The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Laminated dough and pastry sheeters.

  • Pin It
Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Laminated dough and pastry sheeters.

We're a small bakery, that has in the past made good croissants. We used to have a hand operated pastry roller, kind of like a big pasta roller, and I got quite good a making laminated dough with this. Recently we upgraded to a reversible sheeter, hoping to increase production and reduce effort but my laminated dough has been terrible. 

I've used the same formulas, flour, butter and schedule but I can't get it right, the resulting croissants are dense and cakey. I've also tried with wetter doughs and dryer doughs and changed the butter to dough ratio up and down but I can't get good results. I thought getting the sheeter would improve things but it's made our laminated products unsellable. 

I'm a self taught baker, so I've never used an electric sheeter before so any tips would be great, or any ideas as to what I'm doing wrong. I'm not sure what else to do, I threw away about 70 croissants this weekend, please help.

Thanks

Sam

mcs's picture
mcs

Compared to how you work with the hand sheeter, what are some of the issues you are having while using the reversible sheeter, i.e. is the dough too sticky, too dry, or unmanageable.  Or is it that you can't tell you're having problems until the final croissant is done?

-Mark

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Hi Mark

I don't feel like I'm having any issues, I do seems to be fine, I was really happy with the last batch I made, I thought the lamination was good, but when they cam out of the oven the were dense and cakey. The process feels fine, like everything it going ok, its just the final result it terrible. 

mcs's picture
mcs

Without knowing your process or formula, I would guess that you're working the dough too quickly.  Since you already know how to make croissants and can do it by hand, you should be able to do the same with a sheeter.  When doing it by hand, strength limits your timing, i.e. slows down your process since the dough becomes very difficult to work with if it hasn't rested sufficiently.

When using a sheeter, you might be tempted to do an extra turn earlier than you should since the machine can handle it.  Don't.  Use as little flour as possible (I use none from lock-in to finish) and if the dough becomes difficult, cover and refrigerate (or put in the freezer) to cool it like you would with pie dough.  The amount of cooling time depends on a lot of things, one of them being the hydration of your dough and how 'strongly' it was mixed initially.

Anyway, don't worry you'll get it.  It's a new process and will be more efficient and consistent in time.  Anytime you introduce a new machine or process, it's initially slower or worse than the original method, so it's tempting to revert to the original.   However in time you'll see it's much less tiring and will save you lots of hours.

-Mark

 

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Thanks Mark, that's really helpful, I'm due to do another batch on Tuesday so I'll work with much longer resting times and see how it goes. 

Happy baking

Sam

mcs's picture
mcs

Just as a rough reference, Sam, for croissant dough I do two turns back-to-back, then a third turn about an hour later.  The dough rests in the fridge for the hour or if it's really warm, might rest in the freezer to slow it down.  You might want to try one turn, then a 45 minute rest in the fridge, then repeat until done.  Or something like that.  :)   The colder the dough is (without breaking the butter of course), the less sticky it will be and the less flour you'll have to introduce.  I also cover my dough with parchment paper and a plastic bag when it goes in the fridge.  The parchment absorbs any moisture/condensation from the dough so it doesn't get tacky while cooling.

-Mark

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Thanks Mark

Yeah I was doing 2 turns back to back then rest before a third. I might try long rests inbetween each one. Thanks

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Hi Mark

Well, I did one batch, with longer rest periods, that was really good, probably the best I've ever made, then the following batch was really bad and end up in the bin. This is what I find so frustrating, that I don't actually know what is going wrong. I think it might be final dough thickness when sheeting out for shaping, I've read various different books and they give varying thickness between 3mm and 7mm, any advice on that? I was going for 4mm but perhaps I'm crushing all the layers together by going too thin.

Thanks

Sam

mcs's picture
mcs

For croissant final sheeting, I usually step down from 5mm (back and forth) to 4mm (back and forth) to 3mm (back and forth) and that's it.  How long do you wait from when you finish your final turn, to when you do the final sheeting for shaping?  And how thick is the dough slab when you finish your final turn?  How did you know your dough was trash?  Was it after you baked it, or even before you baked it? 

I know one thing that I've seen some bakers do incorrectly, is because of the rising of the dough during the lamination process, they end up degassing the dough once the butter is locked in, i.e. the dough rises in-between turns while it's in the fridge and then they degass it when they do the next turn.  Needless to say, this shouldn't happen - ever, once the butter is locked in.  If you'd like and you have your process written down, you could message it to me and I'll take a look at it for you to see if there's something glaring at me.

Alternatively, and I hate to throw in another variable, if you'd like I can send you my method via messaging, then you could try that and see what happens.  At least that way, I'd probably be able to troubleshoot it more easily since I'm familiar with the process.

-Mark

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

In my very limited experience, I tried to reach the desired thickness in too few passes. It seemed to break up the laminations and leave me with a buttery, non-laminated dough.

Just a thought.

gary

//edit: Corrected punctuation. ~g

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

Thanks Gary, I might try doing a lot more passes. 

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

suggest you call tech support for the manufacturer of the sheeter... they should be able to diagnose the problem

CAphyl's picture
CAphyl

Sam: Last time we were in Liverpool, we tried to find the bakery near the Albert Dock.  I think we didn't walk far enough past the Dock area. Our friend who lives near Allerton Road highly recommended your bread. How far away are you from the Dock area?  We want to stop in next time we are in town.  Thanks.  Phyllis

Liverpoolbaker's picture
Liverpoolbaker

HI Phyllis

We're a little way from the Albert Dock, we'd be hard to find without exact directions. The link below takes us to our info page with the address and a map.

http://balticbakehouse.co.uk/info/