Choux pastry

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by markos sdranis, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    Hello, I'm not pastry chef but I am a professional cook so I hope you don't mind me posting here. The way our pastry chef made choux pastries is 50-50 water-milk , butter, little sugar, little salt, flour and a lot of eggs. The way our chef made choux pastries for gnocchi is with more water instead of milk, less eggs and more flour.

    I use the first recipe to scale when I make paris brest, then I make "clouds" for a lack of a better word (I don't know how else to describe it in english), and I bake at 200 for about 25 minutes. Now my problem is that some turn out great, some dish inwards on the bottom and some don't get baked properly and deflate when I take them out. Is is my oven, my recipe, my technique or did I get cursed?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    Probably your oven. If you mess up the recipe/technique, none of them will turn out good.
     
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  3. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    If I add more fat in my dough, whether that is as heavy cream or butter, should I add less flour to make it less thick? What I do is slice the top off and fill it then close it up again, and I wanted to try different fillings with a more buttery, fatty , dough.
     
  4. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    I wouldn't add too much fat to the recipe. It will affect the rise. Decreasing the flour will also affect the structure.

    Usually, the choux shell serves as a vessel to deliver the filling. You don't really taste much of the pastry itself.

    You can, however, play with the texture a bit. Using milk as the liquid gives you a more tender product, while using water gives a crisper result. Baking until completely dry makes it crunchy, while baking just until cooked makes it soft. Anything in between works accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  5. WB616

    WB616

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    That temperature seems a bit low to me (unless you're using Celcius, then ignore this). I bake mine at 350°F for ~30 min (deck oven, conventional oven), then turn off the oven and let them sit with the door cracked until they are at my desired color. But if some are coming out well and others aren't, then it is probably your oven. Convection ovens are notoriously difficult to use when it comes to choux pastry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
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  6. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    Sorry, I meant 200 celsius, so 392 fahrenheit. What causes the pastry to dish inwards though?
     
  7. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    I know this is a language thing, but what do you mean by "dish inwards"? Would you be able to take a picture?
     
  8. WB616

    WB616

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    Without being able to see it for myself, my guess would be the fan on your oven blowing the dough sideways, assuming you are using a convection. I've also seen this problem when choux is piped too close together, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Maybe try turning down the fan or turning it off if possible. Alternatively, if you have a range with a conventional oven you could do a test batch in there.
     
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  9. Alexec

    Alexec

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    Try 190celcius @ 20-21 minutes, try 3/5 fan.
    Also do not open your oven during the bake, i do not know the reaction of your oven while it drops temp. For an almost medium size choux (not baby, not bun sized) and the "description" of your recipe, this will work hopefuly. When the bake is done, give them a couple of minutes before you try them, so they get rid of the moisture inside. Let me know if you do!
     
  10. jcakes

    jcakes

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    How big is the paris brest you are making and does that ever cave inwards? Just the "clouds" (how big are these clouds? Is it a single ball or are you piping and building it up so it is tall or ?)

    I usually bake choux at 400dF for 15 mins then turn the oven down to 350 dF for another 10-20 mins depending on the size of the puffs. If I have the time, I might even leave them in the turned-off oven overnight. If you pull them too soon, they will collapse, which is also another way to describe "dish inwards" :)
     
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  11. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    I will make a batch when I go home tonight. It is a conventional oven that you can turn a fan on. I dont like using it as a convection oven because the fan is either max destruction or off.

    By clouds i meant i pipe a single ball but my brain wasnt working very well, i apologise. They are medium to large size, to make the dough i use
    130 ml milk
    130 ml water
    120 g butter
    140 g flour shifted twice
    260 g eggs
    A little salt and sugar

    After I add the flour I continue to cook the dough to remove the moisture and then I add enough eggs to get soft peeks.

    By dish inwards i mean the dough rises, it doesnt collapse, but the bottom is curved inwards in the middle.
     
  12. WB616

    WB616

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    Soft peaks is too runny, choux should hold its shape when piped. Also, I never sift my flour, so doing it twice is beyond overkill.
     
  13. markos sdranis

    markos sdranis

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    Both times I added too many eggs, the only consistent thing about my choux pastries is how shit they are. I used soft flour and followed the recipe exactly like I got it from the pastry chef. Just today I made savory eclairs with hard flour, no milk, with a little grated parmesan. Baked at 170 celsius until golden and they came out crunchy, chef told me it's the hard flour and that it was meant to come out crunchy. Yet at home all I get is inconsistent shit. Every time i dont shift the flour I get clumps.

    I usually work clean it's just very frustrating coming home and fucking up like this.
     

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  14. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    The pictures are very helpful! It's immediately clear that your dough is too loose and you've added too many eggs. That's the whole trick with choux. How many eggs you add is only a guideline, because of all the variables involved. How much moisture you cook out when it's on the stovetop is a factor. The moisture content and protein content of the flour is a factor. How big the eggs are is a factor. So when you've got the mixture on the mixer and you're adding the eggs, just add them slowly and let the eggs you've added more or less incorporate before you add more. The mixture should be glossy and smooth. You don't really judge choux by "peaks". It shouldn't run off the beater and it should hold it's shape when piped. It also shouldn't drip out of the bag as you're piping and I see from the pictures that it is. You sort of have to get a "feel" for choux. The more you do it, the more you'll know what a good choux feels like. The two big mistakes people make are 1) not enough or too many eggs, and 2) underbaking. I know a lot of folks will turn the oven off and let them sit in there for a couple hours, but when you work in a busy bakery and oven space is scarce, that's not really an option. I have ALWAYS started the choux out at a relatively high heat (375-400F) and then lowered the oven to about 350F or so to finish off the bake until they are a DEEP golden brown and crisp on the outside. I always grit my teeth when I see pale choux.

