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Croissant crisis


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Hi guys! I've been working on my croissant project for a few months. I use this recipe from Gourmetier (https://gourmetier.com/french-croissants/). I did make a few tweaks to the original recipe (see below) but i follow the instructions very carefully.

 

For the croissant initial dough (détrempe)
300 g bread flour (100%)
78 g cold water (26%)
78 g cold semi-skimmed milk (26%)
45 g sugar (15%)
30 g unsalted butter (softened) (10%)
6 g salt (2%)
3 g Saf gold instant yeast (1%)
2 g diastatic malt powder (0.6%)

 

For laminating
168g butter (31% of the total détrempe weight)

 

Working temp: 65-69F

Proofing temp: 70-75F
Humidity: unknown

Oven temp: conventional with no fan 385F for 20 mins

 

I’ve previously made some nice-looking ones with the same recipe and oven.

 DSCF6463.thumb.JPG.55976eb8607d42236bcdf1ade3dfbab8.JPG

 

Lately i tried to refrigerate the dough overnight after the last fold, then shape, egg wash and proof the croissants the next day. Everything seemed fine until proofing. The top layer started to tear during proofing. I continued to proof them until they were all fat and jiggly. And it was a disaster in the oven. They came out flat and broken. The layers were separated and won't merge together. The interior collapsed and was greasy. I tried to bake them for a bit longer but they were still undercooked. This has never happened before.

 

Here are some pics: 

https://imgur.com/a/jEfKoHv

 

517ED000-6F27-41F8-B185-EC626D1DD290.thumb.JPG.7795653fb1e31a5c999701d3a04aa90d.JPG

 

The only thing i couldn't control was the ambient temperature and humidity. I don't have a proofer. I just turned the AC down to 75F, egg washed the croissants and cover them with a clear plastic lid.

 

Here is something I'm guessing at

- Perhaps there's too much liquid in the dough/ high humidity during proofing. Because it's quite humid in where i live

- The dough started fermenting in the fridge overnight

- Something went wrong with the diastatic malt powder, which is supposed to help with the rise, browning and crust texture
- Simply overproof. There's not much information online about overproofed croissant. How do they look like?

 

Dying to hear some advice! ( ͡ ͜ʖ ͡) Thank you all so much in advance.

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3 hours ago, weinoo said:

How humid is it where you live?

 

I don't have the exact number, but i live by the sea so must be quite humid. Sometimes when the AC is off or when i open the balcony door, the floor gets wet in less than a min. Yet i keep the AC on when making croissants.

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1. What brand of bread flour are you using?

2. How long are you letting the dough warm up before you cut and shape it?

3. What brand of diastatic malt powder are you using?

Edited by scott123 (log)
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Hi @scott123

 

8 hours ago, scott123 said:

1. What brand of bread flour are you using?

Stone-Buhr unbleached white bread flour

http://www.stone-buhr.com/flours/unbleached-white-bread-flour/

 

8 hours ago, scott123 said:

2. How long are you letting the dough warm up before you cut and shape it?

The dough needs to be warmed up? After rolling it out, usually i put the dough back in the fridge before i cut it in order to keep it cool. They are then shaped right away. It takes 10-15 mins from cut to shape.

 

8 hours ago, scott123 said:

3. What brand of diastatic malt powder are you using?

Hoosier Hill Farm Dry Malt (Diastatic) baking Powder
https://hoosierhillfarm.com/Hoosier-Hill-Farm-Dry-Malt-Diastatic-baking-Powder-1.5-lb..html

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In France, where I think some of the best croissants are made, I wonder if they are using bread flour. 

When in cooking school, one day's lesson was most certainly croissants, and was most certainly taught by a well-known master pastry and bread person. I'm pretty sure we were using A/P.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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The recipe, as it stands, is about a 19 hour dough.  By refrigerating the finished dough overnight, you're at least doubling that.  For dough, time is atrophy. Most of the time, with strong North American flours, an extra day in the fridge is not a big deal, but you're using a recipe and a flour that is inherently fragile.  By giving the dough more time than it can handle, it's giving up the ghost and causing the defects that you're witnessing.

