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Croissant feedback and trouble shooting


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So I tried my hand at croissants for the first time in about 5 years. I used the recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. Despite the fact that I really struggled rolling them out (the dough was very stiff and resisted rolling), tore the dough layer in small patches quite a bit on the last turn, and probably took too long letting the butter get too warm, I got nice layers on the outside and on the interior and they did shatter nicely on the outside. I did not get that beautiful open honeycomb interior, however. 

 

I’d love any tips or feedback or advice anyone could offer to do better next time—thanks!

 

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Seems like a mix of concurrent factors:

- you tore the dough, that's the main cause for the not perfect honeycomb;

- they are a bit underproofed (section is a bit dense);

- oven was low, the crust should be darker.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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24 minutes ago, teonzo said:

Seems like a mix of concurrent factors:

- you tore the dough, that's the main cause for the not perfect honeycomb;

- they are a bit underproofed (section is a bit dense);

- oven was low, the crust should be darker.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Thank you! What temperature do you recommend for a home, non-convection oven? This recipe said 350F/177C. 

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I would say 200-220°C, much depends on your oven as usual.

The most important thing is avoiding tearing the dough during the various turns, if you tear it then you ruin the lamination effect.

Another important thing is to not develop too much the gluten during the mixing stage, since you continue developing it with the rolling and folding. You got this perfect in the photo, the croissant section is really high and did not flatten. So do not worry if the dough resists rolling, that's normal. The dough tears if the butter is too cold, to avoid this you need to put it in the warmest part of your fridge and keep it controlled, if it gets too cold and becomes hard then you are screwed. Never put the dough in the freezer during the rolling and folding.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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On 6/23/2019 at 4:43 PM, teonzo said:

I would say 200-220°C, much depends on your oven as usual.

The most important thing is avoiding tearing the dough during the various turns, if you tear it then you ruin the lamination effect.

Another important thing is to not develop too much the gluten during the mixing stage, since you continue developing it with the rolling and folding. You got this perfect in the photo, the croissant section is really high and did not flatten. So do not worry if the dough resists rolling, that's normal. The dough tears if the butter is too cold, to avoid this you need to put it in the warmest part of your fridge and keep it controlled, if it gets too cold and becomes hard then you are screwed. Never put the dough in the freezer during the rolling and folding.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Thank you again for the advice! I was going to try again yesterday but I ran out of time. It’ll have to wait until my next bonbon project is complete ;) . Thanks for all your help!

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PPM, for beginning out, I really liked Burno Albouze's recipe

 

https://www.brunoskitchen.net/blog/post/croissant-taste-of-paris

 

My method is a little bit different from his, but I really like the recipe.

 

I got my Bouchon book out and it said to mix the dough for 20 minutes.  As Teo said, that is why too long for croissant dough.  For me, I take it just up to where it just begins to relax, but is not to the windowpane stage.

 

The other key to croissants and the crumb I have found to be one of the most important is the proofing.  They are proofed when they are proofed haha.  Meaning, there is no timeline for them to proof, so many people just read a recipe and go with the time listed.  Proof around 80°F (or lower to 75°F) and gently shake the pan they are on.  They should jiggle like Jell-O.  No jiggle, then they are not ready yet.  Usually I do not check until at least an hour, but often it is closer to 2 hours before they are fully proofed in my kitchen.

 

Oven temp for me usually starts at 425°F and then I reduce it to 375 for 12-20 minutes depending on the oven.  I have also done 375°F for about 20 minutes with fine results, but that was a deck oven at the school I taught at that would run hot most days.  I find it curious that Bouchon says to bake them for 35-40 minutes in a conventional oven.  Even at a lower temp, that is overkill and will be too dark (in your pic, they look a little too dark).

 

They also have a bready look to them.  What type of flour did you use?  When I am stuck with subpar AP flour, I will sometimes sub a certain percentage of the AP with pastry flour (10% or so).

 

Sorry if you already know all the above.  By the way, I have always wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your beautiful bonbons you post on IG.  I wish I were that diligent in posting stuff  🤔 and half as creative.  It definitely inspires me.

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47 minutes ago, Merry Berry said:

PPM, for beginning out, I really liked Burno Albouze's recipe

 

https://www.brunoskitchen.net/blog/post/croissant-taste-of-paris

 

My method is a little bit different from his, but I really like the recipe.

 

I got my Bouchon book out and it said to mix the dough for 20 minutes.  As Teo said, that is why too long for croissant dough.  For me, I take it just up to where it just begins to relax, but is not to the windowpane stage.

 

The other key to croissants and the crumb I have found to be one of the most important is the proofing.  They are proofed when they are proofed haha.  Meaning, there is no timeline for them to proof, so many people just read a recipe and go with the time listed.  Proof around 80°F (or lower to 75°F) and gently shake the pan they are on.  They should jiggle like Jell-O.  No jiggle, then they are not ready yet.  Usually I do not check until at least an hour, but often it is closer to 2 hours before they are fully proofed in my kitchen.

