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At home with Bennelong's Head Pastry Chef

Rhiann Mead's recipe for the "perfect croissant"

Rhiann Mead
Head Pastry Chef at Bennelong

I've baked pretty much every day of this lockdown. I’ve been using this time to practise skills I’d usually be too busy to do – sugar work, chocolate sculpting, and different wedding cake designs.

My main focus for this lockdown has been to perfect croissants. I’ve tried so many recipes and methods, and combined them into a foolproof recipe. Being a three day process it’s been a great way to consume time, and a perfect way to start a day!

Birds eye view of cherry jam lamington in white bowl


The perfect croissant. Image: Rhiann Mead

Ingredients

Makes approximately 10 croissants

  • 500gm Strong/bread flour 
  • 12gm Salt 
  • 40gm Unsalted butter (Room temp) 
  • 140gm Water
  • 140gm Milk (Full fat) 
  • 55gm Sugar
  • 11gm Dry yeast
  • 300gm Unsalted butter - slightly softened (For folding) 
  • 1 Egg (For egg wash)

Method

Day 1

1.  Add flour, salt and butter in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined and a sand-like consistency.

2. Warm milk, water and sugar (about 35 degrees). Remove from heat and dissolve dry yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken and activate.. 

3. Add wet to dry and mix until a smooth dough is formed. 

4. Wrap well in cling film and leave at room temp about ½ hour to start the rising process. Transfer to the fridge overnight between 12 - 24 hours (a stronger flavour will develop the longer in the fridge). 

5. In the meantime, use a rolling pin to shape the 300gm butter in between sheets of baking paper into a square about 1cm thick. Keep in the fridge.

Day 2 

1. Pull the butter square out of the fridge to soften slightly.

2. Roll out dough into a square slightly larger than your block of butter.

3. Place butter in the center of the dough and fold the edges over to completely and evenly cover. Stat lamination. 

4. Roll the pastry block out completing 4 book turns. Refrigerate between each turn to rest the gluten. The dough won't stretch if it's overworked.

5. Wrap well and refrigerate.

Birds eye view of cherry jam lamington in white bowl


A three day lockdown baking project. Image: Rhiann Mead

Day 3 

1. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1cm thick. Cut triangles about 9x15cm, roll tightly from the base to the tip ensuring the tip is tucked underneath.

2. Place on a lined tray to proof at room temp, keep covered with cling film.

3. Leave croissants to proof until doubled in size (4 - 6 hours depending on room temp)

4. When croissants are almost doubled, heat the oven to 200 degrees, and glaze croissants with egg wash.

5. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes at 200 degrees, rotate tray and drop oven to 175 degrees. Bake for a further 10 - 15 minutes until golden.

6. Cool slightly and enjoy!!

Raw croissants will keep raw in the freezer for one week. Freeze straight after rolling. Defrost, then proof and bake as normal.

Female chef plating a dessert in a martini glass


Rhiann Mead in the kitchen at Bennelong. Image: Nikki To

Rhiann Mead is the Head Pastry Chef at Bennelong Restaurant. Find out more.

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