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Croissant detrempe troubleshooting

George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Croissant detrempe troubleshooting

I’ve been a recent follower of the Fresh Loaf and I am in awe of all the experience, help and knowledge within this forum of fellow dough lovers. I am hoping you may be able to offer me some assistance in some issues I having with the detrempe of my croissant.

I am based in Barbados, a hot and humid tropical island which, despite the amazing rum and beaches, makes it difficult to really prepare many yeasted doughs. This is my fourth attempt at making croissants, first three were at room temperature (around 29C/84F) and would obviously have issues with butter leaking. Now, I was able to prepare my final attempt in an air conditioned environment in which the room temperature is 25C/77F. Fortunately, the AC is located directly above the working counter so the immediate temperature there is 20C/68F and had no issues with butter leaking.

Unfortunately, I have another issue that persists and that is the softness of the dough. Here is my recipe, adapted from Advanced Bread and Pastry:

  • Bread Flour (100%, 350g)—protein content was 11.2% from a regional brand of Baker’s Flour.
  • Milk (34%, 119g)
  • Sugar (18.5%, 64.75g)
  • Salt (2.9%, 10.15g)
  • Yeast (1.4%, 4.9g)
  • Malt (0.4%, 1.4g)—I didn’t use malt, instead used molasses since I love the flavour, although such a small quantity won’t make an impact.
  • Butter (5.7%, 19.95g)
  • Poolish (87.5%, 306.25g)—this would have fermented at RT for 13 hours and was perfectly active.

I decided not to go with the “hand mix” version since that would have been too much of a wet dough. The DDT on this 22-25C, and I achieved 22C. The dough was prepared to an “improved mix,” which showed an uneven window test, where the dough would only break in the corner—I figured this was perfect since I don’t want too much gluten development considering all the folding and laminating, just as txfarmer described in her wonderful blog post.

After that, I allowed to rest for 1 hour in the fridge. When I began to roll it out to encase the butter, I noticed that the dough was gassy and soft—I was really confused! I had a nice, somewhat elastic and firm dough that became so soft. When I would roll it, it didn’t really resist—it was quite soft. However, when I would life the dough, it would contract quite a bit which made it difficult to work with.

I managed to encase the butter and then folded and allowed to rest, but yet again, a very soft dough. Not the most pliable but same issue—would roll and when lifted, it would contract quite a bit. Noticed a few gas bubbles throughout.

I began to wonder if maybe the volume of yeast used in this climate was perhaps too much? Creating a very soft, gassy dough—tbh, I always assumed croissant dough should be pliable, somewhat form and hold shape Ike what I’ve seen online.

So here are my theories as to what would have gone wrong:

  • too much yeast for this hot and humid climate
  • maybe should have used a much lower DDT to prevent fermentation
  • improper gluten development (although, I am pretty sure I nailed the kneading of the dough—used a KitchenAid commercial mixer).

Really hoping you all may offer any advice. If I was to cut back on the yeast, how would that impact flavour? I figured the poolish may supplement that.


jl's picture

Have you seen this this post?

George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Hey! Thanks, I did see this. Not sure if it was quite giving me what I needed but did appreciate her valuable insight. 

kendalm's picture

Your dough recipe is one of those complex many ingredient recipes.  I'd like to suggest this formula

500g strong bread flour

100g butter

50g sugar

10g salt

21g instant yeast

250g water


Mix in a stand mixer on slow for 4 minutes then another 4 minutes on fastest (maybe 5-6 until it is very smooth)

When laminating roll it out to a rectangular slab about 1.2 cm thick and put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to harden it up.  Meanwhile place the butter slab on the counter to slightly warm it up for 5 minutes. By this point the butter and dough should be nearly indistinguishable in malleability and lamination should be easy.  Making croissants in a 84F kitchen is challenging but you have AC so with these changes I hope you'll have some success.  Also - not sure what the flour is like where you are but it should be pre-malted.  Look up the specs on King Arthur bread flour for a benchmark and good luck ! 


George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Wow! Thanks for that tip regarding the malt. Will look into that. I did order some KAF and hope it arrives to Barbados soon—a long way!

This recipe you posted is reminiscent of one of the earliest croissant doughs that I tried. I didn’t have much success there. 

I’m still confused as to why my dough is so soft. Convinced it’s the yeast but I’d have to try that out again.

kendalm's picture

If you are adding diastase it might be the cause.  Wait, no you are adding molasses.  Who knows, back to basics.  I can tell you this, I've used some flours that are just too weak for this type of effort.  If the KAF bread flour and method above still presents issues, then it's something else over there by the bermuda triangle imposing supernatural voodoo ! 

George bakes in Barbados's picture
George bakes in...

Haha! Voodoo! We’ll, fortunately we’re rather far from there so I’m hoping that isn’t the case!

Nope, if I did add DM then maybe but no clue. Never had soft dough like that that was also elastic. Was odd and gassy. The recipe even specifically uses instant yeast. I’m wondering if to just cut back. I’ll probably give it a go with less yeast in, and for the second batch, I’ll make sure to chill EVERYTHING prior to mixing (except for the butter, then that would be so difficult to incorporate).