another 5 minutes. It is very important to watch the croissants as they bake. They do not take very long and can brown very quickly!
When perfectly golden, remove from the oven. Place the croissants onto a wire rack to cool.
**While your at it, you should probably make some chocolate croissants as well. This is super easy. All you do is cut some of the rolled dough into rectangles instead of triangles, place two squares of dark vegan chocolate on the short edge of the rectangle and roll away.
What I would do differently:
- I would flatten the butter into a rectangle/square of about 1/2 an inch thickness, so the butter doesn’t peak through. You don’t really want this to happen because you want to keep the layered effect of butter in between two layers of dough. This isn’t that huge a deal though and you can still end up with delicious croissants.
- For larger croissants: on the final roll before shaping, I would have rolled the dough into a rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 3 or 4 squares side by side, then cut each square into one triangle. I think this would give the croissant more chance to create layers and therefore be more airy.
- I would also make sure to roll the dough in cold temperatures as the vegan butter is a similar consistency to margarine, melting quite quickly. I was making other croissants and ironically, it turned out they they needed to rise in warm temperature, I turned on the heater to help the rise, forgot, and took my dough from the fridge to continue rolling. This meant the butter began to melt.