The Fresh Loaf

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Rolling out multi-dozen croissant batches

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tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

Rolling out multi-dozen croissant batches

I've started baking croissants this winter and am happy with the recipe I've developed (about 10% WW, AP/BF Blend, Poolish) and am starting to get fairly consistent results at rolling out small batches (1kg dough + 250g butter), about a dozen large croissants or pain au chocolat. My shaping is still hit and miss, but the same could be said of my bread....

We're getting back to our regular market schedule over the next couple months, and I'll need to start making larger batches earlier in the week and freezing them to bake on market mornings. I think I've got that part figured, but tips would be great!

The big problem is laminating big batches by hand (say 4kg dough + 1 kg butter). I tried a 2kg batch last week and couldn't get it uniform in either thickness or shape. For the small batches I have an 18" tapered wooden pin, for the big ones I've a 24" metal monstrosity. I can massage the 1kg dough to stay very close to rectangular and fairly unifrom thickness. It seems any errors are quickly multiplied in the large batches. Othere than practice, any one have practical advice on handling larger batches of laminated dough?

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Not many options left, at least none that come to mind. Of course, you can always trim and use the trimmings for mini-croissants or as old dough in the next batch.

Our standard croissant dough "batch" starts with 5.6Kg of strong flour and is a breeze with a sheeter, not so much by hand.

Regarding the freezing side of things, this is how we do it:

Shape the croissants and place them on a sheet pan or a plastic tray. You can squueeze them in pretty tightly, but not so tightly that they lose their shape. Make sure you press down a touch on each croissant to flatten the bottoms a little, it will save you grief on baking day's eve. (Frozen croissants have the annoying habit of rolling around and hugging each other. Once they thaw they become a solid mass.) Once they are frozen, you ban seperate them and dump them in a container lined with a plastic bag. (We use those plastic boxes milk comes in lined with a proofing bag).

The day (at least 15 hours) before baking, transfer the croissants to parchment lined baking sheets, 15 or 16 per full-size sheet depending on croissant size (we stick to 15 croissants of 100g each per sheet, a little larger than standard, but not as big as some). Refrigerate overnight to thaw.

On baking day, eggwash the croissants and proof them at room temp. Egg wash again after proofing and bake away. (some people don't do the first egg wash... you decide)

Cheers

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

You don't proof before freezing? That's handy! I'd read to proof and then freeze. With your method, if I want (well need, really) to bake at 4am Saturday, move the unproofed, frozen croissants to the fridge at say 1pm Friday, and then proof at room temp around 1am Sat, right? 3 hrs of sleep would be about 2.5 more hours than I got before markets last year...

I guess practice it is - I'll keep working on 2.5kg total batches and keep moving up from there. In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes peeled for a sheeter at the equipment auctions.

shelstaj's picture
shelstaj

Hey hows it going! 

 

Id love to see pics! im currently working on developing a recipe for croissants at my job. im doing 1 kg batches at the moment. I luckily have a sheeter, although I have rolled out quite a few batches by hand. 

After you mix your dough do you do your first fermentation at room temp or in a cooler? Also, how long of a rest period are you doing between folds?! 

Doing your first fermentation in a cooler will limit the increase of dough strength, thus making it easier to roll out. you will gain plenty of dough strength as you laminate.

 

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

As regards first fermentation, it is usally done at room temp, but we will sometimes do it in the cooler if production schedule or room temp forces us to.

Before beurrage we will either let sit at room temp or cool to try to match consistency (more or less) with the butter slab.

After beurrage, we just cool dough a little (30 minutes or so) and blast through 3 folds on the sheeter. We let the dough decide. If it can take another fold without tearing or oozing butter, fine. If not, cool and continue. Nine time out of ten, the folds are done one after the other. This is possible since the process is so fast with a sheeter so the butter remains in place. I wouldn't try it by hand.

Note: The classic technique calls for three single folds after beurrage. We prefer a double then a single, giving us in reality 2 1/2 folds which yields a toothier croissant. If you prefer them flakier, try double-single-single, or even four singles.

Also, traditionally, a croissant is 80 to 90g ea, but we do 105-110, except for one wholesale customer where we go at 125 - 130 (beasts.) Those beasts are destined for sandwiches, so there's an extra step in forming: Curl the ends in and twist them together. The croissant will end up much rounder and will hold meats etc much better.

Cheers