The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Wheat Croissants

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proth5's picture
proth5

Whole Wheat Croissants

I find that spring cold fronts are very inspirational for my baking projects. One just blew in to the Front Range causing a rare full rainy day and another day of almost cold weather. So, since I was stuck at home waiting for various repair people, I thought of my long ago vow to try to make whole wheat croissants.

I decided to use the formula from “Advanced Bread and Pastry” (AB&P) for hand mixed croissants with poolish with the following modifications:

  1. All of the final dough flour would be freshly ground white wheat flour,

  2. I would make a liquid levain instead of a poolish,

  3. I would add one egg yolk – and in a fit of laziness, I just put the yolk into the water container after zeroing the scale and added water to the original formula weight

  4. I did the mix in the spiral, 0:03 on first and 0:09 on second, and

  5. I would use 12 ounces of roll in butter.

Easy. So, not technically 100% whole wheat, but my thought process was that I didn’t want to risk any over ripening and subsequent gluten degradation in the pre ferment.

The inspiration for the egg yolk came from the AB&P formula for whole wheat croissants which contains a very much lower percentage of whole wheat than my version.

Inserted into this adventure was an altercation with my camera – its battery fully charged – when my computer failed to “load the driver.” Cosmic payback for me not taking it on vacation? Ever. Probably. But I muscled my way past the problem. And here are the pictures.

Here’s the cream of the crop:

Here are some nice shoulders and the little faux Danish thing I make with the scraps. For those of you who don’t make croissants, there can be a lot of scrap. I take this and patch it into strips, egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and twist and curl the things up into something like snail Danish. If I could sell stuff, I couldn’t sell these, but they make nice samples.

The whole wheat version did not generate as much oven spring as the white flour versions, but that’s pretty fair lamination if I do say so myself. They were fully proofed (5 hours at room temperature.)

The whole wheat does affect the taste but they are very delicate and did have the “when I bite into it little shards of crust fly everywhere” quality of their white flour cousins.

The dough handled well, and if anything was a little easier on the final roll out than the white flour version, but it did have a good amount of resistance. If I do this again, I would mix the dough just a tad longer and see if that made a difference.

On the formula formatting side of my life – this stuff is harder than it looks. Not so much on the mathematics side, but what do you do when you get a formula when the baker has omitted, well, just about all the information you need?  You do your best and then you ask, that’s what. But as a training exercise one needs to document every little assumption. This takes me back to my “fixed bid project statement of work” days. Bad, BAD flashback!

Well, this little marmot has popped up for too long…

Happy Baking!

Comments

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I'm inspired. I pushed to 25% spelt and loved it. Now I wanna push further. 

very nice baking

josh

proth5's picture
proth5

for the kind words. These were about 66% whole wheat. Spelt - now there's a challenge...

Pat

golgi70's picture
golgi70

The 25% all of which was prefermented in a poolish went very smooth.  It actually made the dough less elastic and lamination easier.  Any more though and it may have gotten tricky.  But the flavor was amazing.  

Your croissants look as good as any and with a healthy dose of Whole Wheat.  I'll have to give this a try.

Josh

proth5's picture
proth5

I find even with white flour, the pre ferment adds nice extensibility, but an interesting choice to use the spelt.

I found that the turns felt pretty much like white flour, but the final roll out was just a little too easy and I would have liked a little more push back from the dough. I actually got 2 more croissants from this than I usually get because the dough rolled out so easily.

But I still want a sheeter (sigh!) I need to do something about that.

Pat

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Spelt for flavor. Every time I mix spelt in water it has a hauntingly sweet aroma so I thought it might fit the bill. It too was a bit too easy too roll but the results were solid. 

thry do sell table top sheeters as im sure you are aware.  Sure doesn't look like you need it though. 

Josj

proth5's picture
proth5

makes a hand cranked sheeter that I've been thinking about for a couple of years. I need to actually spring to action and get one. You know how it is - hard to justify, needs to be shipped from France, etc, etc.

Over my many years of cookie and pie baking I've gotten pretty good with a rolling pin. And yet - every time I use it, something in me knows the whole job would go faster and better with a sheeter. And I weep just a little :>)

Pat

golgi70's picture
golgi70

rolling of dough's it might be a nice investment.  I had an owner/boss with no baking skills swear our croissants were so good because they were hand laminated.  Every time he said that I chuckled on the inside.  Of course you can be good or even great (I've seen some stellar lamination done by hand).  But a sheeter does the job the best.  You can also ruin them with a sheeter so the knowledge and understanding has to be there.  I'm not sue what those cost but I know the large electric ones are pretty pricey and take up some valuable space.  

