Against Traditions: Dairy(milk and egg)-free Croissant

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” Margaret Peters

Flaky, crumbling, crispy croissants at small cafés offer a bite  of timeless luxury when the warm-hearted pastry-lover explores through the shattering layers of buttery heaven… With small sips of strong coffee, the majority reaches for a second piece stored in the always-full baskets on the Parisian counters. The richness of the butter stays long in the memory and in the stomach, but never enough to stop the consumer wanting more. The real croissants are rather small, narrow, brittle on the outside and airy inside, filling the streets of Paris with a romantic sent of the bakers’ dawn…

Many would state the secret of the real croissant is in the combination of using good quality butter and following the time-respecting lamination technique, and to some extent, it is certainly true. I am a baker who truly admires traditional baking techniques, however, when food allergy meets craving, something has got to give…but that should not be the taste, the smell or the eating experience…

“We are our choices.” J.P. Sartre

The lamination technique is swapped by an express stacking/layering method in this dairy and egg-free croissant but in every bite it gives the full is light and airy with a soft interior, inside a crunchy crust…

60 ml lukewarm water or rice milk
3 tbsp sugar
25 g yeast
350 g flour
10 ml vinegar
10 ml oil
A pinch of salt
1/2 banana, mashed or one egg
130 g dairy-free margarine/spread
2 tbsp oil to glaze

In a large bowl combine the lukewarm water with sugar and yeast and set aside until it starts to froth up. Mix in flour, vinegar, salt, oil and mashed banana, and knead into a soft, smooth dough. Cover with clingfilm and rest in the fridge overnight.
Divide into eight equal pieces and roll each out on a floured work surface. Grate the margarine is hard. Spread an equal amount of margarine on seven of the dough pieces and layer them onto each other. If margarine become too soft, rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Roll out the chilled dough and cut into eight triangles/wedges. Take each triangle in turn and pull the two corners at the base to stretch and widen it. Starting at the base of each triangle, begin to gently roll into a crescent/croissant, being careful not to crush the dough. Continue rolling, making sure the tip of each triangle ends up tucked under the croissant to hold in place. If adding any fillings, place across the widest part of the triangle before rolling up. If so desired, bend the ends of the croissants inwards, then transfer to baking trays lined with baking parchment, spaced well apart. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size. Heat oven to 180-190 degrees C. Generously glaze the croissants with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown, then cool on wire racks.

“The healthiest response to life is joy.” Deepak Chopra

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