The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

which flour to use when making croissants

jameslee's picture
jameslee

which flour to use when making croissants

can anyone tell me what is the best flour type to use when making croissant dough? I tried them making Manitoba and though they tasted great and looked good,  they were a little too bready. Not really layered and light. I live in the UK and can't get King Arthur flour.


 


many thanks


james

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

It might be one or both that is causing your issue.


You may need more folds, and/or more butter.


Here is a recipe that I use.  My directions don't include the lamination process. You want approximately 81 layers for croissant, danish pastry has more.


 


Recipes - Bread - Croissants



510g unsalted butter


510g flour


2 tsp yeast


1c milk


2 tsp salt


1/3c sugar


 


Dough


 


Mix on low speed, add more milk if necessary. Hand knead until smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic and place in container.  Leave at room temp for 30 minutes, then refrigerate.


 


Butter pat


 


Use paddle on high speed and mix 2tbsp flour + butter for 30-60s.  Tap butter to remove air, wrap and refrigerate over night.


 


Pastry dough


 


Roll out the dough, place butter and cover.  Laminate.



 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I've seen (and helped with) some very tender and airy croissants that were made with some very high-protein flour.  It entirely destroyed my preconception that a low-protein flour was one of the keys to producing good croissants.


You can have some feedback about your formula if you post it here.  Likewise about your technique if you will describe that.


Paul

Elagins's picture
Elagins

the whole magic of laminated doughs (croissants, danish, puff pastry, phyllo, strudel) is that their gluten is very well developed in order to form the very thin, elastic sheets that give the doughs their character, especially in the case of the last three on the list, which depend exclusively on steam for leavening.


it seems to me that anything less than a high-gluten flour like All Trumps, Sir Lancelot or Kyrol simply means a tradeoff between longer kneading/autolyse to develop the gluten, or poor separation of the layers as a result of the weaker protein.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

plevee's picture
plevee

Hi Stan, do you have a date for release yet?

Elagins's picture
Elagins

we're shooting for the April timeframe

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

What kind of flour can you get in the UK?


I made croissants using either all-purpose flour or bread flour. Either one works.


For flaky texture:


-knead dough until it doesn't get sticky; dough should be firm and malleable like the butter


-once you knead the dough, lock in the cold butter and start rolling to about 5 mm thick (don't let the dough rise or double in size because the rising causes the pastry to have that bread-like texture, crunchy crust and bread-y interior)


-dough and butter should be well chilled; broken pieces of butter is fine; just make sure the dough is rolled thinly


-slightly flour dough and brush off excess flour from the dough and table and then roll. Too much flour rolled in the layers causes the layers to be crunchy and tough instead of flaky.


-make a total of 3 double-book fold, with an hour resting in the fridge in between the rolling


-shape into croissants, cover with plastic wrap; use a good baking sheet that is thick, so the bottoms don't get burnt or place two pans on top of each other


-proof in a cool place that will let the dough rise without melting the butter, usually takes about 2 to 3 hours or over


-preheat oven at 246 C and bake for 5 minutes and then turn down 190 C to bake the interior of the croissants thoroughly for about 10 to 15 minutes. You want to make sure they aren't under-baked because if the interior is still wet, the croissants tend to collapse.


 

jameslee's picture
jameslee

Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm not sure who to answer first! I'll start with 'Lazybaker', appropriately.. Just about any flour is available here in London from very high protein Manitoba to ordinary supermarket (multi purpose) plain flour, which is approx 7.5% protein. As well as several others in between, mainly French. Here's my recipe. Sorry but its in metric


1k flour,


40g fresh yst,


20g salt,


100g sug,


2 eggs,


250g full fat milk,


250g water,


400g unsalted butter,


I work the dough for 5min's - ball it and refrigerate overnight. The nest day I leave it out for 45 min's then roll it out and envelope in butter, roll out again, fold it over on itself thrice and rest for 20 min's. I repeat this a further 3 times.


then, I  divide and then shape into Croissants and prove for 2hr’s. Egg wash and bake for  15-18min's at 200c.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Thanks for the reply on the kind of flours in the UK. 


