The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

croissant dough scaling problem

  • Pin It
yjbus's picture
yjbus

croissant dough scaling problem

after countless batches of croissants, i finally came to a specific recipe that allowed me to make a batch of 6, 7 near perfect croissants.

the problem was that after i tried to double the recipe, i could never get the same results.

 

i then made an adjustment to my original perfect recipe by switching over from spooning dough into a measuring cup to scooping dough with a measuring cup and what followed was 6 consecutive failed batches. 

i measured the difference between the two and scooping dough added an additional 1.3 ounces of flour and 3 tsp of milk and that was enough to cause the failure.

after much pondering i came to a hypthesis that the key to successful dough and therefore successful croissants was dependent on the speed and efficiency in which the milk and dry ingredients came together to form a uniform ball of dough.

i decided to put it to the test and filmed and timed how long my original recipe took to come together to form a smooth uniform ball and it took about 2 and a half minutes without any need to stop and adjust the dough or add any additional ingredients.

i then made another batch of dough using the scooping method with the appropriate amount of added milk and the dough couldnt even form a ball without me adding more milk and stopping to adjust the dough.

now, the first thing i would think is that the flour and milk don't scale equally. but that doesn't make much sense to me.  if 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of milk equals great dough, i don't see how 2 cups of flour + 2 cups of milk wouldn't equal great dough.

i don't believe its about the correct ratio, i believe that after a certain point, a stand mixer simply cannot combine a certain amount of flour and liquid very quickly and efficiently.

so, a dough that is mixed thoroughly and quickly will end up being softer, smoother, and stickier than a dough that was mixed slower and more abruptly even though there was more liquid in it.

 

thats my theory anyway.

after those 6 failed batches, i went back to my old recipe and ratio and churned out a dough that was smooth as silk and rolled out so much easier and cleaner.

what do you guys think?

yy's picture
yy

one important detail I see is that you measure your ingredients by volume rather than weight. It's difficult to get a consistent result when you measure by volume. I would convert your formula to all weights (grams or ounces) and use a scale to measure all your ingredients. 

Would you mind listing your regular recipe and your multiplied recipe quantities side by side? Maybe there's one measurement that's off somewhere. 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

"It's difficult  (if not impossible) to get a consistent result when you measure by volume. I would convert your formula to all weights (grams or ounces) and use a scale to measure all your ingredients."

That pretty much sums it up.  Not much more to offer .....  There's a reason why they call the amounts of ingredients in bread making formulas "baker's percentages".  You can't calculate percentages with any degree of accuracy using volume measurements.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I would suggest that you either stick with your original recipe without any changes or switch to using a scale and measure everything by weight.  Once you have those correct weights you should be able to scale the size of the recipe up or down without difficulty.

Jeff

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Just about every book on pastry (from reputable bakers) has a reliable recipe for making croissant. 6-7 is not a large batch. 250 is a large batch.

If you use a scale (and you have to use a scale), measure exact quantities, pay particular attention to temperature (croissants are very temperature-sensitive, from start to finish), you should be fine.

Croissants are time-consuming, but they're not difficult. 

I think the difficulties you're having are the result of your experimentation.

The recipe I've gone back to time and again is the one in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie & Pastry Bible.

yjbus's picture
yjbus

250? lol.  im working from a home kitchen.

12 is a large batch for me. lol

 

no, i havent been measuring by weight until i decided to test this theory. 

spooning flour produces surprisingly consistent results thats always within .1 ounce while scooping can have a large range.

 

but for this instance, i did measure by weight.

 

but you guys weren't listening to me.  i was saying that the speed and efficiency at which the dough came together in the bowl determined the quality of the dough.

im saying that even if i weighed the ingredients to the miligram, as long as i scaled upwards, the dough would not come together quite as well as my original recipe and was asking why that was the case.

 

im using a kitchen stand mixer.

lets say this is my original recipe.

flour weight: 12.1 ounches to which i add 1/2 cup of milk + 3 tsp.

i then scale slightly to 13.4 ounces of flour which would scale the milk up to approximately 1/2 + 5 tsp (rounded up).

 

i dont scale the yeast, sugar, or salt.

so what im saying is that when i mix my original recipe, the dough comes together very quickly and smoothly and forms a uniform ball of dough that is the perfect consistency to roll out easily but not so sticky that it cannot be handled.

when i try and mix the slightly upped recipe, using the same exact mixing technique and speeds, a ball of dough cannot even form.  there are too many crumbs and dry chunks on the bottom that cannot incorporate into the dough so i have to adjust the dough and remix.  not only that, even after i get the ball to form a uniform ball, it is not as sticky and smooth as my origianal.

so im asking you why this is occuring.

 

 

 

 

yy's picture
yy

Let's assume for argument's sake that you are scaling the formula up with no errors. 

i was saying that the speed and efficiency at which the dough came together in the bowl determined the quality of the dough.

im saying that even if i weighed the ingredients to the miligram, as long as i scaled upwards, the dough would not come together quite as well as my original recipe and was asking why that was the case.

There is merit to what you're saying. Since the quantity of dough in the bowl is different, it will likely take a different amount of time for things to come together in the same way that your single recipe does. Are you depending on time alone in each step (i.e. the recipe says "mix on medium speed for 5 minutes" and you're literally following those directions)? Or are you gauging how much mixing is required by looking at the quality of the dough and the degree of development? 

That said, the efficiency with which your dough comes together should not affect the quality - within reasonable limits. If the mixing step takes 15 minutes as opposed to the usual 5, for instance, that should not make enough of a difference to throw the whole batch off. 

Also, I apologize for being really repetitive, but it is very important that you scale all ingredients by weight, even for ingredients of constant density such as your liquids. Weight allows you to make accurate multiplications. There are only so many increments possible when you measure by volume, so your degree of error will be larger. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If that's what you're doing, then you're measuring incorrectly.

If by volume, I'm not really surprised.

I'd say the quality of your dough (on increasing the flour) is that you're losing "proportional hydration" (not adding enough liquid to match the flour such that dough quality remains constant). That could easily come from a volumetric error. 

Just give up the cups and tablespoons. You'll save yourself a lot of typing. :D

yjbus's picture
yjbus

I am gauging by appearance. and I just said I measured by weight. please stop telling me to measure by weight.

I can overshoot the milk by like 2 tablespoons and the dough still doesn't
come together as smoothly as the original recipe.

the issue is that the rate at which the dough coming together IS effecting the outcome of the dough even though I am using the correct amount of material by weight.

do I have to increase the milk by weight as well?

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Maybe just follow the original recipe and repeat the process twice? That's what I do, and my recipe is by volume. I measure out the ingredients consistently. However, I don't make one mass of dough because I don't have enough table space to roll on. It's much easier working with two lumps of dough. I can let one rest in the fridge while I work on the second one. 

yjbus's picture
yjbus

I think that may be the only way if I want to make more than 6 croissants