 

I'm a little befuddled as to why the author of that recipe would go to such great lengths to talk about the importance of strong flour and yet recommend a weak flour next to a strong one.  It's even more of a head scratcher that he's making a quality of crumb with the strong flour that he could never produce with the weak flour- especially with how well the recipe appears to be thought out.

Comparing European and American flours is exceptionally difficult.  I've been studying and comparing results for years, and while I'd like to be at a point where I can take an American flour with x protein and tell you it has x W value, I'm not there yet.  These estimates, though, placed in context with the flours recommended in the recipe, should be close enough to give you an idea of where you're at, and where you want to be:

 

Molino Pasini Sfoglia (W300-320)

Stone Buhr bread flour (11.5-12.1% protein) (W335)

Molino Pasini Lievitati flour (W350-370)

King Arthur bread flour (12.7% protein) (W370)

Basically, the Stone Buhr is a little stronger than his weak flour, but not by much. Even if you stick to his overnight schedule and nix the extra day, I'd still, if possible, try to track down something stronger, such as a real bread flour like King Arthur (the Stone Buhr is really just AP posing as bread).

I can't guarantee you that King Arthur will thrive with the extra day, but I'm fairly confident it should be fine. I wouldn't push it past a day, though.

Now, beyond the flour strength, I would also look at the diastatic malt (DM) supplementation.  DM is an agent of atrophy, ie, it's hastening the dough's demise.  The Italian flours have no DM, while the American flours have a little.  To confuse matters even further, DM potency isn't standardized among the different brands.  The DM in the recipe could be either weaker or stronger than the DM that you're using. Perhaps you could reach out to the author and get the strength of the DM he's using (expressed in Lintner), compare that to the 60 lintner DM you're using, and subtract maybe .1 or .2% for the DM that's already present in your flour.  Regardless, should you go that extra day, the DM might require some tweaking.

 

Can you score King Arthur bread flour in Guam?

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Seems like a case where the butter hardened and it cut through the dough layers while rolling. It could have happened during the turns before the night in the fridge, or during forming after the night in the fridge. When you put it in the fridge did you roll it to the final width? Or did you roll it after the night in the fridge?

It's better to shape croissants just after the turns, just to avoid this trouble.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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@scott123 Thank you so much for the detailed explanation, it's really helpful. Perhaps i will omit DM and see how it goes. Unfortunately there are not many choices in Gaum. I've only worked with what is available here. Made a new dough tonight with Gold Medal bread flour. *fingers crossed*

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2 hours ago, aaahoi said:

@scott123 Thank you so much for the detailed explanation, it's really helpful. Perhaps i will omit DM and see how it goes. Unfortunately there are not many choices in Gaum. I've only worked with what is available here. Made a new dough tonight with Gold Medal bread flour. *fingers crossed*


The Gold Medal is only a titch stronger than the Stone Buhr- probably about .3% more.  Every little bit helps, but, if you want to match the author's crumb (which I think is a fairly worthy goal)

Receta-de-croissant-686x1024.jpg

 

then you need to match the strength of his flour.  And if you want this open of a crumb with an extra day, then you'll need even stronger flour than that.

The first photo in this thread is quite impressive.  The crumb is not quit as open as the recipe, but, for the flour you're using, it's an amazing achievement.  Do you have to refrigerate the dough one more night?  If you can't get your hands on stronger flour, sticking to the recipe could be the ideal approach.  There's no free lunch here.  If the flour is weak, your crumb will suffer (evidenced even further by your AP results).

It's kind of hard to describe the effect that DM has.  Flaky, crunchy, perhaps brittle.  While I'm sure it's not a traditional ingredient, I agree with the recipe author that it elevates the end product.  So I wouldn't omit it entirely, just play around with a little less.

