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Croissant Help, Please

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spikeyspicediva's picture
spikeyspicediva

Croissant Help, Please

I am working on becoming proficient at croissant making in a professional kitchen.  There is a reacurring problem and I would like anyone's advice.  My croissant dough is shrinking after I cut it to shape it.  It shrinks any where from a quarter of an inch to one inch across the base.  i could list all the things I have tried to fix this problem, but I really would like to hear anything and everything you all can think of.  Thanks for your time.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,


I hope this link helps: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction


Loads of people have posted all sorts of ideas on this product.   I've been making these for over 20 years; there are but 2 secrets, given the use of the correct recipe/formula, and use of equivalent of upto 4 half turns.


1. WORK COLD


2. PLENTY OF REST BETWEEN TURNS, AND, DURING FINAL ASSEMBLY.


There is loads of detail in my post; the recipe is balanced; enjoy!


Best wishes


Andy

mimifix's picture
mimifix

I absolutely agree with the above two points. And one more - the initial dough should be soft, almost to the point of pouring it from the mixer. Don't let the consistency scare you. Once it's cold, the dough firms up enough to lay in the butter.


Mimi

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi mimifix,


Thanks for agreeing with my 2 key points, and I'm really sorry not to be in agreement with your soft dough.


Don't get me wrong, tight dough is a no-no; but too slack, and you just lose the laminations straightaway.   The maxim is tight dough for cold butter, and soft dough for soft butter.   Personally, I think it's so much better to get the whole thing right in the first place.


Anyway, you may see in my formula I add water @ 63%.   The flour I use is top quality Canadian.   Yes, I know the dough will be easier to work when very cold; but I still can't think that going very soft will help in any way at all.


I should point out that I don't come from the "wetter is better" school, unless you want to make everything as ciabatta; and I don't


All good wishes


Andy

mimifix's picture
mimifix

Thanks Andy,


All I know is that the soft dough worked for my production needs. I owned an all-scratch bakery/cafe and made a variety of products, from breads to pastries, to cakes and cookies. Other bakeries made white croissant so I made whole wheat, sweetend with honey, and I had the most awful time until I asked around and learned that a softer dough would yield a better croissant. I was willing to try anything, and that made the difference. So maybe it was the whole wheat flour that necessitated a softer dough? Maybe that our production (after mixing in a 60 qt Hobart) was done by hand? But the end result was flaky, tender, and gorgeous.


Mimi

ananda's picture
ananda

 Hi Mimi,


Yes you would undoubtedly get more water in to a wholewheat croissant dough.   If the flour is good enough, then 72% is perfectly possible.   For wholewheat I always do autolyse to ensure maximum hydration.   A sweetener may gain you a bit more water, although a honey, or syrup probably not.   My formula is sugar-free.


That's not what got me worried.   I can't imagine relishing working with croissant dough which needs "pouring" from a mixing bowl.   I don't think this will help the original poster very much.


But you don't offer any hydration, or mixing info such as times and temps, so I can't form a fully-informed impression.   Based on my own experience, I'll still have to differ and disagree with this concept; sorry!


Best wishes


Andy


 

mcs's picture
mcs

...is the first step listed in Andy's link above "Key Principles of successful laminated dough:."  I'm paraphrasing:  Don't overmix the dough on the initial mix.  When I mix my croissant dough I'm not looking for gluten development as a bench mark like I would in regular bread dough.  I mix the ingredients until I'm absolutely sure the ingredients are combined- no dry clumps anywhere.


So what this means in practical terms is if I'm mixing a large batch in a 60 quart Hobart,  I mix for 3-4 minutes on speed 1 (Hobart), stop the mixer, take off the hook, then manually reach in and flip the dough over in the bowl to bring all of the bottom to the top.  Then I hold the dough to the side of the hook, raise the bowl back up, then mix again for 1 minute on speed 1. 


Of course it's critical in each step of the process to not over-flour or overwork your dough, but if it's overworked in step #1, it's difficult to subsequently relax the dough.


-Mark


http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

spikeyspicediva's picture
spikeyspicediva

Thank you for your time and suggestions.  I am going to try letting it rest between folds a little longer.  I hope this works!


blt

carltonb's picture
carltonb

For all you croissant lovers see what my friend did here locally to get a great croissant


http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2010/05/23/20100523croissant0523.html


Carlton Brooks CEPC, CCE, ACE


Mesa, AZ

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Thanks for posting such a fun read!!

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

The dough has a natural tendency to retract after you extend it (roll it out).  Next time, roll it out, then let the sheet relax 5 minutes or so, covered, before cutting.


You also might try loosening the sheet from the bench to allow the dough to relax just before cutting, as any tension there will cause the triangles to shrink in dimension anyway.


Dan DiMuzio

ananda's picture
ananda

Yes, loosening the dough sheet, and giving it time to relax, covered on the bench, is great advice for the original poster.


Best wishes


Andy

DonD's picture
DonD

There is no mention of the type of flour used. It it possible that using a high gluten flour like bread flour can make the dough more elastic and thus more prone to shrinkage whereas lower gluten AP flour will make the dough more extensible?


Don

jlittle23's picture
jlittle23

Too much elasticity in croissant dough could be caused by a bunch of factors.

First, are you using a sheeter or rolling by hand?  A sheeter requires either higher gluten and/or lower dough fat (fat in the dough, not the lamination).  For example, when I roll by hand I use King Arthur All-Purpose (11.7%) and 12% fat in the dough, because the hand-rolling works the dough more.  When I use a sheeter, I either cut the fat to 8% and/or increase the gluten to about 12.7% (King Arthur Bread Flour).  Remember the trick question:  how much gluten is there in flour?  Answer:  zero!  There are only gluten proteins in flour...you make the gluten during mixing and processing.

Second, are you trying to make a tender, flaky, crispy product that shatters when you bite it, or one that is softer and more bread-y to the bite?  No right or wrong answer here, but if you want the former you are going to need to work with a drier dough....let's say around 48-50% water.  Nothing wrong with those softer doughs, but they will only stay crispy for a hour or so out of the oven because of too much water still remaining in the crust.  I bring up this point because the stiffer dough will develop more quickly during laminations, and will be easier to roll at the end.  The softer dough will tend to be more elastic.

The temperature comments are all right-on.  When I roll by hand, I chill the marble because it takes a while to roll the dough.  A mechanical sheeter is relatively quick, so you can get the dough back in the fridge right away.  Even so, the cooler should be just above freezing while resting your dough. 

Jim

 

grind's picture
grind

I add 1% Vital Gluten and keep the water @ 48%.

keukaharv's picture
keukaharv

I fought with this for a long time, thinking the 7 inch by 4 inch triangle was gospel. I follow several of the tips above to minimize shrinkage, but I also roll out the dough so my croissants start wider (5-5 1/2 inches at the base). Yes, they shrink, but they shrink back to the size I really want.