The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Croissant Help

Erithid's picture
Erithid

Croissant Help

I got a bit full of myself the other day and tried to make croisants. The fact that I can't spell croissant should be a clue that I have no business making them. Anyhow, I got a recipe off the food network, followed it to the t, and ended up with a beautiful multilayered piece of dough. I cut out the croissants, rolled em up and put them in the turned off oven with a pot of hot water as per the directions to proof. Then everything went bad. The butter seeped out of the dough and onto the oven, which smoked, and I nearly set off the fire alarm in my apartment at 2 am as a result. Does anyone know why this would happen? Is there a way to avoid this? Any similiar experiences etc? I was so happy with the dough I spent 10 hours making, it mad me so sad to see it die like the wicked witch of the west. Anyhow, thanks! Happy Baking ~Erithid

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Hi.

I have made Croissants, (never mind about the spelling, if its right or wrong,) But I never put them in a warm place to rise.
I just let the "puff" in a cold place, and baked them from cold.
All these "layered doughs / pastry are best kept cold.

I have a good Danish pastry recipe recipe tried and true, if you would like me to post it...............qahtan

qahtan's picture
qahtan

This comes from the BBC, UK.

8 ounces all purpose flour
1 ounce cold Crisco
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ounce sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces very cold butter

Dough up the first 5 ingredients with 4 table spoons cold water,
knead until smooth, cover, rest 15 minutes,
work the cold butter till malleable :- place in plastic bag and hit several times with rolling pin, so that the butter is pliable, the butter should stay in one lump, don't let it spread all over the bag. keep it cold. Shape into 4 inch square.proceed as per puff pastry
Roll dough to roughly 12 inch square, place butter in centre, fold dough over butter and proceed like as for Puff pastry, roll out and fold and rest 4 times total.chill 30 mins.
Roll and shape, fill, rise about 20 mins. bake.......... qahtan

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I don't know if you saw my post on making croissants. That is the only time I've ever tried making them, so I can't give you too many pointers. Some of the butter seeped out of mine and the oven got a bit smokey, but it doesn't sound like it was as bad as what you dealt with

I'd agree with qahtan that the hot pot of water seems suspect... it sounds like something that might soften up the butter too much.

Were I to bake them again I think the only real change I would make would be to bake all of them on the top rack and double pan them. Enough butter leaked out and fried the bottoms that they came out a bit burnt on the bottom.

Best of luck.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Hi Floydm
You say if you made them again you would use a double pan???????

Wouldn't that sort of stop the bottoms from baking properly, I have tried this double pan thing several times and don't really like the results.

PS, You reckon you had a mess, you should try making puff pastry, took me many many goes to get it right.
Finally the recipe from from Julia Child's worked like a charm.
Bernard Clayton's Strudel dough is also good. qahtan

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Good question. I don't know for sure. Of the 18 or so croissants I made, the only ones that came out well were the ones on one of those "air-ware" double layer pans. They were on the top shelf, too, and they still came out quite dark on the bottom.

So much of the butter melts out and fries the bottom that I think that even double panned they'd bake fine on the bottom, but I don't know for certain.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

I have never used those pans.
I like the of those croissants in your picture, even if you did loose some of the butter, bet the taste of them was good.
I'll take a dozen next time you bake. :-))) qahtan

carltonb's picture
carltonb

I make about 200 Croissants a day, in a professional environment, but my techniques should help.

Make sure that you work with cold dough when rolling out. Need to keep the butter as cold as possible. Whn rolling up the croissant do it loosly and put the "tail" on top. This allows for expansion of the dough and prevents the squeezing out of the butter.

After makeup, place on pan and proof. Method A is to "floor" proof for a few hours in a coolish place. Not near an oven. Butter will not ooze, because the melting point of the butter is 110°F plus, it will keep it shape as long as it is below this temp. Method B is to proof in a warm environment "proof box/cabinet", keep at 80 to 90°F. This will take 45 to 90 minutes.

In a home oven double pan if needed. Do a test batch of some scrap croissnat dough to see how the oven bakes.

Hope that this helps

Carlton Brooks CEPC, CCE

Jane from Wales's picture
Jane from Wales

I have enjoyed reading of others' experiences with croissants. I have been making bread for most of my life - my first loaf was made from a Philip Harben recipe (v. early UK TV chef (1950s) - one of the first and I haven't looked back. But now I have moved into a cottage I renovated where I installed a Rayburn (not sure if you have them in the States - like an Aga)I am enjoying baking even more!
I actually discovered this site looking for info on baking croissants although part of the trouble I have had with them comes from too much conflicting information. My first attempt was 15 years ago, using the recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cookery" vol.2 They were a disaster as I couldn't get them to rise at the proof stage. I realise now that I should have waited much longer. Since then I have had 2 further attempts and not been pleased. A month ago I used a different recipe and got much closer - but they were too "bready".

