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For croissant-making to slot seamlessly into your life, you need to either be a helpless insomniac or a careful planner. It may seem excessive to begin the process two days in advance, but the best flavour is created by ageing the dough and allowing the flavours to develop. So make the basic dough before you go to bed, then the next day roll in the butter to create those flaky layers. You can do this at various points during the day. Don’t worry if you chill it for a bit longer; the key is to get the texture of the butter right. Leave the dough to rise for a second night, then, the next day, shape, prove, bake and eat. Alternatively, you can make them ahead of time. After they’ve been shaped but before proving, freeze them on baking sheets till solid, then pop into bags. The day before you want them, put them on a baking sheet and defrost in the fridge overnight. Next morning, leave at room temperature for 1½ hours to prove, then glaze and bake as below.
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This recipe was first published in November 2006.
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