The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Low hydration croissant dough = better flavor?

badmajon's picture

Low hydration croissant dough = better flavor?

I follow Hamelman's recipe for croissants. Two batches ago, I had a problem with a scale (which has since been replaced) and I ended up with a very stiff dough. I thought it would be garbage and I was tempted to throw it away but luckily I pressed on with it. When the croissants finally came out, they had a wonderful depth of flavor. Does this make any sense?

I know that although there is controversy some people claim low hydration starters make sourdough 'sourer' due to the lack of oxygen, but AFAIK this has something to do with lactobacillus and acetobacter bacteria, something which I assume does not play a role in a croissant dough made with instant yeast.

So any ideas on why this happened? I will try a little less water next time, perhaps I can recreate it.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Not sure why, but I think it's because the thawing and reheating reduces their moisture content.

Less moisture = more concentrated flavour?

I don't know why, exactly, but I like them more than freshly-baked ones.

(Or maybe it's just an excuse to make 48 of them instead of 12.)

lazybaker's picture

I don't know about flavor since I haven't tried putting the dough in the refrigerator overnight. I do notice that with low hydration dough for croissants, the low hydration gives better structure and flaky texture. The croissants rise and expand vertically. The texture is really flaky.

With a dough that is on the slightly wet and soft side, the croissants expand horizontally and become flat. The texture isn't so flaky but more like bread or brioche. Maybe the dough was too wet that it meld together. 

shelstaj's picture

lower hydration will give you a more open honeycomb from what I understand, however you might experience your dough tearing a bit as you begin your lamination. I have been working with a recipe which initially had around 50% hydration which is super low. Average hydration on croissants I see is about 60%.   Depends on flours being used, also if your using milk or water, or a combination of both.   I have been working with 55% hydration in my dough which has been good, but I notice that when I bake the croissants, they tend to retract a bit, and im thinking it is because of lack of moisture. I did an experiment with another croissant dough which had 60% hydration and the end product was great, after testing a completely different recipe, I realized I think I have been working with a bit too dry of dough. 


Are you doing your lamination by hand? also what is the butter in the dough %? I have heard that if you use lower hydration you can up the fat in the actual dough, up to 10%.  ( for elasticity).


good luck!