The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Croissant failure

SimoninShanghai's picture
SimoninShanghai

Croissant failure

 

I posted several weeks ago about my unsuccessful attempt to make a croissant, and received much good advice, all of which I have incorporated into my common practises now.

However, even though my efficiency in lamination has improved greatly, the final proving and cooking are still proving very problematic. When I prove the rolled croissants for more than 1 hour they start to rip apart, and eventually in baking, collapse completely. As the picture above shows.

On the curious side, when I roll the same dough into a pain au chocolat this isn't an issue, and I end up with a perfectly well risen, layered, flakey pastry.

This at least tells me the pastry isnt completely wrong.

Can anyone help point me towards the possible issues, as this is starting to drive me crazy?

Shai's picture
Shai

I'm not very experienced with laminated dough, but i don't think a croissant dough should ever break like this, I's should be very elastic and extensible, and be capable of being stretched very thin. Is it possible that your dough is too short? It can be a result of too much fat or not enough kneading. Also possible is that your dough was teared by the butter during lamination, this can happen if the butter is too firm (read cold).

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

..should not rip like this.  It could have many causes: too much yeast (sometimes happens to home bakers because of typos in recipes), the lamination butter melting into the dough (how warm is it in Shanghai right now?), and so on. If it was your percentage of butter fat, you would merely get flat dense CRX so that's unlikely to be the issue here. However, I encourage you to track down and use 82% unsalted butter. As I learnt from bitter experience when I was starting out, you won't get very good CRX without it. 

It would help a lot if you could post the recipe and instructions.

I can understand your frustration when one batch turns out well and another doesn't. As a control, I'd suggest attempting a completely different recipe and seeing what happens then. That way you might spot what is going wrong. Bruno Albouze's recipe is excellent and authentic (use his accompanying video as a tutorial). He boasts that he's 'the real deal', and, in this case, he is. If you follow his instructions carefully and precisely, I don't think you could find a better guide (or recipe) online.

Btw, your photo is upside-down :)

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

82% butter?  I'm assuming you mean that's the percentage of butter fat and none of the butter I can find locally (even the so-called 'European-style') comes anywhere close to that.  

Could you use clarified butter?  Clarifying removes a lot of the non fat components of butter, effectively raising the fat percentage.  But whenever I use clarified butter it spreads like a conglomeration of micro crystals of fat, so I'm not sure if it could be manipulated into the block form to be inserted into the dough.

     --Mike

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Plugra butter is 82% fat. In the US you can get it at Whole Foods Market.

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

That might be one reason it's not used. Flavour would be another. Ease of handling too. And so on. The main trick to laminating is using the butter at a temperature where it won't melt into a the dough (eliminating the laminate you're trying to create) but where it's not so cold that it breaks apart as you're rolling it. With practice, it's not too tricky to achieve the correct temp, so why mess with a recipe that has worked for several centuries? If you laminate with ghee you get paratha. Very nice, but not croissant. :)

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

I'll head to Whole Foods and see if I can find it  :-)

amber108's picture
amber108

Ummm, we make croissants with a cultured unsalted butter with 80% fat, works fine. I think there could be something to do with flour/dough strength perhaps and or damaging the dough layers when handling? Also, unless you have a proven recipe, scuse the pun, try another one see if theres a difference? From the pics the texture does look quite short and crumbly almost?

amber108's picture
amber108

actually they look almost more like a crunchy type pastry :)

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...I would expect them to have too much water and be quite damp. Have you tried 82% butter? You might find they're even nicer. It's true that many CRX are made with lower percentage butter fat but they are usually to be avoided. Two per cent difference does not sound like much but 82% is the boundary between soggy and crisp laminated pastries. Higher (if you can get it) is even better. If you've achieved crisp, well-laminated patisserie-quality CRX with a good open crumb at 80% let us know your secret.

amber108's picture
amber108

thats 80% fat not hydration. its true that the crust we get is not quite as crispy as it could be but the layering is great and soft and 100% sourdough :) no yeast, people love them... dont think Ive seen an 82% here though I cant say Ive really searched for it