There's a video on youtube entitled Danish pastry in which they show their technique in mixing, rolling, and shaping: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg-zXn_YpLI


I also watched Vincent's video, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhpxkGB1OyY


Their ingredients are slightly different. I use a recipe similar to Vincent's in that the ingredients are flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and butter which I found to produce flaky and crispy croissants. The croissants made with flour, yeast, salt, sugar, eggs, milk, and butter were soft.


After mixing the ingredients, I leave the dough chilled for 15 minutes, not more. I don't let it proof in the fridge overnight. I've done it before where I proofed it at room temperature or in the fridge, but I always end up with bread-like croissants. The only proofing I do is after I shaped them. It's usually 2 to 3 hours. I have read that you can proof them longer if they're left covered with plastic and in the fridge overnight. Then let them be at room temperature again before baking. I haven't tried this last method because I'm afraid it might overproof overnight.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi jameslee,


I'm UK based, and I have posted on laminated dough here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction


I think your method is excellent, and the employment of 4 "half turns" is correct.   I calculate that as being 162 layers of butter, but I use the English method to incorporate the butter.   The envelope method you use [French method] will give the 81 layers as advised above by dwcoleman.


Regarding flour, I would use anything labelled as "Strong", unless you particularly want a more extensible dough to allow you to speed up the process.   Frankly, the quality of the end product will be affected, especially in terms of lightness of eating and product volume.


My personal preference would be to use an Organic Strong White Flour, from Shipton Mill, or, Marriages, or, if not these 2 you could try Doves Farm.   A "Super Strong" flour is probably not the best choice, as the dough would be too elastic.   The All Purpose referenced above doesn't really have a UK equivalent.   Our Plain Flour is much lower in gluten than the US All Purpose, even though there have been suggestions that these are equivalents.   You can mix Plain and Strong if you want to weaken the flour blend, but that would be your choice, and not what I would do for myself.


Best wishes, and don't forget to post on your results


Andy

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Andy


I agree with your view on Shipton Mill Flours, they have a great range, I use them almost exclusively.  However, I would also recommend Waitrose as their Leckford Estate flours are also good and should be fairly accessible in London.  They also sell a very strong Canadian bread flour.


Ruralidle

jameslee's picture
jameslee

Hi Ananda, yes I think I'll give the English method a go. and maybe not let the dough sit overnight in the fridge, just mix for 5 min's and leave for a couple of hours at room temp before I start laminating, what you think? Also I'm going to try and mix the Manitoba (Very Strong Canadian Flour) with some unbleached plain and see if that makes a difference.


Will keep you posted.


many thanks.


james

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi James,


You need to store the dough in the fridge.   Dough temperature should be less than 19*C.


If you want to experiment with a flour blend, then give it a try.   There is no need to do this, given the flours I recommended are ideal for what you are trying to make.


The Manitoba flour will have benefit in terms of elasticity in the dough.   But you have to work with the consequences of this.   Namely, the dough will be resistant to machining, so you will have to be prepared to allow for extra resting between turns.


I can only really advise you to look at the detailed tutorial I posted here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction


It covers everything I could think of for a TFL audience.   Above all, 2 key principles: work cold, rest between turns.


Best wishes


Andy

jameslee's picture
jameslee

Andy, Ok, yes, in the fridge the dough will go for a couple of hours. I was reading Reinhart's book and he says that as dough like this draws its flavour from the enrichments added, it isn't really neccesary to refridge them overnight anyway.


I think I will 'dilute' the manitoba flour to lower the gluten content a little and keep you posted how they turn out.


Thanks for the video you attached, I like that method. Is that you teaching? I'd love to attend a course like that, any ideas where they are taking place? There seems to be sod all in London. Not that I can find anyhow!


A great many thanks for your help.


James

azelia's picture
azelia

hope you don't mind me asking this...I've read this thread with great interest and the following occurs to me.


I've been reading that fat inhibits gluten development, and seeing as the puff pastry types of doughs uses so much fat does it really matter whether you use bread flour or normal flour?


From what I've been reading here you can use both? but the bread flour gives the dough more  elasticity is the impression I'm getting.


If the bread flour does indeed give the croissant more elasticity which would make sense then obviously it goes to show there is some gluten development of some kind.  I would have thought that not every tiny bit of flour particle would get covered in the butter therefore some gluten development would occur and the bread flour more likely than ordinary flour.


