The Fresh Loaf

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Viennoiserie and pâte fermentée

foodforthought's picture

Viennoiserie and pâte fermentée

Been on something of a viennoiserie jag lately brought on, of course, by the holidays, visitors and deliciousness. With 7 dozen croissant, 4 dozen kouign-amann and one chausson aux pommes under my belt (gonna need a new one if this keeps up), a few brainworms have been nibbling on my thoughts.

First, I have to thank Benny (@Benito), TFL’s magellanic bread explorer, for his testimonials to the Ankarsrum roller and bread doughs. I’d been kind of stuck on the Ank hook since mine landed last June-ish and have revisited the roller for breads. It turns out that incorporating levain, poolish, etc. into the liquid components of the dough require less management (or dough herding as I think of it) with the roller. I also like the ability to adjust the roller depth during kneading of lower hydration doughs of yeasted viennoiserie. 

Secondly, It occurs to me that the pâte fermentée I have been using in my croissant dough bears a moderate resemblance to Benny’s sweet, stiff levains. At 60% hydration, it’s quite a bit wetter than several of Benny’s levains that I’ve reviewed, less sweet (at a mere 5%), contains a bit of butter (7.5%) and I’ve been using ADY for leavening it. I generally add my standard sourdough levain to the dough at mixing, more as a pre-ferment than as the sole leavening agent, so more ADY is added there. I’m not sure there are any direct parallels to Benny’s doughs here as the dough barely gets any bench time until final proofing. The pâte gets at least 12 hours of bench fermentation and the final dough gets at least 12 hours in the refrigerator after a short bench rest. But the dough definitely turns out sweetish with little or no sour notes, I think it’s safe to say that the sweet, stiff path works well in this context.

Pâte fermetée formula

T45 or pastry flour     100%

Salt                                2%

Sugar                             5%

ADY                               2%

Water                           60%

Butter                          7.5%

 I shoot for the flour in the pâte to represent ~17% of the total dough flour, or more simply, to equal 20% of all the other flour in the dough. So for 2 dozen croissants, 200g of pâte fermentée containing 114 g of flour was added to 685 g flour for a final dough of ~1400 g requiring 470 g of butter for lamination.

 Pâte feuilletée is a related but unyeasted laminated dough. Just for laughs, I used some I had stashed in the freezer to fancy up a chausson aux pommes (apple turnover) for Christmas dinner.

Been having a great time at it. Thanks to Benny and the many TFL folks who inspire me and make me think about what makes our bakes better.


semolina_man's picture

Looks great!  Keep up the good work. 

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

These are lovely pastries! You will undoubtedly inspire many readers here with your beautiful work. Thank you for sharing it.

Benito's picture

Wow these are all so amazing.  I haven't tried anything like these yet, someday I might, thank you for the inspiration!  I'm glad my musings about the Ankarsrum Assistent helped you out.  It really is a great kitchen helper, I'm so happy that I have one and I haven't missed my KA at all since I have altered my expectations of how the dough will look and instead use my hands more.