The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Croissant Success (FINALLY!)

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Croissant Success (FINALLY!)

I've been going after croissants for the last couple months.. wow there are SO many variables to potentially screw up!

I'm using essentially txfarmer's croissant with poolish recipe.

These are all tips that she (and many others) have shared, but here are the most important things that got me to success this time.

1. Don't overmix the dough up front. Similarly, don't allow it to bulk at room temp. (I've even seen some recipes go as far as putting the dough right into the freezer for an hour or so before putting it in the fridge)

2. Trim that dough when you're laminating! Really really try not to trap dough. I know it's hard cause it's potentially wasteful, but it really will help you achieve a more perfect end result.

This time instead of a pure 'fold', I actually cut the dough into 3 pieces and stacked them for the last turn. I've seen various other people do different versions of this from a cut on the outside of the fold to a cut all the way through. (Basically just trapping less dough)

3. Proof them long enough!! I can't tell you how many batches of croissants I screwed up by not proofing long enough. Even at the correct temperature (around 78 F), it can take hours - these took 3.

Other random tips:

  • Try not to use a ton of flour when rolling out, and at the very least, brush all excess flour off when folding.
  • Similarly, it's super important not to have excess flour on the triangles when you do the final shape. If you do, you can end up with wonky big holes inside the crumb.
  • If your dough is fighting back while rolling, STOP and rest it (in the fridge)
  • I scalded the milk this time. Does this actually matter? Who knows
  • To keep the croissants from drying out while in the cabinet for the long final proof, I misted them with water a couple of times

Lastly, the most frustrating thing (for me) to troubleshoot is the oven times/temps. I've tried so many with my dumb gas oven. I now bake one tray at a time, and halfway through the bake, I nest another (cool) baking tray directly underneath the croissant tray in an attempt to mitigate the scorched bottoms. This.. sorta works. Will still try to play around more with different times and temps.

 

 

 

Benito's picture
Benito

OMG perfection, congratulations!!

Benny

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Thank you Benny!

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Wow! They look fabulous. Your labour of love has certainly paid off. The attention to detail and your experience shows through.

Well done.

Cheers,

Gavin.

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Thanks Gavin! 

yeah once I was done writing, I realized “wow, I have far too much to say about this/I’ve really learned a lot!”

alfanso's picture
alfanso

The lead photo is about as perfect as any that I've seen for a croissant.  It's been about year since my last foray into laminated doughs, and this might just be what I need for some inspiration.  Beautiful.

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Wow, very generous praise from you, Alfanso! 

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

Beautiful! Can’t argue with your recommendations, especially 1 and 3.

Been toying lately with including sourdough levain, poolish and buttermilk. Pretty hard to beat fresh croissants, though forming and proofing in time for breakfast is a high bar if you need more than 4-5 hours of sleep.

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Yeah, I’m pretty much on a 3 day schedule with them. 

  • Day 1 pm: Build poolish
  • Day 2 am: Mix dough.
  • Day 2 afternoon: Laminate
  • Day 3 am: shape, proof, bake

I guess if I had an enormous extra fridge, I could shape them and retard them for a morning bake, but gotta work within the limitations I have!

I’ve used a levain in them before (in place of poolish) but still used yeast. I’m certainly not ready to try to do 100% naturally-leavened Viennoiserie..

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Wow - this is one of the most satisfying things to pull of honeycomb crumb croissants.  Key thing here is bulbous shape - you don't honeycomb without very bulbous cross section.  These pics are proof of that ! 

Valhalla's picture
Valhalla

Beautiful result for sure!

Makes me want to go back and improve mine. The problems I was having as during lamination either keeping the dough too cold (hand lamination, no sheeter), or not plasticizing the butter, or using local butters that had high butterfat but were not emulsified as well as a commercial product like Plugura or Wuthrich.