The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to have fresh croissants int he morning???

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

How to have fresh croissants int he morning???

Hi everyone!

   I've been experimenting with croissants recently and have had good results (I'm currently using Peter Reinhart's recipe from Artisan Everyday) The only thing i wish I could do is have them fresh and ready for breakfast. Can I freeze them after rolling/shaping them then thaw/rise them overnight on the counter? or should I thaw/rise them in the fridge? Please let me know which one is preferred and if anyone has tried this? This would make things alot easier for me as I could just make a batch on my day off and take them out to thaw/rise the night before I need them then bake without fuss before a busy day (our household is always busy!!!) Thanks so very much for your thoughts!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

That's what I do.  I bake up a whole bunch, freeze them in packets of four, then take a packet out the night before and shove them in the oven for breakfast.  They're crisp and delicious that way.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

You can freeze them after rolling and shaping. Just make sure to place them on the tray not touching one another and then freeze. Once they're frozen, store them into freezer bags. They're good in the freezer for about 2 to 3 months.

As for thawing and proofing, I prefer placing them on the baking tray, brushing egg wash on them, cover loosely with a plastic wrap or place under a large plastic box as to prevent any drying, and then thaw/proof overnight at room temperature (75 to 80 degrees F) overnight for about 9 hours or so until they get really puffy.  

I don't like thawing them in the fridge because the insides still get cold and what happens is that butter tends to leak during baking because the butter was too cold and the dough wasn't proofed fully enough.

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

Thaw and proof in the fridge.

Every morning, egg wash, heat oven, and bake a batch. While they're baking, put another  frozen batch on a baking sheet and thaw/proof in the fridge. Repeat.

You may need to play with the timing a little to get the proofing just right

Cheers

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

So I made a double batch of laminated dough (1 batch was turned into croissants and the other into danish pasties) then froze and packaged them. Last night I took some out (8 croissants) placed them on a waxed paper covered tray and let them thaw/rise overnight in the unheated oven (I think I put them in at 11pm). Around 6:30 this morning, I preheated the oven, egg washed them then baked according to the directions. They tasted pretty good but they where flat! They didn't rise at all! they seem to have puffed out but not up. All the layers of rolls where melded into one. I'm not sure if this is because they had to rise for so long so they just completely collapsed or if I just didn't roll them out right at all. Now I'm not too experinced with croissants (I've only made them a handfull of times) so maybe my dough is at fault (Like I said before I'm currently using Peter Reinharts Croissant recipe). Has anyone else encounted this problem with it thawing/rising overnight???

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

They tasted pretty good but they where flat! They didn't rise at all! they seem to have puffed out but not up. All the layers of rolls where melded into one. I'm not sure if this is because they had to rise for so long so they just completely collapsed or if I just didn't roll them out right at all.


I had this happen before where the croissants went flat. Usually it's because the dough was on the wet soft side, and the baking time was short. The moisture inside the croissants didn't dry out, so the structure inside collapses.

Firmer dough that isn't sticky forms better layers and doesn't deflate during baking. The dough should be firm as the butter, but the dough shouldn't be too hard that you can't roll. 

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

When you say "waxed paper" I assume you mean parchment paper?

Croissants need a strong flour. What did you use?

Please define "baked according to the directions."

You put them out at 11:00 for a 6:30 bake. That sounds OK. Prior to the bake, what was their consistency like. The proofed croissants should be fairly firm and supply resistence to a poke. "All the rolls where melded into one" sounds like either over proofing, or an excessive oven spring that surpassed the dough's capacity to hold it (which then collapsed).

Sometimes, even an excessive amount of stretch before shaping will result in too-thin rolls that disappear in the bake. Take a look at kimemerson's croissants on http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25013/flaky-croissants for an example of what they should look like. If you had more layers than this, cut back on the stretching.

Lastly, I am not familiar with Mr. Reinhart's formula.  Our croissant dough is 62.5% hydration with 50% butter (BP). How does that compare? BTW: We use a slightly stronger flour than for our baguettes. A decent bread flour should do the trick.