I would reach out to local pizzerias and see if they'll sell you some pizza flour.  For instance, I'm reasonably certain that this is considerably stronger flour than what you're using:

https://www.facebook.com/CPKGuam/videos/1788620021155405/?v=1788620021155405

Generally speaking, if you try to toss bread flour or AP flour dough like this, it will tear. If you can get your hands on flour that's too strong, you can always dilute it with some weak flour.

The tricky part about this is that if a pizzeria is using high gluten/strong flour, then it means that they're importing it by the container/half container, which means that they're doing very high volume. When you get into high volume, that means a corporate structure/red tape, so it's not like befriending a small pizza shop owner and getting them to sell you flour.  But, if you want a more open crumb and/or a longer ferment, you'll want to turn over every stone.

I also see that Guam has a Neapolitan pizzeria or two.  They won't be using a w370 or higher flour, but, they might be able to order you a bag.

 

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If you rolled it after a night in the fridge then it's almost impossible to avoid ruining the dough. If you start rolling when the outer zones become pliable, then the inner zones still have hard butter, this will tear the layers while rolling. If you wait until the inner zones are pliable then the outer zones will have butter that is too soft, which leads to greater troubles.
If you want to prepare the dough in advance, then you are forced to shape the croissants in advance. Here you have 2 choices: refrigerate them, but try making only half proof in the refrigerator, not the full proofing; freezing, then defrosting and proofing, this takes some experimentation to find the correct timing for your environment. If you freeze it, then raise the yeast amount in the recipe.


In the first picture you reached almost perfect results, so I don't see any need to change ingredients or recipe or anything. Just keep going with what you have, being careful about not letting the butter to get hard during the turns and the shaping: once you start the first turn, you need to go on until you have the shaped croissants.


I would advise against using flour with really high W, or pizza flour. For croissants you need medium high W, around W 320, not higher. You also need the correct p/l value, can't remember the exact number for croissants. For sure pizza flour is unsuitable for croissants, it has the wrong p/l value. Pizza flour must have really extensible gluten, this would lead to flat croissants. Flour for croissants needs both extensibility and tenacity, so it needs to have a different p/l value.
To achieve high croissants (with an almost round section) you need to be careful when you mix the first dough (the simple dough without the butter inclusion). Your goal is to mix it the less possible, stop when the gluten start developing. If you continue mixing to get full gluten development (just like you would do for bread) then you are going way over the optimal results. Remember that you are going to make the turns, they strongly impact the gluten develpment. If you mix the first dough too much then during the turns you are going to overwork the gluten matrix, leading to its collapse.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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@scott123 @teonzo Thank you both for the input! Now I get a better understanding of some of the issues that I have had and a better sense of how flour works in croissant making. I managed to get King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill artisan bread flour in the supermarket today. Will definitely try them out!

 

Bad news tho. Today’s batch (Gold Medal with less kneading time) went crazy again. *massive sigh*

 

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These croissants have 2 troubles: laminating and shaping.
If you look at the outside (how the layers develop along the cut side of the dough) and the inside, you notice that lamination is not consistent. There is a part of the final dough that has a correct division of first dough and butter, then a part where there is not lamination, this is repeated all over due to the turns and the shaping. This can be the result of many possible errors: you rolled it uneven; the dough broke in some partd and the layers fused together; when making the first "envelope" (when you place the butter inside the first dough) you left too big sides out of the butter. To correct this it takes lot of practice, especially if you are doing it by hand.
Shaping was not correct, the triangles were too thick before forming the croissants. You see this by the point end of the triangle (the big point on the top of the final croissants), it's too thick if compared with the rest of the body.


A couple more suggestions.
Work with at least 600 g flour (double your recipe), this will help you during the lamination. When working with too small a batch it's much much more difficult to get even lamination. This will lead to more croissants, you freeze them and you are happy.
Work with defined measures during all stages. When you envelop the butter, you want the dough and the butter to have exact measures. Same when doing the turns. When you give the final roll (before cutting the triangles) it's better to aim to get a rectangle with defined measures, X inches large and Y inches high. This way the dough will always have the same width, automatically. Triangles will have the same measures, so the final croissants will always be the same. When shaping the croissant it's better to pull the point end of the triangle, to make it thinner than the rest of the body. After rolling the triangle to get the croissant, always lay the final croissant with the point of the triangle on the bottom side, so it's in contact with the pan and will remain so during proofing and baking. If it's not in contact with the bottom of the pan then it will spring up.

