The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

croissant help!

jooney's picture
jooney

croissant help!

Hi,

I'm a very beginner with baking and have been trying to make croissants for three weeks or so. 

The biggest problem I'm having with my croissant dough is that it is difficult to roll out, especially when all my turns are completed and it is ready to be cut and shaped.   It just keeps springing back!  And every time that happens, I tend to press on it even harder, which eventually lead to butter leakage everywhere.  

What do I need to do prevent this from happening?

Let me give you some info on my recipe.

I use Bertinet's croissant recipe.  His recipe is as follows:

 

<Ingredients>

500g strong white flour

20g fresh yeast

10g salt

50g caster sugar

55g egg

125g cold milk

125g water

200g butter (for the butter block)

 

<How to make>

Step1: work the dough

Put all the ingredients above into a bowl and mix them together.  When everything is incorporated, you take it out onto your work surface and work it for 3-4 minutes.

@ There is something I don't understand about this instruction.  I find this dough to be pretty firm, so it is difficult to apply his usual slap and fold method of working the dough.  In other words, the dough is so firm that you can't really slap and fold it.  I hope you know what I mean by this.^^  So, I find it somewhat odd that he says "work the dough using 'slap and fold method'".  Coud anyone help me understand what he really meant?

 

Step2:rest the dough

Rest it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.(12 hours)  

@I tried both ways.  It seems that giving it more rest doesn't solve the problem.

 

Step3-make the turns

You make a few turns before completing the final step of cutting and shaping it into croissants.  He askes that the dough be rested in the fridge 20-30 minutes in between making each turn.

@I rested it about an hour in the hope that it would be more workable.  But still no improvement.

 

Step4: Proof and bake

Leave them in a draught-free place  for 2 hours.  Bake them at 220-230 celsius for 18-20 minutes.

 

I would really appreciate it if someone could offer me some advice on this.  Thank you.   

 

 

 

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi jooney,

The formula is good.   Ordinarily the 2 key principles with laminated dough are to work cold and use rest between turns.

If you feel you have applied these sufficiently, then I would look at the flour you are using, and the degree of mixing employed.   I posted a tutorial on TFL about laminated doughs some time ago which may help: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16082/laminated-yeasted-dough-construction

You need a good quality flour for laminated goods, but not too strong...so a high gluten flour would be inappropriate, but bread flour should be ideal.   If you over-mix, then you encounter further problems, as the laminating process itself encourages further gluten development.   So it is best not to fully mix the dough in the initial stage.

I would suggest you find an alternative way to mix the dough if "slap and fold" is not working for you.   The dough would not be anything like as soft as many of the formulae M. Bertinet has produced.   However, if the dough is really stiff, you may want to let it down slightly with more liquid...but to me, if it's very stiff that simply suggests that your flour is indeed too strong!

Best wishes

Andy

jooney's picture
jooney

Thank you for your answer, Andy.

Actually, there is something that I've been overlooking in his recipe.  He seems to advise against overworking the dough in the inital stage, saying "The dough needs to be worked as little as possible, because you want to keep the lamination-that is, the layers of dough, butter, dough, butter."  I don't fully comprehend what he is trying to say here, though.  How is the degree of dough development in the initial stage related to the lamination process?  

golgi70's picture
golgi70

 First off though I should let you know i work with a recipe that has a sponge, there is butter in the dough, and there are no eggs.  That being said, one thing I learned in culinary school is there are two schools of thought on the development of croissant dough before lamination.  Some feel it should be very well developed while others believe it should be underdeveloped and gain its gluten via lamination.  

Running into the same problem as you, the dough being way to elastic to work with after and even during lamination I opted for switching to a less developed dough.  To do this I mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, and salt) well and add to the liquid (in your case I'd mix the water milk and eggs together in advance) Now add the dry to the wet and mix just until everything is equally combined (still a shaggy dough) Divide accordingly and chill down.  Laminate.  

We also make our dough and let it chill for 12 hours, laminate, chill for 12 hours, then shape.  All of these steps have made working with the dough much easier and in fact improved our croissants structurally.  

 

Good luck

jooney's picture
jooney

Thank you for your help, golgi70.  

So basically your advice is to omit the slap and fold method of kneading the dough.  Combining all the ingredients until they form a cohesive dough suffices.  Did I understand you correctly?  

 

 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

In line with the advice from Andy and golgi, I would say first switch to a flour with a little less gluten, and second don't develop the gluten structure fully when mixing, but rather allow the laminating process to finish the job.  

French flours in general have lower protein levels than U.S. flours, so what might be considered a "strong white flour" in France would be more like unbleached AP here.  I would recommend something with particularly good extensibility, and for croissants I would go out of my way to get gold medal better for bread, which is a very extensible flour.  Another good option would be King Arthur unbleached AP.  

The hydration of your dough is pretty dry for a slap and fold method, just mix/knead in a more classic way, being careful to stop before it is fully developed.

It isn't clear how many turns you are doing, but consider limiting it to three.  Many pro bakers never do more than 3, though some recipes call for 4.  And don't worry about a little butter breaking through on the last turn, that's normal.

jooney's picture
jooney

Thank you for the reply, FlourChild.  Your advice is really helpful!

jooney's picture
jooney

Thank you for your answer, Andy.

Actually, there is something that I've been overlooking in his recipe.  He seems to advise against overworking the dough in the inital stage, saying "The dough needs to be worked as little as possible, because you want to keep the lamination-that is, the layers of dough, butter, dough, butter."  I don't fully comprehend what he is trying to say here, though.  How is the degree of dough development in the initial stage related to the lamination process?  

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Try using European style butter because they have higher fat content and are lower in moisture. That kind of butter makes rolling and stretching very easily. The butter makes it easy to roll the dough without having to press down. During the stretching of the triangular dough to be formed, the triangles are easily stretched without them snapping back like a rubber band. 

I use unsalted Plugra since it's available near me. Other brands are Kerrygold and Organic Valley. 

In addition to ease of rolling and stretching, this kind of butter gives a better flaky texture.