    If your flour is that clumpy, there's definitely no harm in sifting it. Sometimes little flour clumps will form when you add it to the boiling water/milk, but they work themselves out eventually. When I add the flour, I stir as hard and fast as I can to work those clumps out. I've used both hard and all purpose flours for choux, but never a soft flour like cake flour....not enough protein content for structure in cake flour. After a lot of experimenting and thousands of batches of choux, I prefer all purpose flour.

    EDIT: Upon closer inspection, it seems to me the first picture clearly shows too many eggs, and the second picture looks pretty close to what you should be going for, but I think there may be not enough eggs in that batch. Hard to tell for sure, since I don't know how long after the batter was piped that you snapped the pic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  15. jcakes

    jcakes

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    When you dump in the flour, as Chefpeon says, stir quickly and for at least 3 to 5 minutes depending on the batch size. Usually I know when to stop when my arm feels like it is going to come off; but I set a timer anyway ;) Then it goes into the mixer, with the paddle, on speed 1 for another 2-5 minutes (you'll see steam rising from the bowl). THEN start adding the eggs, one at a time. When you think it's ready, shut off the mixer and disengage the beater, Pull it up from the dough (somewhat slowly, not too fast but not slow like a turtle either) - does it stretch into a sort of V shape and then break apart from the dough in the bowl? Chefpeon taught me to add the yolk and then test; then add the white and test again - sometimes one whole egg is too much.
     
  16. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Great tip.
    One not found in any book I have ever read...only figured out after years in the bakery.
    I learned from my Gma Van and have passed it on to anyone who seemed to care.
    The whole beat an egg and scale out half is unnecessary and a waste of time unless the recipe is super fragile.
    I don't do super fragile.

    Pastry/dough (choux or pasta or bread) has a soul you can feel with your hands and see with your eyes.
    I remember Chef Ed (no longer with up but his advice was solid and can be found in the archives) would tell someone "You have the hands" when handing out advice to someone with real bakery talent.

    Anyways just wanted to say... one of the best threads I have seen on this topic.
    Reminds me why I joined CT in the first place.

    mimi
     
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  17. panini

    panini

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    Just my thoughts. Still learning.:>) The wooden stick part of mixing spoon, run through the batter to measure the space before the dough closes behind it the most reliable. Circumvents ingredients.
    If your using a convection oven,(turbo) have a full bottle of nitrous. Don't wait to hit the first boost. That will bring oven to 20% above baking temp. Successful choux isn't really about ingredients. It's about method and procedure. You need to hit those puppies and take them to they're finished dimension, in the beginning, as quick as possible, using a medium protein wash that will prevent cracking. Cut the heat. The drying/cool/down is the thing that separates the good from the great. For banquets or buffet, I prefer to take choux to 20% dryer than normal and the moisture of filling at 15% greater, line/ala minute. 10% drier, filling 10% moisture. Both will usually hit the perfect contrast when it arrives at the customer. Contrast=crunch/cream, equal, not one dominant. Just my 63 yr. old thoughts that work for me.
    Oh, to the OP, six/eight to steel tray. Don't load them up, they generate quite an amount of steam. Sometimes if the oven doesn't have a vent or forget to open,, you end up creating weather. Very cloudy oven, the convection starts cloud rotation and possibly producing rain in the middle of the pan.:>) Praline paste in-house. mixed with Italian mousseline and fressh Mascarpone impastata.We're Blessed that we are in an exclusive area and customers recognize pastries from trips. 7.50 ea.
     
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  18. chefross

    chefross

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    Panini it IS also about ingredients. Method and procedure, I'll give you.... As someone already mentioned....1 egg too many and you're gone. Made choux paste a lot. I used to make Potato puffs....mashed potatoes and choux paste made into balls and deep fried. The ratio is not forgiving.
     
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  19. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Not that I can read Pan's mind or anything ....
    If the choux has a bit too much moisture (from that extra egg white even) it can almost always be salvaged by extra time on the heat..stirring and stirring until you are happy with the texture (and the steam dries up).
    Once you have those little puffs from heaven in the oven the game is in the bottom of the 9th inning and only great technique will give you a walk-off home run.
    I like the not crowding tip.
    This thread just keeps getting better.

    mimi
     
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  20. panini

    panini

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    @chefross, You're absolutely right, Thanks for the correction. I'm really trying my best to control my ADHD and be disciplined about rambling on and on. I just tried to identify the most common problem when making these bicycle wheels. Thinking some more, the removal of moisture from the formula is probably as important as ingredients used. You will never achieve a product worthy of entering into any competition if you don't concentrate the two different area when moisture from the roux is removed. 1st. during the cooking of the roux(also to cook flour) and the second being the exchange to the mixer. If you don't paddle enough to remove most all moisture and make sure the outside of the bowl is below 98.6 deg. F. It will not incorporate enough eggs to retain the right flavor/richness.
    Thanks for the input, I absolutely appreciate the monitoring.
    One always have to be accurate with any formula to achieve perfection. With that being said, whenever I enter choux in an European competition it appeared that all about the crust and color, go figure. Stick whipped cream inside an eclair. profiterole, or paris brest and I can't get it down.
     
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