 

 


Teo

 

Teo

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On 9/7/2020 at 4:53 PM, teonzo said:

If you rolled it after a night in the fridge then it's almost impossible to avoid ruining the dough. If you start rolling when the outer zones become pliable, then the inner zones still have hard butter, this will tear the layers while rolling. If you wait until the inner zones are pliable then the outer zones will have butter that is too soft, which leads to greater troubles.

I'm assuming this applies to the rolling for all laminated doughs? E.g. for making puff pastry, you don't want to refrigerate it overnight because then you'd run into the issue of the outer/inner layers of butter not being at the same consistency? Wondering since puff pastry generally requires more folds/turns than croissants so more time is needed for the laminating process. So most people at home make it a 2-day process. 

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@teonzo So thank you for all your suggestions. I always struggle with shaping consistency. I normally do 3.5 inch width x 10 inch length with 1/4 inch thickness. I also place the tip of the triangle underneath the croissant every time, but it always breaks when the croissant is baked in the oven and the tip rises up. Maybe i rolled it too tight and it's stretched during baking?

 

Some more updates. Yesterday's batch was done with King Arthur flour, less kneading and no diastatic malt powder. They didnt collapse nor go crazy this time, but there are large holes inside. I did some research. It says it was because layers are uneven/ there are large pockets of butter in the dough/ under-mixed détrempe (ref: https://joepastry.com/2008/those_darn_holes/). I tend to think it was under-mixing because i did reduce kneading time at the beginning.

 

Also, i see King Arthur flour has malt powder. I wonder if other millers (Gold Medal/ Stone Buhr) add malt powder to their flour. If so, the extra 2g of malt powder i added might be the reason why my previous batches collapsed and were so mushy inside. 

 

DSCF6716.thumb.JPG.d11ebad8a9bd269821c752523d6136d5.JPG

 

DSCF6728.thumb.JPG.ef925bd4d205342946ebdd90a833fb99.JPG

 

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DSCF6738.thumb.JPG.04e10853e37f8dcb73be5ba58de2ff3a.JPG

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18 hours ago, Cahoot said:

I'm assuming this applies to the rolling for all laminated doughs? E.g. for making puff pastry, you don't want to refrigerate it overnight because then you'd run into the issue of the outer/inner layers of butter not being at the same consistency? Wondering since puff pastry generally requires more folds/turns than croissants so more time is needed for the laminating process. So most people at home make it a 2-day process. 

 

Exactly, same considerations apply for puff pastry too.
With a small exception. You want to avoid rolling a laminated dough where the butter layers are cold and over a certain width. This applies to croissant dough during all stages. For puff pastry it applies for the first turns. Once you do the 4th turn you can refrigerate it overnight, not many troubles after that because the butter layers are really thin at that stage. But it's always better to start and finish in one sitting. Once puff pastry is finished you can store it in the refrigerator and roll it / shape it the next day.

 

 


Teo

 

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9 hours ago, aaahoi said:

I always struggle with shaping consistency. I normally do 3.5 inch width x 10 inch length with 1/4 inch thickness. I also place the tip of the triangle underneath the croissant every time, but it always breaks when the croissant is baked in the oven and the tip rises up. Maybe i rolled it too tight and it's stretched during baking?

