The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Croissant Proof and Baking Issue?

jaws's picture
jaws

Croissant Proof and Baking Issue?

Hi. This is the second time I've made laminated dough from scratch, and thought I ended up with beautiful dough and rolled croissants. I used the Weekend Bakery 3-day recipe. I let proof for about 2.5 hours at about 73-75 degrees F, and the croissants don't really look like they have risen any at all. I certainly can't see any layers showing. Not wanting to over-proof (and let the butter melt - which I've done before), I went ahead and baked them.

The recipe didn't give a time for baking in a conventional oven, so I settled on trying a mini batch at 425F for about 18min. I ended up taking the croissants out after 13 minutes, because they looked as though they were burning and the outer crust looked like it was getting dry. I saw no butter leak out during the cooking. The exterior crust was perfectly crispy and flaky, as it should be. When I cut one, the interior dough had not risen into layers. You could see the layers, but they were still clumped together in a buttery mass of dough. So I put the others back in for an extra 5 minutes at 400F (the exterior was getting really dry and burned), and cut another. This time, the center showed more layering and separation than before, and you could tell the layers were all there, but many of them just didn't separate as much as they should have. I also noticed they are much heavier/denser than some bakery-made croissants. I'm trying to understand what went wrong. My first thought is it didn't proof enough, and therefore there wasn't enough separation prior to baking. I wondered whether the baking time/temp is off. I wondered whether the yeast is bad (brand new Fleichman's Instant, months from expiration date), or the flour is the wrong type (all-purpose), or too much pressure was applied while rolling out with the effect of compressing the layers too much (didn't think so, but possible) - and due to one or many of these things, the whole batch could be ruined. This lack of an appreciable rise (and resulting long proof times) has happened before with other doughs I've made, and I don't really understand why sometimes things seem to proof and other times they don't. 

Since I have the rest of the batch yet to be proofed/baked, I thought I'd ask and see if there are any suggestions that may help salvage this. Ultimately, I plan on freezing some of the rolled/unbaked croissants for a week or so, and proof and bake the rest then - but with the lack of rise when fresh, I'm a bit nervous to do this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

Let them rise covered in plastic until they are noticeably bigger and puffy, and jiggle almost like jello when you shake the pan.  This usually takes me 4-6 hours. Just let them proof until they are ready. That is my experience, and I make 600 croissants per week.

jaws's picture
jaws

It is interesting that it normally takes 4-6 hours for the croissants to proof for you, as almost all recipes I have seen say to proof for 1-2 hours. In my experience, they often look like nothing has happened after two hours. 

What kind of yeast are you using? I’ve been wondering if I’m using bad or the wrong type of yeast - Fleischmann RapidRise Instant - as that is what is available. In researching this, I’ve read RapidRise instant yeast should not be used in refrigerated or frozen dough and also works for one rise only. Is this true, and could this be the problem? Almost every recipe I make refrigerates dough, and the only yeast available in my stores are either this (RapidRise Instant) or active dry - and most recipes have called for instant.

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

I use Fleischmann’s instant dry yeast.  It shouldn’t much matter which kind you use. Try proofing the croissants longer, and if that doesn’t help, then you can look elsewhere for the problem. I tell you that my number 1 problem in baking is to watch the clock and not the dough. Watch the dough no matter how long it takes.

leemid51's picture
leemid51

which is to say, wear shades and a baret. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

My recipe calls for 385 in convection, so I bake at 400F. Your oven may vary, so bring the temperature down 25 degrees at a time from your starting temperature until you see better results. But the other comments are spot on. Let them proof until well risen and jiggly. The jiggly is an excellent way to prove they are proofed.

ds99303's picture
ds99303

I use active dry yeast and I proof mine at room temerature for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.  With rapid rise you have all this yeast activity going on all at once and then suddenly nothing.  The reason it takes so long for them to proof is because the cold butter inside the croissants takes forever  to warm up.  If the butter is cold, the whole croissant is going to be cold and it's going to take a while for it to proof.  Even after one hour, the croissants still feel cold.  I don't see any change in size until they've been proofing for at least 2 1/2 hours.  As far as baking goes,  I bake mine at 425°F in a conventional oven for about 12 minutes.