The Fresh Loaf

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should I tightly clingwrap my croissant dough?

freerk's picture

should I tightly clingwrap my croissant dough?

Question: In the Julia Child-video for making croissants, Esther (the french lady who does the baking in the video) wraps her dough very tightly in cling film before she puts the fridge to rise.


I'm doing the same thing when making croissants, but I actually have no clue what this does to the process. It feels counter intuitive somehow: why am I not giving this dough all the room it wants and needs to grow?


The dough grows, thus rises, despite the restraint of the cling film, but I can't help thinking: is it better to just leave it to rise freely? Does any one here know why she does this?


I have noticed (or maybe I'm just imagining things...) that upon rolling out the dough (that rested in tight cling film) it feels rather resistant, almost overdeveloped, even though I have not been kneading the dough to a point where it could be overworked.


If any of you guys can shed your light on this would be grateful!





PaddyL's picture

I've watched that video too, and have tried to follow her recipe and never managed to get it right.  I make Beth Hensperger's croissants and put the croissant dough into a plastic storage bag, leaving enough room for it to swell, which it does magnificently.

freerk's picture

I'm certainly going to try that recipe as well!

I've been tweaking the child-croissants recipe for a while now and I am getting closer and closer to a croissant the way I like it.

My main problem with the dough, in comparison to another croissant dough that I tried, is that it doesn't hold the butter as nicely.

I'm still not certain wether that has to do with the consistency of the dough, or that I'm doing something else wrong.
My intuition tells me it has to do with the volume of the dough. Next time I will give it all the room it wants to develop and rise, instead of "choking" it in a tight wrap. Maybe then it will be easier to roll the dough as well, because I keep ending up with a quite resistant dough.

Even after very careful folding ( I give the dough two folds and a double fold) a bit of the butter escapes while baking. Nothing dramatic, the croissants develop beautifully and taste nice. They are quite nice and fluffy, but even a small bit of butter will fry the dough instead of baking it....

In the last batch I gave the croissants a double egg wash. My train of thought being that the egg would set very quickly in the oven and maybe help keep the butter in.
I can report that if butter comes out...... and your egg is in contact with the butter... Well, I got some fried egg there, so that was NOT the greatest idea I ever had...

I'm going to look up that hensperger recipe :-) thanks for the tip

dwcoleman's picture

I think by having the dough tightly wrapped it keeps more of the moisture in the dough, not in the bag/cling wrap.

I can clearly see this when I make my pastry dough.  I store it in a large rubbermaid container and the pastry dough does dry a little, the moisture is deposited onto the plastic lid/sides.

freerk's picture

That's very true, I have noticed that this way the dough stays much "fresher" and doesn't have that ever so slight "crust" upon taking it out of the fridge.

What I'm wondering about is what this way of rising the dough ( tightly wrapped in cling film) does to the gluten. I do almost no kneading with this dough; just the little that is needed to make the dough come together, and still, after the cling film rest, the dough feels well worked, almost overworked judging the way it springs back when folding and rolling out.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it!