 

Oven temp for me usually starts at 425°F and then I reduce it to 375 for 12-20 minutes depending on the oven.  I have also done 375°F for about 20 minutes with fine results, but that was a deck oven at the school I taught at that would run hot most days.  I find it curious that Bouchon says to bake them for 35-40 minutes in a conventional oven.  Even at a lower temp, that is overkill and will be too dark (in your pic, they look a little too dark).

 

They also have a bready look to them.  What type of flour did you use?  When I am stuck with subpar AP flour, I will sometimes sub a certain percentage of the AP with pastry flour (10% or so).

 

Sorry if you already know all the above.  By the way, I have always wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your beautiful bonbons you post on IG.  I wish I were that diligent in posting stuff  🤔 and half as creative.  It definitely inspires me.

This is all great advice!

 

Iread the thing about the jiggle but I couldn’t find any videos online of what it should look like. I proofed for 2 hours 15 minutes at about 73F and when I shook the tray they wiggled back and forth but I don’t know if that was the desired jiggle. 

 

I’m going to read through all of this again before my next attempt. I’m up to my ears in chocolate and hot oven + chocolate does not mix ;). 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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To me, the jiggle is just like Jell-O.  The entire structure moves or wiggles from the bottom up.  If only the top barely moves, that is not enough.  It looks like it is going to collapse, but it does not.  I probably find 73° too low of a temp to proof at just because I feel like it would take it forever especially if there is no humidity to go along with it.  That said, I have seen 73°F be on the low end of the proofing range by some writers.

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1 hour ago, Merry Berry said:

To me, the jiggle is just like Jell-O.  The entire structure moves or wiggles from the bottom up.  If only the top barely moves, that is not enough.  It looks like it is going to collapse, but it does not.  I probably find 73° too low of a temp to proof at just because I feel like it would take it forever especially if there is no humidity to go along with it.  That said, I have seen 73°F be on the low end of the proofing range by some writers.

So where do you proof yours? To get a higher temperature?

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Right now it is pretty unscientific.  Used to, I was spoiled with a stand-up proof box.  Now, I have to put them near a warm oven if it's the wintertime, but, not close enough to get too hot and melt the butter out.  Of course, since I am in the South, it is easy to proof them the other 9 months out of the year 😳  The bakery I currently use gets pretty hot when the ovens are turned on, so I roll the carts close to them and that seems to do the trick.  With the heat and humidity lately, proofing is not a problem at all haha.

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  • 6 months later...
On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 6:00 PM, Luke said:

I follow the instructions here: https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/classic-french-croissant-recipe/

 

and agree you cant really measure you're success after the first attempt. Try a few times to eliminate variability. But I have had good success with these instructions.

 

Luke

 

Just glancing at that recipe, I wouldn't bother.

Dry yeast is a no go, AP flour no go.

Fresh cake yeast and hi gluten is the way to fly.

Occasionally Id get bread flour delivered instead of hi gluten and the difference was apparent.

All purpose is another step down, I never saw AP flour in any bakery in 50 yrs.

If we wanted a weaker flour it was just a matter of mixing bread and cake flour.

 

I've been wanting to put a video on youtube but I'm not able to source fresh yeast in northern Maine.

I wont waste butter on dry yeast, I know what the result will be.

 

I used to bake commercial wholesale croiss for 50 yrs and from day one it was fresh yeast or production stops until we get it.

The thing with "classic" recipe is its the barest acceptable method, its a mistake to assume its the best. Its just average at best.   

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/29/2019 at 5:00 PM, Luke said:

I follow the instructions here: https://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/classic-french-croissant-recipe/

 

and agree you cant really measure you're success after the first attempt. Try a few times to eliminate variability. But I have had good success with these instructions.

 

Luke

So I finally tried croissants again (stuck in the house and all that ;) ), and I used this recipe. 

 

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They turned out okay, but aren’t as open inside as I’d like. A few issues I ran into along the way. 1. I did 3 simple turns. On the last turn, the dough tore in a few places and it was incredibly hard to roll despite putting it back in the fridge to rest twice during that last turn.
2. I struggled with creating a proper proofing environment. I used my cold oven with some cups of warm water. A few times while switching out the water the temp crept up over 27C. 

3. I keep reading that croissants will wobble or jiggle when fully proved, but I can’t find a visual anywhere. There’s a video on my IG page. Does this look right? They rose for another 20 minutes or so after this point while the oven finished preheating.

 

 

4. The recipe I used had me laminate yesterday, then roll, shape, and bake today. The dough seemed really dry and seemed to crack when I rolled it. It was wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Maybe that wasn’t enough? Maybe it dried out because of too much flour left on the dough from the bench?

 

5. I started a second batch today and I was distracted homeschooling and started when the butter was still too firm and it broke inside the dough in a few places. I let it sit for a bit and finished laminating. Is it worth baking them up or should I start over?

