Veganise it Challenge: The Perfect Vegan Croissant
by Flo Cornish
The ultimate buttery, flakey, chewy vegan croissant recipe. The perfect pastry for slow sleepy Saturdays, you don't have to miss out any more. We challenged Val and Flo to craft the kind of recipe that would have us reaching for the jam, and they didn't disappoint.
Val and I are on a mission to perfect the world of vegan cooking and baking, one challenge at a time. While the food world becomes increasingly plant-based, there are still some things that you have told us are not quite so tasty as their dairy or meat equivalents...yet. Enter the Veganise it Challenge Series, where Val and I go head to head to veganise your requests.
First up was perfecting the ultimate vegan croissant recipe. The challenge was to create a buttery, flakey, chewy croissant that pulled apart well enough to fool the even the most French of boulangers. We both headed straight for Naturli vegan block, a game changer in the world of vegan butter, and it turns out, vegan croissant recipes.
Val tried 12 different batches, varying the rise time and duration, the yeast type and butter content to refine the recipe. On judgement day the recipe below was the winner.
If you want to watch how we got on and see us baking in action, then head to the allplants YouTube channel. If you’re just here for the recipe and a couple of tips to make your vegan croissants rise, look no further. Don't forget to let us know how you got on in the comments, and what challenge you'd like us to take on next. Or if you are looking for some more vegan breakfast ideas, check out our ready made breakfast pots for busy mornings!
A couple of tips before we start...
Does croissant dough need to rise overnight?
Yes, I would recommend that you rise your croissant dough overnight, not due to thefact that it’s vegan but to develop a lovely, rich, yeasty flavour that is unique to croissants. Try to make sure your fridge doesn’t have anything really strong smelling in there at the same time because it will affect the flavour of your croissants!
Lamination on vegan croissants
You are trying to always keep the butter as cold as possible. The way you are making it flaky and layered is by having layers of butter in between layers of dough (at the microscopic level). If the butter gets warm and starts leaking out of the dough, you won’t get those lovely, flaky layers at all! Naturli really helps this process because it is solid and holds well like dairy butter.
2 days (with breaks, don't worry)
250g strong white flour
½ tsp salt
25g caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
150ml warm water
150g plant based butter (I recommend Naturli Vegan Block)
Mix the flour, salt and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the yeast into the water and whisk to dissolve.
Add the yeast and water into the flour mixture, stirring with a cutlery knife to bring together into a tacky dough.
Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 mins - until the dough is smooth and elastic. You can test if it’s ready by rolling it into a ball and giving it a gentle poke with your finger. The dent created should spring back quickly.
Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place the dough in that, covering with cling film. Leave to slow rise in the fridge for 2 hours.
Make the butter block. Place the butter in between 2 sheets of baking parchment. Use a rolling pin to whack into a rectangle, about 1cm thick. It should be about 15cm long and 8cm wide. Put back into the fridge to chill fully whilst the dough rises.
After 2 hours, remove the dough from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle that is about 35cm long and 15cm wide.
Place the butter block (should be firm and cold) into the centre of the dough. Fold up the bottom and top of the rectangle of dough to form a seam in the middle of the butter. Pinch this closed and also pinch the edges so that the butter is sealed inside.
Using a rolling pin, ‘ridge’ the dough, which basically means tap the dough firmly to start evening it out, and then continue to roll out into a rectangle again. It should be about 35cm long and 15cm wide.
Fold up the bottom third of this pasty and then fold down the top. Turn it so that the seam of the pastry is on your right hand side.
Wrap in cling film. Chill the pastry at this point, in the fridge, for 30 mins.
Remove from the fridge and roll out again twice more in the same way as step 10. Then wrap in cling film and leave to slow rise in the fridge overnight. TIP: place the dough on a plate and wrap this plate in cling film fully but not tightly. This will allow the dough to rise nicely overnight.
THE NEXT DAY. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out into a large rectangle, about half a centimetre thick. Trim the edges of the dough so it’s nice and neat. Then cut into triangles about 12cm tall.
Cut a little nick into the base of the triangle and roll out again to stretch them a bit. Then, roll up from the wide base to the point. Tuck the edges in to form a crescent shape and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest.
Cover lightly with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour. Pre heat the oven to 180C fan / 200C conventional oven.
Check the noses of the croissants are sticking in place. If they are lose, use a little water to stick them down. Bake for 15-20 mins until deep golden brown.
Enjoy right away or leave to cool slightly but these are best eaten within 24 hours!
By Flo Cornish
Flo is our tea-obsessed (Yorkshire, to be precise) Development Chef. You’ll find her dreaming up tasty menu additions, working her way through a serving (or three) of our Tempeh Rendang Curry, or daydreaming about a holiday. Or baking – she’s a trained pastry chef… no wonder she’s so popular...