Croissant problems

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by gerrypony, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. gerrypony


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    At home cook
    Hey guys,

    I've joined this forum because I'm on a quest to make perfect croissants. I've had six attempts now using different recipes and techniques, but something always goes wrong. Can you please help me with these problems:

    1- what is the best way to fold the butter in, book fold or letter fold?
    2- how many turns are ideal? Most recipes just say three turns.
    3- while working on my second turn, I find the butter breaking into streaks within the dough. By the third turn, the dough is spotted with butter(but it doesn't leak through). How do I keep the butter in smooth sheets?
    4- I find that some butter leaks while baking (sometimes all the butter leaks!). How do I stop that from happening?
    5- Im amazed at the temperature variations for baking croissants. Some recipes say 350, others 475. So seriously, what is the ideal temperature and baking times?
    6- is it possible to ruin the shaped croissants by proofing too long? The last time I made them, I waited nearly four hours, as I felt they didn't rise much. The butter also leaked in the oven, and the finished product was very bread-like.

  2. kokopuffs


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    Home Cook
    FWIW I once made a puff pastry for Beef Wellington using the original recipe out of Escoffier's noted book.  Since yeast isn't used in the recipe, there is NO rise time, just allow the dough to rest in order to relax the gluten, making it easier to shape into whatever you're making - either croissants or a "wrap" for the B.W...  IMHO I feel that you're micro managing the dough way too much.


  3. charbel


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    Culinary Student
    1. Letter fold
    2. 3 times
    3. Make sure you let the dough rest about 20 minutes between folds, in the fridge
    4. Butter is always going to leak a bit. Too much leaking might indicatenthat you are using too much butter.
    5. I bake it at 400F until dark golden brown.
    6. If the dough didn't rise enough (shouldn't bee too big of a rise anyways), maybe you can proof it at a higher temperature than the room temp.

    I hope this helps!
  4. bekazu


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    The real key is properly resting the dough while you handle it.  You want the butter to be soft enough to give under the rolling pin without tearing the dough but not so soft that it starts to melt with the friction of the rolling pin.   Also, handle the dough very gently as you are incorporating a lot of butter into very little dough, it is better to make 6-8 passes to get it rolled to the size you want than to make two giant harsh rolls.  If the butter is breaking into streaks I would think the butter is too cold, or you are using too much pressure on the rolling pin.

    Letter fold will give you more layers with less work than a book fold. 

    Leaking butter can be several things but my most common problem is using cheap butter or proofing at too high of a temperature.

    Through practice I have found that if I shape my croissants the day before I want them baked, then refridgerate the shaped dough overnight it is partially proofed coming out of the fridge.  Yeast is active at around 60 F and butter starts to melt around 85 F so your window of temperature where you will acheive the best rise is small.  A slightly longer rise at a lower temp  (45 -60 minutes at 80 degrees) will always produce more tender croissants than  higher temp and shorter time. Also, due to the all the awesome things that make a croissant a croissant it will never acheive the dramatic rise of say- white sandwich bread.  The "perfect proof" on a croissant is just where the dough moves slightly when the pan is moved but before it starts to leak butter.  That will always leak butter in the oven.

    An oven temp somewhere in the 375 - 400 range is usally ideal.  The dough rises dramatically then forms a crust fairly quickly to seal in the moisture from the butter.  If you find they are too brown for your taste lower the oven temp by 25 degrees after the first 8 - 10 minutes of baking.

    Practice makes perfect so don't give up!