The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lessons learnt from 2nd attempt at croissant making.

MadAboutB8's picture

Lessons learnt from 2nd attempt at croissant making.

 After the first failed attempt at croissant making, it caused me a long hesitation before attempting it second time around. It also made me thinking that croissant was probably just too hard to make and I should leave them to the professional. However, some recent TFL posts kind of encourage me into believing that I can also do it.

So, here goes my second attempt. 

My second attempt went reasonably okay. I applied what I learnt from my first attempt. The dough needs to be strong and extensible enough to withstand the rolling, folding and stretching during the lamination process. I learned this first hand as  I didn't work my dough enough first time and it got torn and butter was leaking out. It was a disaster and totally put me off making it for a long while.

So, with my strong dough, my laminating process went smoothly, had no problem. The croissants were shaped nicely and I thought .... Umm, this wasn't so hard after all and I might be up to something nice:-)

Then, here comes the proofing process. I forgot and probably having a blonde moment, that croissant is a buttered-dough. It can't be proofed in the same environment as bread is. I proofed my croissant on a tray and I place the tray in the off-oven. I also put a bowl of hot water underneath the proofing tray. As, you might have guessed it. The butter melted and here comes the minor disaster!!!


I continued with my bake anyway. The croissants turned out all right. They're not perfect but they tasted okay.


Something I learnt from this bake and/or something I'd like to try for my next bake....

  • Never proof the dough at warm and humid temperature as the recipe suggested.
  • Will only proof the croissant at room temperature
  • Will try baking croissants at higher temperature. I baked them at 170c (convection) this time but I will try baking them at 200c (convection) next time. Baking at 170c didn't give me the brownish tone and crisps that I would like.

Also, some by-products from the croissant dough, pain-au-raisins, or snails as Aussie calls it.....


Vogel's picture

Your croissants look fabulous. You can see the thin layers really well, which suggests that you have worked in the butter and did the folding really carefully.

Don't worry too much about the butter leaking out. It's just part of the learning process. I needed at least five attempts until I managed to make croissants without leaking any fat in the oven. But you definitely become better everytime you make this dough and it is quite satisfying to see your own progress. Laminated dough really is something which requires constant practice, until you use your hands in a routined and quick way and learn to make adjustments if necessary (like putting the dough back into the fridge when it resists being rolled out).

What I have learnt so far (I am still in the learning stage of doing croissants, too) is that it is quite important to let the outer dough surface not dry out during the final proofing or your croissant won't have all the potential oven spring and have crusty spots on the surface. What I do is to use a baker's brush and brush the shaped croissants with a little bit of water. Try to moisture only the surface and not so much the edges (where the dough was cut and where you can see the dough/fat layers) to prevent the layers on the cuts from gluing together. And then cover it airtight (I lay the shaped croissants on a baking sheet and slip the whole thing into a big plastic bag which I close airtight) and let it proof in a not too warm place, which can actually require two hours or more since the dough came out of the fridge. This should make a smooth dough surface, which allows a lot of expansion, throughout the whole proofing time.

But these are just minor adjustments you will learn to make over time. Your outcome already looks great and much better than my second attempt some time ago! Keep on practicing on it and they will be perfect.

MadAboutB8's picture

Thank you for kind comments and inputs. I like the idea of covering the dough covered in a plastic bag...I'll try this with my next bake.

I used two recipes, one from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook and the other from Pastry, by Michel Roux. Both of the recipes also suggested keeping the dough moist. BSB book suggests cover the dough with wet tea towel and Michel Roux suggests brushing the dough with egg wash before proofing, then egg-wash it again right before baking.

I followed BSB recipe and covered the dough with wet tea towel...and, to my horror, it was a disaster with the butter leaking out into the wet tea towel as I think I'll try the egg-wash next time before proofing, combining with putting the dough in plastic bag as you suggested.

Hopefully, it will get better next time....

lazybaker's picture

Proof at a cool room temperature. Slow rise in a cool room is better. The butter shouldn't melt or be too cold when the shaped croissants are proofing.

When you bake, the preheated temperature should be about 246 C (475 F) and bake for about 5 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 204 C for 5 to 10 minutes. And then down to 191 C. Use to baking pans on top of each other to prevent the bottoms from burning.

I wrote a long step by step croissant recipe:

The key thing is to knead enough flour in the beginning and not to add too much flour during the rolling. Proof at a cool room temperature. Bake at a high temperature during the first 5 minutes.

MadAboutB8's picture

What is considered strong dough and how to make dough stronger? by kneading longer?

What I meant by 'strong dough' is the dough that can be stretch without tearing. It would be smooth, slightly elastic. It doens't need to pass the windowpane test, but you should be able to pull the dough and it is just elastic enough to be pull without tearing.

My dough seems to just to be still raising and gets air bubbles etc after I placed them in the fridge after doing the folds. Is it normal as the dough does not look so flat and in good shape as seen on the website link to your step by step.

Did you bulk ferment the dough after mixing? I didn't. I generally put the dough into the fridge straight after the mixing and let it rest for two hours. The dough will be fermented during the rolling and resting anyway. Your croissant dough could be potentially over-fermented or did you use the correct amount of yeast. I have a blog post documenting my croissant making project recently. The post is here.

Hope this helps. Croissants is not too hard to make and the result are very well worth it. Nothing beats the freshly made croissants by you:)