 

6. How do you like to shape your croissants? Notch or no notch at the wide end?

 

Thank you in advance for any advice! I did up the temperature and underworked the dough as was suggested by a few people last time—I so appreciated the tips! The good news: they’re delicious. Seeing as these seem to take quite a bit of practice to master, that might also be the bad news.

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56 minutes ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

3. I keep reading that croissants will wobble or jiggle when fully proved, but I can’t find a visual anywhere.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B99_d5JAO-y/ 👌

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16 hours ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

They turned out okay, but aren’t as open inside as I’d like.

 

Seems like you are using the wrong flour, the gluten is not developing enough during the proofing. Or the flour has low gluten content, or it has strong gluten (wrong P/L, not enough extensible).

 

 

 

15 hours ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

On the last turn, the dough tore in a few places and it was incredibly hard to roll despite putting it back in the fridge to rest twice during that last turn.

 

This is because the butter got too hard. You need to store it in the warmer part of your fridge. The resting time depends on the temperature of your fridge: you want the gluten to relax, but you also want to avoid the butter to get hard. You don't have to follow the exact resting times, you need to check the dough pliability. Start checking after 10 minutes, then after each 5 minutes. When the dough is back to the right pliability (not too soft, not too hard) then you need to proceed with the next turn, even if the resting time was half the amount suggested by the recipe, the one in command is the dough not the clock.

When the butter gets hard then it's hard to avoid troubles. You need it to warm a bit and get back to be pliable. If you let the dough rest at room temperature then the outer sides will come back to the right pliability, while the inner parts will become too soft, causing the "toothpaste effect". If the dough starts tearing and you put it back in the fridge, then you only worsen the situation because the outer sides will become harder. This why your first goal is to avoid the butter getting hard, simply because fixing that trouble could be impossible. You just need to get a feel for when the dough is ready for the next turn, trusting your sense of touch and not your clock/timer.

 

 

 

16 hours ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

2. I struggled with creating a proper proofing environment. I used my cold oven with some cups of warm water. A few times while switching out the water the temp crept up over 27C. 

 

It's better to go for a longer proofing time at room temperature, than going too high. You need to be careful about humidity too, you don't want dry air otherwise the dough will form a crust, but you want to avoid too much humidity. One cup is more than enough, you just need to raise a bit the humidity inside the oven.

 

 

 

16 hours ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

4. The recipe I used had me laminate yesterday, then roll, shape, and bake today. The dough seemed really dry and seemed to crack when I rolled it. It was wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Maybe that wasn’t enough? Maybe it dried out because of too much flour left on the dough from the bench?

 

This is because the dough was too cold, so the butter was hard. You need to let it warm a bit, until it becomes pliable again.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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7 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

Seems like you are using the wrong flour, the gluten is not developing enough during the proofing. Or the flour has low gluten content, or it has strong gluten (wrong P/L, not enough extensible).

 

 

 

 

This is because the butter got too hard. You need to store it in the warmer part of your fridge. The resting time depends on the temperature of your fridge: you want the gluten to relax, but you also want to avoid the butter to get hard. You don't have to follow the exact resting times, you need to check the dough pliability. Start checking after 10 minutes, then after each 5 minutes. When the dough is back to the right pliability (not too soft, not too hard) then you need to proceed with the next turn, even if the resting time was half the amount suggested by the recipe, the one in command is the dough not the clock.

When the butter gets hard then it's hard to avoid troubles. You need it to warm a bit and get back to be pliable. If you let the dough rest at room temperature then the outer sides will come back to the right pliability, while the inner parts will become too soft, causing the "toothpaste effect". If the dough starts tearing and you put it back in the fridge, then you only worsen the situation because the outer sides will become harder. This why your first goal is to avoid the butter getting hard, simply because fixing that trouble could be impossible. You just need to get a feel for when the dough is ready for the next turn, trusting your sense of touch and not your clock/timer.

 

 

 

 

It's better to go for a longer proofing time at room temperature, than going too high. You need to be careful about humidity too, you don't want dry air otherwise the dough will form a crust, but you want to avoid too much humidity. One cup is more than enough, you just need to raise a bit the humidity inside the oven.

 

 

 

 

This is because the dough was too cold, so the butter was hard. You need to let it warm a bit, until it becomes pliable again.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Thank you for all the input! Today’s attempt went better despite it being the batch I broke the butter on during the first turn. I did two book folds instead of 3 standard folds and I maintained a more consistent proofing temperature. I let them proof longer as well. 
 

Not perfect, and I can see the errors in the lamination, but I think I’m moving in the right direction. 


638FBDAE-D870-4963-A560-439BF7FCC64D.thumb.jpeg.785093d1d33cc0341fde93d2b1b9fe20.jpeg
 

75218E3F-655B-4D9F-A420-24B3A3DE1AC9.thumb.jpeg.02afd92b297019aade2daffc992ddc01.jpeg

I appreciate all the help!

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