 

Dimensions seem correct on paper. On your last photos there aren't much rounds on the final croissant. With "rounds" I mean how many complete rounds you give to the triangle base to form the final croissant. You count the rounds on the final pastry, they are the "shoulders" on the surface (the signs of the cut dough, where you can see the laminated layers). In your last pictures the rounds are 2, while the minimum should be 3. Better doing 4 or 5, both for consistency and looks.
Before rolling the triangles you should pull the point tip, resulting in a triangle that is about 2 inches higher than when you cut. The thickness should be the same from the base of the triangle up tp about half its height. From half its height the thickness should decrease steadily, so when you reach the point tip it's almost null. This way you are able to make more rounds. Another thing to do is making a small cut at the base of the triangle, at half the base and perpendicular to it, this cut should be about 1/4 inch. Making this cut helps to get the best shape, both during rolling and during proofing/baking. It's impossible to explain it with words, try looking on youtube, there are boatloads of videos about croissants, many of them feature the cut on the base and the pulling of the point tip.
Your tip rises up because it's too thick, not for other reasons.
If you don't feel confident with this then roll the dough thinner and make bigger triangles. Same base width, bigger lenght. Say something like 3.5 inch width, 15 inch length, 1/6 inch thickness.
Remember one thing: this dough is elastic, so it tends to retract after rolling. If you roll it, measure it immediately after rolling, cut the triangles immediately, then the dough will retract, resulting in smaller and thicker triangles than when you cut them (seems like this is the issue in your case). So it's better to roll it to your aimed width, let it rest few minutes (in the fridge would be better, you can fold it without pressing), then roll it again to adjust for how much it retracted.

 

 

 

9 hours ago, aaahoi said:

Some more updates. Yesterday's batch was done with King Arthur flour, less kneading and no diastatic malt powder. They didnt collapse nor go crazy this time, but there are large holes inside. I did some research. It says it was because layers are uneven/ there are large pockets of butter in the dough/ under-mixed détrempe (ref: https://joepastry.com/2008/those_darn_holes/). I tend to think it was under-mixing because i did reduce kneading time at the beginning.

 

The first section photo (second photo overall) shows an almost perfect honeycomb with a small hole inside. The other photos have bigger holes. If the source of the troubles was one of these you listed, then you would have not ended up with that honeycomb.
Those holes are result of a bad shaping. Which is caused by few rounds. Meaning the triangle was too thick compared with width and height (see above).

 

 

 

9 hours ago, aaahoi said:

Also, i see King Arthur flour has malt powder. I wonder if other millers (Gold Medal/ Stone Buhr) add malt powder to their flour. If so, the extra 2g of malt powder i added might be the reason why my previous batches collapsed and were so mushy inside. 

 

Malt does not effect dough in that way. No troubles in adding or subtracting 2 g of malt.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Hi everyone. Just want to give you an update. After a few more attempts, today's batch finally turned out fine. Thank you @teonzo for your amazing suggestions, especially the shaping part! And @scott123 for the info on flour. It helped a lot! Although the crumb was still a little tight this time. Next time i may need to knead less, reduce dough hydration or a longer proof to achieve a more open crumb. I also wonder how fold affects croissant crumb. Given that the recipe, shaping, proofing... is the same, does a 12-layer croissant have a more open crumb that a 27-layer one?

 

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DSCF6868.thumb.JPG.052094647a60f27cd2e8c5dac2a26a16.JPG

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First of all compliments, this croissant is much better than what you find in most bakeries.

You want your croissants to have a really crisp surface and an ethereal inside. If you aim for a more open crumb, then this does not mean the inside will be more ethereal, it's the opposite. If the honeycomb has small cells then it means there are many more "walls" than if you hade a more open crumb (less cells). Since the weight is the same, this means that if you have less walls then those walls will be thicker. It's much easier to bite a thin wall than a thicker one. You goal is to end up with a honeycomb with lots of small cells, so there are the maximum possible of walls: the smaller the cells, the thinner the walls, the more ethereal the bite.

You are already there about the honeycomb structure and the final height/width ratio in the section. The only thing you need to work on is the proofing: this croissant seems a bit underproofed, it could have risen more. Next time I would suggest to try to let them rise a bit more before baking them. Proofing should be made in an enviroment with medium high humidity, so the surface stays soft, almost wet. About 15 minutes before baking it's better to transfer the croissants in a dry environment, so their surface dries a bit forming a bit of a crust: their surface should be dry to the touch, but not hard. When you adjust this you have the perfect croissant.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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