The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Freezing Croissants after proofing???

tarjr_253's picture
tarjr_253

Freezing Croissants after proofing???

I'm working in a hotel where we serve croissants on our breakfast buffet. Currently, my challenge is staff shortage. I have only one guy, who comes early in the morning to bake the croissants. But it still gets late most days because of the long proofing time.

I read somewhere that it's possible to freeze croissants AFTER proofing them, that way, you can pull them out of the freezer and be ready to bake in 15 mins once they're at Room temp.

 

Would love to hear from anybody who has experience with this. are there any changes one needs to make to the recipe or the baking procedure when doing this?

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

Freezing could probably be harsh on the dough and bringing them up to room temp could also cause them to overproof if they are already proofed before freezing.

I think it would be enough to proof the croissants 3/4 and then put them to the fridge overnight. Then bake straight out of the fridge.

This will require some testing but I would start with proofing the croissants 3/4, then put some to the fridge (test 1) and some to the freezer (test 2). In the morning, bake test 1 straight out of fridge and test 2 after maybe 1 hour. Do small batches and see how it works, then adjust. It is definitely possible and convenient once you got it.

tarjr_253's picture
tarjr_253

I'm currently continuing with my regular overnight retard, morning proof and bake. But I've taken out 4 croissants, 2 for the fridge and two for the freezer. They were already fully proofed today, so I'm a bit skeptical. Will try the 3/4th proofing tomorrow as you suggested.

rccooks's picture
rccooks

I bake bread and pastries in my home kitchen for sale (this is my tenth year).  I make and freeze croissant dough for future use as Pains au Chocolat (PAC), choosing not to make regular croissants because these sell better and command a higher price.

On the day before baking I take what dough I need out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost.  I have always rolled out and assembled first thing before starting to bake off my other breads and pastries.  I cover the assembled PAC’s on the sheet pan they will bake in with plastic wrap and wire around the edges to hold the plastic down so no air leaks in, then place on the pot rack over my oven for 3-5 hours while they proof.   Temps in my kitchen range from the low 80’s in the Winter to a whole lot hotter in the Summer, hence the 3-5 hours time range.

I have a soft pretzel warmer from which I removed the rotating rack which I can use as a proofer, although the lowest setting is still somewhat high to proof my PAC’s, so I have to use it sparingly.   That said, if I need to speed up the room temp proof I’ll use the warmer (which does produce steam) to finish the proofing if I’m done baking everything else and want to get them in the oven.

I bake off my PAC’s at around 425˚ for 16 minutes (or maybe 90 seconds more, depending on how they look), rotating the pan(s) halfway through.  I have a cast iron pan with water already hot on the lower shelf when I start and keep it there the whole time as well as capping the oven vent (1970’s Whirlpool residential electric oven with clay quarry tiles on two shelves).

Today I tried something new.  It was sparked completely by this thread, which got me to thinking about how I could pre-assemble and freeze the PAC’s, then defrost overnight and proof and bake as usual.  I held one PAC back from last week’s bake, wrapped and frozen.  It came out of the freezer into the fridge yesterday and I put it in the same pan with today’s regular batch.  It came out perfectly fine.  To my taste it was actually better, having a somewhat tougher mouth feel, which I like, along with the usual flaky, tender exterior.  I’ll try this again with a full batch to do a total proof of concept.

The could very well solve my problem of having not enough time and space to produce more than 27 (3 pans/9 each) of PAC’s on any one baking day and thus not having as many PAC’s as I’d like to have to bring to market on any given day.

One other thing - all my breads have always frozen really well.  After defrosting them it’s almost impossible to detect that they have been frozen.  Any that I intend to freeze I double-bag (plastic) and keep in my freezer, which gets easily down to zero and sometimes even registers minus-10.  It occurred to me that my PAC’s are technically a bread (the name’s a hint, duh) so they should freeze and defrost just as well as my other breads.  Turns out I was right.  I freeze pre-baked PAC’s all the time and defrosted they are just as good as the day they were baked.

The above two scenarios give me a some options I never had before and are just one more thing that makes my life a bit easier.