The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dang croissants

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grind's picture
grind

dang croissants

Been trying to figure out the elusive croissant.  This is my third attempt and I had a good feeling about it the entire process.  Everything was kept cold, the dough was easy to roll out, etc.  And yet, the horror!

Front view - 

 

 

Side view -

 

 

Any ideas?  I don't know what else I can do.  Is it under proofed or is it the lamination process, poorly executed.

 

Cheers.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and before you roll it up?  Describe the dough surface.  Top and bottom.

grind's picture
grind

Hi Mini, after I cut up the dough, I make a small slit at the base of the triangle and extend it using a light weight rolling pin.  The previous two times I elongated the triangles in the air, using my hands.  Both surfaces were smooth, front and back.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was noticing that the layers seem to separate more between the outside surfaces, I think that's what I see and was wondering if maybe the surface was too dry.  That's all...  

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Looks to me like a step in the right direction, there are more layers there than in your last attempt!

It also looks like the butter is melting into your layers, which suggests that either the final proof is too warm, or the oven temp is too cool.  Does it seem like either of those issues could be happening?

There may also be a second issue with the volume of the croissants, hard to say but that could be due to not enough dough structure, an overly cool oven, or underproofing.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

My theory aligns with FlourChild's.  Look at the outside layer.  As if rounds toward the top it gradually layers nicely but the same layer, resting on the bottom, is flat and appears that the butter has melted into the dough; perhaps too warm a surface during final proof, etc. as FlourChild suggested.

grind's picture
grind

I think you're right on all fronts, except maybe the dough structure part.  I'm afraid of the heat because I have a deck oven and I worry about burning bottoms.  The stone deck doesn't cool down as quickly as the ambient temperature of the oven.  So I err on the side of caution.  I sped up the proofing and I think the bottom of the pan became quite warm, compared to the rest of the proofing area.  Next time I'll double pan the bottom or preheat the proofer and then turn off the elements below.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I agree with the previous responses but I wonder how you are baking theses croissants?  What temps?  

grind's picture
grind

400 degrees.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I had that happen when the dough was a bit on the moist side, and the baking time wasn't enough. I know according to most recipes, they give one baking temperature. However, I find that always result in the outside getting too brown and the insides aren't baked thoroughly because the temperature is too high. Bake at a high temperature for the first 5 minutes for a good oven spring. Then lower the temperature and continue baking until they're brown. If they're thoroughly baked, they should feel light when you pick them up with a spatula.

grind's picture
grind

They did feel a little heavy!  I knew right away what to expect before I cut in one.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Try these baking temperatures: preheating oven at 425 F and bake for 5 minutes. Lower to 400 F and bake for 5 minutes. Lower to 350 F and bake for the remaining 10 to 20 minutes. You can even lower further to 325 F.

The first several times when I baked at a higher temperature, the insides were too moist and under done. They ended up collapsing. If they're thoroughly baked, they shouldn't collapse.

You can try experimenting with three wallet turns. It gives thinner dough sheets than three turns.

I find the ideal proofing temperature to be between 75 F and 78 F. I had a disaster when I proofed in an oven that was warmed briefly since I didn't have a proofer. The proofing temp was too warm: the butter melted and the dough became too soft that it spread sideways. After baking, they ended up flat. :) I should have taken a temperature reading of the oven before trying to proof in it.

Good luck on the next try and please report back!

grind's picture
grind

OK, thanks much.  Planning another bake this weekend and will report.  As an aside, a couple of French friends remarked that, aside from the obvious faults, they need twice as much butter!  They said a serviette/napkin is a must after eating a French croissant.

chefjeff84's picture
chefjeff84

It looks to me like they may be under proofed as well as under baked.  Noticing the larger and smaller air pockets and how some of the layers on the bottom still look doughy and unsepereated I would say that is one of your problems.  How long is your proof time?  What conditions are you doing them in?  I was also wondering how many/what types of folds you are doing and if they are by hand or laminator?  These may all be factors in your situation.

grind's picture
grind

They proofed for 4 hours, but I do think, in hindsight, that I could have let them go a little longer or I should have been more consistent throughout the proofing process.  I speed up the process at some point by cranking up the proofer!

I do three letter folds, by hand.   I let the dough sit for about twenty minutes and then start the lamination.

grind's picture
grind

Thanks everybody, just the sounding board I was hoping for.  Really appreciate the imput, advice and insight.   Lamination is such a lonely road to travel, lol.

grind's picture
grind

They turned out better than this picture shows.  They're not gummy like the photo suggest and all the layer are distinct from each other.  Gotta figure out The Camera!  They are as light as buttery air and the crumb has just the right amout of tug.  I did three letter turns and one book turn.  7 hour proof!  Maybe more yeast next time.  I also added 50% more butter and a touch more sugar.  I was operating from Tartine's recipe but I never took the time to math it out.  His recipe is short on butter.  This time I used Calvel's rations or flour to butter, which is about 50% butter to flour.  Again, thanks for the feedback, I really needed it to slow me down and think through everything.

 

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

They came out great. It must be a sigh of relief to find they're well baked after all those grueling hours. :)

yy's picture
yy

Congrats on your progress! Have you tried doing only three letter turns (and eliminating the book turn) to see if you like the result better? According to Ciril Hitz' Baking Artisan Pastries and Bread, three letter turns yields optimal texture, volume and structure (Figure from page 165):

grind's picture
grind

The first two times I did only three letter turns but made a bunch of other mistakes so the results were more or less horrible.  This time I did the same and threw in the extra book turn (for some reason lol).  They were really good, crispy light buttery air.  I'll try just the three letter turn again next week and check it out, now that I've fixed some of the other mistakes.  Much to learn.  Thanks.