I have 2 questions at the moment:
1) Is the use of a preferment advisable?
2) In qahtan's "My Danish recipe" post, one of the ingredients is Crisco. What is this please? Sounds like a trade name, but one I don't know.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Crisco is vegetable shortening.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Jane from Wales. the recipe I posted came from an old BBC good Food magazine.............. it was very quick and easy.
also very nice............ qahtan

Floydm's picture
Floydm

This comment came to me via email:

The reason the butter seeped out is because you had the oven temp way too high. Don't even bother trying to proof them in the oven if you're doing them without a proofer just leave them on your kitchen counter with a plastic bag over them, this will keep them from forming a crust which will prevent them from groing (make sure the plastic is not touching the dough. 15 minutes max they'll be ready. You don't actually need to proof croissants very long. The longer you proof them the more air they take in and the weaker they'll taste. Try not proofing them and you'll be amazed at how much better they will taste. proofing is great if you're selling them - makes the buyer think he's getting more - all they're actaully getting is more air which robs them of intensity. Cheers from the croissant master.

Erithid's picture
Erithid

Huh, thank you all again! I am going to try again in a couple days with your sugestions. I will tell you how they come out! ~Erithid

luc's picture
luc

Ok that does it... I'm gonna try some croissants!

:)

arecev's picture
arecev

Looking for a quick no-fuss recipe for croissants, which may sound like an oxymoron, but if anyone has any ideas, would love to read them!  Thanks!

estrogenbrigade's picture
estrogenbrigade

I an a revived yeastee...baked bread for years with my mom, had a few bad batches of my own, and gave up for years.  A new cafe opening up in my office building with increased prices for bagels got me reinvigorated. I am now pretty darn good at 'em...so now I accept challenges from co-workers. This month's is croissants...I've been browsing recipes, and the impression I get is that quick recipes come out more like rolls than flaky pastry...not that that's a bad thing, but you're not gonna get the melt-in-your-mouth buttery sensation...I wish you luck...the authentic recipes do sound daunting...

jemar's picture
jemar

I have made croissants several times now. always from the same recipe which is from Richard Bertinet.  He uses fresh yeast in his recipes which I get from the bakery department of the supermarket and i follow his recipe to the letter and they work! I think it is important to keep the dough cool, he stresses that if the butter starts to ooze , to place the dough back in the fridge.  Obviously, if you try making them on a very warm day you will have problems and making them will take much longer.

klover's picture
klover

Thanks very much for the Danish Pastry Recipe to qahtan


Look forward to trying it but dont understand one of the ingredients what is Crisco?


perhaps you could let me know clover devon uk

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Crisco is an American(US) brand vegetable shortening.

klover's picture
klover

Thanks to you Dwight appreciate the explanation. This is a great site, there is much more interest and availability in USA for baking etc, really interesting. Thanks again Clover.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Just so you realize, shortening is shortening. Any vegetable shortening will do.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Crisco is a solidified vegetable shortening.  It's got the same (sort of) consistency as lard.  I lived in Australia for awhile and you can't get crisco there.. best to use butter or lard if you don't have a solidified shortening cream.

Mickey's picture
Mickey

Puff Pastry / Croissant dough. Total prep, work and bake time, about 5 - 6 hours. Total Croissants at 5" x 12" is 24.



-1480g Bread Flour
-1140g Unsalted Butter
-960g Milk
-85g Granulated Sugar
-85g Fresh Yeast
-45g Salt
-30g Malt Extract


