The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

trimming croissant dough

  • Pin It
Msullivan's picture
Msullivan

trimming croissant dough

Hi all

First post here.. and I would like to know some specifics about trimming coissant dough as you're doing the folds. Do you trim every side each time? Or just the long folded edges? i've never been clear on this,  especially since most recipes don't specify trimming.

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

As usual I can only tell you what we do, not what "should" be done.

Some people trim the ragged edges, some people tuck them in to clean up the edges. From my experience, both methods yield good product. Personally, I tuck if they are very ragged, trim if they are moderately so, and leave them the heck alone if they are a little off. Definitely do not trim the belly (the rounded part).

At the final roll out, just before cutting wedges, I always trim to make a clean shape.

FYI: Keep your trims to build up any teensy croissants that sneak in. I find that most croissants are 65 to 90 grams, but we like ours at 95 - 110. 

Cheers

Msullivan's picture
Msullivan

Hi Paul and thanks for the reply!

I understand about trying to maintain a consistent measurement and shape. But how about the theory that folding in untrimmed dough will trap layers? And why do we not want to trim the belly?

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

If I remember correctly, a perfectly made croissant will have 82 layers. Since we like a toothier one here, we drop that quite a bit. The perfect anything is not attainable in a consistent manner. Don't sweat the small stuff. If your croissants have the "perfect" 82, or 64 or whatever is not a major issue. Some layers will crush, some will open unevenly, some will have their butter leak out, you will never notice.

We don't cut the belly because a bigger issue than the number of layers (although a related one) is how to keep all that pricey butter inside the croissant rather than all over your sheet pan. The belly is definitely sealed, might as well keep it that way. A novice usually has his/her cooked croissants swimming in butter while the more accomplished baker will have a dry sheet pan.

Another problem with leaking butter is that the croissants bottoms will end up frying in all that melted butter. You end up with hard, semi-burned product. (I know, I recently had the throw out 300 croissants made by an intern, live and learn)

Cheers

grind's picture
grind

The belly is definitely sealed, might as well keep it that way.

I get so confused because, don't we make all kinds of cuts when we make the triangles, thus unsealing the dough in many places?  I can't understand the difference.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I read about trimming the edges on this forum. The top or bottom edge, that is parallel to the folds, is trimmed off. The purpose is not to trap excess dough in the layers. You trim off the edge to re-expose the butter. If I'm not making sense, then just watch this video on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC66iLTXen8

mcs's picture
mcs

If each step of the process is neat and rectangular, you don't have to trim the dough.  That means during the initial lock in, your butter slab should be as close to the edges as possible, and with each turn, you should be keeping things rectangular and tidy, so as not to have to make major adjustments (like trimming) along the way.

If you keep track of things closely and notice when it starts to get 'out of shape', very little waste will crop up.

-Mark

Msullivan's picture
Msullivan

So.. the million dollar question... is trimming about maximizing layering or keeping things shape? Or are the two inextricably linked?

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

It depends on where you trim the dough. If it's the edge that is going to meet the crease, then you trim that edge off to expose the butter layers, so that the dough won't trap excess dough from the folded edge. You don't cut off a lot, just enough to expose the butter layers.

It's from Note 8 from txfarmer's entry on making croissants: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection

For keeping things in shape, I don't trim the edges. I just stretch and pull the dough as I roll.