The Fresh Loaf

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Are croissants impossible to make??

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BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Are croissants impossible to make??

I've made croissant dough twice now and both times they haven't risen!! Yeast is fine. I'm fairly sure it's the laminating technique. All the recipes say to place into fridge to keep cool between rollings. When I pull the dough out the butter is brittle and I think these pieces pierce through the dough layers.

So, my question, is it even possible to make these yummy treats? I'm in croissant depression at the mo. What can you do with dough that hasn't risen?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Betty,

I consider myself a Croissant beginner, but here are a things I find useful:

1. Use European style butter with a high fat content

2. Read TXFarmers post http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection

3. Read ananda's post http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction

4. Practise lamination with puff pastry

5. Get hands-on experience with a baker nearby, or on a course.

6. DO NOT PANIC

It is absolutely worth it!

Juergen

And another thing: I found that making small amounts of dough is rather difficult, 500g of flour / 250g for the butter block works well for me.

 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Betty,

Croissants are very possible but they require full exacting attention and focus to every little detail.  Don't give up.

Jeff

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

A few croissant tips:

For the lamination, you want to keep the butter and dough at the same consistency and pressed together so that the layers are maintained.  To do this, it can be helpful to knead a tablespoon or two of flour into your butter block before encasing it in the lean dough, and use higher-fat euro butter if possible, both will make the butter block more pliable as you do the turns.

Then, once you start laminating, keep everything cool, around 65F, but not colder than that.  Allow the dough to rest and chill between turns, but only long enough to return to 65F. Depending on your room temp, fridge temp, dough size, etc, this might be 30 minutes or it might be 60 minutes, but probably not longer than 60 or you will make the butter too cold and brittle.  Also during lamination, it can help to pound (press down) the laminated dough evenly with a rolling pin.  Do this after folding the dough but before rolling it out, in order to help all the layers stay together (so the top layers don't shift with the force of the pin).  Also, flip the dough over (so the underside is up) and rotate 90 degrees for each turn.  

Finally, for proofing the shaped croissants, keep the temperature warm but not too warm, I would limit it to about 80F to be safe.  If you get them too warm the butter will melt and destroy your layers.  They can take a long time to proof, for instance 3-4 hours at 80F.  If you are proofing them at 65F they can take twice that long.

Good luck!

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Thanks for the support. I'm just not sure it's worth wasting all that butter each time! I think the idea of practising with puff is a really great idea Juergen. I love puff and can't buy it where I live so I'll try with that first a few times. The thing is, even quite rubbish puff can be cooked and eaten. I would LOVE to learn on a course as I believe baking is one of those hands-on things best learnt by doing....but none round these parts I'm afraid. Good suggestions though, thanks a lot.

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Wow, such a lot of detail. I'm surprised by the 65F thing. I have a new fridge and it's set at 39F and things are definately very cool when they come out. Room temp is 64-66F so could I just make the dough and laminate it all at room temperature?

For the proofing, the recipe book says the croissants should have doubled in 2 hours!!! There is such a decrepancy. It's also interesting what you say about the layers shifting - I have to roll quite heavily to spread out the dough and I can see this will create uneven pressures - so bashing the dough first will help with this. Hmm. Interesting.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

It's best to laminate when the room temperature is cool, so just under 70 F is fine. My ideal temperature for proofing is between 75 and 78F. Since I don't have a proofer, I have to rely in ambient temperature. So what I do is  laminate in the  morning when it's cold and proof around noon or afternoon when it gets warmer.

It's easy to make croissants when you have a good recipe with the right amount of hydration, flour, and butter. I always end up with flattish croissants when the dough is softer than the butter. So I agree that the consistency of the dough and butter should be about the same, that is, the dough and butter should be equally firm. I prefer using dough that is on the lower hydration side. 

As for butter breaking and showing through, I don't think they pose much of a problem. Whenever the butter exposes through, I just slice a piece of dough from the edge and patch up the exposed butter. And as for the butter breaking, I don't think it really matters. I say this because after you cut up the dough into triangles, the triangles get stretched. During the stretching, wouldn't the butter break anyway? 

If you don't want to waste butter, start with a smaller recipe.

 

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Yes, I'll definately be halving the recipe next time! On the video of the link above the man has the butter in little rectangular shavings. I imagine this would be much easier to role. If the butter is breaking through the top layer of dough, it would be breaking through, or at least unevenly pressing, on lower layers.On the same video, he also says not to roll too thin so as not to squash the butter through the dough - I don't THINK I did this, but next time I'll be very wary.

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

You can spend a little or a lot of time making your croissants. Obviously the more time you spend on them, the more likely they are to turn out well. But I've made croissants in as little as 90 minutes, just using marge.

I find it easier to slice whatever fat you're using, and chill it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before use.

Here's my take on croissants - and Danish pastries:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/croissants-and-danish-pastries.html

 

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

Thanks for the link - very interesting. Are danishes less demanding than croissants to make?

I think I really will re-attempt the croissants, but not tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Betty, you might check out my newest blog post Croissants - in Buttery Heaven. I just made those, and I tried to describe every step of the way, plus photos, to show that it's not rocket science.

Happy baking,

Karin

BakingBetty's picture
BakingBetty

What delicious looking croissants. Bits about your blog that strike me as very good are : summary before going into the recipe (why don't more people do this?). Beating the butter beforehand. Removing excess flour at each step. And the warm, damp oven - great idea! Saves me trying to prop plastic bags around the tray.

When you take the dough out of the fridge for the second+ turns, do you leave the dough to warm up a bit? I would have thought the butter would have become hard again after an hour in the fridge? Or is the butter now so thinly rolled it doesn't really matter?

Is there a printer friendly version?