Cheers

Michele Dextras's picture
Michele Dextras

Hi,

I make my croissants, bake them and then as soon as they are cooled, I freeze them in freezer bags, 4 per bag.  For breakfast, I put them on a cookie sheet frozen in a 400 F. oven for 4 minutes and let them cool a bit before eating.  From the time I turn the oven on and put them on the kitchen table to eat, it is about 20 minutes.  Perfect every time!  I made Julia Child's croissant recipe for years and then about 4 years ago I discovered the recipe for Butter Croissants in Epicurious.com that makes 2 dozen at a time and with some adjustments, they come out perfect every time.  The main difference is in the baking. I bake them, one dozen at a time at 475 F for 13 minutes.  I find using the method for baking described too long and some of the butter melts out of them.  

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

Thanks Lazybaker, PastryPaul and micheledextras for your helpful comments!!! I really appreciate it!!!

 

LazyBaker: The detrempe was a little on the sticky side when I mixed it up. Peter Renhart's recipe says thatt he dough should be "coarse, wet, and shaggy" and then smooth out  to be very "soft, supple, and sticky but not batterlike" he says it's very important for the dough to be "ver soft and pliable, and somewhat sticky". At this point we refrigerate it immediately overnight or up to 2 days. The next day the dough was still soft and stightly sticky (I had to use a bowl scraper to scrape it out of the bowl) and I generously floured (and KEPT generously flouring) my work space to prevent it from sticking. I did try to brush off the access flour before I fold or rolled the dough but he recommends to keep flouring under and over the dough pretty often.

PastryPaul: You are correct, I should have said parchment paper instead of waxed paper (I was typing late at night ;)). For my first batch I used King Arthur Bread Flour and for the second batch I used Gold Metal AP Flour (I ran out of KA AP Flour and only had GM) Peter Reinhart's formula says to use either bread flour (for more structure) or AP flour (for a more delicate pastry), I'm not too sure which flour is better to use but I'd like to hear suggestiong on what flour you guys use...

I preheated the oven to 450F, applied an eggwash (I'm not sure why he recommends an egg white eggwash??? I usually see an egg yolk eggwash used for croissants...) and put the croissants in the oven. Immediatly he says to lower the temp to 375F and bake for 15 minutes before rotating the pan and baking for an additional 15-20 minutes (I found them to be rich golden brown at around 20 minutes)

When I took the croissants out of the unheated oven in the morning (so I could preheat the oven) they were very puffy but flat, they didn't seem to have risen upwards only outwards (my feeling is that they must have collapsed?) and I noticed that the layer melded into one, in other words I I couldn't see the different layer or rolls, I'm thinking I might have over stretched/rolled them??? I did stretch them out from a 4" x 9" triangle to maybe a 4" x 11ish" (I'm not quite sure here I'm just guesstimating) and rolled them up pretty tight. The recipe said to roll them up approx 7 times and I think I might have rolled them up even more.

Lastly, I'm not quite sure how to calculate hydratio/butter percentage but I know I used 3 stick butter for the butter block and  4-2/3c flour, 1 tbsp yeast 1 cup water, 3/4c + 2 tbsp milk amongs the other ingredients. I can post the full recipe but I just want to make sure it's okay first. Do you guys usually post the recipe on this forum or is this a violation?

MicheleDextras: I might just have to try it this way also! Do you find any flaws doing this this way? is it less cripsy or anything? Also, do you bake 2 trays at once? if so how? do they all bake evenly? do you just rotate the pan top to bottam front to back?

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I have to agree with PastryPaul about using a lower hydration dough. In the past, I've baked croissants where the dough began as a soft, wet, and shaggy texture, and I always ended up with flat pastries with no flaky layers like what you described. Then I noticed people were getting flaky layers when they used lower hydration doughs. I actually have to knead the dough to the point where it stops sticking to the table, and the firmness is like that of cold malleable butter. I noticed I get flakier pastries when I start with a firm lower hydration dough. 

