The Fresh Loaf

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croissants: freeze before or after baking?

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ekphrasis's picture
ekphrasis

croissants: freeze before or after baking?

hi everyone, I just baked my first batch of croissants.  I used the recipe in the Tartine book, and I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the results.  the dough is flakey and delicious.  

however, I've got a quandary:  I only baked half of the recipe because I only have one baking sheet.  the other half is now shaped and rising for 2 hours.  I have read that you can freeze the croissants after they have risen, but prior to baking.  I've also heard that you can bake them and freeze them right away, then pop them in the oven to reheat.

so...which is better?  there is no way that I can eat the remaining 10 croissants that I baked this morning, let alone the 12 more that are rising right now.  Whichever method I used, what is the best freezer storage technique, and how long will the frozen croissants keep?

 

I have a second croissant related question that I'll tack on here: the frist batch came out beautifully browned on the top, but slightly undercooked.  My oven gives an accurate temp.  Robertson's recipe calls for 30 mins @425F.  What is the best way to get them crisper on the inside without over-browning?  Should I a) bake at a lower temp for longer, b) do 10 mins at 425 then reduce the temp?, c) bake at a higher temp for less time (I recall Julia Child baking hers for 15 mins at 475)?  Thanks for you help!  Wish you could help me eat them...

 

yy's picture
yy

I have not tried freezing after baking, but freezing them directly after shaping worked for me. I froze them on a sheet tray and then popped them in a ziploc bag when they were frozen all the way through. It saved me a lot of freezer space. When you want to eat them, just place them on a sheet tray, egg wash them and let them proof as they defrost at room temperature overnight. There was no noticeable drop in quality in the second batch - they tasted as fresh as the first batch. This may not work for you if the goal is to reheat croissants and have them instantly, since it takes several hours for the croissants to proof.

As for your second question, what do you mean by "crisper on the inside?" Do you have a photo of the crumb of your croissants? It's hard to tell whether they are actually being underbaked or whether there's another textural issue that stems from the dough itself.

ekphrasis's picture
ekphrasis

Hi YY, that does throw another option into the mix: I hadn't thought to freeze right after shaping but before proofing.  So lets say I rule out the "freeze after baking" option--is there an advantage to freezing before the proofing rather than once they have already risen for 2 hours?  I read online somewhere--I think it was a write up of julia child's recipe--that if you freeze them after they have risen, all you do is pop the frozen croissant in the oven to bake it.  there is no need to let it proof.  does that sound feasible?

 

I don't have a good way to post photos.  the texture on the outer part--the browned part, was perfect though.  my guess is that they just needed to bake a few minutes longer

yy's picture
yy

That does sound feasible. I haven't tried it myself, but I don't see a reason why that wouldn't work. The only advantage I see to freezing before proofing is that it saves a bit of freezer space, but that is counterbalanced by the additional time it takes to defrost and proof.

30 minutes at 425 seems like a long time at quite a high temperature. Lowering to 400 will probably help.

 

wally's picture
wally

You can take either approach; in my experience, both work well.  If you've frozen them after baking,  just allow them to come to room temp and bake re-warm at 300F for 5 minutes.  If they are fully proofed and you want to freeze them,  I'm not sure if you can bake them right out of the freezer - my guess is that they need some period of time for thawing.  But if they are really fully proofed you don't want them to end up overproofed.  Typically when I freeze formed croissants I do so with no proof, and then thaw and proof the day of baking.

I have issues if Robertson is calling for a 30 minute bake at 475F.  Way too long!  I typically begin my bake at 425F for 5 minutes, then 5 minutes at 400 and then 5 minutes at 375.  Whatever, the bake should be closer to 20 minutes than 30 and at a way lower temp.

Good luck!

Larry

Sjadad's picture
Sjadad

I've always freezed my croissants after baking. I allow them to come to room temperature and then individually wrap them in plastic wrap, followed by foil. To reheat I completely unwrap and place frozen on a baking sheet in a 325 degree oven for 5 minutes. They emerge crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. 

Good luck!

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I freeze whatever are left over after baking. As for freezing, I prefer freezing immediately after they're shaped and frozen, but not after proofing. I think you can deflate them if you're not careful when you're putting them in the freezer if you let them proof prior to being frozen. I don't recommend baking the frozen proofed ones because they'll end up raw and underdone inside. 

As for baking temperature and time, I start it with a high temperature 425 to 475 F (depending on each oven) and bake for 5 minutes. Then I turn the oven down to 400 F and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn down to 375 or 350F, and bake for 10 to 15 or 20 minutes. You need to make sure the insides are baked off, or the croissants will collapse. A wet interior will make the croissants collapse if you don't bake off the moisture inside.