   Egg wash, 3 Whole eggs, 2 Egg yolks, 2g Salt, 20g Water.
I have been making croissants for about 6 months now, took me a bit but Ive got it down. These make fairly large croissant, you can make them smaller or larger depending on what you would like. Just remember they will double in size after proofing and baking so space wisely on your pans.
   First I take 570g (x2) butter and frissage with 60g (x2) Bread Flour (Not included in the 1480g Bread Flour in recipe). Form into squares about 5" x 5" and get these into the fridge and chill untill very cold.
    Knead all the ingredients (minus egg wash ingredients of course) untill you have a smooth dough, divide in half, form into neat balls and either let rest on counter at room temp (72*f) for 1 hour or over night 16-24 hours.
Place the butter on the dough so that the corners of the butter are at the middle of the sides of the dough. Stretch the dough over the butter making sure there are no leaks or holes. Chill for 1 hour.
    If you have a sheeter, GREAT! if not, get ready for some heavy arm workout. Roll the dough/butter out and do a tri fold. Roll out again and do 1 more tri fold. Depending on your dough/butter tempurature you may be able to continue right into the third fold, if it is above 46*f chill for 30-45 minutes or untill under 46*f. Do the last tri fold (Should be 3 total folds equaling 81 layers).
     Roll the dough out to 3mm thick and cut your croissants, I use a 5" wide by 12" long cut. Make a half inch cut in the middle of the 5" base, and roll outwards making sure there is a taper to the ends. Place the tip underneath the croissant and place on a sheet tray. (If you do not know how to form a croissant I recommend watching some videos on it).
    If you have a proofer then the next step will be pretty easy, set the humidity fairly high (between 60-70%) and the tempurature to 75*F. Proofing will take around an hour, and when the tray is shaken the croissant should jiggle like jello. Proofing will take longer without a proofer, if at room temp should only take 15 or so minutes longer. Make sure if proofing on counter that the Croissants are covered to avoid a crust.
    Spray the proofed croissants with the egg wash (or brush them if you are without a spray bottle). Bake at 350*f in a convection oven, or 400*f in a deck oven. Bake untill golden brown, they must be FULLY baked or you WILL have a deposit of raw dough at the bottom. If your dough was underproofed it will balloon out a little bit, no worries, just proof 5-10 minutes longer next time.
ENJOY! I hope this helps, if you have ANY question please feel free to ask!

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Fresh yeast is not easy to obtain here.. any suggestions for replacement?

ErikVegas's picture
ErikVegas

Mickey you asked if we had any questions so here it goes.  First of all what is "frissage". it appears as though we are making two butter squares right? Can you really let the dough sit on the counter for either 1 hour or 16-24 hours?  Wouldnt that cause the dough to overproof?   Do you roll the dough out before you put the butter on it?  Right now it appears as though you want us to put the butter on the ball of dough and then streach the dough to cover it.  You stated we should "roll the dough into a tri-fold"  What is a tri fold? 


This will be my first attempt at making croissants or any type of layered dough so needless to say I have a few questions.


 


Erik

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

That's when you are mixing the flour into the butter.  I had to google it just to be sure, since I call it something slightly different. 


You have alot of basic questions that will all become very clear if you could just watch as someone makes their croissants.  Check out this video on YouTube - it's about 10 mins long, but it's really very good and basic. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxCE963K-FY


The chef uses slightly different techniques, which are fine too - but at the end of the day, he gets a gorgeous, flakey croissant.  His method requires an overnight ferment in the refrigerator, so find a recipe you like and then use his methods for rolling and "frissage" ing the butter. 


PS You'll see the recipe written in French for the first few seconds, but it does go away.  There are other videos there too.. have fun!  Remember, it takes many attempts to get the perfect croissant.  If you want, try making some Pain au Chocolat with half your dough.. they are easier to shape and prepare.

ErikVegas's picture
ErikVegas

Thanks for the reply Belles.  I made my croissants this last weekend and they came out prety well.  I used GothicGirls recipe that she posted on here a few months ago under the topic "Butter Croissants" it had a number of good pictures that really helped.  Now compairing your recipe to hers I think your will work a little better for me.  Adding some flour to the butter while making the butter block should help stabalize the fat in the butter and make it easier to work with.  The fact that you divide your dough into two smaller balls will make it much easier to roll and get the appropriate thickness.  (Not to mention it was a pain in the butt to roll out and fold 5+lbs of dough every hour.)


I havent looked at the chef you suggested in your reply yet but I have no problem with an overnight ferment.  As a matter of fact When I made my croissants this weekend I only used half the dough on Sunday and rolled out a new batch last night.  Personally I think the flavor of the product that I produced this morning was far superior to the ones that I made on Sunday.  I know a 4 day resting period in the fridge is probably not recomended but in this case it really worked out well.


 


Erik

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I bet after four days your croissants were extremely flavorful.  Good job!  I'm very interested in learning more about viennoiserie baking.  I think the pastries that are produced are extremely beautiful, delicious and really - they are like works of culinary art.


I admire you tackling the croissants.  If it wasn't 112 degrees here in the summer, I might give them a go myself! :)

ErikVegas's picture
ErikVegas

Trust me I know about the temperature thing my self, I live in Las Vegas. To keep the butter from softning too quickly I put a cookie sheet covered with ice on the marble countertop I was working on in my kitchen.  It chilled the stone down enough so that I got a good 10 -15 minutes extra to work with the dough before I had to put it back in the fridge to chill.  I took a look at the video you linked to. It was really good.  I really like the way he processed the butter.....much better than making one huge block out of 1.25 lbs of butter that the recipe I used called for.  I was also suprised at the ammount of additional flour he used.  I have always been shy of using too much flour while handling my dough for fear of screwing up the hydration.  But then again the dough he made was rather wet to begin with.  I will try and post some pics of the Croissants that I made within the next few days.


Erik