Does this mean the croissants made with bread flour which has more elasticity result in a slightly more chewier texture on eating in comparison to normal flour? 


Only ever made croissants 20yrs ago and couldn't remember anything about them...when I buy croissants I never know what kind of flour is used so difficult to know how it compares on eating.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi James,


No, overnight refrigeration is not "necessary".   However, a long slow process [and therefore involving some refrigeration], with plenty of rest between turns will make the best croissants from my experience.


I would recommend you look at Michel Suas "Advanced Bread and Pastry" for more comprehensive and reliable detail on this particular topic.


I have to teach this topic in 4 hour practicals, and it always works well.   But longer time would only be beneficial.


Let me know how you get on with your chosen "blend" of flour.


Yes, it's me teaching and demonstrating in the video.


Regarding London, you could consider the following:   for formal courses search on the National Bakery School which is part of London South Bank University.   If that doesn't rock your boat, maybe Dan Lepard's forum is the best place to go, as I know he does a few demonstrations in London.   Messrs Bertinet, Whitley, Millum, Merry etc don't seem to be in the capital for work.   I'm based the other end of England, in Newcastle upon Tyne.


All good wishes


Andy

jameslee's picture
jameslee

Andy,


I was hoping you'd be in driving distance. Newcastle is a bit far, but if I have no joy anywhere else I might write and ask you for details if that's alright? I'll try those sources you mentioned.


Cheers


James

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

James


I wouldn't want to do Andy out of any work because he is an amazing baker and a VERY generous contributor to TFL but.......... Richard Bertinet, in Bath, is probably quite a bit easier to get to from London (via A/M4?) than Andy in Newcastle-upon-Tyne - unless you travel that way for business or following your footy team.

jameslee's picture
jameslee

Yes I might look into doing a Bertinet course. But I dunno, I quite fancy seeing Newcastle, I've heard it's a decent place to visit, though I've been advised to disguise my accent a bit if I do. I'm afraid I'm too much of a fair weather footy supporter to travel all that distance to see Millwall get beat.


I'm suprised that there is nowhere a bit closer than Bath for me though, opportunity there for someone! D Lepard does the odd one but they're very busy and not very frequent.


Thanks for the advice, yourself, and Andy.


cheers


james

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

James


I don't know about disguising your accent - I found M. Bertinet easier to understand than some of the Geordies I have met! :) .  (sorry Andy)  But N o T (no hyphens) is a nice place, in a totally different way to Bath (my accent meant that I pronounce Bath with a short a so they all recognise me as from oop north - a bit, anyway.


Ruralidle


 

jameslee's picture
jameslee

I know what you mean Ruralidle. My missus is French, has lived here for 15 years and she can't get a word of Geordie or Scots.


I like Bath, but it's a bit like what a town designed by Laura Ashley would be like i thought. Baths are well worth a visit though..


As for Newcastle I heard they're a little hostile to Cockneys? But I'd like to go anyway, Andy's classes are certainly looking very tempting.


Cheers


James

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

At the risk of changing this thread into a travelogue, I didn't notice any great animosity when I was there but, as I was born in Derbyshire and live in the West Midlands, I probably wasn't considered quite as bad as a Cockney! - bloomin' Southerners :)


If Andy and his college offer a course that suits you I would go and stay a few days longer so you can see the sights such a Lindisfarne (the island not the band), Hadrian's Wall and the towns in the area - particularly Newcastle itself and Durham (not too far away).  Mind you, when I last visited, Newcastle Brown Ale was still brewed in Newcastle!


To return to a baking topic, I wonder if Andy could arrange a two or three day course for people such as us TFLers who would appreciate learning from such an experienced artisan baker.  What do you think about that Andy?

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Ruralidle,


Thank you for your kind words.   Yes, the esteemed ambassador for the Real Bread Campaign would be far easier for James to get to, and I would not feel I was missing out on work.   I have quite enough work to keep me going, no difficulties.


On a somewhat frivolous note, there are no hyphens in Newcastle upon Tyne!


We are but 3 hours from the Capital by train, so not too far for the occasional trip.   A great city, and you'd enjoy it, no doubt...although good bread is not that easy to find!


Best wishes


Andy