I don't ferment the dough before lamination. Some people do it for the extra flavor. I just continue the lamination after kneading the dough. I let the dough rest for 15 minutes after kneading and then laminate. I do three book fold turns since it's faster. The book fold turn makes 4 layers.  Making 3 book fold turns result in 64 layers.

Maybe you can try Hamelman's recipe? It seems to be a favorite recipe for making croissants:

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/classic-croissants.aspx

Here's another youtube video showing what the firm texture of the dough: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhpxkGB1OyY

I hope you get perfect croissants. :)

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

Oh and another note, I've been looking around at different croissant recipes and I notice that alot of recipes ask for the dough to rest/chill for an hour after every fold/turn. Once after you incorporate the butter and before you roll it out, then again after every fold. PR's recipe doesn't call for the first rest (after I sandwich the butter block between the detrempe) and only calls for the dough to rest (at room temp, unless butter seems very soft)  for 15-20 minutes after each turn, for a total of 3 turns and about 60 minutes rest total. Of course this helps me make croissant quicker (I usually do this while my 2 year old naps ;) but I'm wondering if I should let them rest longer? Let me know what you think guys... thanks again for all your help!

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

Thank you so much for your comments and the links. I will try the Hamelman's recipe next once I can fit it into my scheduele, then I'll try to post results!!! thanks again!

Michele Dextras's picture
Michele Dextras

I just came back from 5 weeks in France and we bought croissants at several "boulangeries" and did not find any that were better than the ones I make with the Epicurious.com recipe.  They come out very nice when you reheat frozen.  When I originally bake them, I do one tray at a time. It is only 13 minutes so the second batch does not suffer.  

Good luck!

YBMHP's picture
YBMHP

Thanks MicheleDextras, I will definately have to try that method out once I make some more croissants. I more quick question though, you under bake these guys a little right? Because I normally see recipes ask for them to be in the oven approx. 25-30 minutes or until nice and golden brown or sometimes a little darker (13 minutes is only about half that! :)) You then finish them off (frozen for the freezer) in a 400F oven for 4 minutes and let cool correct? I know different people prefer their croissants differently, I personally love them to be nice and golden brown, TXfarmer's croissants (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22677/poolish-croissant-pursuit-perfection) look like the perfect croissant of my dreams (I'm a total geek I know). When baked according to your instructions (13minutes +additional 4) do the croissants end up this dark? Or should I try to bake them a bit longer the first time? She says she baked them  25 minutes total, should I try baking them 20 minutes then reheat for another 5?  Thanks again everyone for all your help!!!

 

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Don't underbake the croissants when you see them at a light golden brown stage because they'll end up deflated once they're cooled. Trust me, I had deflated croissants happened before. They'll be puffy in the oven. However, once they're cooled, they end up deflated because the dough inside isn't baked thoroughly.

I like my croissants a golden brown as well.  Because I like my croissants golden brown, I don't apply egg wash. The sugar in the dough is enough to create the golden brown color. I have the oven preheated at 475 F and bake it at that temperature for 5 minutes. Then I turn down the oven to 425 F and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 350 F and bake for the rest, about 15 to 20 minutes  until they're golden brown.  

 

Michele Dextras's picture
Michele Dextras

Hi, 

I don't underbake the croissants.  I bake them 13 minutes at 475 F and they come out puffy and flaky.  The recipe in Epicurious.com play with the temperature starting at 425 F. ,down to 400 F and then 375 F.  I am also not as preoccupied by an exact same shape and size for each croissant as they are in the Poolish Croissant.  So you might not be happy with the recipe I use.  My family likes these very much.  I have learned a couple of this through this forum.  In making the next batch I will use a better quality of butter and I will egg-wash them before proofing.  But essentially this recipe with the modification in baking temperature and time works for me.