The Fresh Loaf

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Dimuzio's Croissant with liquid levain

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Chiesa_Dan's picture
Chiesa_Dan

Dimuzio's Croissant with liquid levain

Hi,

after reading Dimuzio's book cover to cover i had to try something from it; i really liked the book and i suppose i'll like the recipies too.

Today i finally baked the croissants (started 2 days ago) and the double raisin bread.

It was the very first time for me trying to make laminated dough, plus we're having the first serious heat wave of the year (in Andalucia, Spain...).

Overall i'm pleased with the result, but i'll like someone to try help me out troubleshoot some problems i've had.

Here's a picture of 3 of them, obviously the best looking ones :-)

I followed pretty much all the procedure outlined in the book, but for the final part (rolling it out, proofing...) i used some of the procedures from Hitz book, that is, resting the dough in the freezer 30 min. before rolling it out, and proofing for 2+ hours before baking. I proofed them at 70º, pans in food grade plastic bags, in my climate controlled workshop.

I like the dough taste, not too sweet, but i think i'll like to get a 'stronger' dough, one that you could almost 'de-roll' the finished croissant. I used a somewhat weak flour, for i read extensibility is important, and did not develop it strongly in mixing. Maybe, having a liquid levain also, i could use a stronger flour, since the levain helps with extensibility? I have a professional pizza flour, W270 but with good extensibility, for obvious reasons, so could this be a good candidate next time? Also, with such a weak dough, when taking it out to roll it to final thickness, when first starting with the rolling pin and degassing it, it looked like it wanted to break, lacking 'fiber', so i was very careful to be gentle, but at the same time i had to be quick, the day being VERY hot. No problems with extensibility, of course; not a sign of the dough wanting to spring back when rolling it out.

This is a clear defect i got in some (not all) of the croissants; is it the weak dough, underproofing, eggwash or what else could it be? BTW, on the parchment under them i see they have fat in them, it got shiny; but the bottom of the croissants is clean, so i hope the lamination itself was ok, especially for being my 1st try:

As for the double raisin bread, i got my WFO a little too hot and it's darker than the book's sample picture, but the inside is basically identical, and soooooooooo good! Plus i live surrounded by a small family run vineyard where they produce the raisins i used; hard to get more local than this :-)

Thanks for all the suggestions and tips,

Daniele.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Yes, you can use stronger flours for your croissants.  Mark Sinclair, owner of The Back Home Bakery and a frequent poster here, uses a flour whose protein content is a bit higher than 13%, as I recall.  Yet his croissants are wonderfully tender and flaky, not at all tough. My semi-educated guess is that the butter still reduces the amount of gluten bonding even though the butter and dough start out in separate layers.  By the time all of the turns have been made and the layers are so thin, both the dough and the butter are in fairly intimate contact with each other.  In your case, the addition of a levain may, not necessarily will, lead to a further weakening of the gluten.  Hence, a stronger flour may give you results that are more in line with what you seek.

Try testing flours of different protein levels in successive batches of croissants to see what happens.  The worst is that you will have a lot of croissants to eat.  O!  The suffering!  ;-)

Paul

P.S. It looks like you are off to a good start with your laminating and shaping skills.

Chiesa_Dan's picture
Chiesa_Dan

Thank you Paul,

i do have flours all the way up to 15,5% protein and W400, so i'll just try going stronger next time. BTW, as a side question, i usually try to find out the W value to ascertain the strength of flours i buy (not always possible, though); why do people mostly refer to protein %? I thought protein percent loosely relates to a flour's strength, while the W gives a truer value of strength...

Regarding the croissants, i realized that having to worry about so many things, i might also have rolled out the final sheet too thin, maybe 3/16" or 4mm. Next time i'll keep it more around 1/4" or 6mm; might even make myself a thicknessing guide for the rolling pin.

It'll take a while to improve, though, as we try to eat 'healthier' food and usually don't even have butter in the fridge. Still, i can also give some of them away and few will complain :-)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

are, as you note, a proxy for gluten-forming capacity, or strength.  Durum wheat would seem to be the exception to prove the rule, producing a very high-protein flour that is weaker than the the protein content would suggest. 

Remember, too, that I am a U.S.-based home baker, although temporarily living abroad.  Consequently, W numbers aren't part of my baking vocabulary.  Protein content is more easliy accessible for me, either on the packaging or at the miller's web site.

If you have 15.5% protein flour available, you could shift your focus to bagels after you have satisfied your croissant curiosity.  In the meantime, "Let them eat croissants!"

Happy baking,

Paul