The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Chocolate Eclair help

SimoninShanghai's picture

Chocolate Eclair help

Hi everyone,

I had a lot of help with my croissant-rolling issues in this forum the other week, and genuinely have progressed a lot based on the advice received, so I am very grateful.

Now I have come across a new problem while making eclairs, and it's seems only sensible to try the same tactic, and ask you, great bakers, for help.

The problem is that for some reason I can't achieve the completely dry, completely hollow choux casing that really makes an eclair. Currently the finger are all either drooping, or have dough networks forming inside the case, meaning the choux is not hollow, and starts to go moist very quickly.

First, let me say that I do not open the over door while baking, as this would be the most obvious cause for a droopy pastry. And for me, adds to the mistry of why mine just don't seem to make the grade.

Let me lay out my process, so that you can hopefully pick up where there is an issue, or where More care needs to be given: 

I am currently using the following quantities of ingredients: 125g plain flour, 250ml water, 3g salt, 13g sugar, 4 eggs + extra for wash.

I first boil the water, butter, salt and sugar until incorporated. Then take mixture off hob and stir in the flour, slowly and first then more vigorously. I return mixture to heat and cook for roughly 30 seconds constantly stirring (I have read that this dries out the mixture but I have no proof of this in my own efforts). I stop when the mixture no longer sticks to the edges of the pan.

I transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and mix in the eggs with a spatula. I try to reach a consistency where the mixture runs off the end of the spatula, but then hangs down without fully dropping.

I place this into a piping bag. Leave for a minute or two to cool ever so slightly. Then pipe in eclair rows. I apply egg wash. Bake at roughly 200 c for 15 minutes, then lower temp to 160 c for another 15 - 20 minutes, in an attempt to dry out the pastry. The door is NEVER opened during the bake.

This process seems to be fairly standard, however every time in get this moist middle and droopy top. Taste is fine, and can work as an eclair, but in the pursuit of true baking ability, I would like to be able to do this lovely pastry justice.

I look forward to any help or suggestions people can provide.

Best regards,


Digitalsmgital's picture

and am not sure if I could recreate my last batch without the pastry gods in my corner...meaning I too get a high rise too soon, with a fall soon after. 

Calibrate your oven. 425 F for ten minutes, then down to 375 (is that 200 C and 160?)

Leave the oven door propped open after that to further dry out the walls of your shells.

Add egg whites to your 4 eggs to further dry out the batter during the bake, try 4 eggs plus one egg whiteLast batch


Mr. Waffles's picture
Mr. Waffles

Having made éclairs many times, and having run into the same issue when I first started making them, I can virtually guarantee the issue is that you are not dehydrating the batter enough. 

In that step where you say you return everything to the heat and stir for 30 seconds, until the batter pulls away . . . that is not even close to dehydrating the batter enough. I cannot find my old notes on it, but I believe it took me about 7 minutes of working the batter further, though it may have been more. You really want to dry it out quite a bit, until it tears and looks jagged when you drag your spoon across it. Your arms will get tired of working the dough; it's uncomfortable to do. The edges of those tears will look white-ish, like they're drying on-the-spot. It is a weird consistency, and it will feel bizarre to work it to that level.

Let me know how it goes.