Josh

proth5's picture
proth5

a raggedy old home baker with some professional training and experience living in a state with no cottage laws, so I cannot bake in my home and sell things.

Since I retired from my day job, I've gotten a lot of encouragement to go pro, but it involves that leap to rent, possibly a commute, working harder than I did at my day job (although producing a nicer product!) and all the risk that starting a small business implies. I've worked really hard for a really long time and I'm starting to enjoy playing a bit, so obviously a lot of thought needs to go into any changes.

So, the sheeter would have to be justified as one of my "toys" - although one I could take with me into a real bakery if I did head in that direction.

I have an old family recipe for cut out cookies that takes me a full 8 hours just to roll and cut a mere half batch. (They have to be very, very thin.) That's when I really start wanting that sheeter.

The hand cranked model is not inexpensive, but does fold up into a pretty small package.

As with any tool, be it rolling pin, sheeter, mixer, or whatever - the craft is not in the tool - it is with the baker.

Pat

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Pat,

Very nice indeed.  I am not one to dabble with lamination so I always admire those that do and can appreciate the work and not fall into fits of envy comparing mine to yours, theirs or whom ever posts a beautifully croissant.

I am glad your camera took mercy on you and I am impressed by your photo knowing that is not your favorite thing to do.  Maybe a new trend is underfoot *^)

Take Care,

Janet

proth5's picture
proth5

I seem to be exploring the possibilities in the world of whole wheat vienoisserie. I was just thinking that if a cold spell hits again, I should laminate up some whole wheat puff pastry. Then pate a choux - now that seems like it would be seriously bizarre.

No change on my photography skills. Those guys were just cute as little bugs. They did all the work.

Pat

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

...from Txfarmer's that happen to be top of "Also on TFL" to the right of where I'm typing now.  What higher praise than that?  And hers certainly weren't made from freshly milled flour!  Great use for white wheat.

Look too good to eat.  Don't.  I'll take care of that for you.

Tom

proth5's picture
proth5

for the kind words.

Unfortunately croissants perish quickly - I distributed most of them to my bread fans. Sorry...

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Wonder Woman!  And of course you milled your own flour to make those beauts.  I would even try the whole wheat croissant, in spite of my distaste for WW.  Too bad a rye croissant isn't doable.  But then, maybe you could.

Sounds like you're having fun with the BBGA work.  Challenges are always good.

My own bread baking challenges will have to wait until autumn.  Summers are too short up here to be indoors, so I've taken up kayaking.  Great fun and good exercise.  Not that I'm buying bread - just doing sustenance baking using Ken Forkish's field blend formula #2 (AP, WW and coarsely ground dark rye), but doing the bulk overnight in the refrigerator.  

BTW, your photography skills have vastly improved!  Focused and good composition. 

proth5's picture
proth5

the sick, sick thought of trying to do croissants with triticale.  I don't think rye would work, but triticale does have some wheat characteristics. Although a small amount of rye? Hmmmmmmm.

Kayaking sounds like fun. I'm outdoors nearly all day just mucking about on the pond and pulling weeds in the front. I don't really have any hobbies that aren't "productive."

Our spring has been somewhat cool and wet, so I'm still doing the daily bread. Nothing particularly special.

Well, it was a two breakthrough day if the photog is any good. Taking some good pictures and doing a true continuous three ball juggle. Both probably flukes. We'll see.

Have fun!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Had to admire those beauties. If i'd ever indulge in croissant, those would be the ones. 

You did an outstanding job, Pat.

Khalid

proth5's picture
proth5

for the kind words, Khalid.

The thing about working with so much whole wheat is that you can claim, since they are mostly whole grain, that they are healthy food.

If you don't count all the butter. :>)

Pat

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

As a sucker for both whole wheat and butter, I'd be all over these.  Sadly, a steady diet of those and it would be all over for me, even if they are more healthful than their white flour brothers.

Nicely done, Pat.

Paul

proth5's picture
proth5

I think it was your report on some kind of whole wheat breakfast pastries in Scotland (?) that inspired me.

See my word is my bond. It takes time to get your money, but that's how bonds are!

So, now, I'm really starting to think "triticale" - in theory anything less than 40% should be fine. In theory.

Thanks for the kind words.

Pat

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful and inspiring Pat.  I just read the headline for an article claiming that we have been duped all these years and butter is not evil!  All the more reason to keep baking and eating croissants!

Ian

proth5's picture
proth5

Believe it or not, I can eat just one (or none, if I'm not taste testing) and then give the rest away.

Now German pretzels - those are what I crave every day...

Thanks, again.

Pat

isand66's picture
isand66

I'll be making some Pretzel Rolls for the 4th of July....will save you some :).